Floyd’s Pelican Bar

Jamaica, 28 September 2016

.

Architecture, Boats, Floyd's Pelican Bar, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach

Captain Ted, our skipper on the journey back to Treasure Beach.

.

Architecture, Boats, Floyd's Pelican Bar, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach

An interesting array of boats and dwellings at the water’s edge.

.

Architecture, Boats, Floyd's Pelican Bar, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach .

.

Architecture, Boats, Floyd's Pelican Bar, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach .

.

Architecture, Boats, Floyd's Pelican Bar, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach .

.

Architecture, Boats, Floyd's Pelican Bar, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach .

.

Architecture, Boats, Floyd's Pelican Bar, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach .

.

Architecture, Boats, Floyd's Pelican Bar, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach

And here we are, approaching Floyd’s pelican Bar again.

.

Architecture, Boats, Floyd's Pelican Bar, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach

It started up in 2001, originally just for Floyd and his fisherman friends.

.

Architecture, Boats, Floyd's Pelican Bar, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach .

.

Architecture, Boats, Floyd's Pelican Bar, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach .

.

Architecture, Boats, Floyd's Pelican Bar, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach .

.

Architecture, Boats, Floyd's Pelican Bar, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach

Boat attached to the bar.

.

Architecture, Boats, Floyd's Pelican Bar, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach

Continuing on the way back and we’ve picked up a hitchhiker.

.

Architecture, Boats, Floyd's Pelican Bar, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach .

.

Architecture, Boats, Floyd's Pelican Bar, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach .

.

Architecture, Boats, Floyd's Pelican Bar, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach .

.

Architecture, Boats, Floyd's Pelican Bar, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach .

/

Architecture, Boats, Floyd's Pelican Bar, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach .

.

Architecture, Boats, Floyd's Pelican Bar, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach

Back at Treasure Beach.  We saw this boat at the start of the previous post.

.

Architecture, Boats, Floyd's Pelican Bar, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach .

.

Architecture, Boats, Floyd's Pelican Bar, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach .

.

Architecture, Boats, Floyd's Pelican Bar, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach

Back on land now.

.

Architecture, Boats, Floyd's Pelican Bar, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach .

.

Architecture, Boats, Floyd's Pelican Bar, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach .;

.

Black River

Black River, Jamaica, 28 September 2016

.

Architecture, Black River, Boats, Cattle Egret, Crocodiles, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wilderness, Wildlife

Up early in the morning for the sunrise at Treasure Beach.

.

Architecture, Black River, Boats, Cattle Egret, Crocodiles, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wilderness, Wildlife

And somewhat later we’re heading off on the water for Black River (that’s the river, not the town, though we go past the town).

.

Architecture, Black River, Boats, Cattle Egret, Crocodiles, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wilderness, Wildlife

Coastal views along the way….

.

Architecture, Black River, Boats, Cattle Egret, Crocodiles, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wilderness, Wildlife .

.

Architecture, Black River, Boats, Cattle Egret, Crocodiles, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wilderness, Wildlife .

.

Architecture, Black River, Boats, Cattle Egret, Crocodiles, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wilderness, Wildlife

Dolphins.

.

Architecture, Black River, Boats, Cattle Egret, Crocodiles, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wilderness, Wildlife .

.

Architecture, Black River, Boats, Cattle Egret, Crocodiles, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wilderness, Wildlife

Beachside shack, not a dwelling.

.

Architecture, Black River, Boats, Cattle Egret, Crocodiles, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wilderness, Wildlife

Floyd’s Pelican Bar.  We’ll drop in there on the way back.  Next post.

.

Architecture, Black River, Boats, Cattle Egret, Crocodiles, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wilderness, Wildlife

Serious subsidence problem, maybe due to a hurricane.

.

Architecture, Black River, Boats, Cattle Egret, Crocodiles, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wilderness, Wildlife .

.

Architecture, Black River, Boats, Cattle Egret, Crocodiles, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wilderness, Wildlife

We’re about to pass by the town of Black River.

