Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators at Rottnest
A few weeks ago I was in West Australia, doing talks and workshops with the WA arm of the society of children's book writers and illustrators. My friend and editor Jane Godwin was with me and we had a great time working with WA authors and illustrators. We had one day in Perth, working at the state library, giving talks but also taking part in a very interesting competition called duelling illustrators, where ( in front of an audience ) an illustrator was read part of a story then given three minutes to illustrate it. At one stage it was me versus three illustrators so I had to draw like the wind. Luckily the subject was a dog and I'm used to doing them.
After that we went to Rottnest island, a beautiful island about 20 km off the coast at Perth and worked there. Between events Janie and I took off on hired bikes and explored the island. There are hardly any cars there and as it was the middle of winter not many people either and luckily for us the weather was calm and sunny. I even went for two swims. Little animals called quokkas live on Rottnest. They are like a cross between a big rat and a wallaby and they are everywhere so we had to be careful not to skittle them.
The highlight of our bike trips was watching humpback whales playing in the ocean.
As we set off that morning I said to Janie that perhaps we'd see a whale and she replied "I have to tell you Alison, I'm not very lucky with whales, I never see them. If someone shouts out "Whales!" by the time I look, they've gone." "Well," I said "I am quite lucky with whales so we'll see."
We rode out to the western end of the island, that pokes out towards Africa. We saw an osprey, swifts, finches and pelicans and no people. There was nobody around.
Watching the Ocean
We stood at West End for ages looking for whales but all we saw was the ocean, swooshing around under the sun. Eventually we decided to go but as I bent down to unlock my bike I saw a splash, way out, through a gap in the fence. "That looks like a whale." I said to Janie, so we raced back to the viewing platform and sure enough, there were three whales playing, getting closer as they did. They flipped their tails above the waves and waved their flippers as though they were waving to us.
The biggest whale launched right out of the water three times, landing with a mighty splash. Then after about an hour they were gone. We rode home with big smiles on our faces.
Janey watching Whales at Rottnest