Saturday, February 19, 2011

They found a cave.....

This should have been a post about the summer wader count, but it was cancelled yesterday because of the weather forecast, which quite accurately predicted the rain and easterly gale that lashed us here at Boat Harbour this morning.

But our short visit hasn't been altogether abortive. We arrived at lunchtime on Thursday to a glorious day that allowed lunch and dinner on the deck, and with a gentle little swell that tempted me in for a surf in between.

Sunset clouds over Table Cape.
Perfect end to a perfect day.

Friday was grey but dry, so we went out for a walk in the afternoon to do the "Postmans Track", which is actually a small segment of the old track that used to bring the mails into Circular Head years ago. It runs halfway around the Twin Sisters, two small hills in a small eastern enclave of Rocky Cape National Park and takes you through a fragment of the tall forest that must once have covered all this region, and some fine Banksia woodland. We had a pleasant stroll and saw lots of birds, including several sightings of a White Goshawk. Why would a bird of prey that relies on ambush be pure white?

The Postmans Track.

Bad Banksia Man.
Guardian of the track?

I have posted before about a couple of the aboriginal cave shelters on this coast, and we had heard stories of an even better one somewhere in this part of the park. It isn't marked on the maps and was reputedly hard to find, so when we noticed a rather indistinct track leading down towards the coast it seemed good to explore.

And there it was! About a hundred metres above the sea, formed in a joint in the quartzite rock. It has a low entrance, but a large chamber behind that is quite dry, unlike the nearby "Wet Cave". At the mouth there is still a large midden of shells and bones. The entrance faces east and would be wonderfully sheltered from the prevailing westerlies. Even in the stiff easterly the cave was still quite snug.

Cave entrance.
Midden pile in foreground.

Cave entrance from inside.
The chamber was dry and snug.

Someone enjoys a quiet beer in there.

View from the cave entrance.
Boat Harbour at the extreme right.

It would be nice to say that it was undisturbed, but the footprints on the floor (and an empty beer bottle) showed that there have been recent visitors. Close to the junction with the main track we found a red and a yellow flower, and a black banksia cone placed on a stump, which made me wonder whether the visitors might have been from the present day aboriginal community. I hope so. There is little enough for aboriginal people to claim as their own, and if they were to ask that access to these cave sites be prevented I for one would accept.

Aboriginal track marker?
Red, yellow and black are their colours.

But I'm pleased that we got to see it and had the chance to put ourselves in the place of those older inhabitants.

And there's no show without Punch.
Jo and Marty at Christmas on a walk to Anniversary Bay.