Doug was a rescue pug whose life took a wonderful turn for the better when he was adopted by Liz about eight years ago. Doug’s paperwork said he was seven at the time.
Doug formed a great bond with Liz to the exclusion of other dogs and humans. He was Liz’s constant shadow.
Sadly, Dougie reached the end of his life a few days ago at the age of fifteen.
Doug took a while to adapt to being in his seatbelt on the back seat of the car with the other two dogs. He initially claimed seat space by pretending he was the only one on the seat (image above left) and putting up with the minor discomfort of lying on another dog. The dog jigsaw was eventually amicably worked out and they all learned to sleep on the seat rather than each other. The three of them were excellent travellers and would sleep from the time the car doors shut to when the engine was switched off, whether the trip was five minutes or three hours long. This was just as well as they all had many trips between Melbourne and Apollo Bay. The dog ‘doughnuts’ shown below were a great success for travel comfort.
Sudokus and crosswords – Dougie was equally helpful with both.
Dougie was stoical right to the end and continued to find enjoyment in his simple routines and familiar surrounds, and most of all in being in close proximity to Liz. Thanks to Lizzie’s unfailing care of him, Dougie truly lived the dream for the last eight years.
Images from recent days in Apollo Bay doing stuff that requires only time – all within walking distance of home.
The New Holland Honeyeater and the House Sparrow
These birds literally flew between my camera lens and the surf break I was trying to focus on. They landed on cliff-top scrub that was just below my line of sight to the reef. As there were lengthy breaks between sets of waves, I wound the telephoto lens right back and took a few shots of these feathery little photo bombers from close quarters.
Ocean scenery & ocean swims
The first two swims were done in the conditions and at the times and locations shown in the photos with the sunrise and the steps. The third swim was done in calm water – I just love the photo (which showed the conditions about two kms south of where I swam).
Surf & Surfers
Seamus looking for speed as the lip started to throw out overhead. The other photo shows the end of the ride on this wave, with Australian fur seals relaxing on the reef in the background.
Tommy can certainly lay claim to paddling out and over an unbroken section of this interesting and unrideable wave. But the wave he was heading out to ride was on the break to his right as he paddled out (as shown top right), which while not quite as spectacular, was eminently rideable.
The third photo was taken as the wave was closing out, the ride was over, and Tommy decided to bail out over the back of the wave. The photo captured the moment when it appeared he was levitating from the deck of his board to achieve this exit.
Leroy is over 60 and surfs like a young bloke.
Angus is a young bloke who was giving it a red hot go on this day. Those are his feet in the air on the left as he decided against a duck dive on the board, and simply dived for depth relying on the leg rope to bring his surfboard with him. It was a solid wall of white water. The timing of his dive looked pretty good to me.
This is Angus completing a long ride by pulling on a bit of speed then shooting up the face of the fading wave and through the crest of white water for an exuberant airborne exit over the back.
I have a strong sense of location. Wherever I may be, I keep track of north, I consider the major geographical features in the four cardinal directions, I note how far from the sea I am and I make it my business to know what the weather is and to have a guess as to what it’s likely to do in the short term. Wind direction and strength are always important to me. I love to read the wind on the water. When near the coast, monitoring ocean swell size is essential. Clouds fascinate me on many levels, and my eyes have turned skywards when given half a moment since I was a boy.
When there is time for contemplation, I like to think where the meridian of longitude on which I am standing would lead were I to follow it north or south. Similarly, I wonder where circumnavigation of the earth following the parallel of latitude beneath my feet would take me. When standing on an ocean shore, I like to know which continent is due south, or west or east of me. I like to orient myself in terms of latitude and longitude rather than postcode and governmental boundaries. When in Apollo Bay, I find it more interesting to think of myself as being at a point on the globe rather than at a street address within the boundaries of the town. The title of this post hints obliquely at this perspective.
