We’ve arrived!

Well fellow blog followers, ¬†we were up bright and early this morning to embark on our final leg of this seemingly endless journey (ūüėČ I’m just kidding – I’m loving it! but…. I am ready for it to be finished – ūüė≥)

We said goodbye to our lovely coy friend…..

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….. then it was back on the road again – seriously people… she’s a long way! But after two weeks of driving, caravan parks, truck stops, red dirt, mines, mining towns, towns I don’t need to see again, racist people in caravan park laundries, flat plains, wild goats/cows/birds/camels, spinifex, wind, rain and blue sky….. we have arrived safely in Broome.

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From Mandurah to Broome, we have travelled approximately 2,700km. ¬†That’s a lot of kms! ¬†You can drive from Denmark to Madrid in Spain in the same kms whilst taking in Germany, Netherlands, France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland. ¬† We haven’t left the state of Western Australia and we haven’t even come close to covering all of it!

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One more night on the blow up mattress on the floor of my parents’ motorhome, then I will be moving into a grown up person’s cabin.

My guess is there will be some tears….

Bound for Sandfire

So after a near perfect afternoon yesterday, we awoke to a gale¬†force wind! ¬†Still blue skies though, so….. you can’t have everything.

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Even so, it was a good time to pack up and get the hell out of Port Samson.

Our goal destination today was to be the Pardoo Roadhouse…… but as the day drew on it was decided to push on to the Sandfire¬†Roadhouse, lessening our drive time tomorrow as we complete¬†our final leg into Broome.

We stopped off at a random truck stop for brekky and as we enjoyed our cereal, a road train flew past. Colin just happened to look up and saw our Suzuki on the back of it. ¬†Never fear – it’s not stolen…. Col had it trucked up there to save us towing it the whole way there. ¬†It only left Perth on Friday and may probably get there tonight!

Our lunch break today was at Whim Creek. ¬†It’s the half way mark between Karratha and Port Hedland. ¬†This poor pub has had some bad luck, weather wise, over the years.

The hotel was established in 1872 and was blown down in a cyclone in the 1890s. ¬†Since 1910 there have been 49 cyclones that have effected this area. ¬†I’m not sure how many times the Whim Creek Hotel has been rebuilt due to the gale¬†force winds/cyclones, but they always seem to be in the news saying “We will rebuild!”

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The last reincarnation of the hotel has scrubbed up quite nicely. ¬†They have a lovely outdoor area with the well-known cocky – Harry, “Hello Harry!”and a new pool area.

I’m hoping that there isn’t just one woman called Sheila who owns the outside toilet….

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They have a weekly calendar of events. ¬†There was the “Monster’s of the Deep Seafood Extravaganza” over the Easter weekend and last weekend was the “International Food and Culture Festival”.

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Not sure how this mini version of the hotel fared in the high winds.

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Along this next section of road, there was a lot of cows meandering. ¬†They were really skinny, so there was much discussion about how they could be so skinny with so much greenery around. ¬†Perhaps they’d been trucked in from a dryer area? ¬†Perhaps they’d just wandered in? ¬†Perhaps they were just that type of cow?

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Anyway….. they were thin!

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If I’m honest, after driving through towns like Roebourne and Karratha I wasn’t that fussed on looking at Port Hedland, but I have to admit that it was quite interesting.

Port Hedland¬†is one of the world’s largest ports in tonnage terms with over 300 million tonnes of product worth billions shipped each year. ¬†This is Gina Rhinehart country!

As you drive into town there are large piles of salt and salt flats on both sides of the road.  You are well and truly in the industrial part of Hedland.  South Hedland, which sits a little way away from the port was established to house the residential side of the town.

The port has a great Dome that they’ve popped into a renovated building. ¬†I wondered whether that lattice used to be white – with all the red dirt up here!

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And the Esplanade Hotel was a glorious old building that they’ve maintained as a very handsome looking three story building with a pub at the front and accommodation at the back.

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After a quick drive around the port – or what we were allowed to get close enough to look at, we decided not to go for a swim.

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After what seemed like an eternity of driving (and I was just the passenger!) we finally reached the Sandfire Roadhouse.  The place is crawling with animals Рgeese, ducks, chooks, kangaroos, wallabies, cows, a camel and a whole host of peacocks!  There were warnings all over the place about not approaching the camel Рhe was clearly not a people camel.  He did look like a cow camel though, these two followed each other around.

Here are some interesting facts about cows:

You can lead a¬†cow¬†upstairs, but not downstairs.¬†Cows knees¬†can’t bend properly to walk downstairs.¬†Cows¬†can’t vomit. The average¬†cow¬†drinks 135 to 225 litres of water each day.

