Iluka : Clarence Valley : Sunset on the Bay

After a day of activity in Iluka, whether it be walking on the beaches or in the bush, playing golf or bowls, swimming, reading or just lazing about, a great way to end the day is to stroll along the path beside the bay to watch the sunset.  I did just that one day after a late afternoon visit to the mouth of the river and a walk on the ocean beach.

P1240762  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1240762 © JT of jtdytravels

Where the Clarence River is channeled out to sea by two long breakwaters,

dolphins can often be seen.

.

P1240759  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1240759 © JT of jtdytravels

By the time the sun had begun to sink low in the sky,

the main beach at Iluka was almost deserted.

Summer visitors had not yet arrived.

It had been a warm winter’s day but now the breeze was a little chilly.

  It was time to go back to my room at Iluka Motel.

.

P1240992  ©   JT  of  jtdytravels

P1240992 © JT of jtdytravels

I made one last stop for the day at Iluka Bay.

There, I found birds also ‘coming home’ from their day out.

A small flock of corollas flew in to hunt for a last minute feed of seeds.

.

P1240994  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1240994 © JT of jtdytravels

A couple of Ibis also flew in.  This one showed off its lacy tail.

.

P1250015  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1250015 © JT of jtdytravels

It soon began to search the waters for a late afternoon feed.

.

P1240779  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1240779 © JT of jtdytravels

A small boat caused rippling waves behind this grey heron.

The waters had begun to take on a tinge of the colours of the setting sun.

.

P1250026  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1250026 © JT of jtdytravels

A couple of ducks shovelled for food in the mud.

.

P1250008  ©   JT  of  jtdytravels

P1250008 © JT of jtdytravels

The pelicans swooped in for a final feed along with a small group of seagulls.

.

P1240964  ©   JT  of jtdytravels

P1240964 © JT of jtdytravels

As the sun sank even lower, this pelican seemed to pose for his portrait.

.

P1240952  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1240952 © JT of jtdytravels

The late afternoon light also added extra charm to a common seagull.

.

P1240959  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1240959 © JT of jtdytravels

Even the boardwalk took on a golden glow.

.

P1240766   ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1240766 © JT of jtdytravels

On a quiet part of the bay, the water had retreated leaving puddles in the mud,

providing the opportunity for this heron portrait.

.

P1250012  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1250012 © JT of jtdytravels

More pelicans arrived as

a ribbon of golden sunlight made its way across the bay.

.

P1250021  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1250021 © JT of jtdytravels

By this time, the other evening walkers had left the path.

I was left alone to enjoy this quiet evening scene.

.

P1250022  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1250022 © JT of jtdytravels

The sky burnt a firey red as the sun slipped away

giving a final kiss of light to wispy clouds.

This is indeed a special place.

I’ve promised myself to return one day.

Jennie

Photography  ©  copyright JT  of  jtdytravels

(Accommodation was at Iluka Motel… I can recommend it)

Stories and photos of our overseas travels can be found on

www.jtdytravels.com

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Iluka : Clarence Valley : NSW : A Walk by the Bay

The small seaside village of Iluka is a very quiet, relaxing place on the north side of the mouth of the Clarence River in Northern NSW.  It’s a place far away from the hurly burly of the daily life of cities and towns.  As a holiday destination, Iluka’s neighbour across the river, Yamba, is a much bigger and livelier place.  But I wanted a quiet place to recharge my batteries, to slow down and enjoy the gentle things in life.  I found that place in Iluka.  So why not come with me for a quiet stroll along the riverside.

P1240838  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1240838 © JT of jtdytravels

This walk will take us along the edge of Iluka Bay, a man made safe harbour and refuge on the edge of the river.  This was the first view from the path I followed down to the river.

P1240843  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1240843 © JT of jtdytravels

There to greet me were two of those well known and much loved birds of the waterways, the Australian Pelican, Pelecanus conspicuillatus,  a very conspicuous bird.  We are so used to seeing pelicans in Australia that we often pass them by without stopping for a good look.   Common though this bird may be, there are some things we might not all know about this bird.  Here are some points of interest that you can use in a Trivia quiz!

1. There are seven species of pelicans in the world, all of them black and white except for the brown Pelecanus occidentals. That’s a pelican we have seen in the Galapagos Islands.

2.  Pelicans have a wingspan of 2.3 m – 2.5 m.  They need those big wings to help lift themselves off the water.

3. And even when they do get airborne, Pelicans can’t sustain flapping flight.  But they are excellent soarers, using the thermals to remain in the air for 24 hours at a time, covering hundreds of kilometres in search of food and water in dry seasons.