It was a surprise to me when standing on the beach at Cockle Creek in the far south of Tasmania recently (located just south of 43° S), to learn that the next continent directly west was South America. The sustained westerly gale force winds in which I was standing were the full uninterrupted blast of the roaring forties. It will perhaps be a surprise to some Victorians to learn that the first land to be encountered flying due south from Apollo Bay is Antarctica. Such a track would even be west of King Island. It may be an even greater surprise to some Victorians to learn that the first land to be flown across on a direct southerly track from Torquay is also Antarctica. That track would take you between Tassie and King Island.
Before getting to photos of the Southern Ocean, which until this morning were to be the opening photos in this post, I cannot resist sharing a few snaps of one of the ‘other things’ mentioned in the heading. I received a visit this morning from the sometime resident in the eucalypts which line the creek beside my house in Apollo Bay. I was made aware of his presence by the noise of the fracas as my little black dog Minnie, emboldened by the secure fence between her and the eucalypts, was exchanging rowdy unpleasantries with this koala. The koala was giving it all he had, with that improbably loud and deep-throated ‘growling cougar’ noise koalas are capable of making. He even deferred his climb up the tree, staying low so he could eyeball Minnie and give her his best.
By the way, koalas are not bears. They are marsupials. The ‘bear’ tag was given by the early English settlers. They were wrong, but it stuck.
The Point at Marengo and Little Henty Reef
Point Bunbury & Mounts Bay
A dog and a ball and a beach
Australasian Gannet Soaring Effortlessly
I mentioned in a previous post on this blog that the Australasian gannet had moved rapidly into a top three position on my list of favourite birds. I have read a lot more about it, and it now heads that list. It’s a beautiful and amazing bird.
38° 45′ 26″ S, 143° 40′ 11″ E (aka Apollo Bay) under the Milky Way and a Rain Shower
The Point at Marengo came alive in a solid autumn swell with waves that tested some of the young local surfers. There were reports of heavy hold downs and a lot of water moving around. Some of the younger surfers said they hadn’t seen it this big. From the little I saw, they handled it.
I arrived at the Point not long before sunset. Big waves were being ridden, bigger and unrideable waves were smashing in their wild way over adjacent Little Henty Reef, and even bigger waves were towering and breaking on the bombies at Outer Henty Reef 3kms offshore. Spray was hanging in the air. Light was rapidly fading. There was a silent but strong sense of spectacle.
The beaches at Apollo Bay provide endless beauty and joy, especially at dawn and dusk.
Last Tuesday, as always, Maxie eased himself out of the warmth of his dog bed, and stretched his creaking joints slowly with a few steps as he confirmed that the gift of walking was his for yet another great day. All of Max’s days were great. He stopped in the kitchen doorway where he knew I would pick him up for his first cuddle of the day. I did so. Our respective days were going to plan.
I scooped him into my arms where he relaxed on his back waiting for me to lift him up a little further so he was in range to give my ear a quick lick.
Then without warning or sound, deep within the delicate and intricate mysteries of Maxie’s brain, as I held him in my arms there was a silent but catastrophic event which caused him to move his body and legs involuntarily and to arch back with a momentary unseeing look in his eyes. Then as suddenly as they began the violent movements stopped and he just lay quietly looking up at me as I held him tightly to me. I placed him gently on his feet on the floor to see whether hope against hope it was a temporary fit of some sort which would not disable or kill him.
His back legs barely functioned, his balance was clearly affected, he stumbled a few steps and stopped bewildered and just looked up at me. For nearly 15 years I have been able to make it right when he came to me and stood at my feet looking up with entreating eyes because he was unwell, or had something stuck in his mouth, or had hurt his foot, or was just out of sorts and needed a cuddle. I gently picked him up again. But I sensed that I might not be able to make it right this time.
Lizzie was with us by this stage. After hearing what had just happened and seeing him try to stand and walk, with a teary calmness she said, “I think his time has come.” Maxie’s lifelong vet wouldn’t be open for business for another hour. Max spent that hour in our arms, calm but sadly quiet and still. He was not in pain. We were.
Liz’s diagnosis was confirmed by the vet and our Maxie’s life ended quickly, quietly and painlessly in the surgery with Liz right beside him.
Max, you were a real character, and you made our life better.