.

Architecture, Black River, Boats, Cattle Egret, Crocodiles, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wilderness, Wildlife .

.

Architecture, Black River, Boats, Cattle Egret, Crocodiles, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wilderness, Wildlife

Friendly locals.

.

Architecture, Black River, Boats, Cattle Egret, Crocodiles, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wilderness, Wildlife

Cattle Egret.

.

Architecture, Black River, Boats, Cattle Egret, Crocodiles, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wilderness, Wildlife

It’s a little like the Louisiana Bayous.

.

Architecture, Black River, Boats, Cattle Egret, Crocodiles, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wilderness, Wildlife .

.

Architecture, Black River, Boats, Cattle Egret, Crocodiles, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wilderness, Wildlife .

.

Architecture, Black River, Boats, Cattle Egret, Crocodiles, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wilderness, Wildlife .

.

Architecture, Black River, Boats, Cattle Egret, Crocodiles, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wilderness, Wildlife

Oncoming traffic.

.

Architecture, Black River, Boats, Cattle Egret, Crocodiles, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wilderness, Wildlife .

.

Architecture, Black River, Boats, Cattle Egret, Crocodiles, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wilderness, Wildlife

Crocodile.

.

Architecture, Black River, Boats, Cattle Egret, Crocodiles, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wilderness, Wildlife

Traditional water craft.  Whether there is any cultural link to the Arawak is doubtful though possible.

.

Architecture, Black River, Boats, Cattle Egret, Crocodiles, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wilderness, Wildlife .

.

Architecture, Black River, Boats, Cattle Egret, Crocodiles, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wilderness, Wildlife .

.

Architecture, Black River, Boats, Cattle Egret, Crocodiles, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wilderness, Wildlife .

.

Architecture, Black River, Boats, Cattle Egret, Crocodiles, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wilderness, Wildlife

Returning.

.

Architecture, Black River, Boats, Cattle Egret, Crocodiles, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wilderness, Wildlife .

.

Architecture, Black River, Boats, Cattle Egret, Crocodiles, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wilderness, Wildlife .

.

Architecture, Black River, Boats, Cattle Egret, Crocodiles, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wilderness, Wildlife

Another crocodile.

.

Architecture, Black River, Boats, Cattle Egret, Crocodiles, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wilderness, Wildlife

A fan of Vladimir Nabakov, it seems.

.

Treasure Beach

Jamaica, 27 September 2016

.

We went for a drive inland in the morning but spent most of the day at Treasure Beach.  The next six images are from the drive.

.

Appleton Estate Rum, Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife

A boat and wharf at Black River.

.

Appleton Estate Rum, Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife

At a guess, this is the remains of a boat deliberately sunk for a breakwater at Black River.

.

Appleton Estate Rum, Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife

We visited the Appleton Rum Refinery.  Appleton rum dates to 1749.  It is the oldest Jamaican rum producer and the second oldest in the Caribbean, and remains Jamaica’s leading rum.

.

Appleton Estate Rum, Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife

I’m not sure how old what we see is.  It’s clearly not new but doesn’t date back to 1749.  Since the rum is based on sugar, grown on the estate, there would have been a close association with slavery in the eighteenth century.  I suspect that tourists, on their expensive estate tour, don’t have their attention drawn to this.

.

Appleton Estate Rum, Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife

Successive still stages:  Low vine, high vine and rum.

What I can read of the plaque says:  “Pot Still:  This is essentially a kettle used in small scale batch production.  Steam is applied to the pot and the vapour given off is condensed and collected in three separate containers.”  The last paragraph is illegible.

.

Appleton Estate Rum, Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife

Rum barrels.

.

Appleton Estate Rum, Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife

Back at Treasure beach and going for a walk….

.

Appleton Estate Rum, Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife .

.

Appleton Estate Rum, Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife .

.

Appleton Estate Rum, Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife .

.

Appleton Estate Rum, Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife .

.

Appleton Estate Rum, Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife .

.

Appleton Estate Rum, Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife .

.

Appleton Estate Rum, Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife .

.

Appleton Estate Rum, Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife .

.

Appleton Estate Rum, Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife .

.

Appleton Estate Rum, Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife .

.

Appleton Estate Rum, Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife

Sunset closes in….

.

Appleton Estate Rum, Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife .

.

Appleton Estate Rum, Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife

From the right angle, the dying light is dramatic on the water.

.

Appleton Estate Rum, Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife .

.

Appleton Estate Rum, Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife .

.

Appleton Estate Rum, Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife .

.

Arriving at Treasure Beach

Jamaica, 26 September 2016

.

Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife

We landed in Jamaica at Norman Manley Airport in Kingston.  I don’t think I realised that we were just a few kilometres from Port Royal, the original English settlement in Jamaica.  We could have visited Fort Charles (originally Fort Cromwell) but I had hired a car from the airport, was focused on the drive to Treasure Beach and would not have wanted to finish that in the dark.  I had read lots of warnings not to drive in Jamaica but it occurred to me that a lot of those might be from young Americans who drive on the wrong side of the road.  It seemed too expensive to avoid it and I’d driven in many foreign countries so I thought “How hard can it be?”.  As it turned out I found drivers in Jamaica zippy and a touch crazy but not insane so that was fine.

.

Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife

So here we are at Treasure beach looking out to sea and at a pelican on what looks like a pile.  Perhaps there was a wharf there once.

The Arawaks were the original inhabitants of Jamaica from about 2,500 years ago.  Columbus and the Spanish arrived in 1494 and though Jamaica was not very important to them, they had mostly wiped out the Arawaks by 1600.

.

Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife

Cromwell dispatched a fleet in 1654 to conquer Hispaniola but they failed to take Santo Domingo (as we saw in an earlier post) so in 1655 they conquered Jamaica instead.  The Spanish slaves then fled inland and formed “Maroon” settlements. The English failed to defeat them so they reached an agreement whereby the English recognised the independence of the Maroons and the Maroons agreed to return any escaped English slaves.

.

 

Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife

Cromwell’s fleet sailed away in 1657 leaving the English with a defence problem.  They solved this by offering sanctuary to English and French pirates holed up in places on the coast of Hispaniola and on the island of Tortuga.  The term buccaneer derives from these people and the Arawak word buccan, a frame for slowly roasting meat.

.

Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife

Privateer/ pirate Henry Morgan became Governor of Jamaica for some years but in 1692, half of Port Royal disappeared under the seas in an earthquake.  The settlement subsequently moved to Kingston, though for many years the capital was at Spanish Town, the old Spanish capital a little further inland.

.

Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife

The main crops were initially cotton and tobacco but that shifted to sugar and in the 18th century the slave population greatly increased.  A slave rebellion in 1831 was suppressed so brutally it was a factor in the abolition of slavery throughout the Empire in 1833.

.

Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife

Marcus Garvey is an important historical figure in Jamaica.  His tomb is also a monument in a Kingston park as a national hero and August 17 is a public holiday as Marcus Garvey Day.  Born to a poor family, he became a trade unionist, editor and journalist.  In Jamaica in 1914 he founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA) which became very influential during his time in the US (1916-1927).  It promoted the advancement of black peoples and ran industries and a shipping line.  In 1920 it had over 1900 divisions in more than 40 countries and a 1920 conference was attended by 20,000 people.  Unlike the NAACP, which was open to all and promoted integration, the UNIA was by blacks and for blacks.  It sought to resettle black people in Africa though this never eventuated.  Garvey was controversial in many ways though, not least for talking to the Klu Klux Klan and advocating cooperation with them.

Back in Jamaica from 1927 to 1935, he founded the first political party there, the People’s Political Party (PPP) which advocated an eight hour day, a minimum wage and land reform.

.

Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife

Rastafarianism started and grew from the 1930s, partly influenced by Marcus Garvey.  Rastafarianism was in turn part of the influence for many of the forms of Jamaican music, including reggae, ska, rock steady and dub and world-renowned musicians such as Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff and Burning Spear.