4. A Pelican’s skeleton weighs only 10% of its total body weight.

.

P1240969  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1240969 © JT of jtdytravels

That famous bill is about half a metre long.  Perhaps some of you will be familiar with Edward Lear’s rhyme about the Pelican’s long bill and massive throat pouch:

“A wonderful bird is the pelican; His beak can hold more than his belly can; He can hold in his beak enough food for a week; But I’ll be darned if know how the hellican! “

.

P1240820 ©

P1240820 © JT of jtdytravels

Of course pelicans are much heavier with a belly full of fish and, after eating, they just cruise around or rest on a safe rocky ledge like a break water.  I expect this pair are ‘locals’ and don’t go far from ‘home’ at Iluka Bay where there’s plenty for them to eat.

.

P1240813  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1240813 © JT of jtdytravels

They no doubt wait for the next fisherman to come back through the breakwater with hopefully a load of fish – and fish heads that are not wanted!  And at the end of this bay is the harbour for the professional fishermen.  It’s a very good place for a pelican to live.

P1240815  @  JT  of jtdytravels

P1240815 @ JT of jtdytravels

Further along the beach, an Australian White Ibis was searching for food. This bird comes with a real tongue twister of a name; Threskiornis moluccus.  Using their long curved bills, they dig up food from the mud.  They eat invertebrates.  Best of all they seem to really enjoy mussels which they open by whacking the hard shells on a rock.

.

P1240824  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels.com

P1240824 © JT of jtdytravels.com

I had hoped there was a path along the breakwater but it’s just a jumble of very large rocks protecting the bay from the river currents and strong tides.  This breakwater is essential to Iluka because the Clarence River is also known for very large floods.

.

P1240814  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1240814 © JT of jtdytravels

In a park beside the bay, is a rather smart looking shed for the rowing club and other aquatic sports.  The mural is very much in keeping with the scenery.

.

P1240822  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1240822 © JT of jtdytravels

A Masked Lapwing, Vanellus miles novaehollandiae, kept an eye on me as it searched for insects.  Since it lives, nests and feeds on the ground, it is always wary.

This fairly common Australian bird is also known as a Masked Plover, a Spur-winged Plover or just Plover.  The distinctive black neck stripe on this bird distinguishes it as an eastern state variety.  The northern variety has an all white neck and larger wattles.

.

P1240826  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1240826 © JT of jtdytravels

A new addition to the foreshore here is a very good and solidly built workout station.  I tried it out with a lady who had ridden her bike down to do her morning exercises.  It was a very pleasant way to do exercise while looking out at the bay, the boats and the birds.

P1240853  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1240853 © JT of jtdytravels

Walking back towards the other end of the bay and the professional fishing harbour, I enjoyed some shade in the heat of the day.  The path is in excellent condition and used by walkers and bike riders.  There’s one thing that is very certain about this village; people are encouraged to get out and about and enjoy the delightful environment. And they do.

.

P1240829  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1240829 © JT of jtdytravels

Even this pretty pigeon was out for a walk and followed along with me for quite a while.

P1240840  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1240840 © JT of jtdytravels

Among the usual seaside flowers was this unusual one that I had never seen before.

.

P1240832  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1240832 © JT of jtdytravels

But this magnificent flower of the coral tree, one of the Erythrina family of plants, is well known to me.  It reminds me of our wonderful, kind neighbour, “Gran”, who lived next door to us when I was a child.  Between our house and hers was a row of coral trees and  seeing these splendid red flowers always brings me a special sense of joy as I remember her with love.  Our own Grans lived far away.  She was our special Gran.

.

P1240861  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1240861 © JT of jtdytravels

A white heron flew down to try its luck in the waters beside me.

I love to watch them stalking their prey.

.

P1240862  ©  JT  of  jydytravels

P1240862 © JT of jydytravels

As usual in most Australian water ways, a couple of ducks came by to see if I had some food for them.  No such luck.  There’s plenty of natural food for the birds here. These ducks are Pacific Black Ducks, Anas superciliosa, a very common duck.  It frequents all types of waterways and feeds mostly on seeds, especially of aquatic plants. However, they also like to eat small crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic insects.

.

