Friday, January 21, 2011

A blue lake

Mt. Gambier has the bluest of very blue lakes. It's so blue that they called it the Blue Lake, just so that you knew what it was. In Australia, we love to name things as they are. We aren't very imaginative, but we are usually quite accurate. Just as the mountain range here where it snows is called the Snowy Mountains, the large desert constituting predominantly sand is known as the Great Sandy Desert, the Great Ocean Road is the long road running alongside the ocean, and snakes are variously called the red bellied black snake, the yellow bellied black and the brown snake, so the blue lake is called. It is definitely a lake. And it is very very blue. In fact I've never seen a lake as blue as that. I would have preferred that they called it the Really Really Blue Lake to give it a more accurate description.

It took us a while to get moving today, but eventually we managed to get out the door of the van and walk the 3.6km path around the Blue Lake. A very nice leisurely family stroll with a fair bit of amusement along the way. And one of those great moments as a parent where you have the opportunity to extract crap you learned at school from the dusty archives of the brain and turn it into one of those annoying educational lessons that made you cringe when you were a kid.
"How far do you think it is directly across the lake Dad"? asked Finn.
Having been so bored in year 11 maths that I'd decided to learn pi to 100 decimal places instead of listening to the monotonous drone of Mr. Brock (I gave up at 50 places and instead tried to tunnel my way through the brick wall using a compass), I knew I had the answer at my disposal.
"Well that'd be the diameter, Finn. And we know that the circumference is around 3.6km and pi is 3.1415926535897932384626433 approximately, so if we assume that the lake is perfectly round...". I could see Finn's eyes rolling back in his head and knew the feeling well from those past maths classes. I felt like I was channeling Mr. Brock and he may want to tunnel out quickly himself, but when I was able to tell him that it was roughly 1.1km, he seemed interested and satisfied with the answer. Phew! Given that I'll be their maths teacher in the home schooling aspect of this trip when it unfolds some time in February, it was an interesting taster.
We managed to make it around the rest of the lake without further mathematical interlude, just a whole lot of silliness interspersed with periodic comments about how very very blue the lake was. That seemed far more appropriate.

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