Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Three posts in one day

Don't get used to it.

I've just finished chapter 2 of Newland. At around 2000 words a chapter, it's coming along nicely.
Marty Young seems happy with the market stuff I've sent him and I'll start on a new list for competitions over the next few days (maybe next week).
Now I've got some time to blog about my research trip.
Victor Harbor
On Monday the 14th (Bastille Day), my wife and youngest child accompanied me to a local coastal restort town called Victor Harbor.
We live a little north of Adelaide, pretty close to here ----->

Victor Harbor is located almost directly south of this point at the very bottom of this very small map. A round trip of over 200km if we include the driving I did while in Victor itself.

So we set out at a respectable mid morning time, determined to take a leisurely drive to avoid gaining any more speeding fines. Paying $500 in the last few months is more than enough to make me slow down.

We arrived safe and sound.

The weather was a little on the cold side with passing showers in the area but as my story also began in July, some 160 plus years earlier, so I thought it good to get an idea of the prevailing conditions. I had a number of things on my to do list. Unfortunately we had no idea where the local library was and the National Trust Museum was closed at the time of arrival.

So we went for a slow walk across to Granite Island. As we crossed the causeway, the South-South-Westerly picked up. This wind comes straight off the Great Southern Ocean from Antarctica so you can imagine the icy fingers it trailed across any forgotten piece of bare skin. Luckily we had big coats on and managed to stay relatively warm.

The island is exactly the same as I remember it from previous excursions. We wandered through the kiosk and tourist shop but the prices were pretty steep so we didn't buy anything. We set out for our trek around the Kaiki Trail--the trail that allows passage around the perimeter of the island without disturbing the natural wildlife. The first section is a huge stairway made from old hardwood and likely to last longer against the ever-present wind and salt spray than I would.

After scaling this solid stairway, we are led out onto a shale path along the south eastern or windward side of the island. In most places there is little to protect you from the full force of the icy gales but looking down on the huge granite boulders that give the island it's name is a spectacular sight.

That's my wife and youngest you can see peering out from the lookout point.

The foliage is very hardy native types with a permanent lean away from the wind. Two types of lichen grow on the island. Lichen is a fungus/algae mix which is normally found spreading over rocks in highly salty areas. On granite Island though, you have a bright yellow type predominantly on the leeward or North-north-westerly side of the island and a vivid orange coloured variety on the colder more wind blown windward side.

Huge rock formations take on weird shapes as the wind and water wear away the softer parts, leaving the age old granite to stand isolated against Mother Natures unstoppable forces. The orange on the rocks above is the lichen discussed earlier, not local teenagers going nuts with spray cans of paint.

After spending a couple of hours wandering all over the island and giving the calf and back muscles a good work out, we decided to catch the horse drawn tram back to the mainland. At a very slow and steady pace, a single horse (a Clydesdale) pulled us and a tram full of tourists, local adults and all the accompanying children, back to the slightly warmer mainland.

Then it was off to lunch in one of the local pubs for a reasonable fee. I can't cast glowing phrases around about the quality of the food because it wasn't that great. Mine was slightly over done, the wife's wasn't particularly tasty and the little one only ate the chips. The cold beer was refreshing.

We then moved into the national Trust Museum where my camera started to play up. I managed a couple of shots depicting period dress at the time and some background information but that was about it for the photo-journalism part of the trip. It was also here we stumbled across a stack of SA50s+ issue 1. Rightly so, our distributor believes our target demographic of "baby boomers" would frequent such places. On the back page in all its glory was my first article. It took a bit of will power not to point it out to the people behind the counter accepting admission money--but I managed.

It began raining a little heavier and a little more often so we went to the library (after gaining directions) for some book type research. The local book store has an impressive range of period history tomes but not a lot of personal day-to-day type stuff that I needed. Still I did gleam a few facts that were important for authenticity so it wasn't a total loss.

By now the rain had set in and night was coming on early and fast. We took a casual drive home and arrived in the early part of the evening, all very tired but happy at having a nice day out at Victor.

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