Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Finally, a Trip to the Beach!

Earlier this month, Drew and I headed east towards the coast.  It was our first trip to the beach and we were excited.  After living in landlocked Colorado for six years, it's nice to know that we are only two hours away from the ocean.

We drove pretty much straight east into Bateman's Bay, a touristy town that reminded me a little bit of Virginia Beach although not quite so big.  After a quick stop for lunch, we headed north along the highway to Pebbly Beach.  One of Andrew's work mates recommended it and it was indeed the perfect spot for our first beach trip.  Pebbly Beach is located in Murramarang National Park and has a campground a short distance from the beach access.  Even though we didn't make reservations, we were able to find a camping spot when we arrived on Saturday.  Being the camping pros that we are, we had the tent set up and our toes in the water within 15 minutes of arriving.
 

As you can see from the pictures, the beach looks nothing like the Outer Banks in the States.  While there are sandy beaches in some areas (close to where the kangaroos were hanging out), most of the coastline is rocky and abuts the cliffs.  This creates the perfect environment for tidal pools and we were lucky enough to be at the beach as the tide was receding. 

Since the water was freezing (!!), we didn't swim but rather waded around, peering into the tidal pools to see what creatures we could find.  We saw lots of anemones, crabs, and snails.  We also saw quite a few "blue bottle" jellyfish washed up on the beach. You may know of these as Portuguese Man o' Wars.*  In the picture above, you can see two Blue Bottles on the beach next to the lobster shell.  They look like harmless plastic bags, but the tentacles can sting you hours after the creature has died.


We explored along the coast line until dark and then made our way back to the campground, where we had a tasty dinner of pb&j sandwiches and oranges.  That night, a thunderstorm blew through the area and cooled everything down quite a bit.  We have a great little tent (thanks, Dad!) so the cold air and rain didn't bother us.

In the morning, the sky was overcast and the cool air seemed to be hanging around.  It was definitely not a day for swimming. After a fortifying breakfast of pb&j sandwiches and oranges (notice a pattern here?), we grabbed our water bottles, our raincoats, and decided to hike to the top of Durras Mountain. 

The round trip hike took us about 3 hours. Although we had some great views of the ocean, most of the trail was through the forest which protected us from the misting rain. The only bad thing about the wet trail was the leeches. Drew was the unlucky blood donor for one of them.  I should have taken a picture because they are somewhat fascinating creatures but, at the time, I was way too grossed out to think about the camera.

After our hike, we packed up the tent and headed back to Bateman's Bay where we had pb&j sandwiches opted for fish and chips for lunch.  We had a fabulous first trip to the beach and are ready for our next visit.  Hopefully next time we'll see a few starfish in the tidal pools. 

*Interestingly, the Portuguese Man o' War is not actually a jellyfish.  It is a "siphonophore" and is comprised of a colony of organisms called zooids.  While they may seem like solitary individuals, these zooids are dependent upon one another and cannot survive alone.

5 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this adventure with us, Mandy. Roos on the beach. I'll never forget it.

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  2. Beautiful!! Love all the interesting creatures :) The leech sounds super gross yikes!

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  3. How wonderful! Also, how do you two not have a pet kangaroo yet? Because those things are freaking adorable. Just, think: you could buy it a pair of overalls and some boxing gloves, and make it pb&j sandwiches, which it would store in its pouch for later. It makes perfect sense to me.

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  4. I love those Kangaroos. That is crazy how commonplace they are there. I love your heart tide pool. I love you too. = ) Glad you got to enjoy something other than pb and j!

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