Off line yesterday so you get two days in one but later than usual because some bugger took an hour away from me today and I haven't been able to get it back all day.
We knew we were facing rain yesterday but decided to try and do things which allowed us to duck in and out of showers. The morning looked to be fairly clear so we made for the Batemans Bay Botanic Gardens but were there an hour before the official opening time so chose instead our second choice, the Mogo Zoo.
Now there's not much to Mogo beyond the tourist dollar suckers that line each side of a short street - cafes, brick a brack, souvenirs (different colours, same basic crap) and the odd interesting place such as the local potters, a husband and wife team of 30 years who create and sell in the former catholic church. Its a surprise then that a fully functioning and successful zoo is a few kms out of town. Successful in that it has been achieving great results in breeding animals in captivity, with its Red Panda program so successful they have to build another set of new quarters for the Pandas. There is no doubt that the people there love the animals and no doubt they have a heart for the work but I continue to grow in my concern for the whole concept of zoos. Yes, its great for kids to come and see wild animals but it would be so much better if the visit was tied to a greater education of the dangers faced by many of the animals on show. Further, whilst no cage is big enough for any animal, seeing Sumartran Tigers or Snow Leopards or African Lions in high security cages and observing the worn track around the perimeter where they have prowled in search of release I find hard to accept. In this particular case, the cages for the Tigers was way too small in proportion to the range of the animal. I guess that's why you won't find any pictures of the big cats here.
In the end, the caging and breeding in captivity of wild animals in order to run a successful money making business seems unpalatable, no matter what good motives can be attached to it. In honesty, I learned my love of wild things and their need for their freedom from those visits to Taronga as a kid and without its existence, maybe I wouldn't have developed this passion for their freedom. Just as certain, I wouldn't have pursued my doubts had it not been for the beautiful, undiluted passion for all creatures large and small that shines like a perfect beam of light from my daughter Sarah. We fail to learn from our children at our peril.
Rain came in hail and pale after we finished our coffee in Mogo and when we could, we returned to Batemans Bay. After lunch we went to the movies and finished the afternoon walking to the sunset across the main bridge to more coffee and hot chips as a storm front approached.
It poured during the night ... I mean poured but we stayed dry, snug and warm in our little camper trailer.
This morning was wet and difficult but we managed over a three hour period to pack our camp, with many stops for rain. I managed to stay dry until the last task, which was talking with a neighbour about our trailer.
We hit the coastal road south of Batemans Bay, despite more rain closing in. We stopped in Malua Bay for a few shots. With the sea whipped up by wind and a storm swell and the dramatically abrupt headlands so close to the small traverse of beach and the driving rain, it made a startling sight. Equally, with sun out, it would be as pretty as a picture.
We joined the Princess Highway again at Moruya and then took a detour out to Tuross Heads. Almost by chance we found lunch on the back deck of an old boatshed on Tuross Lake. It was still in between showers but it was another unexpected location which we seem to specialise in.
The road and the afternoon were getting long now - that bloody missing hour - so we drove straight to our digs at Kalaru. I had to stop for another spell as my eyes were getting heavy but we had no sooner stopped than a strange couple pulled up, blocking my way out of the car park. He was all bling and shifty eyes, refusing to return my usual cheery "g'day" and she was in thigh length black velour boots, a short dress where hem met waist across no discernible distance, more boobs than a Shane Warne hosted TV show and ugly make up. We bolted for the car and I backed the trailer out of there.
We eventually arrived and set up in time to watch the first half of the footie grand final but with no St George, I became bored so we drove into Tathra for a taste of what lay ahead.