Our New Neighborhood
Checking out the new neighborhood is always foremost on the list when we arrive anywhere. Emu Point is located on the western side of a deep channel linking Oyster Harbour with the King George Sound. As it turns out, the city of Albany, is ~7km (4 miles) away. There always seems to be lots of activity ashore. We're keen to find out what's available there and what's not.
Emu Point seems to be a popular family kind of place. Lots of kids are usually running around at the playground. There are several picnic tables, a lovely beach with protected waters and an offshore pontoon (raft) to swim to. There's also the Emu Point Cafe on the point that looks like it'd be a good place to get a flat white (like a latte) and watch the world go by. I watched local guys cleaning their fish in a convenient, covered fish-cleaning pavilion. They obviously had a good day.
The Squid Shack is the local fish'n'chips joint and it seems to do a pretty good business. We're told the portions are huge and the food is good.
The marina and boat harbor seem quite compact although their website states they can handle boats to 20m (65'). There's a slipway and haul-out facility (40 tons) which would be pretty convenient if we needed a haul-out at the moment. Several little boat-related shops line the foreshore. This is also the debarkation point for the Kalgan Queen, a small, glass-bottomed tour boat that, among other things, takes tourists up the Kalgan River on a 4-hour trip. It seems to be quite the crowd-pleaser judging from the folks queued up to leave the other morning. According to Trip Advisor, it's the #1 activity to do in Albany. However … getting on a boat just isn't our idea of fun … if you know what I mean.
I love watching the Australian pelicans in residence here. They're quite the showmen and they're everywhere. As a matter of fact, they breed at the tiny Green Island Nature Reserve in the middle of Oyster Harbour, not far from where Nine of Cups is moored. We've also seen lots of cormorants, terns, gulls and, believe it or not, even an osprey.
A bronze statue of Sam the Seal caught my attention because there was a Sammy the Seal in Esperance. I wondered if they were related. This Sam, we're told, was a friendly old New Zealand fur seal, that was senselessly and brutally killed back in 2006 by an unknown assailant. He was so loved by the locals, they took up a collection to erect this statue to his memory.
I'm not sure if we'll get to see one, but it appears there are bandicoots in the area … another one of those odd, Australian marsupials that we Americans have never heard of.
We have yet to cross the bay which borders Mt Martin Botanical Reserve and Gull Rock National Park, both of which are accessed from the shore and offer miles and miles of walking tracks. It's on the agenda.