It is a very quite camping spot, with only a little bit of road noise. ¬†We’re tucked up nicely amongst the other campers/caravaners.

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¬†I’d much rather be in the van, sleeping on the blow up mattress on the floor any day than in one of these….

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One more night and then…….Broome – here we come!

I can see clearly now……

Day 3 at Port Samson and after a downpour last night and then another little bit of rain this morning,  the clouds finally disappeared and we were treated to this beautiful blue sky.

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With this brand new sun shiney day, Jen & I took ourselves for a lovely walk to the beach.

My guess is that this rail bridge is out of order…..

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A new way of taking a selfie when you haven’t washed your hair.

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Everyone was out to play…. even this little guy.

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It’s amazing what mangroves can grow in – these bushes here are just sprouting up out of rock and sea water.

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I think this might be the furthest away I’ve been from Me Jenny so far on this trip!

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I love beach combing…. so many treasures.

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And I love a good spinifex or two.

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In the distance there you can just see a long jetty with some big ships at the end of it.  That there is Port Walcott which sits at the end of Cape Lambert.  It is a port facility operated by Rio Tinto Iron Ore and is able to handle 80 million tonnes of iron ore per year.

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A fantastically glorious day! ¬†Pity it’s our last one here….. but don’t feel bad for me, our next stop is the Pardoo Roadhouse. Woohoo!!!

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White Noise

I’m going to go off topic here a little today to¬†let you into a part of my life that sometimes brings me and those around me into a little bit of turmoil.

(I reckon) I suffer from a mild case of¬†Misophonia¬†– literally meaning, according to Wikipedia – “the hatred of sound”.¬†¬†It is also called “soft sound sensitivity syndrome”, “select sound sensitivity syndrome” (“4S”), “decreased sound tolerance”, and “sound-rage”.

It is a real neurological disorder, that I am not certainly not making fun of.

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I don’t ‘hate’ sound – but if it’s unnecessary, then I don’t want to hear it.

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I haven’t had it¬†medically ¬†diagnosed by a medial doctor you understand, but I have¬†Dr Googled why the sound of a muffled radio¬†in a¬†camp site two caravans away in what is otherwise a silent caravan park distracts me from what I’m doing and causes me untold annoyance.

It’s unnecessary noise, when it¬†isn’t the sole focus of my attention. ¬†The people with loud radio aren’t even listening to what’s being said on the talkback program. ¬†It’s on for the sake of being on. ¬†Why not just enjoy the sounds of nature around you? ¬†Why not just enjoy the silence? ¬†Why not think about the people around you? ¬†Perhaps they’re not interested in¬†hearing¬†it?

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According to Wikipedia, Misophonia is not recognized as a disorder by standard diagnostic criteria¬†and there is no evidence-based research on its prevalence or treatment – but this doesn’t mean that it’s not a real thing.

I might have to start a Go-Fund me page to finance my need for ear plugs.

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I do understand that there are people out there who prefer to have background sound on in their lives for a variety of reasons. ¬†In fact, my beloved friend, MLD is the opposite to me and prefers to have the telly on – and that’s fine, it’s totally fine……. no really, I’m ok with that.

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The person in this picture is not my beloved friend, MLD. ¬†MLD looks like a young Meryl Streep….

It’s not just the muffled, untuned, staticy radio that drills into my brain. ¬†It’s ads during TV shows (Colin is slowly getting better at hitting the mute button), somebody talking loudly on their phone in an enclosed space where you can’t move away i.e: plane, train, shop – well maybe you can move away in a shop, but I was here first!, having loud music on when you’re having a conversation about anything other than the song that is playing.

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“Sorry, what?”

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a complete dullard. ¬†I play music when I’m cleaning (so seldom), or when I’m in the car (only when I’m on my own, in case I want to speak to the person next to me and I have to turn it off when I hit traffic or I want to park), but when the white noise interferes with my concentration, it physically muddles my brain and I can’t focus on anything else but the noise.

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White Noise!

When I was at uni, during exams I had to ask the exam supervisor to ask another girl to please take her bangles off as they were clunking on the desk every time she wrote anything….

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I also had to ask the same supervisor to ask a bloke about 4 desks away from me if he could please stop clicking his pen and shuffling his papers.

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This is one of the reasons that I had to retire myself from teaching – too much unnecessary noise.

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Anyway…. in the time that it has taken me to write this post, the offending people have packed up their tent, turned their radio off and they’ve gone!

Phew!

I think you’ve learned a lot about me today… perhaps more than you needed or wanted to.

Either way, you’re welcome.

A glimpse of blue

After a full day of grey, grey, grey, grey…….

