Monday, October 24, 2005

Bloody Flies - Koolewong Walk #2 - Brisbane Water #4

Crawling all over me and trying to get in my ears. Blasted things! I'm bloody irritable this morning. It was a hot, sticky walk with flies and hayfever.

So would I rather've stayed home with the fan and the remote? Nup. Even in crap weather I enjoy my walkies. Today the water was still and silver and green. A tiny breeze came up on my way back to the station but otherwise all was still but for the rush of the traffic as it went past below.

Koolewong & Saratoga
Big version

Koolewong has two main streets. Brisbane Water Drive snakes along Brisbane Water from Woy Woy to Gosford. Glenrock Parade is on the other side of the railway line and wiggles and jerks around following the path of least resistance and swooping up and down along the foot of the folds of the ridge.

I went up the Woy Woy end of it today, the south end. The road's split in two there. The two halves run parallel to each other but they're separated by a steep slope and a concrete staircase. I walked the lower half then climbed the staircase and walked the top. They were nice shady trees but there were too many trees and powerlines for a clear, photograph-able view. But hey, I'm walking round the edge of Brisbane Water for the next six months. There'll be plenty of views.

Between the trees and powerlines I could see across to Saratoga. On all the maps there's a tiny mangrove islet off the tip of it. There's a park there on the tip and a sailing club then this little islet just off it. But it was low tide this morning and it looked joined to Saratoga by a sandbar. Guess I'll find out when I walk Saratoga.

At low tide you can see just how many oyster farms there are. Heaps. Not many up the Gosford end of Brisbane Water. Most of them are close in around the shorelines of the Woy Woy end. There's mussels as well as the oysters. With it's sea and bays and lakes and estuaries, the Central Coast is seafood heaven. It's where fishermen go when they die. Googled a bit and found out there's an Oyster Festival next month, you can't take more than 2 bass, 2 marlin and 50 oysters a day and that crowd of kayakers I saw the other day were on a Oyster & Wine Tasting Kayak Tour. Interesting mental picture there of peeps quaffing wine and chucking oysters down whilst clutching their paddles in the other hand. Sounds fun. Perhaps I'll go.

Back up on Glenrock Parade, a fight broke out amongst some rainbow lorikeets in a bottlebrush. Couldn't tell if they were fighting over nesting privleges or food. Perhaps both. Further back a lone male brush turkey had wandered across the road. He didn't notice me until I was maybe six feet away. The males are everywhere lately and all of them very distracted. Looking for lerve I expect, what with it being spring. There're plenty of ducks out and about as well, mostly with ducklings already, and there was a pet rabbit nibbling someone's lawn.

It was a shortish walk. Too bloody muggy for tramping for hours. I marked off the day's streets, enjoyed the view for a few minutes longer then wandered back down the hill to the train station.

There's three stops between Woy Woy and Gosford. Koolewong, Tascott and Point Clare. Koolewong and Tascott stations are short and as the train leaves Woy Woy the conductor comes over the thingy with "Negs top Koolewong, Tascott, Point Clare, Gosford, passengers for Koolewong and Tascott please travel in the reeeeear two carriages". Wondabyne, on Mullet Creek between Woy Woy and Brooklyn (Hawkesbury station) is minute. You have to travel in the rear carriage there and they only open one door.

Not all the trains stop at Koolewong. Only one an hour. The Newcastle train stops at Woy Woy and Gosford. It went past and I got a lovely cool swoosh of air on my face. Didn't have long to wait for the all-stops train. Just long enough to enjoy looking up at the ridge. It was fairly high there, maybe as high as the peak at the Woy Woy end and that's 139 metres (456 feet). The houses in Koolewong go far up the ridgeside and above them the ridge is covered in gums. A couple of swallows flickered over the treetops, skimming up the less cautious insects. A sulphur-crested galah gliding across and disappearing into a tree. And everywhere the twittering and carry-on of the rainbow lorikeets. It was a peaceful view and, apart from swatting the flies, I enjoyed it until my train came.

It's dark now, not night dark, storm dark. Hopefully there's another one on its way or some rain.

Speaking of storms
There's a thingy in today's Herald:

Blame Sydney's urban sprawl for some of the summer thunderstorms that lash the city.

The changing landscape is also responsible for increasing the violence of some storms, say two Macquarie University researchers who have spent more than a year using a supercomputer to model the impact that two centuries of clearing Sydney's vegetation has had on severe weather.

They've got way more research to go but their theory'd explain why so many times there's just a bit of rain or a rumble of thunder on the Coast but when I turn on the news there's flash flooding, trees down, roofs off and the power out all over Sydney.

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