P1240856  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1240856 © JT of jtdytravels

On just about every coastal walk in Northern NSW you will come across the glowing pink flower of the Mesembryanthemum, a native of South Africa.  And since this flower’s name means ‘midday flowering’, you’ll see them at their very best in the heat of the day.

.

P1240865  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1240865 © JT of jtdytravels

There are several paths back up from the river to the village.  This one was a little steep. A tree on the side of the path seemed to grow out rather than up, its trunk an art gallery of lichen.

.

P1240950  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1240950 © JT of jtdytravels

Grevillea is one of my favourite native Australian flowers and this one was a real winner. These were growing in someone’s front yard.

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P1240951  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1240951 © JT of jtdytravels

Beside it, this beautiful creamy Grevillea was just beginning to uncurl.

.

P1240871  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1240871 © JT of jtdytravels

A standard garden plant in any northern NSW coastal garden is the bougainvillaea.

They provide wonderful splashes of colour – mainly reds and pinks.

.

P1240874  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1240874 © JT of jtdytravels

After a delightful morning walking by the water, I returned ‘home’ to the Iluka Motel for lunch, a rest and a quiet read on my private back patio.  This is a great country motel and I can’t thank Margaret and Les enough for the warmth of their hospitality.  I’ll be back!

Jennie

Photography ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

PS.  A good place to look for information on the water birds I had seen on this walk is

 http://www.birdsinbackyards.net

Nairobi to Lake Nakuru 15 July 2012

Our first day on the road – Lake Nakuru was our destination with a stop at the Rift Valley view point and a visit to the Saidia Orphanage in Gilgil along the way.

Everyone was keen to get going on this African adventure.  We were only 15 minutes late leaving Nairobi and that was partly due to the fact that we were travelling in a brand new truck.  The major problem was that the lockers on board were not as big as we had expected from reading the tour brochure.  The crew were somewhat dismayed. Things were different from what they expected, as well. Many things had to be rearranged and repacked.  Eventually everything was in and off we went. Our first stop was at a local supermarket where last minute personal items could be bought and the crew could complete the outfit of the truck to meet their impending requirements.

The Rift Valley    (P1080891  ©   DY of jtdytravels)

We climbed up and out of Nairobi making a stop at a viewpoint overlooking the Rift Valley.  This was at an elevation of around 8000 feet.

The small plots are intensively cultivated    (P1080892  ©  DY of jtdytravels)

Down in the valley there were many small farms most of which were growing vegetables or corn. It was all very green.

Curio shops and our truck/bus       (P1080898   ©  DY of jtdytravels)

At this viewpoint stop, there were a host of curio shops all selling ethnic things and the stop was also the first introduction for some of the group to the hassles of being pestered by people trying to earn a meagre living out of encouraging people to buy things they never intended, nor wanted, to buy.  Just what do you do with all these things that just do not fit into our homes when we get home?  Of course they get put in the bottom draw, or worse still, get given to family and friends who have even less interest in them!  A great learning experience for future, similar encounters, of which there will be many if my previous experiences are anything to go by.We climbed a little further up into some low mist and fog which obscured the view of Lake Naivasha, an area which grows many cut flowers, including roses, for the European market.

The Saidia Orphanage in Gilgil, Kenya   (P1080938   ©  DY of jtdytravels)

Our lunch stop was in Gilgil and, while Juma prepared our lunch, we visited the Saidia Orphanage. This institution was established by three grandmothers Jill Simpson MBE, Teresa Wahito and Jane Kinuthia. They saw the need to help the many abandoned babies in the area.  Jill sadly passed away in October 2009, but Jane and Teresa continue the work today.

They have 57 kids at the moment in this programme, some of them having come to the orphanage only hours old.   As well, now there are three other programmes that are run in association with the original orphanage: first, badly behaved kids; secondly, mistreated kids; and lastly, kids born to HIV infected mums who neither want nor are capable of looking after their babies. You can find out more about the work these women are doing to give these kids a better life on their web site:

www.saidia-gilgil.org.uk

Jane Kinuthia, one of the remarkable women who run Saidia Orphanage.  (P1080915  © DY  of  jtdytravels)

 .

Some of the children sang for us.   (P1080900  ©  DY of jtdytravels)

.

Kids will be kids when it comes to playing to a camera  (P1080914   ©  DY for jtdytravels)

.

One of the little ones.  (P1080913   ©  DY for jtdytravels)

.

Older kids enjoy soccer  (P1080931  ©  DY for jydytravels)

Soccer is the sport of choice of these boys and a new ball is a great gift.

