Sunday, February 26, 2012

Rottnest Island

On Valentine's Day, we took a ferry over to Rottnest Island. It took about half an hour to get there from Fremantle, and it was beautiful! Cars aren't allowed on the island, so we rented bikes and took our snorkeling gear to a place called Parker Point. On the way, we saw some of the native quokkas, marsupials that are only found in certain areas of Western Australia.

Once again, we were quite impressed by the snorkeling. My little camera with its plastic waterproof case doesn't take the best of pictures, but hopefully you can get the idea of some of the fish we saw (more are posted on my Shutterfly site). The farther out we went, the better the coral got, the bigger the fish got (we saw some huge ones), and the more scared we got about encountering a shark!

Zack relaxes at Parker Point.
Covered in the white powdery sand!

Now this is the way to spend Valentine's Day!
A small bluebottle jellyfish on shore.
After hanging out at Parker Point for awhile, we headed to Little Salmon Bay, because I had heard the snorkeling there was good too. We saw a few bluebottle jellyfish on shore, but we took our chances and headed out anyway. By the way, blue bottle jellyfish are called Portuguese man o'wars in other parts of the world. Anyway, we both felt a few small stings on our legs while we were in the water, but the fish and coral were awesome, so we kept swimming. Zack headed back into shore after a bit, but I stayed out there and swam out in the deeper water.

As I was coming back into shore, I saw a jellyfish in the shallow water and swam away from it. Apparently I swam right into one, because suddenly my neck was burning! I stood up and started throwing everything off...the camera that was hanging around my neck, my snorkeling gear, etc. Luckily, Zack was standing on shore watching me (because he was afraid I was going to get attacked by a shark in the deep water!), so he ran out when he saw me sort of freaking out. "My neck!" I yelled, and he saw a jellyfish wrapped around my neck, tangled in my braids and swimsuit! He had to pull it off of me. It must have been around my right shoulder and upper arm, because that was burning as well. After he got it off of me, I ran up on shore and held a towel around me saying "ow, ow, ow" for about five minutes. The pain felt like when you have a really bad sunburn and somebody touches it. Imagine that but constant! The next five minutes felt more like a bee sting, and then it started itching. The next day, it still itched and hurt again when I took a shower. A week later, I still have red marks on the back of my neck and wound around my upper right arm. Fun stuff!

Zack washes off my snorkel equipment at Little Salmon Bay after my jellyfish attack.
Luckily, we needed to return the bikes and catch our ferry back to Perth soon after our time at Little Salmon Bay anyway, so we left after my jellyfish stings. I guess I learned my lesson about going in the water if you see those darn bluebottles on the beach!

Rottnest Island was a beautiful tropical paradise (minus the jellyfish) and a great place to spend Valentine's Day. We had a leisurely ferry ride back to Perth, where we had a nice Italian dinner and walked around the city a bit before heading to the airport for our overnight flight home. A long weekend in Western Australia was a wonderful break in the middle of February!
A view of Perth from our ferry back from Rottnest Island.

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