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9 October 2003

Three years ago, in October 2000, Peggy was in the States and we spent a lot of time shopping. Specifically shoe shopping. I gave her a hard time, then, for all the time she spent trying on shoes and all the money she spent on shoes.

It is with some chagrin that I admit that while in Australia I have purchased four pairs of shoes and a pair of slippers. That's more than I owned when she was in the States.

Today we returned to Freo (Fremantle). On our first trip, our goal had been the maritime museum and I learned a lot about Australia II, which took the Americas cup from the US. But I learned nothing about the ship Batavia, about which I'd prepared by reading on the Internet. So this trip to Freo was to serve two purposes: We would walk the shops (it's a great shopping town), and we would visit the Batavia.

Fremantle is a modern town with an old feel. Many of the historic buildings underwent rennovation in the 1980s, under the direction of Alan Bond and his promotion for the Americas Cup. The old town hall, prison, and hotels are now museums, cafes, and tacky souvenir shops. It's an interesting blend of old and new and I was glad to have the chance to get back--and to finally see The Batavia.

On the way we visited all the op shops (second hand stores) and shoe shops.

At the op shop, we found cheap stuffed toys and Peggy picked up a handful for Chippa. I took a picture of her grinning like a happy grandmother with all these toys for "her girl" but she broke my camera and the photo didn't come out. Trust me. It was truly the "photo of the day" and you missed it. Peggy was also looking for sandals and we went in several stores, unsuccessfully. We did hit pay dirt at a "wide sizes" store, where she didn't find anything she liked, but I found some very comfortable walking shoes (so difficult for me with my wide foot and foot problems) and despite the prices, I decided to buy them.

Finally, we ran out of shops and it was time for the museum.

After seeing so much of Australia's rocky coast and its extensive reef, it's amazing to me that the country ever got settled by anybody who wasn't indiginous to the region. So many shipwrecks have occurred off the shore of Australia that an entire museum is devoted to shipwrecks. The sign on this building (formerly a prison) reads "Maritime Museum Shipwreck Galleries."

Here is a piece of the Batavia, recovered between 1972 and 1979. A piece of the hull of the boat is erected and I was amazed at how huge it was...and even more amazed when I discovered that this huge piece, significantly taller than my head and requiring a second story balcony to see the top, represented only one teeny corner of the bottom of the hull of the huge ship.

Peggy insists that I include information about the skeleton which is on display here. I argued that I didn't want to use it, but again, I'm an ever gracious guest and will do anything to keep my hostess happy, so here are her photos:

When I had thoroughly examined the Batavia and some of the contents rescued, we went into the other galleries and I began to get a feeling for how difficult it was to get to this land, let alone survive the rigors of life on the often unforgiving continent.

I chuckled to read about the "Success," which ran aground at Carnac Island...and its successor, also named "Success" which ran aground 20 years later. Perhaps someone should have re-thought that name!

Eventually, we'd run out of shipwrecks and decided that our time in Freo was about over. We took the scenic route home, via....another shoe shop, where Peggy hit pay dirt and not only found two pairs of sandals she liked, but was able to get her current sandals (purchased 3 yrs ago in the US) sent in for repair. An all around very positive stop.

The plan had been to come home and cook that cute little roast lamb for dinner, but instead we went down to Hillary's Marina again, booked a whale watching tour for tomorrow, and had a chicken salad while we sat and watched families cavort in the water off the bay. It truly is Paradise here.

While I was eating, we were visited by a very persistent seagull. I took his photo and while I was taking it, he snatched a piece of chicken off my plate as Peggy shooed him away. The photo I took was great, but the camera screwed up. Peggy tried using some sort of repair program to retrieve the photo, but we were only able to get half of it. We tried fixing it with Photo Shop, but could not come up with anything which really did the trick, so I've put in what we did come up with just because I love the look on the bird.

After dinner we had a terribly wicked ice cream cone (I had boysenberry and cheesecake ice cream mixed with raspberries and a TimTam; Peggy had chocolate and Nutella ice cream, with a spoon full of Nutella and a Tim Tam...both were then piled high in a waffle cone). We came home "stuffed" by all definitions of the word (Australian "stuffed" is exhausted; we were also "stuffed" with food).

There was a full moon rising when we left Hillary's and tomorrow we will be back again to catch the ferry and hopefully see a whale or two.

My time here is growing short. It will be difficult to leave.

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