Sunday, November 30, 2008


Upon awakening early Sunday morning to a gloriously sunny sky and bundles of energy, Petra and I decided to have a one-day holiday. We packed our bags, biked down to the river, and hopped on a little boat going to the seaside village of Williamstown, an hour by water and about 10 miles by land around the curve of the bay southwest of the city. The ride itself was an adventure, wending through the containership ports, but I’ll hold off telling you those tales for another day.

When we arrived in Williamstown, we couldn’t believe that this sweet sleepy town was so close to the city. Ice cream shops and cafes lined the main street, which hasn’t changed much from when it was built in the 1800s. The town green, the dominant feature of the area, was liberally dotted with happy children and relaxing parents. The sun was warm, the air smelled salty and sweet, and we had all day to enjoy it.

After reveling in a vaguely passable and enjoyable Mexican lunch of enchiladas and pintos con queso, we biked along the shoreline, enjoying the vistas across the bay to the city, the quiet, and the brilliant orange of the coast rocks’ lichen. The water was disorientingly clear, giving us excellent views to the snails, crabs, and weird seaweeds below. Eventually we came to the Jawbone Coastal Preserve, a tract of land set aside to protect the rare saltwater flora of the area. Though small at only 50 hectacres, the little park was gorgeous, packed with many different ecosystems and myriad strange birds. Alien-looking succulent plants of various kinds turned the salt water into fresh. White butterflies flitted among pink flowers, and grasses swayed gently in the breeze (though they were actually painfully spiny – dangerous grass!). The squabble of ibises and the occasional mournful horns of containerships out in the bay provided the soundtrack.

Eventually, the sun became too much for us, so we retreated to a bird blind and Petra dozed while I watched the frighteningly large pelicans preen. Then back to town for astoundingly good Williamstown-made ice cream (flavors: jaffa for me, licorice for petra’s first scoop, passionfruit for her second), honeycomb rocky road and dark-chocolate-coated anise rings from the local sweet shop, and a sleepy cloudy boat ride back home. A perfect one-day vacation.


Lisa Nonken said...

Sounds heavenly. Maybe we can visit with you in January?? :)

Sylvia said...

The lichens on those rocks - the orangey sunburst lichens - those grow where there's a ton of calcium. Like where seabirds who eat shellfish have pooped.

Just so's you know...