…… we were graced with a bit of blue.

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It didn’t last long though……

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Collecting Shells

Port Samson is a little town РI counted about 100 houses on Google Maps.  The caravan park is right near the water and has a little path down to a rocky beach.

So as soon as the van was set up and the washing was on, Jen and I popped down there to see what was happening…..

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It turns out – there was a fair bit going on in the shell/rock/coral area. ¬†Here’s a few samples of what we saw/collected:

Check out this awesome rock formation.

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Honeymoon Cove.

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Not a bad spot to hang out for a few days.

Let me just get back to the washing for a moment…… When Jen and I were in the laundry waiting for the dryer to become available we were approached by a woman who knew no personal boundaries – none. ¬†She began by telling us that she needed to go to the shops to by some flyspray. ¬†Jenny offered that she could probably get some at the park shop, as we’d seen a sign on our arrival stating that they sold general items.

“What? ¬†You think I’m going to do all of my shopping here?” she barked back at a surprised Jenny. “Do you know how much they charge here? No, we’re going to drive out to Wickham, they’ve got a shopping centre.”

She then proceeded to talk at us, backing Jenny further and further into the bench until she was right up in Me Jenny’s grill (I’d managed to slide away a little and could have just walked away if I was the type of person who would throw Jenny under the bus), throwing her pointer around in our faces to make a point. ¬†I won’t repeat what she was talking about because it was racist and vile. ¬†Poor Jenny was trying to get away without appearing rude – although I’m sure this woman wouldn’t have known or cared as she didn’t let anyone get a word in. ¬†I could’ve just walked away or perhaps said “I’m going to stop you there, as we care not for your racist rantings you vile woman.” then grabbed Jenny and got the hell out of there, but no, we waited for her to draw breath and then shot in a very polite “ok then…..” and started to move away. ¬†She replied, “Gotta get to the shops.” Turned and left.

She did return a bit later to school Jenny on removing lint from the dryer……. we then heard her, about 20 minutes later schooling another poor lady on the lint fiasco.

We’re all now on alert in case this woman appears again……. just don’t make eye contact.

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Have you ever been to Karratha? ¬†We spent about 30-40 minutes in total there today and I would have to say that my most favourite part was driving out of town with the full knowledge that I didn’t ever have to go back there. ¬†I took no photos in Karratha.

The next town we passed through briefly was Roebourne.  This is where we stopped to make some lunch.

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Then it was 11kms down the road a bit to the little heritage town of Cossack which was home to the North West’s first pearling industry. ¬†It was so popular back in the day that the area was fished out and the pearling fleet moved up north to Broome, then in 1904 a bit jetty was built a bit further down the road in Port Samson for bigger ships and thus the town of Cossack was pretty much done. But now, the buildings have all been restored and ¬†you can see what it used to look like 130 years ago.

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Not sure what this building was for…. probably for storing all the pearls?

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The General Store

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The Courthouse

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Not sure what it used to be, but today it is accommodation – you can stay overnight or just for afternoon tea

This groovy ensemble wasn’t part of the exhibition, but how cool is it?

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This town that you can see in the distance is Wickham. ¬†Apparently there is a shopping centre there. ¬†That’s all I can tell you.

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And then finally…… our final destination and home for the next three nights.

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A Little Overnighter

So, you now how I said that the landscape changes? ¬†Well, look at this – now we have a random hill. ¬†There were some others along the way. ¬†I’m loathed to call them mountain ranges because they really are just hills.

Apparently a hill becomes a mountain when it is 300 metres above sea level…. ¬†we were gong to fast to tell, so you be the judge.

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The plan today was to make it up to Robe River where there is a 24 hour camp site that was going to fit our non muddy boggy marsh needs, but with a quick search on Wikicamps Рthe must have app for all travellers in Australia Рwe spotted another campsite that was a lot closer and had potential to not be too busy.

On our way to that spot, we passed this truck holding bay….

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There were a few truck trailers and two caravans – from Mandurah! ¬† They were set up with their satellites up and their annexes out like they were there for the duration. ¬†After speaking with one of the chaps, we learned that they had been rained out of their camping area near Onslow and would have to stay here for about a week before they could head back in. ¬†They didn’t seem too fazed.

The original spot we were going for was a large muddy puddle, so we set ourselves up at the truck stop and got tucked in for the night.

Here were some of the highlights:

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A burnt out tyre

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A whole lotta not much

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A shipping container on a trailer

We did actually have a bit of entertainment when a truck pulled in – lights-a-blazing to either drop off a trailer or pick one up and perhaps he just had to stop for a minute….. his lights flashed and his truck beeped. ¬†I’m not sure what time it was because we all went to bed at about 7.30pm! ¬†So ear plugs in and I was good to go – to sleep.

