Friday, November 01, 2013

Tuesday, 10/29/13 Albany

Tuesday, 10/29/13 Albany

The port lecturer had described Albany as a place with nice coastal scenery, but little else, so I decided to take the ship tour and let the bus take me to all the scenic sites, rather than try to find them myself.  The day turned out to be pretty unrewarding -- okay, but not great, especially by comparison with Perth and Fremantle the previous day.  Albany is a small town that has a very good natural port; the harbor is now called the “Princess Royal Harbour“.  At one time it was a major port for the whaling industry, and now forestry and fishing are the main industries; wood chips are sent to Japan for paper production.

During the first world war, the harbor was thought to be in jeopardy of attack, so a fortress was established to protect the harbor from attack.  That fortress is now called the Princess Royal Fortress, and is a historic site.  The bus first stopped at this fortress, sitting high above the harbor.  The tour guide took the passengers through the fortifications still remaining from both WWI and WWII.  Of greater interest to me were the nice views of the harbor and the coast, and I took some scenic photos.

The bus drove past Middleton Beach, Albany’s popular swimming beach, and it was very pretty, with a nice park all along the beach.  The surrounding residential area was filled with beautiful homes and very well-kept landscaping.  The entire area was very pretty.

The bus next went to Torndirrup National Park, with dramatic coastal rock formations.  “The Gap” is a formation in which a gap about 80 feet deep has formed between two rock formations, and the surf of the sea shoots spray very high in the air in that gap.  “The Natural Bridge” is another rock formation in which the surf has carved a gap under a rock formation, so that the result resembles a natural bridge over the churning surf.  The sight is quite spectacular and was the highlight of the day.

Albany has established a wind farm high on the hills overlooking the town, and now 80 percent of the town’s electrical power is generated by that wind farm.  On the way back to town from Torndirrup National Park, the bus stopped at the wind farm so that passengers could view the huge wind turbines up close.  The turbines are 213 feet high with blades that are 115 feet across, the largest that have been constructed in the southern hemisphere.

After the bus returned to the ship, I hopped on the shuttle into the little town for a walk down the main street of the town, taking photos of some of the restored buildings.  In the early evening, as the ship sailed, I took photos of a cargo ship being filled with wood chips headed for Japan.  The nighttime reflections in the water were very pretty.

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