A long weekend! Not an official state sanctioned one and not even an enjoyable one really. I have urgent business to attend to which can only be performed on a weekday. So bye-bye one day of hard earned annual leave. Fortunately, I finish the necessary business much earlier than expected. Is a walk on the cards? Definitely. No use wasting annual leave by sitting at home watching daytime TV.
But where? It's already 1pm so I don't want to travel too far. Also, due to my limited time in the Rockingham area (I'm moving closer to Perth city next year) I really should try something around my present home. I have been meaning to explore Penguin Island, which is part of the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park and close to my home, but I have always put it off as it's a tourist attraction and full of people on the weekends. I have experienced Penguin Island's popularity on a previous visit with my mother when she came to visit me. Because we visited over the Easter school holidays the place was absolutely packed and as I don't like crowds it was not the most enjoyable. But today is Monday so visitor numbers should be down I expect.
After quickly packing my bag with the essentials (food, water, camera, spare camera battery and sunscreen) I am out the door and walking towards Mersey Point, which is located at the south-western tip of Shoalwater. Mersey Point is the home of the ticket office and the jetty for the Penguin Island ferry. If the tide is right you can walk along the sandbar which connects Mersey Point to Penguin Island, but you do this at your own peril. In the past people have tried this treacherous sandbar walk, the tide has risen and they have drowned. Plenty of people do it, but you definitely want to know what you are doing and also be a good swimmer. I'll just pay the money for the boat ride, seems much more logical.
As I approach the shoreline of Shoalwater the windbreak produced by the seaside mansions and the suburban houses dissipates and I am greeted with a decent gust. Should I go offshore when it is so windy? I continue walking to Mersey Point with the occasional "Stuff it, it's too windy, I'm going home" and the associated half turn around. However, I held my determination to reach Mersey Point and only lost my hat once to the hand of the wind blowing across the Shoalwater coastline.
There is no line at the ticket office. This is a good sign. Hopefully I get my own private cruise across Shoalwater Bay and Penguin Island is deserted. After handing over my $15 for an all-day ticket I am told that the next boat will arrive in 20 minutes. With 20 minutes to burn I test out my camera on a couple of kiteboarders taking advantage of the gusty winds.