I think it may have still been light when we went to bed. ¬†What’s happened to me?

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The Road to Nearly Nowhere

We’re on the road again….. in the rain. ¬†Apparently the rain is going east, so we’re going to head way north to get out of its way.

The plan was to stay at a couple of stations and then head inland into Paraburdoo and Tom Price, but the rain has put an end to that plan.

This was our¬†view for most of the day…

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We crossed many a river, but even with all this water – they all looked like this…

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This section of road ahead of us here – the North West Coastal Highway – Manilya to Barradale was closed due to flooding.¬† They’ve been widening the roads, so there’s a lot of extra sand on the side of the road. ¬†This section of road floods quite often, so nobody seemed surprised that the road was closed. ¬†We were planning to head to Coral Bay anyway, so whatevs.

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As you drive up the WA coast, the landscape continuously changes. ¬†One minute it’s flat on both sides of the road for as far as the eye can see; the next there’s short shrubbery and spinifex; the next, there are these mountainous termite hills….. how do the termites know that they are in the right place? ¬†How did they know to go to this section?

Then….. we arrived at lovely Coral Bay. ¬†There was a bit of chatter in the van whether we would bother as it’s a 24km round trip from the main road and it was grey and raining, therefore Coral Bay was not going be at its best…. but as we approached the turn off, it stopped raining enough for us all to say, “Oh, gwarn then” Translation: “Oh, go on then.”

And I’m pretty glad we did.

Coral Bay is a little fishing town just north of the Tropic of Capricorn. ¬†It’s a super popular place as it is known as the gateway to the Nigaloo Marine Park and home to the whale shark.

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We didn’t see any of these special little creatures, but we did see the beach.

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These photos don’t do it justice at all. ¬†The water is crystal clear and the sand a lovely squeaky white.

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Although, the forbidding cloudage is lovely for photos, just imagine how lovely this place would be with but skies.

And….. the boardwalk also leads down to this shelter, so that people in wheelchairs or other devices that make it difficult of them to get down to the beach. ¬†Now, that’s fun for the whole family!

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Holed up in Carnarvon

Well, I’m not too sure what’s happened, but a massive front has just hit the WA coast and she is raining like there’s no tomorrow. ¬†So our one night stopover in sunny Carnarvon has become two and a possible three!!!

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Our caravan park hails itself as the “Kalgoorlie by the Sea” and here’s what it looks like after a massie downpour.

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So because it’s raining and sludgey, we’ve been stuck in the van all day, but there was a break and we took that opportunity to take¬†a walk around the park…… here are the highlights.

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Mrs Wilton, I thought of you when I saw this. ūüíē

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I guess this is a Kalgooliesque campsite?

Some lovely plants….

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Someone here has some great¬†gardening skills…

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No bathroom fixtures go to waste here.

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They even have a bowling green and clubhouse, called “The Shed” where they have a bar and pool table, lounges and tables, darts and a big screen telly.

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Fun for the whole family…. except kids aren’t allowed, so even better! ¬†Well, I guess they can go if they’re accompanied by their parents, but whatever.

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It’s 5 O’Clock somewhere!

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Good to see they have the standardised line from which one must throw the dart – no cheaters thank you!

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Well done Capricorn Caravan Park….. Well done.

 

Venturing out of the park and down to the petrol station for a bit of shopping and retail relief, we spotted a sign for organic fruit and veg and followed the dirt road…

Then this lady roared around the corner on her quad bike with a cup of tea in hand.  She was picking up her kids from the end of the dirt road.

Once we got to the end we realised that the organic fruit and veg shop was really just the veranda of her house….. and bless, she didn’t have too much on her sale tables. ¬†But, we’d walked all that way, so we were buying something.

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What an awesome way to get to and from school!

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¬†She had a couple of sad looking paw paws there, but offered to cut us down a better one from her tree….. yes please! ¬†You don’t get fresher than that. ¬†We also purchased two avacados that were as hard as rocks

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A little bit of Bali right here in the back block of Carvarvon!

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Then it was back down the path, past the plantations and to the shopping mecca of the Caltex.

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ūüé∂ Take the long way home…… ūüé∂

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The Beauty of Hamelin Bay

We packed up ridiculously early this morning due to a phone call from a very eager chap from the east coast who was returning his messages from the weekend and didn’t realise that we were in the west, or that it was obviously still the middle of the night no matter where he was. We’d had a few drops of rain, so it was time to get out of town.

On the road back to the main highway is Shell Beach.

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We stopped in to get a close up of the tiny shells.

