28 July, 2008

A great start to the week

Dee and I are on leave this week so we headed out the door at about quarter to five and got in a smooth 35km before 6:30. It seemed to get colder as we rode- started out around 15 I'm sure, and then just kept dropping until it hit about 10C. I mean, how does that work? The sun is up and it should be starting to warm up- shouldn't it?

Anyway, probably just as well. We have guests at the moment and it would be untoward to abandon them while we cycled off into the sunrise. Besides, we had fun today at one of the local tourist attractions. Billabong Sanctuary is a wildlife park specialising in Australian fauna and I guess as a local you forget how good some of these things are. So away we went for an afternoon of close encounters with a variety of Oz's more famous marsupials, birds and reptiles. Koalas- always a big hit but everyone is always amazed at how little they move- they sleep 18-20 hours per day. Kangaroos (reds and eastern greys) and their smaller cousins, the wallabies (rock, swamp, nail-tailed, pretty faced) and their even smaller cousins- the pademelons- I know, sounds like something you'd get in a fruit and veg market. Anyway, lots of them roam free around the park and are not shy about coming up to see if you might have some seed to offer.

Some pretty impressive birds like the emu and southern cassowary, a variety of raptors and parrots, cockatoos and kookaburras and many wild species that are free to come and go as they choose....but with lots of people tossing bird seed around, why would you go anywhere else? (if you were a bird). Dingoes, snakes, lizards, tarantulas- a real good mix of the things most of us may never see.

The stars of the day inevitably turn out to be the saltwater crocodiles. These throwbacks to Jurassic Park never fail to impress and today was no different. The park rangers, armed with some fish heads and a couple of lengths of bamboo enter the croc enclosure and get these guys to come up close and personal with the spectators, lunging out of the water to get a bite of lunch.

The last time I was there they were armed with a plastic fan rake- you know the ones you can buy for about $3.00. Just what I'd want when faced with a 250kg saltie who wants something to eat and is able and ready to launch himself about 3/4 of the way out of the water.

Anyway, back on the bike in the morning- and they say it's supposed to cool off even more tonight. Where did I put my arm warmers this morning?????

Cheers- ride safe

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