Thursday, November 7, 2013

Where the wild things roam.

Without nauseating you, our blog readers too much, I would like to acknowledge Glenn as an accomplished skipper with improved nautical/sailing skills over the past six months. I also need to compliment him on his keen vision. He now spots wildlife long before I have the camera ready. The call of "Quick Jen, you must look at this", has caused me to strain my back several times rushing up on deck. In the last few days he has seen multiple dingoes on Fraser Island, jelly fish, sea birds and dolphins as well as channel markers and small fishing tinnies. I am always one step behind him with the camera.
The dingoes of Fraser Island are the purest breed on Eastern Australia. We saw this pair split up for hunting and pad around the muddy foreshores at Garry's anchorage. Last time we visited I thought the warning sign was a bit of a joke. I wonder if the crocodile signage is also current and correct. I might station Spotter Glenn in an obvious location next visit.
Wild dingoes on patrol at sunset.

I know jelly fish are common, but I am proud of this photo, partly because it is so difficult to capture a good image when taken above water.

Part of a massive flock floating by Garry's anchorage.
From Garry's in the Great Sandy Straits we headed down to Tin Can Bay. We are biding time until the conditions are favourable for a safe passage over the Mad Mile of the notorious Wide Bay Bar.
We didn't really know what to expect in the little town with such a curious name.: Tin Can Bay. An internet search revealed Tuncanba means : place of dugong, plenty of tucker.
The locals were very friendly and the town was quiet and sleepy (no cars moving around). I thought the name would refer to my desperate urge in wanting to kick a tin can down the street...(it seems to me to be the only way to break the sleepy spell). Not much appears to be happening here.
Tin Can Bay must be on the recommended bucket list for grey nomads to drive to/ through. We took our dingy ashore to look around too. Luckily a local muscle man helped Glenn drag it back into the channel at sunset.
We were pleased to see that Sailability (sailing for the disabled) was well supported by sponsors and volunteers here.
Lots of bright colours out and about.
The big attraction in Tin Can Bay (apart from the quietness) is the rare opportunity to see and feed wild Dolphins. It was not surprising to find that the Pelicans and Cormonants we keen to share the free breakfast.
So typical of Pelicans when food is free.
Cute but will peck at faces.
I am not in favour of humans interacting with animals for entertainment. I needed to read about the ethics and standards involved in this volunteer activity. The National Parks and govt. oversee what is permissible in relation to the dolphins. Hefty fines and strict regulations are explained in printouts prior to entry.
Some decades ago a fisherman accidentally injured a dolphin. He ensured that it was fed until it recovered. It started bringing family members to visit. That dolphin was the grandfather of the present alpha male. (No, not the guy who helped Glenn drag the dinghy into the channel yesterday arvo.) A few members of the pod of 9 generally visit at about 7am for an hour of so. Yesterday a female and baby visited. There is no guarantee of appearance. There are no bells or human signals made to the dolphins to come and get fed. The quantity of fish given each day and the species of fish is strictly limited.
To be permitted to see the dolphins at close range, we needed to wash our hands in disinfectant and agree not to pat or slash. Volunteers were aplenty: 5 during our visit. Two woman stood in the water facing the crowd and the other three herded birds away from people. Anyone not abiding by the rules was told to cease or leave. It was all well controlled and calm.
One at a time.
Bird herding flag.
The dolphins are Indo Pacific Humpbacks, and about 50 live in Hervey Bay. They struggle against sharks but their numbers appear stable. We were able to watch Patch and Mystique play together.
Patch often plays with leaves and can swim and dive while keeping one on her nose.
Patch at play.
It was finally our turn to feed a small fish to Patch. What a thrill but over too quickly. I noticed that these dolphins had sparse pigmentation, freckles and were pink in places. It is usual of their species. Patch also mudged my hand three times, but I chose not to sing my favourite dolphin song (protestant sunday school hymn) to her in public...( see previous dolphin encounters in blogs). I am learning to be discrete.
Dolphin man: one of his many encounters.
We are spending the evening in Pelican Bay waiting to cross the Wide Bay Bar in the morning. Then our final leg of our journey, ending at Mooloolaba for this season.




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