And in a place like this, there’s always a lot of washing!

My new friend, John    (P1080935   ©   DY of jtdytravels)

The orphanage is very well set up.  Each child selected one of us to take on a tour of the buildings. I was selected by 9 year old John, a young lad with bright eyes and a delightful grin.

One of the all important water tanks.   (P1080917  ©  DY of jtdytravels)

John proudly showed me the children’s paintings that decorate parts of the buildings. This colourful elephant adorns one of the water tanks. The name NDOVU is the local word for elephant. Other paintings were of a lion, a giraffe and a bat.

One of the children, happy to have the chance to live at Saidia.   (P1080936   DY ©  of jtdytravels)

This visit to Saidia Orphanage left us all with plenty to think about. We had great admiration for these visionary, hardworking ‘grandmothers’ who are giving at least some children the chance of a better life. As they had explained to us:There is no social security net in Kenya.  The extended family is still very strong and orphaned children would normally be taken in by an aunt or grannie. But kids with no family are on their own, and today many families have lost the entire parent generation to AIDS.” And that, in itself, is food for thought.

The idylic camp site at Lake Nakuru    (P1080939  ©  DY of jtdytravels)

In the afternoon, we drove on to Lake Nakuru National Park, arriving mid afternoon. The first task was to put up our tents for the very first time, a bit of a trial for some. Thankfully, I had one of these small tents to myself.

After this exciting activity we went on our first game drive.  Lake Nakuru has considerably more water in it than when Jennie and I were there last in 2004.  This meant we could not get as close to the shore as we did the last time but it also meant that there were many more birds to see.

An Ibis wades in the shallows   (P1080980   ©  DY of jtdytravels)

.

These pelicans kept their feet dry on an island    (P1080990  ©  DY of jtdytravels)

.

These pelicans didn’t seem to mind having wet feet    (P1080993   ©  DY of jtdytravels)

.

Baboons grooming   (P1080949  ©  DY of jtdytravels)

We also saw lots of baboons, a couple of white rhinos, a hippo in the distance, gazelle, eland, antelopes, zebra, buffalo, water buck, and a venerable old tortoise  – and an obscured lion sleeping on a rock. We went back to camp very happy, but tired, after a long day.  I was looking forward to a sleep – if sleep could be had sleeping on a thin mattress on the ground. And I was looking forward to finding even more animals on our next drive.   I was really glad I’d the opportunity to come back to Lake Nakuru.

The best camping – under African acacias. (P1090039 © DY of jtdytravels)

We drove through a heavy thunderstorm on our way back to camp.  It missed our tents, thankfully. Our camping location within the park was unfenced so it was no real surprise when a buffalo strolled through between our tents during our after dinner briefing.  This caused some consternation amongst the group.  Signs of strain were evident on many faces as nocturnal meanderings to the loo were erased from the mind. We’ll see what the night brings!  D

Africa: Nairobi to Lake Nakuru 15 July 2012

Our first day on the road – Lake Nakuru was our destination with a stop at the Rift Valley view point and a visit to the Saidia Orphanage in Gilgil along the way.

Everyone was keen to get going on this African adventure.  We were only 15 minutes late leaving Nairobi and that was partly due to the fact that we were travelling in a brand new truck.  The major problem was that the lockers on board were not as big as we had expected from reading the tour brochure.  The crew were somewhat dismayed. Things were different from what they expected, as well. Many things had to be rearranged and repacked.  Eventually everything was in and off we went. Our first stop was at a local supermarket where last minute personal items could be bought and the crew could complete the outfit of the truck to meet their impending requirements.

The Rift Valley    (P1080891  ©   DY of jtdytravels)

We climbed up and out of Nairobi making a stop at a viewpoint overlooking the Rift Valley.  This was at an elevation of around 8000 feet.

The small plots are intensively cultivated    (P1080892  ©  DY of jtdytravels)

Down in the valley there were many small farms most of which were growing vegetables or corn. It was all very green.

Curio shops and our truck/bus       (P1080898   ©  DY of jtdytravels)

At this viewpoint stop, there were a host of curio shops all selling ethnic things and the stop was also the first introduction for some of the group to the hassles of being pestered by people trying to earn a meagre living out of encouraging people to buy things they never intended, nor wanted, to buy.  Just what do you do with all these things that just do not fit into our homes when we get home?  Of course they get put in the bottom draw, or worse still, get given to family and friends who have even less interest in them!  A great learning experience for future, similar encounters, of which there will be many if my previous experiences are anything to go by.We climbed a little further up into some low mist and fog which obscured the view of Lake Naivasha, an area which grows many cut flowers, including roses, for the European market.

