The G.O. didn’t take much convincing to go up to Port Stephens the day before my youngest sister’s wedding, so we left Sydney at a civilized hour and arrived at d’Albora Marinas in Nelson Bay in time for lunch overlooking the water.
After lunch we strolled around the marina and spotted 3 pods of dolphins cruising the bay. Of course, the phone-camera we had to hand wasn’t up to capturing pics.
Post-stroll we headed around to our accommodation, the ibis Styles Port Stephens Salamander Shores Hotel at Soldiers Point, also the wedding reception venue, set in beautiful gardens on Salamander Bay.
After a brief chat with family who’d arrived we wandered down to Wanda Beach for a quick walk before getting ready for an evening of pre-wedding drinks and dinner. That was the beginning of not only socialising with family and friends but what seemed to be non-stop wildlife encounters.
We walked along the jetty looking down into water so clear that if you’d had a fishing rod you could see a delicious dinner of black fish or whiting, as well as myriad tiny neons.
On the sand I slipped my thongs (flip-flops) off to go for a paddle, looking back to suggest the G.O. do the same… wondering why he was wearing joggers on the beach.
As I stepped further into the water, I looked down, luckily, as right at my feet was a baby stingray which checked them out then seeing the G.O’s feet also, decided to move off just far enough.
Not far along from that encounter the Cancerian G.O. met up with a crabby cohort and nearly dunked his good watch attempting to shake hands-pincers.
Returning to our room, our balcony was beset with native birds, who maintained a constant presence over the weekend, one cheeky native myna bird even venturing inside.
At the start of our next morning walk we were greeted at the beach by a pelican who led the way towards a bevy of black swans, a threesome of white ibis, the good ship pelican, a flock of seagulls, a brace of mallards, and a raft of wood ducks – all of which made daily repeat appearances.
We had only had one other glimpse of dolphins in the bay from the balcony of my sister’s 5th floor honeymoon suite. So, on Saturday afternoon a little before dusk the G.O., my uncle, aunt and I drove around to The Anchorage Marina at Corlette where the G.O. and I stayed previously and saw dolphins dining late in the day, but to no avail this time.
Heading back to the car, disappointment somewhat mollified by the spectacular sunset, there was just enough light left in the day for us witness a wild rabbit nibbling the lawn near the car park supervised by a black cat from its vantage point on the brick wall.
Earlier in the day walking along the beach, seeing many people with dogs, I’d jokingly commented to the G.O. the only thing we haven’t seen is a cat [who’d appreciate the beach as a big litter tray]. Well, now we had, with a bonus bunny thrown in the mix.
Added to all of that, enroute driving along the the freeway I’d spotted a trio of big white billy goats lounging in the morning sun on the edge of a cutting way up high, and on the way home a couple of kangaroo’s reclining on a front lawn.
“Each day provides its own gifts”, Marcus Aurelius
…But there was one other wildlife encounter, wonderful enough that it deserves its own post.
[Click on the image thumbnails, and they’ll open up into (slightly) larger images]