Freshwater Bay, Somerset June 14 - 15 2019
  A walk south towards Nanthau Beach. We have no idea what plant this is. Just that it looks like unusual symmetry. With three and five and lots perhaps the wind blew some bits away.
  But we do know this is a red-capped dotterel. There's lots along the next beach south of us.
  Plus a few gull billed terns.
  A coconut establishing itself among the washed up plastic.
  And another plant we don't recognise.
  At the southern end of the third beach the track is through about 300m of rainforest. Probably passable but this corner may have tilted us into the tree.

We are happy walking.

  Its a draughty morning. A stiff wind trying to blow the pandanus (?) and us away. It also rained, a short sharp shower. But we quickly dried out.
  The ants have found a sheltered bush to convert to a large nest.
  Nanthau Beach, the track wends its way round the headland then heads north west, to join with the road we drove into Somerset. A loop.

Looking carefully there's a landcruiser at the far end of the beach.

There have been a few groups of 4wds come past in the last couple of days. None have returned, though a couple of individuals have returned. We haven't asked.

Only one group were towing trailers and looking for a campsite.

  The track after the rainforest. It runs about 50m back from the cliff top. We are crossing Vallack Point. It looks easy going.

There's a nice looking campsite near the tip of Vallack Point. Turn left after the rain forest.

  Goose barnacles on an old, sawn down, log. The log is full of "borer". A very substantial tree trunk.

Strange to be nostalgic about goose barnacles. Many years ago, about 38, I first saw some very large ones part way along Masons Bay on the west coast of Stewart Island. Such odd looking things. We didn't have internet then, I guess I must have asked someone. These have just a short stalk.

  We didn't expect to see a nautilus shell. Must have been washed up last night. We cleaned it and will keep it, Ali will use it for drawing practice. They really are a beautiful shape.
  This boat appeared through Albany Passage. We see the end of Albany Island to our north. Traveling fast. Chasing marlin we think. Memories of a fishing expedition from Cape Tribulation many years ago.
  Ulfa Rock is directly out to sea from us, about 1.5km. Ariel Bank is lower and further out, about 3km. We see the sand on Ariel Bank when the sun shines and the tide is out, otherwise just a vague line of breaking waves.

We are halfway between moons, nearly a full moon. Neap tides are neither particularly high or low. Our campsite is safe.

  We drove over a small headland to reach our beach. Since then the sand has been churned up and dried. The driver of the landcruiser hesitated before the sharp corner and lost his momentum. He's being winched back.

We'll have to decide whether to drive out this way or wait for low tide to drive around the rocks. We'd either have to rise very early or wait until late afternoon for safe passage around the rocks.

  We amuse ourselves watching soldier crabs. When we first approach they form into large groups and run away from us. The groups become progressively smaller as individuals at the rear stop and bury themselves.

We haven't seen anything attacking them. Just us annoying them.

I do sometimes wonder how much free will is part of human behaviour. I suspect there's more to the question than simply "nature or nurture".

  Sail number FRA 9738.

There were two catamarans (?) traveling north that had to tack and took a few hours for a few km to gain entry to Albany Passage. Very slow progress, the wind just wasn't right for them.

The other catamaran had no sail number, there was a name but a bit illegible at distance.

  We'll search for "Hercules Leader" when next we have internet. We think a ro-ro car carrier. It must have come from Malaysia or maybe even further away in Europe. The route from Japan would be further east. We last saw a ship like this, though a bit shorter, and two passing, in the Severn estuary, in January 2012.

We also see container ships and bulk carriers.

They appear from behind Albany Island heading south east, round Wyborn Reef, then head about due south.

Wyborn Reef has a lighthouse. About 20km from us we can barely see the light at night. South east of us we can see Turtle Head Island, also about 20km away.

  Our daily constitutional. We decided to walk back to Somerset ruins.

The longer we look, the more we see.

  Looking across the mouth of Albany Passage to Albany Island. Yesterday's catamarans came through here, there's a nice tidal mix, the yachts would have seen it calmer as they were near low tide.

We nearly camped here when we first arrived. Pleased we didn't, our beachside residence is much more salubrious and welcoming than this windswept bit of land.

  Albany Passage looking north. The big ships go round the outside.
  There's a cross, some canons, a memorial to the last private owner (sold to government in 1948), three aboriginal graves, and a couple of derelict shacks. This shack has a galvanised steel frame so is obviously not from the original settlement.

We had a brief look for the Jardine Grave but failed to find it. We also didn't find their well, or the Freshwater Spring.

We'll have another look on the way out, we'll have the gps and map with us. Which will tell us there's a track heading north for a few hundred meters to campsite overlooking Albany Passage and ruins and hopefully rock art a short walk north. Then we'll feel silly for not looking more closely at our maps and info.


  An evening stroll on the beach revealed what has been making wide short tracks in the sand. Normally covered in sand I tipped this one over, cleared sand off it, and set it down again. Its about 30mm across and quite rigid. Its just started moving left to right. It moves very smoothly, sort of "flowing".

The small spiral snail has hitched a lift.

We've seen dead ones washed up, but never live. Now we know. Segmented. A bit like a cross between a starfish and a sea urchin.

Somerset to Wroonga Point June 16 2019

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