Thursday, 20 November 2014

1 - 3 November 2014 - Portland

We left Maryborough and headed for Portland on the coast at the Western end of the Great Ocean Road. Portland is considered the best place to see whales - Southern Right, Humpbacks and even Blue Whales very occasionally. The caravan park we chose was close to the town centre and right on the coast. It was cold, wet and windy but fabulous.

Next morning we headed out to see the only breeding colony of Gannets on mainland Australia at Danger Point which is fenced off to protect the colony. While wondering around taking long-distance photos we noticed someone exiting the fenced area and so we got talking to Marcel who is a ranger studying the Gannets. We discovered that there are a number of African Gannets breeding here too but they do not interbreed with the Australasian Gannets. Marcel kindly  allowed us into the enclosure and we got some spectacular photos of these beautiful birds in flight as they hovered over our heads curiously inspecting us!

The next day we headed out to see the seal colony. It was a sunny day and although the air was cool the sun was very warm. We had a 7 km round trip over the highest cliff in Victoria to the seals. There are two colonies, one consisting of New Zealand Fur seals and the other with Australian Fur seals. The two coloies do not mix and there is a very well defined border between them. Well, after being told there were huge numbers we only saw about 10! It was a long and hot walk to see a few seals far below us from the cliff top. After a long walk back to the car we had a well-earned lunch at a beach cafe nearby.

Gannet colony near Portland
A Gannet flying overhead
Now who is watching who?
Squabbling over nesting sites
A collage of flying gannets
The coastline on the way to the seals
A Seal playing in the surf

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