Todays Challenge – To discover Albany’s link with the ANZACs.
Today we rise a little later as we are spending another day in this lovely town. We have booked a cruise on the Kalgan Queen which departs from Emu Point, crosses Oyster Bay and heads up the Kalgan River to Montgomery’s Hill Vineyard, The cruise is full of Grey Nomads but this seems to be the norm when you book a tour.
On board we meet the skipper who is a real character, has a wealth of knowledge on Albany’s history and is a compelling story teller.
We find out that Albany was originally named ‘Frederickstown’ and the bay we were crossing derived its name when Major Locker’s crew cut their feet on oyster shells when searching for food and water. Not to be discouraged they collected a large number of them and took them back to the ship to eat.
The skipper informs us that Albany was where the majority of ANZACs boarded ships on their departure toward the combat zones of World War One. The view across King George Sound was the last glimpse of Australia that many of the soldiers saw. Not well documented was the fact that the Japanese were part of the operation and it was not until World War Two that this relationship soured. Challenge met!
As we cross the bay it seems the skipper has a following of Pelicans, Sea Eagles and Kites that he has trained over the years. These birds follow the boat and do a number of tricks in order to secure a free feed of herring that is thrown overboard. We both question the ethics of feeding wild birds, especially the sea eagles who naturally only hunt live prey.
We enter the Kalgan River and the surrounding countryside is picture perfect, shortly after we disembark at the winery for a wine tasting, our first sample of WA wine. We purchase two bottles and return to the boat for tea and damper, how very Australian! Our return to harbor is filled with many interesting stories and we are welcomed ashore by Percy who has flow back in the hope of another free herring.
We drive back to Albany and wander into Nonna’s, an Italian restaurant and have a very lovely lunch. We head down to the museum precinct and board the Brigg Amity, which is well worth a visit.
We buy some seafood for dinner and settle in for the night. The weather forecast for tomorrow predicts thunder storms.