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And to marvel at the beautiful clear (but salty) water.

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The water just looks like glass.

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So clear!

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A bit of panoramic trickery.  Me Jenny Рshe loves to get involved.

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Then the clouds opened up just enough to give us this beautiful religious experience.

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Down the road a bit is Hamelin’s Pool and home to the most diverse and abundant examples of living stromatolites in the world. ¬†These creatures are monuments of life on Earth over 3500 million years ago; a time when no other complex creatures were present on the planet.

There is a newish boardwalk that allows you to get out above the stromatolites to see them properly.

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And here they are. ¬†It reminds me of that movie Cocoon…¬†alien-like.

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Then it was time to hit the road – destination….. Carnarvon. ¬†We had planned to stay on a couple of stations along the way, but with the imminent rain, it was a safer proposition to head straight into town.

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Now, I don’t want to bag Carnarvon because I don’t really know much about the town, but on first glance….. it isn’t somewhere I desperately want to spend a huge amount of time. ¬†This time, the rain will determine the length of our stay.

This is one of the roads into Carnarvon. ¬†It’s called Memorial Drive and palm trees were planted all the way along as a memorial for the HMAS Sydney – the ship that sank off the coast. ¬†This was the best section that we passed.

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We headed straight to the fisherman’s wharf to pick up some fresh crabs and prawns…

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Then one quick look up the main street before getting ourselves tucked in at the caravan park – right next to the satellite dish….. ahhh, the serenity!

The big dish was used during the Apollo mission to the moon in 1969 and also to track Halley’s Comet and put Carnarvon on the world map.

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See ya round Shark Bay

So that’s 3 perfect Denham days. ¬†There’s a rain a-comin’ tomorrow and apparently she’s going to be a doozy!

I think I’ll remember Shark Bay like this….

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I mean – look at that water!

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Last time me Jenny was in Denham there was a cyclone and she swore she’d never come back here again….. I think we could say that she’s as pleased as I am that she did.

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My guess is that the foreshore will look totally different the next time we’re back this way. ¬†I hope it’s all finished for the Dirk celebrations in October.

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Bucket List – Monkey Mia = ‚úĒÔłŹ

Monkey Mia has always been on my bucket list. ¬†I’ve lived many a year in Western Australia but have only ever driven north, past Kalbarri, once before and on that trip we drove straight past the Denham turn off and missed Shark Bay altogether.

I wasn’t going to miss out this time.

So this morning we got up at the crack of dawn and drove across the peninsula from Denham to Monkey Mia in time to see the sunrise!

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And the water was like a mirror!

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At 7.45am Рon the dot, the dolphins starting to meander around the jetty in pairs.  Two of the small ones came into the shallows and just waited in the nose down, blow hole up power nap position.

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Then after the briefing from the wildlife Ranger, we were allowed to head down to the water’s edge. ¬†How’s the mass onslaught of people?

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They only feed certain families of dolphins here and only the females within those families because the males can become quite aggressive towards the females and also to the people feeding them.

See – cranky people/dolphins miss out!

So the males and the other dolphins on the no feed list hung out a bit further while the others got their fish.

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There were quite a few people there who were all well-behaved and all followed the Ranger’s instructions. ¬†The most people they’ve had there was in the 700s! Glad we weren’t there on that day.

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The dolphins on the feed list are allowed two fish and then they’re encouraged to head back out to deeper water to behave like wild dolphins. ¬†Some of them have calves that need to nurse as well and they can’t do that in the shallows.

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So the rangers wait for at least 10 minutes before they give them more fish. ¬†The dolphins know when the 10 minutes is up though, because they started to head back into shore. ¬†They do 3 feedings between 8am and 12 noon¬†and then if the dolphins come back in, they’re not fed. ¬†This encourages them to catch their own fish.

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The group walks into the water en mass which lets the dolphins know that the feeding is about to start. ¬†Then everyone walks out of the water en masse which tells the dolphins that it’s all over.

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There’s not just dolphins in these waters. ¬†Down along the beach there is a pearl farm, there are turtles, sharks and when in season (August to May) – dugongs.

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The whole time we were there the water and sky looked just like this – perfect!

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We had a lovely breakfast at the resort restaurant, then we were attacked (softly) by this emu – so that told us it was time to go.

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If you are in Denham and are looking for a transfer service across to Monkey Mia, I can highly recommend Shark Bay Coaches and Tours – 0429 110 104. ¬†Super friendly people who pick you up from you accommodation and then you just call them when you’re ready to be picked up. ¬†$15 pp one way. Great if you don’t have a car.

