What I Did On My Holidays, 2017-2018, Day 12

Day 47. 97,476 words.

Today we hit Rottnest[1] for the day, starting bright and early in the morning with a ferry ride over. Uncle Jim came along with us and acted as tour guide, since he was quite experienced with visiting the place. And the weather, according to Mrs. Hatboy, was not as rough as the last time we had been across to Rotto in 2000.

[1] I was pleased to see, on the promotional video on the way to the island, that they had added a bit of a spiel about how the island’s actual name is Wadjemup. I never actually learned this while I was living in Western Australia, and was surprised[2] to find it out about it during my research for Bad Cow where the island – or part of it – retains an aura of holy ground because of the Aboriginal people.

[2] Well, not surprised, as such, because I knew most places in Western Australia already had names before white people arrived … but I was surprised it wasn’t more widely-known or mentioned anywhere, and that there was so much we just hadn’t been taught. Again, not surprising, exactly … but an unpleasant confirmation.

A lot has changed in 17 years, let alone the additional 15 or so since I went to Rotto as a kid with my family on my dad’s yacht. It really was something of a wilderness back then, especially once you got away from the main settlement around the ferry landing.

Now, you could practically walk from Fremantle to Rotto just by stepping from boat to boat. The bay was packed with them, and the settlement was a massive, hideous crowd.

We didn’t have the time – or, with Wump and Toop in tow, the energy – to get far from the settlement, so we went and had breakfast at the bakery, then spent an hour at a fun park some dude had set up on the beach nearby. He’d basically thrown a bunch of bouncy castles into the water and Wump thought it looked like fun so insisted on going.

I should have learned my lesson after Excape, but Wump wasn’t ready for the cold water and extreme diving experience. She wanted to leave after five minutes, but I had to pull a Dad on her and say I’d just paid $70 for a family hour, so she was going to have to tough it out. She did have fun after a while, because there were trampolines and things, but there was a lot of sulking and whining about kids climbing and jumping on the bouncy castles she was trying to sunbathe on.

There were even a couple of big half-inflated pillow things that a kid could go to the end of (provided he or she was dextrous enough to not flop off into the water), and another kid could jump on the other end and catapult the kid through the air. Jim and I tried and failed to stay on it, and in the end Wump and I settled for swimming back and forth and watching other people attempting to get it to work. When it did, and when the catapultee was a kid and the catapultor was an adult, the results were hilarious. Especially when the kid just went straight up and down again.

From there we walked to another little beach which was almost as crowded but at least we could get in the water properly. I don’t remember there being so many shark nets when I was a kid. Jim and I went snorkelling, and as I mentioned on Day 6 Wump had a go but was put off by the salt water, the poor fit of the goggles, and the loose teeth she had. Fair enough, I guess. We said we’d try again sometime later, in a swimming pool.

We walked back to the settlement (I carried Wump and Toop in turns, getting my share of exercise for the day), had lunch at the pub / restaurant with half a billion close friends, then wandered around and took it easy while Wump and Toop enjoyed a playground. Mrs. Hatboy got an obligatory quokka selfie (do continue nagging Mrs. Hatboy for more pictures by the way), and then we got on the ferry home. The kids were absolutely wrecked.

All in all a nice day, and I won’t need to go back to Rotto for another 17 years.

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