Montague Island Monochromes

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

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Links go to posts with the colour versions of the images (where there may also be more information and context). If an image does not have a link, the preceding one applies. (Click on any image to see it larger).

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

Pelican in Narooma Harbour.

Montague Island Day One..

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

Humpback whale disappearing.

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Humpback whales, mother and calf.

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Seals off a headland.

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A seal launching into the sea.

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At the lighthouse cottages when the storm hits.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

Crested terns courting.

Montague Island Day Two.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

Silver gull.

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Silver gull chicks.

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View from the lighthouse looking south, showing the stones sacred to the Aborigines (the whale, the shark and the tortoise) and also the small lighthouse cemetery.

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View of lighthouse cottages from the lighthouse.

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The old wharf.

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Sea eagle.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

Tiny ground flowers.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

Old banksia setrrata cone.

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Little penguins coming ashore.

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Great cormorants on rock.

Montague Island Day Three (Morning).

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

Seal interactions.

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Shell on rock.

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Sooty oystercatchers.

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Created tern coming in to land.

Montague Island Day Three (Afternoon).

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Silver gull and nesting material.

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Crested tern with fish.

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Silver gull coming in to land.

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Crested tern and chick.

Montague Island Day Four.

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Contention.

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Competing for space.

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Welcome swallows.

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The lighthouse receding.

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Pelican confused by sign.

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I’m due to go down to Thredbo for the Thredbo Blues Festival next weekend but because of bushfires in the area I won’t know whether the festival is on until later today or tomorrow.  There may or may not be a post on that in a few weeks.  Next week though, I expect to resume the account of my travels to Cuba and the Caribbean at Santo Domingo in the Dominican republic.

Montague Island Day Four

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

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This was the last morning and the boat was due to leave around midday.  The previous afternoon I had photographed crested terns flying in to the colony.  I decided to spend some of my remaining time photographing their interactions on the ground.

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There were many eggs but only a few hatched chicks.  Parents kept them close to protect them not merely from silver gulls but also from other terns.

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On the edge of the colony there is danger from silver terns so this mother tried to move with her chick into the colony.

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The terns pack in much closer than silver gulls but they still defend territory so contention arises.

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Making a point…

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This is where she wants to be but there is a certain amount of opposition.

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… including some pinching of the tail….

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At least the chick is not being attacked which can happen.

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And the mother, though under siege, does her best to protect the chick.

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Nearby there was a silver gull hidden under a bush on an egg in the middle of the tern colony.  It must have been there before the terns arrived.  I didn’t photograph it because the shadow was too deep to show it in context.  What was going to happen when it tried to leave was an interesting question.

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After a while, she pulled out of the area of contention back more to the edge of the colony.

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Her mate is with her here.

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She is now protecting the chick from silver gulls as well as other terns.

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Nearby, a pair of welcome swallows had made their nest in walls of one of the cottage’s toilets, entering the wall through the ventilation holes.

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Just outside the colony, a bit of mating display was going on.

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Two’s company….

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A last view of the terns.

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Now we’re on the boat and the lighthouse and cottages are receding away.

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The wharf is down below the lighthouse.

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Back in Narooma harbour, this pelican seemed confused by the direction instructions of the sign.

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Montague Island Day Three (Afternoon)

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

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Having returned and after lunch, I settled down at a tern colony near the lighthouse to photograph them in flight.

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I was mounting my long lens on a gimbal (the mechanical type, not the electronic variety for video) which attaches to your tripod and allows your lens to sit at a point of balance, for easier and quicker responses.

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This is the wing of a silver gull.  This shot wasn’t intended and it isn’t entirely in focus but I still like it.

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A tern coming in to land.

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Some distance away, over the sea.

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They are small and fast5, making it a challenging exercise.

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Head on.

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Silver gull with nesting material.

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Silver gull coming in to land at a silver gull colony.

 

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Silver gulls were patrolling around the edge of the tern colony.  Just below me, a mother tern stood up and left her egg exposed.  A silver gull hopped in and took the egg.  The mother is protesting and the egg is in the middle here but you may have to click on the image to make it larger to see the egg.

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Chicks can also be in danger, so here parents are protecting a chick.

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Back to the terns coming in to the colony.

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This was the most successful flying tern image.  Coming in with fish and completely sharp.  Well exposed to retain detail in the black head and eyes white while not losing detail in essential white areas caught by the sun.  There is an element of luck in this as there is no room for error and the image on the histogram on the back of the camera shows less than the RAW file captures.

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Montague Island Day Three (Morning)

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

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In the morning I went down to the south end of the island again.  In the last post, the time exposure of the old jetty included a white rock in the distance with great cormorants sitting on it.  This is that rock, through a long telephoto.

