“The only good snake is a dead snake!” Campsite check-in lady
The legs are definitely getting better, starting to ride this morning was not problematic although I was glad to only have a short day ahead of me. Coming to the end of the tour and having more time than I need I have decided to take it easy, just over 30 miles today then two days in the mid forties and then the Canberra pause.
Coming out of Eden I realised that my impression of the New south Wales coast was correct, it reminds me a lot the north island in New Zealand in the way there are quick changes of gradient that do not let you catch your breath. In short it feels like you’re always climbing.
Despite the morphology though I made quick progress and in less than 90 minutes I was in Merimbula where I stopped for a coffee.
While there I exchanged some words with a chap that was sitting in the table next to me. Nothing radical, the usual where are you from? how are you enjoying Australia? stuff. The chap looked a bit alternative in his outfit and it turned out he was a basker on a coffee break, after out chat he moved back to the bench along the promenade and started playing Beatles songs one after the other.
The bit of road between Eden and Merimbula was the more taxing and it all become a little easier after that.
On top of that I started spotting wildlife and that, to start with, gave me some enjoyment and the opportunity to take a few pictures.
I have decided that I really like kangaroos, they look kind of smart and they are so different to all that I have experienced before to provide a high novelty value. Talking to the local however it transpires that there is little love lost for them in the countryside.
Nonetheless it is nice to see some of them along my ride, it makes me feel like I’m not just riding around on a generic, everywhere road.
Unfortunately Kangaroo were not the only creatures I encountered today. Despite the information that I had had by all the locals to whom I had spoken to, not all snakes are already in hibernation.
I was cycling quite happily 5 miles from Tathra, today’s destination, when I looked down and I realised that the black curvy thing I just missed by a few inches was not a broken elasticated cord discarded by a lorry neither it was a bit of shredded tyre, it was in fact a snake and a live one.
I gasped and continued pedalling sor another 10 yards before I stopped and looked back. I turned the bicycle around and took the camera out and, without going to close I took a few pictures.
After I got to the campsite I spoke to the people in reception and they were surprised but not shocked. They said that the snakes should be hibernating by now but the lady behind the counter said that she had two of these in her garden last week. Both of them are now in two pieces, head and rest of the snake, in her bin.
The snake in question is called a Red Bellied Black Snake (Pseudechis porphyriacus) and they are poisonous. They are not very aggressive preferring to hiss and posture to biting but if they bite they can be extremely noxious but not often deadly.
Well I find this less than reassuring and I sincerely hope not to see another one.