Apology to Dirk Hartog

So after a visit to the Shark Bay Discovery Centre – it seems that we might owe Dirk Hartog a small apology for accusing him of tossing away the french bottle with the coin in it, and replacing it with his pewter plate, claiming the island as his own…… ¬†Well it appears that we were wrong – so here’s the real story.

25th October, 1616 – Dirk and his team arrive and nail up the plate which says:

“1616, the 25th October, is here arrived the ship the Eendracht of Amsterdam, the upper-merchant Gillis Miebais of Liege, skipper Dirk Hartog of Amsterdam; the 27th ditto set sail again for Bantam, the under merchant Jan Stins, the upper steersman Pieter Dookes van Bill, Anno 1616.”

Whatever that means?

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Then in February of 1697, Dutch navigator, Willem de Vlamingh landed on  Dirk Hartog Island.  They climbed the cliff and found the post still standing, but with the plate fallen to the ground nearby.

Then….. Vlamingh decided to replace Dirk’s plate with one of his own. ¬†He had a pewter plate about the same size, inscribed Dirk’s original text above and below he recorded his own visit. ¬†Then he nailed his plate up on a new post next to where Dirk had his and took Dirk’s original plate to Batavia.

1699 – William Dampier turned up at the island, but he was more interested in collecting plants than nailing in his own plate.

1772 РThe French captain landed in Turtle Bay and instructed his crew to proceed at least 10 kms inland and take possession of the land for France.  On their return to the coast, as instructed, they buried an annexation document in a bottle at the foot of a small tree and placed a silver coin in its lead seal.

Some other people came after that and did some other things, but I think I’ve covered what I needed to¬†make this an authentic retraction.

Sorry Dirk.

 

Cheers!

Our first Shark Bay sunset with 5sie in hand. 

The beach was full of seaweed, but it didn’t detract from the beautifulness of it all. 

Discovering Shark Bay

A lovely couple in the caravan park had posted signs all over the park advertising a craft sale today between 8.30am and 1pm.  Jen and I were super excited as we love a good bit of craft.  So down we wandered with our expectations held way down low, expecting to see some knitted booties or perhaps a crocheted tea cosy (both fabulous items, just not in our realm of  want or need)

We arrived to a semi professional stall with tables and items wrapped neatly in plastic  – and all very reasonably priced.  We purchased a caravan motif hand towel that hangs over the oven rail, a lovely little bag, a couple of bookmarks and this caddy bag that fits thusly onto Colin’s Luggie through the wonders of Velcro!  That couple made a killing today!

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Col has a few issues with his back, (if you ask him, he’ll tell you all about it) so to get around, especially when we’re going long distances, he pops himself onto his “Luggie” and speeds along the footpath at walking pace.  Otherwise he’d be back in the van on his own and that’s no fun.

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This year is the 400th anniversary of Dirk Hartog landing on Dirk Hartog Island.  What are the odds of landing on an island that has the same name as yourself?  I jest people, I jest…  It was named after him after he landed his Dutch trading ship at Cape Inscription (now known as DHI).  Apparently Dirk was the first recorded white man to set foot on Australian soil.  He stepped off the ship and nailed a pewter plate onto a post.

However there have been claims by the French that they were in fact the first people to land there and showed an example of French coins in a bottle that were buried at the tip of the island, so about 15 years ago some chaps we know went on an expedition to Dirk Hartog Island using an ancient map to try and find said bottle and coins – and found it!

Maybe Dirk saw the bottles, threw them into the bush and nailed his plate, pretending that he hadn’t seen anything?  Maybe they were buried really well and he was none the wiser?  So it turns out that it wasn’t actually Dirk who was the first to discover the island.  Shark Bay are still going to have a festival though to celebrate 400 years since some bloke littered our beautiful coast line with his pewter plate; and they are going all out.  The foreshore has been dug up and there are cranes and heavy machinery all over the place.  It only takes a little away from the serenity.

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Denham seems like a lovely little town to stop and unwind.  There’s not a huge amount to do here except fish, but there are people who come up here for months at a time because the weather is glorious and there’s all the time in the world to do nothing – perfect!

Just outside of Denham in Hamelin Bay, there is a beach full of tiny shells – called, strangely enough, Shell Beach…

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The shell is so jam packed it goes down as far as about 9 metres.  It was quarried and cut into shell blocks and then used to build most of the station homesteads.  This building is on the main street of Shark Bay and was built using the shell blocks as well.  It’s a fabulous insulator keeping the buildings cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

The foreshore is a big eyesore at the moment, but if you just look in one direction, you can pretend that it’s not happening…

Since Colin has had his Luggie he has been consistently stopped by the ladies.  Today we weren’t sure if it was the Luggie that drew this lady in, Colin’s charm or perhaps the crafted pouch we purchased this morning?  Who knew the Luggie would be such a chick magnet?  However, on second glance at the photo – the lady is looking away……

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So this is pretty much our view if I walk down a small hill – look at the colour of this water!