.

Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife

Michael Manley, son of Jamaica’s first Prime Minister Norman Manley, was Prime Minister 1972 to 1980 and 1989 to 1992.  A Democratic Socialist, he instituted many socio-economic reforms and perhaps represents a high point in Jamaican politics, though the potential of his reforms was only partly realised.

.

Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife

Jamaica has a reputation as a friendly welcoming place with great music.  However, in certain locations it can be dangerous at night, it has a high murder rate and in some places there can be a lot of cadging of people perceived as tourists.  We didn’t encounter any of those potential drawbacks though and had a quiet friendly and relaxing time in Jamaica.

.

Antigua – West Coast

Antigua, 21 September 2016

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

In our last full day in Antigua, we decided do explore the west coast.  Here we are, about to start in English Harbour.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

You might think that in a Caribbean island, everyone stays in a resort and it is very expensive.  Well, there can still be cheap accommodation options available if you look. (And we weren’t staying here but I also wouldn’t stay in a resort if I could avoid it).

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

A rather nice cottage nearby.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

And a range of local transport, possibly available for hire.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

You have to go inland from English Harbour before you can get to the west coast.  These early images are all in and around a small town called Swetes.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Tyrell’s Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

An old ruined windmill, a relic of the sugar cane era.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

We are at the coast now.  this is Carlisle Bay Beach.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

This is nearby, atop a headland.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

So there are places to stay in Antigua that might be entirely free, if somewhat lacking in privacy.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

A bit further on, at Morris Bay is some more enticing accommodation prospects that may be quite cheap.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

This one even has its own car in the lounge room.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

And there is a ruined windmill nearby.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Excellent views down the beach.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

I think “Location, location, location!” is the phrase.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

A bit further along the coast, we found some colour transitions between sand, sea and sky.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

I think this is probably Valley Church Beach.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Not sure where this house is, maybe Five Islands, beside the road though, heading to the north-west.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

We got to Fort Barrington National Park but didn’t have time to climb up to the fort.  I’d say this is a Martello Tower, rather than a windmill.  In other words, it is a small defensive fort from the nineteenth century (though not Fort Barrington).

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Nearby, this is Deep Bay.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

A sign we passed on the way back to English Harbour.

.

Antigua – Half Moon Bay and Devil’s Bridge

Antigua, 20 September 2016

.

Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

We went again to Shirley Heights for the view at dawn.

 .

Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Another view of English Harbour, from a vantage point on the way back for breakfast.

.

Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Nearby, a hummingbird and cacti.

.

Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

This is much later and we are on the road heading for the east coast.  This is a Poinciana at the side of the road, introduced from Madagascar.

.

Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Half Moon Bay.  You can see how it got its name.

.

Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Not many people around.

.

Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

This is idyllic here but we had a less salubrious experience a bit earlier.  The road was blocked and we were turned back by a guard on a road leading to a beach near a resort.  We were told later by a local that this is illegal, everyone should have access to beaches.  Multinational resorts appear to be a new colonialism in the Caribbean and not have a good reputation with many locals we spoke to.

.

Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

It is three hours later and this is an entirely different beach.  This is Long Bay Beach, not far from Devil’s Bridge.

.

Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

A bit of weather out to sea.

.

Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

This is Devil’s Bridge National Park.  You can see the natural bridge (bottom left) and the surge would be spectacular in a heavy sea.

.

Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

It seemed like a nice place for a bite to eat and a drink.

.

Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Unfortunately there didn’t seem to be anyone around.

.

Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Maybe if we came back in a few years.

  .

Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

I didn’t see these people there either.

.

Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

On the way back, this is St Peter’s Anglican Church at Parham, built in 1840.

.

Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

… with a remarkable interior roof.

.

Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

.

Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

(Church interiors with fisheye lens).

.

