Friday 21 March 2014


It's been a long cold winter up here in the Great White North. Since late November, I have been monitoring snowfall accumulations on my backyard deck table and though we were delighted to receive a couple above freezing thaws in January and February, the table hasn't been without snow on it until yesterday which coincidentally was the first day of Spring or the March Equinox. Though there remains an ample supply of the white stuff everywhere in Ottawa (which received over 225 centimetres of the snow this winter to date), we can expect more will fall over the next few weeks but at least it will only be a 'spring snow' or flurries which generally means, it won't be around for very long. So we hope!! c);-b

The presence of snow or wintery temperatures were nowhere near a concern when we visited Perth, Western Australia in their early spring of September 2012. Then, the temps and hospitality we received from everyone there was both warm and wonderful. It was also quite the joy to go walkabout past the well maintained and colourfully painted buildings along the narrow streets of the old port of Fremantle. One immaculate looking building that caught my eye was the P&O Building which was built for the Australasian Shipping Company in 1903 to help accommodate their rapid growth during the West Australian gold boom. During the boom between 1890 and 1910, Fremantle was established as a major shipping port where large numbers of people arrived at Fremantle and then made their way to the gold fields to try their luck at prospecting. This also resulted in a large quantity of freight being moved through Fremantle and expanding the port industry. P&O, which is short for the 'Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company', took over the Australasian Shipping Company in 1914 and if you look real closely, you may see both company logo's or abbreviated signatures featured on the facade. Or NOT!

Though nothing like the Siberian polar blasts that we had to deal with up here in the GWN during this past winter, it was quite windy on the day we visited Upper Fremantle Harbour where I snapped the flashy 128' Rottnest Express ferry, STAR FLYTE EXPRESS as she positioned herself near Shed B at Victoria Quay with the huge container-ship  MOL EMINENCE in the background. (Check out: Built in 1978  in nearby Henderson, STAR FLYTE EXPRESS is one of three high speed ferries that motors to Rottnest Island four times a day from Shed B. Located just 19km northwest of Fremantle, Rottnest Island is an ‘A’ Class Nature Reserve. Named by a Dutch captain who while exploring the island in 1696, discovered an abundance of giant rats, hence calling the island 'Rotte Nest' or 'rat nest' in English. The giants rats were actually small kangaroo-like animals called 'Quokkas' and even today there remains a great many quokkas on Rottnest Island along with seals, ship wrecks and apparently many other really neat things, or not. 
All good to go, the STAR FLYTE EXPRESS motors past the livestock carrier OCEAN DROVER (, and commences her crossing back to Rottnest which is renowned for being one of the roughest in the southern hemisphere. However, according to Rottnest Express, their fleet of high-speed, ocean-going ferries have been specifically designed to counter any condition and are known for their smooth, fast and safe crossings. This youtube video may suggest otherwise. It's your call!! c);-b

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