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The only trouble is that – everybody else had the same idea…..

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Clancy of the Overflow

Today we’re packing up, saying goodbye to Kalbarri and heading north to Shark Bay.

So, brekky at the cafe next door to the caravan park, driving cap firmly in place, tyre check, fuel and we’re off.

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Kalbarri is surrounded by gorges, so it would have been remiss of us to not at least check out one of them.  We turned left at the sign for the Ross Graham Gorge.

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We learned that Ross Graham was the first teacher in Kalbarri, who died in 1967 – aged 31.  The gorge was dedicated to him due to his interest in preserving the natural beauty of the national park.

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 It is quite a beautiful place.  Well done Ross Graham.

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Then it was back on the road and LOTS of scenery that looked like this…..

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I’m learning a lot on this trip about camping and caravanning and motor homing.  Today was my first experience with emptying the sullage into the dump holes.  This is the life.

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Our first glimpse of water in Shark Bay.

We pulled into the Denham Holiday Park (without a booking).  Whenever Jen or I would ask Colin “should we make a booking?” Col’s reply is always, “Nah, there’ll be plenty of room.”  So we confidently walked into the chaotically busy office of the caravan park and were informed that there were no sites, unless we wanted to stay up in the overflow area for the night, then they could squeeze us in for the next two nights on a powered site.

We’ll take it!

Here is Jenny enjoying the peaceful solitude of the overflow.

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Kickin’ it in Kalbarri

At the entrance into Kalbarri there’s quite a few turn offs that all offer fabulous ¬†lookouts. ¬†We chose Eagle Gorge. ¬†It was about a 2.5 minute walk from the car park to the end of the lookout. ¬†Not the reason we chose it by the way, that was just a bonus.

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Fabulous views of quite an amazing coastline.

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We popped down to the end of town to The Anchorage Caravan Park and they had a plethora empty bays, so we tried a couple (had to see if the satellite worked in that spot – after all, that’s what glamping is all about!)

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Then we settled on this spot opposite the water and got comfy.

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So comfy in fact that we all sat there in the sun.

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Until it was too hot to sit in the sun anymore and decided that this was a great spot to defrost our dinner.  Soup and savoury mince on the menu tonight.  Yummo!

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Jen and I headed towards town to purchase a few items; bread, a sleeping bag for me (because it was bloody freezing last night!!!!!) and whatever else Kalbarri had on offer.

Then this van pulled in to the caravan park beeping his horn. ¬†Our mouths dropped as we pointed to the van in disbelief…. the man saw us and did a Uey. ¬†This bakery – Barbara’s Bake House delivers to the caravan parks!!!!! ¬†What an awesome service. ¬†Her motto is: “You ring, we bring”.

So a loaf of bread was purchased pronto!

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We still needed a sleeping bag for me, so we set off on our journey.  It was about a 20 minute walk along the water which was hard to take.

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We got into town and not only did we find a second-hand book shop that had the elusive book that Jenny’s book club requirements had her¬†searching for, but there was a lovely lady in The Book Nook who helped her find it. ¬†I purchased a sleeping bag from a very friendly chap who insisted I open up all the bags to see which one was best for me. ¬†We thought we were on a roll and popped into the town bakery (thinking it might have been the same people as Barbara’s Bake House) but the woman in there clearly hated working at the bakery and when I said “Oh, it’s so hard to know what to choose” she replied, “I can’t tell you what to choose.” ¬†Yep, didn’t actually ask you to. ¬†No wonder Babs is doing so well!

We hit the news agency and purchased a couple of items we needed for games – dice, cards, trivial pursuit questions, etc….. and then we hightailed it back to the park.

The rest of the day was spent sitting in the sun reading – why the hell not?

Then this happened:

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I can’t wait to try out my new sleeping bag tonight.

The Pink Lake of Port Gregory

Before I begin this blog post – I would like to print ¬†a retraction as I’ve been advised that my calculations of distance between Mandurah and Broome was grossly overstated. ¬†It is actually 2427kms rather than the “a few clicks under 3000kms”. ¬†So, I stand corrected.

As you were……

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97kms north of Geraldton is the little tiny coastal fishing town of Port Gregory.  When I say tiny, there are approximately 50 houses, a caravan park and a general story.

