I told Chris I’d found a place for us to stay in Perth and was ready to book it, and he said, “Oh, uh, can you find something closer to Fremantle?” I began my search anew, booked a crappy, overpriced hostel that was in our budget, and voila–what good teamwork that was without our even knowing it. The hostel was a five-minute walk from Chris’ ship and about the same distance to the cafes and restaurants called the Cappuccino Strip we frequented every night of our stay. Bah, who needs five stars!? …or a phone in your room…or a private bathroom……hmm. Anywho, so our first day in port we went back to the docks to catch the Rottnest Express to Rottnest Island, home of the famous marsupials who gave the island its name by looking somewhat rat-like to the Dutch explorers who named it. As previously mentioned, quokkas are more cat-like than rat-like and are awfully cute. We took a bus to the far side of the island and walked over to Wadjemup Lighthouse. That’s Aboriginal for “surrounded by water” or something. Inventive. Surprise! The island–one of the Five Jewels of the Indian Ocean along with Sri Lanka and some others–is gorgeous. The winter weather meant it was also uncrowded. This did not stop me from wading into the Indian Ocean to obtain the big, pretty, abandoned shell I wanted but could not reach from the shore. Brr! This little cove was sheltered from the wind famous along this part of the West Coast. The “Freo Doctor” blows promptly from noon to 3 pm every day and ‘cures whatever ails you’ according to the locals. We had to hear about it a lot. So yeah, this cove was gorgeous and sprinkled with abandoned shells and small critters and seaweed and an Australian nickle and man o’ war jellyfish and these nasty alien-looking things stuck to the rocks. “Gross!” said Chris. “I’m gonna smash it off so you can take a picture!” Ooooooh, thaaaaaaank you. I have grosser close-ups, but Chris, you’ll just have to see those when you get home. Anyone know what these are? Yuk. We had to go running barefoot back to catch the last bus and barely caught it. Whew! That would’ve been a long walk! We watched the water sparkle and change colors as the sun began to bow in a winter sunset over the Indian Ocean.
Dinner here consisted of fish and chips and lasted until the sun stopped glinting off the skyscrapers of Perth across the water and everything settled into darkness. We caught the last ferry back to Fremantle.