Antigua – Fort Berkeley and Shirley Heights

English Harbour, Antigua, 19 September 2016

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

In the afternoon, we walk past Nelson’s Dockyard to visit Fort Berkeley.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Probably an eighteenth century ship’s anchor.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Looking back across the harbour at the marina.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Fort Berkeley, but from a distance.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

This is the same view with a wide angle lens.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

The fort is quite small but this is evidently all that was needed with such a narrow mouth to the harbour.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

In the distance in the middle horizon is Shirley Heights, with another former military emplacement that we shall visit soon.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

The last cannon left of twenty-nine.

The British were in Antigua from 1632 and English Harbour from 1704.  This was the best harbour in the islands of the eastern Caribbean.  Enclosed by hills, it was protected against hurricanes so the British were able to shelter here whereas the French had to send their ships back during the hurricane season.  All the other islands changed hands several times but the French never captured Antigua.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Looking across to Galleon Beach.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Either a storehouse or a guard house.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

The sheltered stone steps leading up to the building on the right suggest that it was a store house supplied by sea, perhaps primarily for ammunition.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Passing by Nelson’s Dockyard again.  Didn’t need to make a phone call.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

We are now on the heights at the other side of the harbour, at Dow’s Hill, where there is the remains of a large barracks.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

A view of the spectacular coastline nearby.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Cacti and the sea.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Looking towards Shirley Heights, where we head next.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

View from Shirley Heights.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

The Royal Military Guard House at Shirley Heights (named after Sir Thomas Shirley, Governor of the Leeward Islands in the late eighteenth century).  There were four cannon on a platform beside the building and a signal post above it.

There is a restaurant that can open here and a brass band that plays on Sundays.  But we weren’t told about that when we arrived the previous night so either it had finished or more probably it wasn’t happening because we were there in the off season.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Remains of a cannon.  I wonder if it shattered in anger.  Underneath the crown is GR for George Rex, which doesn’t tell us much because it could be George I, II or III and is therefore between 1716 and 1820.  It’s clearly not an American cannon and therefore doesn’t relate to their George I (1789-1797), George II (1989-1993) or George III (2001-2009).

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

A view looking north towards Indian Creek, Stand Fast Point and Mamora Bay.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Close by the Guard Station is the remains of another barracks.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Back now at our accommodation in English Harbour, as the evening slowly descends.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

Antigua – Morning at English Harbour

English Harbour, Antigua, 19 September 2016

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

We hired a car in Antigua and drove around as shown on this map.  The airport is at the top and we stayed at English Harbour, which is at the middle bottom.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

This is a view in the early morning from where we were staying at English Harbour.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

These days there is a marina.  In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it was Britain’s main naval base in the Caribbean.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

We went for a drive and walk to the coast a bit further south.  Here we are looking back towards English Harbour and it is Fort Berkeley at centre left, built in 1704.  We will visit there later.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

From the same spot, looking south.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

A frigate bird overhead.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

From the same viewpoint as the earlier image including Fort Berkeley, but showing the context with a wide angle lens.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

This is a Turk’s Head or Barrel Cactus, endemic to the Caribbean.  Also known as Mother-in-law’s Pincushion.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Closer view with a tiny flower.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

This is Galleon Beach, Freeman’s Bay, so we’ve driven all the way around to the beach on the other side of the harbour behind Fort Berkeley in the previous images.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Back on the docks at English Harbour.  A fishing boat has arrived and the fish are circling.  These are quite large, say about a metre long but they are not the target.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

There are swirls of activity as bits are thrown out.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

It’s a bit like a koi pool but this is the ocean.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

They are bringing the catch ashore.  I presume it is tuna.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

The crabs are interested too.

.

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

And just a few minutes later, we have some tasty fillets.

.

Montague Island Monochromes

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

.

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).

,

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

Pelican in Narooma Harbour.

Montague Island Day One..

.

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

Humpback whale disappearing.

.

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

Humpback whales, mother and calf.

.

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

Seals off a headland.

.

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

A seal launching into the sea.

.

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

At the lighthouse cottages when the storm hits.

.

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

Crested terns courting.

Montague Island Day Two.

.

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

Silver gull.

.

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

Silver gull chicks.

.

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

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.

.

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

View of lighthouse cottages from the lighthouse.

