The small town sitting next to my uni campus is one not usually recognised by many people outside the city of Melbourne or the state of Victoria (and even some living in it). It’s at the end of the Great Ocean Road, past the more touristy spots such as the Twelve Apostles (large pillars of rock that, obviously, used to number 12 many years ago and are now worn down to 7 or 8, depending on who you ask) .
Before I began planning to study marine biology at the Deakin campus at Warrnambool, I had never been within about 140km of the place. And the first trip I made was a midweek drive last December to accept my early round offer of a place in the course (which, as it turned out, I could have completed online). But moving here at the tail-end of summer, before the whale-watching season and bad weather kick in, has given me a pretty good idea of what this place has to offer a nature-lover, greenie or, specific to me, someone studying the coastal environment.
This shot was taken today with my less-than-brilliant phone camera (Sony Ericsson Xperia, if you wanted to know), showing a reef outcrop near the Breakwater (some places call them long piers, in Perth they call them groynes). No retouching was done, in case you haven’t been to Australia or seen a sky that blue.
Just an average, cloudless but slightly windy day, 24 degrees C (75 F) and a small 2 foot swell. Which made shooting pics of the features of rockpools like the one below easy.
If the top description sounded a bit too much like a tourist brochure, forgive me: I worked five years in PR and eight before that as a journalist, so spitting out words to suit an agenda was a way of life. But the point of this whole post was: how much there is to see in our coastal areas when your eyes are opened to it.
I could no doubt google up a quote from someone famous to make this same point. But I’ll be spending at least the next three years quoting and referencing scientists in my essays, so will refrain from that here as much as possible.
But as a nod to someone who’s written about this much better than me: the idea that the ‘nature’ that used to impress us as children (this is pre-Xbox and iPhones) but in most cases no longer does as adults was explored by Richard Louv in Last Child in the Woods. To be honest I got through three chapters and then went back to an ocean-related book but I liked the message I took away, that nature is there to be appreciated, conserved and the same ideas taught to our children.
This became more philosophical than I intended but those who know me wouldn’t be too surprised. In a way there is the underlying need to explain why I love the ocean, why it inspires me and the concern I have when others seem to disregard it. But there’ll be more practical and probably less philosophical posts to look into that in future.