Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Chess Free Day

I love chess, but coaching for 6 days a week, acting as arbiter for a tournament once a week, spending another night at my chess club, trying to organise a chess league, playing in a league online, volunteering as a helper for various chess related causes (eg. Australian Junior Championships 2012), and sometimes even just playing a bit of chess leaves me a bit sick of chess every once in a while. So it was great to be able to get away from it all with Caroline today. In just an hour you can be out of the city and into beautiful hills or along stunning coastlines. We managed to get away a few weeks ago (with Caroline working as a nurse, doing shift work, we don't get too much time together) and we headed off to Sassafras for a walk in the forests.

Tropical tree ferns dominate the forests in the Dandenongs

Today, Caroline and I headed to Phillip Island, famous for the Motocycling Grand Prix, and penguin tours. But there is plenty to see and do there. We headed to the amazing surf beach at Woolamai which was in great shape today, probably due to the windy conditions.
Strong surf at Woolamai

Walks around the Cape Woolamai offer some great views. There is the unusual wildlife, such as muttonbirds, though if I ever get to see one, then sheep will fly! Then there are spectacular geological sights such as the Pinnacles created about 360 million years ago! Who says Australia has limited historical interest?

The Pinnacles at Cape Woolamai, Phillip Island

On the drive back home, it is just too easy to jump on the South Gippsland Highway, look straight ahead and drive directly to Melbourne and home. But you'd be missing out on some other great sights along the way. For instance, Westernport Bay can be extremely beautiful and is full of interesting natural features such as mangroves and saltmarsh areas. Caroline was reminiscing of her trips to Coronet Bay, Tenby Point and suchlike, so we took a random turn off the South Gippsland Highway towards the coastal village of Jam Jerrup. The mangrove beach environment approaching dusk was magical, and can't really be done credit in a photo from my phone...

Mangroves at Jam Jerrup.

Caroline is a much better photographer than me.

Victoria has such beautiful surroundings....note to self: make more trips to our amazing countryside.

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