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Day 17: Snakes Alive! (And dead...)

You know you've had a good night's sleep when you realise your makeshift pillow is wet with your saliva before you even open your eyes. It seems every morning on the trail has started this way, and today's was no exception.

The Great Ocean Road is just starting to get a bit better. One thing I don't like about it is that it has no shoulder. At times there's about 30 cm of bitumen for me to edge my trolley into when a car comes in my direction, but for the majority it seems as though the grass has just grown straight onto the road. One thing I do like about it is the Ocean. What a treat it is to be able to hear, see and smell the waves crashing on the shoreline and cliffs not far away. What an even bigger treat to be able to strip off and run into the waves for a refreshing, soothing, waking swim! This is exactly what I did when I got to Peterborough, around 26 km into the day.

Before this though, all I could think about were snakes. The vegetation on the side of the road seemed to be perfect for concealing a sunbathing snake and sure enough, my thoughts manifested into reality! I managed to surprise the first snake I encountered as I stepped off the road to take a photo of some Hoary-headed Grebes (a water bird that dives for its meals) in a small lake. It was a Brown Snake around 1 metre long and around 2 metres to the right of me, thankfully it slithered away into the reeds just after I took this photo:

After this it seemed and sounded like there were snakes sliding away from me in the roadside vegetation every 50 metres! I decided I was being a little melodramatic before I saw what I think was a tiger snake slide onto the road 50 metres in front of me and promptly get hit and killed by a car. It was very unfortunate, I love snakes and think they're still very misunderstood creatures. They are also extremely important for keeping ecosystems in balance. I didn't see or hear any more snakes after that.

So now I've set up camp about 7.5 km from Port Campbell, or 20 km from the 12 Apostles Visitors Centre, which is where I will be meeting young'uns Eliza, Fraser and Jamie from Wollangarra Outdoor Education Centre and co-leader Anne Nunan, all of whom will be joining me for half of the Great Ocean Walk on Monday. I can't wait!

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