The Saidia Orphanage in Gilgil, Kenya   (P1080938   ©  DY of jtdytravels)

Our lunch stop was in Gilgil and, while Juma prepared our lunch, we visited the Saidia Orphanage. This institution was established by three grandmothers Jill Simpson MBE, Teresa Wahito and Jane Kinuthia. They saw the need to help the many abandoned babies in the area.  Jill sadly passed away in October 2009, but Jane and Teresa continue the work today.

They have 57 kids at the moment in this programme, some of them having come to the orphanage only hours old.   As well, now there are three other programmes that are run in association with the original orphanage: first, badly behaved kids; secondly, mistreated kids; and lastly, kids born to HIV infected mums who neither want nor are capable of looking after their babies. You can find out more about the work these women are doing to give these kids a better life on their web site:

www.saidia-gilgil.org.uk

Jane Kinuthia, one of the remarkable women who run Saidia Orphanage.  (P1080915  © DY  of  jtdytravels)

 .

Some of the children sang for us.   (P1080900  ©  DY of jtdytravels)

.

Kids will be kids when it comes to playing to a camera  (P1080914   ©  DY for jtdytravels)

.

One of the little ones.  (P1080913   ©  DY for jtdytravels)

.

Older kids enjoy soccer  (P1080931  ©  DY for jydytravels)

Soccer is the sport of choice of these boys and a new ball is a great gift.

And in a place like this, there’s always a lot of washing!

My new friend, John    (P1080935   ©   DY of jtdytravels)

The orphanage is very well set up.  Each child selected one of us to take on a tour of the buildings. I was selected by 9 year old John, a young lad with bright eyes and a delightful grin.

One of the all important water tanks.   (P1080917  ©  DY of jtdytravels)

John proudly showed me the children’s paintings that decorate parts of the buildings. This colourful elephant adorns one of the water tanks. The name NDOVU is the local word for elephant. Other paintings were of a lion, a giraffe and a bat.

One of the children, happy to have the chance to live at Saidia.   (P1080936   DY ©  of jtdytravels)

This visit to Saidia Orphanage left us all with plenty to think about. We had great admiration for these visionary, hardworking ‘grandmothers’ who are giving at least some children the chance of a better life. As they had explained to us:There is no social security net in Kenya.  The extended family is still very strong and orphaned children would normally be taken in by an aunt or grannie. But kids with no family are on their own, and today many families have lost the entire parent generation to AIDS.” And that, in itself, is food for thought.

The idylic camp site at Lake Nakuru    (P1080939  ©  DY of jtdytravels)

In the afternoon, we drove on to Lake Nakuru National Park, arriving mid afternoon. The first task was to put up our tents for the very first time, a bit of a trial for some. Thankfully, I had one of these small tents to myself.

After this exciting activity we went on our first game drive.  Lake Nakuru has considerably more water in it than when Jennie and I were there last in 2004.  This meant we could not get as close to the shore as we did the last time but it also meant that there were many more birds to see.

An Ibis wades in the shallows   (P1080980   ©  DY of jtdytravels)

.

These pelicans kept their feet dry on an island    (P1080990  ©  DY of jtdytravels)

.

These pelicans didn’t seem to mind having wet feet    (P1080993   ©  DY of jtdytravels)

.

Baboons grooming   (P1080949  ©  DY of jtdytravels)

We also saw lots of baboons, a couple of white rhinos, a hippo in the distance, gazelle, eland, antelopes, zebra, buffalo, water buck, and a venerable old tortoise  – and an obscured lion sleeping on a rock. We went back to camp very happy, but tired, after a long day.  I was looking forward to a sleep – if sleep could be had sleeping on a thin mattress on the ground. And I was looking forward to finding even more animals on our next drive.   I was really glad I’d the opportunity to come back to Lake Nakuru.

The best camping – under African acacias. (P1090039 © DY of jtdytravels)

We drove through a heavy thunderstorm on our way back to camp.  It missed our tents, thankfully. Our camping location within the park was unfenced so it was no real surprise when a buffalo strolled through between our tents during our after dinner briefing.  This caused some consternation amongst the group.  Signs of strain were evident on many faces as nocturnal meanderings to the loo were erased from the mind. We’ll see what the night brings!  D