Tiana’s Photos: Click a photo for larger version or to see more photos.
My favorite moment of my trip Perth to Exmouth and back was when a kangaroo at the Riverside Sanctuary brushed my hair. There is a photo of this in the link second one at the bottom. Granted it needed to be done, but I am not sure how effective tiny ‘roo paws are. That and he took samples along the way. I don’t think hair is part of a balanced diet for marsupials, but he seemed to enjoy it more than the food pellets I gave it… and I guess I have hair to spare.

At the Riverside Sanctuary I learned that I am afraid of ostriches and emus. This fear was confirmed at the Greenough Wildlife Park when I tried to feed them… if I hadn’t reacted so quickly I think I would have a hole in my hand. I was also worried that they would gouge my eyes out. In the future I think I will stick to feeding animals that are smaller than me.

Another creature that is not amongst my top ten friends is the snake. At the wildlife park, the ranger tried to convince me otherwise by placing one on my face. So that I could not remove my cold-blooded-blindfold the ranger placed an even larger snake in my hands. I guess I am more comfortable with snakes because of the experience, but I still prefer that they reside on the ground and not my head.

Animals that I don’t mind feeding are wild horses, which I encountered in the middle of nowhere. Dolphins are also friendly. I have never thought of dolphins as hunters, but at night they look more fierce than friendly when chasing after fish. The marine expert at Monkey Mia told us that dolphins are unable to look up, so in order to see you they have to turn their head. Neat. There is a photo on this link, the second page, third one at the top.

Ningaloo Reef is the largest fringing coral reef in Australia. There my group enjoyed a glass bottom boat cruise and snorkeling with manta rays, turtles, and a plethora of fish. I, of course, had my mask on improperly so salt water rushed up my nose on my first jump into the water.

Tiana with the Prince of Hutt River.

Aside from meeting wildlife, I also met the leader of a country. Prince Leonard the creator and leader of Principality of Hutt River Province, an Independent Sovereign state located inside but separate from Australia. In 1969 Leonard George Casley, a farmer got into a dispute with Australia over wheat quotas. This dispute led him to find a law that said he was not technically an Australian citizen because he was born before a certain year, which is what led to him founding his own country. Leonard is a humble dignitary, as he still works on his farm, and keeps things casual in dress and manner. He runs his own post office, has his own stamp for passports, created a currency adorned in his profile, and worships in his own chapel – the walls of which are covered in paintings of various Biblical scenes. My favorite moment with Leonard was when he spoke to me about weapons. He knew that I would be interested in his defense tactics because I am Texan, but told me not to talk to President Bush about it because Bush has enough to worry about.

Another trip highlight is the day I spent at shell beach, probably the longest shell beach in the world. The beach is entirely shells… I guess technically most beaches are since all sand is ground up shells, but this particular beach is still mostly shells in shell form.

Tiana in the Queen’s chair.

Sand boarding leaves something to be desired. It is not a smooth as you’d think it would be- the board gets caught in people’s footsteps, and forces the surfer to roll down the dune the majority of the time.

Over the break I spent a lot of time walking around the Pinnacles Dessert looking at limestone pillars that remind me of something out of a sci-fi movie. Another nature site that I enjoyed was the Shothole Canyon. My guide said that technically America’s Grand Canyon is not a canyon, but a gorge because of a technical definition. This may be true, but I know it is a canyon.

Termite poop aged hundreds of years is the last thing I remember seeing. One boy kicked it, and it kicked back. The mounds are so hard that they use them for runway material in Australia.