.

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

The old wharf.

.

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

Sea eagle.

.

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

Tiny ground flowers.

.

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

Old banksia setrrata cone.

.

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

Little penguins coming ashore.

.

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

Great cormorants on rock.

Montague Island Day Three (Morning).

.

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

Seal interactions.

.

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

Shell on rock.

.

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

Sooty oystercatchers.

.

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

Created tern coming in to land.

Montague Island Day Three (Afternoon).

.

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

Silver gull and nesting material.

.

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

Crested tern with fish.

.

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

Silver gull coming in to land.

.

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

Crested tern and chick.

Montague Island Day Four.

.

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

Contention.

.

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

Competing for space.

.

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

Welcome swallows.

.

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

The lighthouse receding.

.

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

Pelican confused by sign.

.

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.

Australia Burning

12 September 2019 to 5 January 2020, Canberra, ACT

.

The first part of this post is images taken out the back of where I live in Canberra. The second part is images taken this morning in a very smoky Canberra.  (If you are on a computer, click any image to see it larger).

.

Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

We live backing on to a reserve and often take a half hour walk out the back in the mornings.  On our walk four months ago in early spring, this is an acacia baileyana coming out in flower,

.

Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

Kangaroo and joey.  You can see there is very little grass for them to eat.  We have had a very long drought.

.

Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

Kangaroo and joey in late afternoon light.  Both kangaroo images are in early spring.

 .

Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

Crimson rosella at a nesting hole.  This and the next three images are in late spring.

.

Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

Cunningham’s skink in their fallen-tree home.

.

Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

Callistemon phoenicius in the back yard.

.

Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

Shingleback in the back yard.  An ancient-looking lizard.

.

Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

Echidna in the back yard on New Year’s Eve.  They are one of only two monotremes, or egg-laying mammals, the other being the platypus.

.

Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

If you are living outside Australia, your have probably heard of the massive fires here at present.

.

Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

On New Year’s Day, Canberra had the worst air quality of any city in the world, worse than Delhi and Beijing, due to bushfire smoke drifting in from the south coast of New South Wales.

.

Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

This followed a peak fire day.  We had another one yesterday and the smoke was as bad today, so I got up early to take some photographs.  This is the Australian War Memorial.

.

Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

Carillon, on Aspen Island, Lake Burley Griffin, and ducks.

Yesterday, the day before I took these i9mages, we had record temperatures in Canberra at 44ºC or 111ºF.

.

Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

The fires are unprecedented.  Simple equation really.  Take unprecedented drought, add unprecedented heat, and you get unprecedented fires.

.

Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

Small island in Lake Burley Griffin near the Carillon.

.

Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

 

There are hundreds of fires currently in Australia, many out of control.  The number doesn’t mean much because they combine to form larger and more dangerous fires.  The fires have burned 105,000 square kilometres so far (40,000 square miles), about the size of South Korea or Iceland (updated 7 Jan) and they will continue for weeks or months, flaring up sporadically to peak intensity.  In recent days there has been an unprecedented evacuation of thousands of people from the south coast of New South Wales and north east Victoria.  This continues as different towns and hamlets come under threat.  In a week or two the fires might reach Canberra. So far dozens of people have died and thousands of buildings have been burnt, including well over one thousand homes.

.

Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

Reconciliation Place and National Library.

The toll on wildlife has also been alarming.  I recall an estimate of 500,000 animals dead and koalas are in danger of extinction.  Fires have also razed through rainforests, normally too wet to be affected and not equi8pped to recover.

.

Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

Old Parliament House.

Although there are weather patterns and variations that have always affected Australia, these fires are unprecedented and a major cause is the Climate Crisis, primarily caused by human activity..

Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

 

Old Parliament House and a flock of straw-necked ibis.  The white ibis has adapted to urban life and is colloqually known as “bin chickens” but the straw necked ibis is not as urbanised.

The situation with these bushfires is not a one-off event, however drawn out, and it is not relevant only to Australia though different places may see change in different ways.  The extent of global warming that is already with us is causing an uncomfortable new “normal” and long lags mean even the most concerted action will be slow to arrest this.

