Montague Island Day One

Montague Island, New South Wales, Australia, 8 to 11 November 2019

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We spent a weekend at Montague Island, off the coast of New South Wales near Narooma, organised by NatureArt Lab, based in Canberra.  We also went with them to Sabah and this time it was mainly with artists rather than photographers.  I also went there in 1987 when I toured around Australia taking photographs of lighthouses for the book From Dusk Till Dawn.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Humpback whale, Landscape, Lighthouses, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, Sea Eagle, Seal, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

We needed to drive down from Canberra and be at the wharf for the boat at 11:15 am, so to eliminate the risk of misadventures we drove down from Canberra the night before.  Late in the afternoon we discovered Handkerchief Beach, south of Narooma.  This is a picture of Montague Island from there (actually properly spelt Montagu but that is a losing battle).  We would be staying near the lighthouse in the lighthouse cottages.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Humpback whale, Landscape, Lighthouses, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, Sea Eagle, Seal, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

The lagoon at Handkerchief Beach.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Humpback whale, Landscape, Lighthouses, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, Sea Eagle, Seal, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

It appears it gets windy at times.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Humpback whale, Landscape, Lighthouses, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, Sea Eagle, Seal, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

A nearby pelican next morning as we are waiting to embark.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Humpback whale, Landscape, Lighthouses, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, Sea Eagle, Seal, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

From the boat, underway but still inside Narooma’s Bar, a cormorant is drying its wings.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Humpback whale, Landscape, Lighthouses, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, Sea Eagle, Seal, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Humpback whale going down.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Humpback whale, Landscape, Lighthouses, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, Sea Eagle, Seal, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

We were lucky to be escorted by a mother and her calf for most of the journey to Montague.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Humpback whale, Landscape, Lighthouses, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, Sea Eagle, Seal, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Australia, Crested Terns, Humpback whale, Landscape, Lighthouses, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, Sea Eagle, Seal, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Australia, Crested Terns, Humpback whale, Landscape, Lighthouses, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, Sea Eagle, Seal, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Australia, Crested Terns, Humpback whale, Landscape, Lighthouses, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, Sea Eagle, Seal, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

There are many seals on the rocks by the sea.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Humpback whale, Landscape, Lighthouses, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, Sea Eagle, Seal, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

And we encountered quite a few lounging around in the water.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Humpback whale, Landscape, Lighthouses, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, Sea Eagle, Seal, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

At some distance, sitting on his favourite rock, is this white-bellied sea eagle, in this case with a full crop.  He does not live on the island but flies out every day from the mainland.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Humpback whale, Landscape, Lighthouses, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, Sea Eagle, Seal, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

The seals are either Australian or New Zealand Fur Seals.  The New Zealand Fur Seals are smaller and darker and climb further up on the rocks but they are very similar and I’m not going to try to tell them apart.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Humpback whale, Landscape, Lighthouses, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, Sea Eagle, Seal, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Launching into the sea.

The New Zealand Fur Seals have been recently renamed Long-Nosed Fur Seals (in Australia) because people may have thought they were not native to Australia though they live in both places.  They were called New Zealand Fur Seals because they were first described in New Zealand and are still called New Zealand Fur Seals in New Zealand.  This renaming seems to me like pointlessly kowtowing to ignorance so I will continue to refer to them as New Zealand Fur Seals.

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Great Cormorant and Crested Terns, still from the boat.

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A colony of Crested Terns, from the road to the Lighthouse.

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In the late afternoon, we were hit by a huge storm with high winds.

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A little later, walking back from Cottage 1 to Cottage 2 at the back of the cottages, I was blown along by a wind so strong that it was pointless to try to walk against it.

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Some of the terns relocated from the more exposed side of the island to the relative calm in the lee of the cottages and the island.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Humpback whale, Landscape, Lighthouses, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, Sea Eagle, Seal, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Australia, Crested Terns, Humpback whale, Landscape, Lighthouses, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, Sea Eagle, Seal, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Then an hour and a half later, it was clear and calm.  This is a sacred aboriginal initiation site at the end of the island, not accessible to the public.  The rocks represent the whale, the shark and the tortoise.

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(Trivia note:  There are now more than 15,000 images in this blog, not counting the links to nearly 11,000 live music images, and also more than 350,000 words, equivalent to several books).

5 comments on “Montague Island Day One

  1. Brian Rope says:

    Great shots Murray.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Robert Hayes says:

    I am SO jealous of all your trips and experiences.

    Like

  3. Yes, that tree does look much better against a stormy sky.

    Like

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