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 – the must have app for all travellers in Australia – we 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. 💕

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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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🎶 Take the long way home…… 🎶

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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 – she 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 = ✔️

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 – on 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 – The 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.