.

Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

New Parliament House.

Of course there is much we can do and the first step is to reduce our dependence as much as possible on petroleum and coal.

.

Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

In front of the Parliament House, I encountered a group of Climate Refugees from the South Coast Fires, there for an impromptu cricket match.

The worst approach to the Climate Crisis is to pretend it isn’t happening, in defiance of all the scientific evidence, and do nothing.  Unfortunately, this is exactly what the Government of Australia has been doing.

.

Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

And the cricket match is under way.

The Liberal-National coalition government is sometimes known as the COALition and it is in the grip of a climate-denying fringe.  Prime Minister Morrison notoriously brandished a lump of coal with glee in Parliament and won the last election with an astonishing lack of policies including no policy at all on energy.

.

Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

It’s a heavily grassed pitch.

Not long before the fires hit, Morrison refused to meet forty-two former Bushfire Chiefs who wanted to talk to him about the Climate Crisis and preparations for the oncoming fire season.  He had also greatly reduced bushfire budgets and requests for better water-dropping planes had sat with the Government for several years.

.

Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

Some balls are there to be hit.

In Mallacouta last weekend, four or five thousand people sat on the beach while the fires invaded the town.  The sky was black after 9am, then red, then orange.  Falling ash made breathing difficult and the temperature reached 49°C.  Just as people were about to get into the water, the wind changed and the town was saved, at least for a few more days.

.

Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

Others are very tempting.

In this fire crisis, Morrison has displayed startling insensitivity and alienated a significant part of the population, some of whom might have voted for him.  He went on holiday in Hawaii as the main crisis broke out and didn’t significantly change his return date.  The he tried to pretend it was just a normal situation in order to avoid any mention of the Climate Crisis.  He was heckled by locals when he turned up unannounced in the burnt out town of Cobargo.  While he was there he grabbed the hand of a young woman to shake it, quite uninvited.  She was pregnant, had just lost her house and asked him for help.  He turned his back on her and walked away.  He later denied doing this but it was recorded on video.  There are other stories.

.

Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

And some just get away from you.

The scale of the fires and their ongoing nature is forcing Morrison to act but he is most unlikely to address underlying problems.  For that we can only hope for a different and better government and for that we are likely to have to wait another two years.

.

Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

This is back at the Old Parliament House.  The Aboriginal Tent Embassy has been there since 1973 and it is off to the left.  This is a display they have set up to proclaim Aboriginal sovereignty over land.

One common refrain is that there should be more preventative burning in the appropriate season, as the Aborigines used to do.  While there is some truth in this, it is not as easy as it sounds.  For one thing, the cool damp winter window for this is much reduced on what it was and last year the fire season started in winter.  For another, the ecology is not what it was.  In many places, Aborigines farmed the land and lived in houses and even towns.  This was recorded by the first settlers but quickly wiped out and then hidden lest it be a basis for claims on land.  Sheep and cattle grazed the perennial native grasslands to the roots, then trampled and compacted the thin soil.  Fire managed grasslands became scrub so it’s all very different now.

We also have other problems in our modern world of supposedly perpetual growth and prosperity, even apart from the Climate Crisis.  Sustainable development is a wider problem.  You may have heard of the “insect armeggedon” whereby 80% of insects have died in the last forty years, thereby threatening the viability of flowering plants and other species.  This may be partly due to Climate Change but likely more due to unnecessary agricultural poisons.  There is also the perplexing problems of micro-plastics, invading the food chain and our lungs with unknown effects.  And then there is the problem that there are simply too many humans and they are increasing too rapidly.

There are solutions for all these problems but they will require wisdom, coordination and determination.  Things are certain to get worse before they can get better.

.

I can suggest a couple of books you may be interested in reading.

One is “Dark Emu” by Bruce Pascoe which outlines the extent of Aboriginal civilisation (yes!) prior to European arrival.

The other is “The Uninhabitable Earth” by David Wallace-Wells which outlines the problems we face in the Climate Crisis and what we might do to ameliorate them.