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Tuesday 11 Nov 2003
Margaret River, Australia

Dolphins n Sandalford wine!

Found a place to park along the main street last night... Bunbury is a quiet little industrial town with a main cappucino strip that is very much like something in Temple Bar (or equally Fremantle for that matter), so I didnt get any hassle from the locals coming out of bars nearby during the night!

This morning I went down to the town beach at 8am to try to catch a glimpse of the dolphins - my whole purpose for visiting here! As in Monkey Mia the dolphins have an "interaction zone" monitored by volunteers who make sure everyone doesnt just swarm into the sea when a fin appears above the water! And sure enough, as with Monkey Mia, a dolphin appeared as punctually as ever (8.05 am!). Her name is Jet (named so because she has scars on her fin where a Jet Ski hit her) and she spent a good hour on her own swimming right up to the amazed onlookers... Unlike Monkey Mia, though, its possible to get right up close and even snorkle with the dolphins if you have the equipment. No sooner said than *YOINK!* I was back on the beach with my new mask and snorkle and (obligatory now) waterproof digital camera! Myself and one other american guy then got to swim out, much to the envy of the onlookers, where Jet swam around us for several minutes, sometimes coming so close I could feel the water being pushed against me as she turned to stare into my face with awe! Remarkable! I even recorded a video of the event (with a plethora of radar squeeks to be heard).. Ill put it up here soon.

After that I left Bunbury to head south to Margaret River. This region is WINE COUNTRY! Literally every section of the lush mountainous countryside is taken up with rows of over-ripe raisins ready for the picking.. the mist on this hot day adds to the "dreamy" appearance of the fields.. like something out of France. While here I wanted to see if my personal fav winery, Sandalford Wines, was in the area. This is the wine company that wowed myself and my friend, Jonny, about 2 years back when we went to a luxurious wine-tasting dinner hosted by the them at the Burj-Al-Arab in Dubai. I got chatting with the Director, Peter Prendergast, who gave me his card and said I should visit the vinyards someday... I never thought Id ever do it, but there ya go. While driving endlessly along a country road I accidentally ran over a bird... erk! I went back to make sure that it wasnt still in pain, but lo and behold beside the bird was a small non-descript sign for Sandalford wines. If I hadnt hit the feathered beast I probably woulda missed it! The dark irony eh? Well I bought a bottle of red chiraz from there for 14 bucks and will enjoy that for the next few days (when Im parked of course *cough*)

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