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They are all facing in the same direction, probably scanning for signs of fish.

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I was at the old jetty and this is maybe a post they tied up to.

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A bit further south, a fur seal climbs up out of the water.

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He is eyeing a place by one of the females but the master of the harem notices him.

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… So he backs out and soon slips away into the sea, discretion being the better part of valour.

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There is a silver gull on the rocks.

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Also a pair of sooty oystercatchers.

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I had mainly come to this end of the island to make some more focus bracketing studies.  This involves taking many exposures at different points of focus and combining them later to get a greater depth of focus that would be possible in a single exposure.  First a landscape exposure from macro to infinity.  You may prefer to click on some of these to see the greater detail of a larger version.

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Now a few macro images at the same location.

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This image is macro in the foreground and the background is the cliffs at the other side of the small bay.

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Montague Island Day Two

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

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The lighthouse in the early morning with the sun behind it.

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Crested terns.

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Crested terns courting.

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Silver gull.

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Silver gull chicks.

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View from the lighthouse, looking over the cottages (where we stayed).

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View from the lighthouse looking south, showing the stones sacred to the Aborigines and also the small lighthouse cemetery.

There are two children and a keeper buried there.  The children got sick but there was no access to the lighthouse, apart from trying to hail a passing ship.  The children died before medical assistance could be occurred.  More on the keeper later.

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Looking west to an islet of great cormorants.

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Looking north.  There are two parts to the island, joined by a narrow neck.  The northern part is out of bounds due to breeding birds.  An artist from our group is sitting at a table at the bottom and there is a colony of terns to his left.

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Looking down more closely on the colony of terns.

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A view of the lighthouse from the back gate of the cottage we stayed in.

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The same tree from the stormy images of the previous post, this time n the calm of daylight.

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The cottage we stayed in, behind the tree.

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The old wharf, a long exposure of 15 seconds.

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Tiny flowers on the ground near the south end of the island.

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Banksia cone, banksia serrata or old man banksia.

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Banksia serrata cone.

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Sea eagle.  I only had my macro lens with me; I could have got closer wit my long telephoto.

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View of  lighthouse and cottages from the south.

There was a time when supplies were unloaded at the old wharf and taken up to the lighthouse using a horse and cart.  Part of the route was up the rock below the cottages.  The horse didn’t like this and used to run away and hide when the time came.

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One day it all went wrong.  The horse slipped on the rock incline and the cart came careering down the slope on top of the keeper.  His spleen was ruptured and he died some days later, ending up in the lighthouse cemetery..

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The path back went through a silver gull rookery.  This is at the edge of it.

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A silver gull incubating an egg on a rudimentary nest on the ground.

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Later, we went down to the new wharf to see the little penguins coming in at night.  These are silver gull chicks in the fading light.

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Terns against the sunset.

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The little penguins are coming ashore.

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They climb up surprisingly high to nest.

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Then red lights were turned on around the platform where we were standing, to provide light without disturbing the penguins.

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There was a stiff wind above us and silver gulls were hanging motionless in the air.

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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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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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The lagoon at Handkerchief Beach.

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It appears it gets windy at times.

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

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

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Humpback whale going down.

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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

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

Great Cormorant and Crested Terns, still from the boat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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).

Head in the Clouds (Lahad Datu to KK)

14 May 2019, Lahad Datu, Sabah, to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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These are images from two flights, from Ladah Datu to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah and from Kota Kinabalu to Kuala Lumpur. They are all monochrome conversions of infrared images.

When leaving on the plane from Lahad Datu I was instructed by a stewardess that I was not allowed to take photographs out the window during takeoff because the camera is an electronic device. That has never happened to me previously and astonished me as the camera is hardly going to be sending out wifi signals. Consequently, most of these images are of clouds.

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness

Not long before, we took off from Lahad Datu in Eastern Sabah.

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness

We are flying over Sabah.

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness

Rivers and mainly cleared land below here.

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness

The clouds could be quite majestic though.

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness .

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness .

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness .

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness

This is near Kota Kinabalu.  We have landed and taken off again.

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness .

Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness

I was able to photograph clouds over the South China Sea for a while until the visibility closed right in.

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness .

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness .

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness .

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness .

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness .

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness .

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness

Now we are over mainland Malaysia.

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness

A small sea-front village.

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness

Workers’ cottages, probably, beside the ubiquitous palm oil plantations.

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness

Palm Oil plantations.

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness .

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Aerial Photography, Black and White, Clouds, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Wilderness .

This was the last post of our trip to Sabah.  You can see links to all the other posts in the Sabah Itinerary post.

Next, a return to the last few days in Havana in the Caribbean trip.