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It sits snugly between the ocean – a beautiful beach; lined and protected by a long line of reef

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and a massive pink lake

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Why is it pink? ¬†I hear you all ask……

It is pink due to a bacteria trapped in the salt granules which apparently provides a rich sauce of beta carotene….. I’ve had to google this – Thanks medicalnewstoday.com¬† – (Don’t tell me you don’t learn anything on this blog!)

Beta-carotene is a red-orange pigment found in plants and fruits, especially carrots and colorful vegetables.

The name beta-carotene comes from the Greek “beta” and Latin “carota” (carrot). It is the yellow/orange pigment that gives vegetables and fruits their rich colors. H. Wachenroder crystallized beta-carotene from carrot roots in 1831, and came up with the name “carotene”.

Beta-carotene’s chemical formula – C40H56¬†– was discovered in 1907.

The human body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A (retinol) Рbeta-carotene is a precursor of vitamin A. We need vitamin A for healthy skin and mucus membranes, our immune system, and good eye health and vision.

Beta-carotene in itself is not an essential nutrient, but vitamin A is.

Fast facts on beta-carotene

Here are some key points about beta-carotene. More detail and supporting information is in the main article.

  • Beta-carotene is a red/orange pigment found in many fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A, an essential vitamin
  • Vitamin A is toxic at high levels
  • Beta-carotene is a carotenoid and an¬†antioxidant
  • Foods rich in vitamin A include¬†onions, carrots, peas, spinach and squash
  • One study showed that smokers with high beta-carotene intake might have an increased risk of¬†lung cancer
  • Some evidence suggests that beta-carotene might slow cognitive decline
  • Beta-carotene supplements interact with certain drugs, including statins and mineral oil
  • Beta-carotene might help older people retain their lung strength as they age.
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We think this is the house that we built….. there has been some debate, but it looks most like it out of the 3 houses on that side of the street – so we’re claiming it!

Anyway….. I digress. ¬†Port Gregory is another place that holds memories for me as a kiddie. ¬†We used¬†to go up there with family friends; go fishing, catch crayfish, dive for abalone, drive along the beach with all the kids sitting (unrestrained) hanging off the back of the 4WD and fang around in beach buggies – this was in the days when fun wasn’t considered dangerous or illegal and you could go off exploring without fear of…. well anything!

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Some places and events I remember straight out, but some I have to rely on old photos to put me back in that place.  As we drove out of Geraldton and headed north, Col and Jen regaled me with many a story of camping and fishing trips that we had taken over the years Рmost when I was too young to remember. Seriously, how we all survived is quite beyond me!

Now…. On to Kalbarri

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On The Road Again…..

Hi de hi Campers!

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Well, it’s been 2 months or so, which means that it’s time to pack the bags again and head off somewhere new. The timing is perfect because even though I love the cold weather, a couple of months of it is probably all I’m prepared to accept before the warmer climate beckons.

Every year (give or take) my parents, Jen & Col drive up to Broome in the north of Western Australia and soak up the sun for 2-3 months.

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I have accompanied them a couple of times in the past and saw no reason not to do it again this year. ¬†The first time I accompanied “The Parents” we drove up – staying in cabins along the way, the second time, I flew up and met them there, but this time we’re trying something that has only ever been tried before when I was about 8 or 9 years old –¬†joining them on the long drive – in a motorhome. ¬†A motorhome built for two.

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There’s a dickie seat just for me, although Me Jenny has chosen to sit in it for the first leg, and I’ve got a blow up mattress that takes up the entirety of the left over space – so it should be all good. ¬†Lucky we’re a fairly close-knit little unit!

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Mandurah to Broome is a few clicks under 3000kms and usually Col likes to drive as far as possible and doesn’t like to stop which means our planned out 2 week meander up the coast might only take us 4 days! ¬†Me Jenny has come home from many a trip complaining of whiplash as she’s tried to look at things flying past her at 85kmh. ¬†But this time it’s 2 against 1, so there will be stops involved in this journey, even if I have to lean in from the dickie seat and pull the and break handle myself!

Our first stop is Geraldton.

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Geraldton, for those not in the  know is the town where I was born and grew up until the age of 16 when we moved to the big smoke.  I love coming back to town, it always gives me a warm sense of nostalgia and I get to catch up with some of my lovely family members.

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Tommy & Bailey

Also, there’s generally a cafe that I haven’t yet tried – so she’s a win/win!

Seriously, if you’re ever in Geraldton – check it out!

https://www.facebook.com/ReneeLouise.Flow.Vitality/

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There was also meant to be a wee trip over to the Abrolhos Islands…

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… but alas the weather was not going to be kind to us during our window of opportunity. ¬†Although we’ve had outrageously good weather thus far, what you don’t want is wind or swell, so that will have to be a trip for another time.

Onwards and northwards up the coast.