Some places we've been and some places we're going.

Archive for August, 2011

Port Hedland

We were both up this morning before the sun because I was hoping to find lots of shells left by the high tide but there were no big ones. It was late when we left and I was sooo hot. The car info said it was only 24 deg. B ut it wasn’t much later it said 34 deg. so I think the first reading was wrong. Before we left the campground we had to buy one more ice-cream which I now know is Norgen-Vas. Mango sold out yesterday so it was second choice for both of us.

We only made one stop at a “town”, Pardoo, and it was only for a driver change. Arrived here at Cooke Point Caravan Parl, Port Hedland about 2;00 and the receptionist was aghast that we hadn’t booked but we did get a site. When we went out after setting up there was a board saying, “No Caravan or Camper Trailer sites”. It seems to us that everyone here is either a tourist, service provider or in a job requiring a high-vis shirt. Haven’t seen any kids in school uniform yet but we think it must be either fluoro orange or yellow. We’ve also seen more Asian faces here than we did in Broome.

Sandflies are a problem here so we won’t be sitting out here enjoying the cool air for long, we’re covered in sticky, “Bushman” spray but I don’t trust it to keep us bite free. Tomorrow we’re heading out to Karijini National Park there are apparently great gorges there so we expect to stay for at least a couple of nights & will be “off-air” again.

Alex has had to multitask, editor and photographer so he has taken all but one of these and that’s the dodgiest one, but I think now my camera is compliant again.

Collecting shells at SUNRISE!

"Trees" in the sand.

Making Tracks Too

A strand of fisherfolk.

Alex' train, 2 engines and 116 wagons.

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Broome 4

It’s now over 3 weeks since we set out and when you look at the map we have a lot of ground to cover over the next few weeks. People who have been staying here for months are now talking about the days being hotter and we felt it today. Our neighbour will be heading back to Albany within 2 weeks because of the heat. This afternoon we decided we had to go for a swim in the glorious azure water but the tide was so far out that we couldn’t get more than about knee deep. The seabed here is also very squishy, not nice crisp sand. We saw heaps of Hermit Crabs and molluscs crawling about on the wet sand.

Before we went to the movies we ate at a kebab place, I think called, “Land of Pharaohs” and the food was just delicious and the décor really interesting. When Alex’s coffee came it had a very clever logo on it protesting about the Gas Refinery which is being proposed for Price Point, a beautiful section of pristine coast.

“Red Dog” was interesting but for me probably not as interesting as our setting. The start of the movies was punctuated with bats flying across in front of the screen. Wise people brought cushions others ended up with sore bottoms! I didn’t expect that because the seats are just like deckchairs but after about an hour I was moving “cheek to cheek”!

Tomorrow we head towards Port Headland but plan to stop at 80 Mile Beach so will probably be “off air” for a couple of days.

We met Irene and Billy Kemp again, they arrived here today from Derby.

It’s now over 3 weeks since we set out and when you look at the map we have a lot of ground to cover over the next few weeks. People who have been staying here for months are now talking about the days being hotter and we felt it today. Our neighbour will be heading back to Albany within 2 weeks because of the heat. This afternoon we decided we had to go for a swim in the glorious azure water but the tide was so far out that we couldn’t get more than about knee deep. The seabed here is also very squishy, not nice crisp sand. We saw heaps of Hermit Crabs and molluscs crawling about on the wet sand.

We met Irene and Billy Kemp again, they arrived here today from Derby.

Before we went to the movies we ate at a kebab place, I think called, “Land of Pharaohs” and the food was just delicious and the décor really interesting. When Alex’s coffee came it had a very clever logo on it protesting about the Gas Refinery which is being proposed for Price Point, a beautiful section of pristine coast.

“Red Dog” was interesting but for me probably not as interesting as our setting. The start of the movies was punctuated with bats flying across in front of the screen. Wise people brought cushions others ended up with sore bottoms! I didn’t expect that because the seats are just like deckchairs but after about an hour I was moving “cheek to cheek”!

Tomorrow we head towards Port Headland but plan to stop at 80 Mile Beach so will probably be “off air” for a couple of days.

The sea looks just tooo inviting.

No Gas

 

The Osprey that's been driving me nuts.

Sun Picture Gardens

Broome 3

This afternoon we had a lovely time on the old Pearl Lugger, Intombi. We were told to bring bathers so we did and had a great time at the back of the boat clinging to a net. We had to go off the side of the boat either by jumping in or by lowering ourselves down a ladder then grab onto a knotted rope with buoys attached and pull ourselves back to the net. It was a nice calm day but there were still small waves to slap us in the face but we both enjoyed it.

They did the boom swimming first then the boat moved out further and we tracked up the coastline and back. We could see all the cars on Cable Beach and the lighthouse at Gantheaume Point. Getting to and from the Intombi was in a little boat, 8 people at a time. Coming back one woman nearly ended up in the water because she didn’t let go of her husband when he got in the boat first. I think she also got a bit of a soaking at the other end when we had to wade to the shore.

Dinner tonight was delicious pizza from the beachside café which is just metres down from the caravan park and run by a guy with long, white hair, probably an ex-surfer or hippy.

Tomorrow we’re going to the markets in the morning then at night we’re off to the “Sun Pictures” an open air theatre that’s been running for donkeys’ years and has old posters of Clark Gable etc NOT in original condition but certainly in their original frames etc. We’re going to see “Red Dog”, I have Alex prisoner, he can’t escape.

The Intombi, a restored pearl lugger.

Captain Cool

Boom net swimming - we both had a go but Alex was cameraman today.

Another sunset.

is

Broome 2

Today we’ve wandered around the town from the Pearling Lugger display in the town to Gantheaume Point and the Deep Water Port and become more familiar with the town layout. Although Broome is always promoted as a very multicultural town with a big Chinese presence we find it very low key. The taxis are called, “Chinatwon Taxis” and have brightly painted dragons on them but in reality it’s difficult to find any part of Chinatown that looks anything like the Asian section of Adelaide Central Market. We bought some papers to read, Alex’ was “The Scottish Banner” which informed him that people want to land a Hercules plane on the A9 south of Inverness (main road running north/south through Scotland) as part of the new Batman movie. Amazing what you find out when you’re camping.

There were plenty of people fishing on the wharf and we saw a few fish caught,  I saw a big yellow sea snake or eel, not sure which. An Osprey was perched on top of a light waiting for an easy feed and when we were at Gantheaume Point one whole level of the lighthouse framework was taken over by an Osprey nest, the babies were squawking. Anastasia’s Bath was built for a man’s arthritic wife, I’m sure he had Chinese doing the hard graft. The high tides kept it refreshed.

We’ve both bought long sleeved shirts because we’ve booked a trip on an old Pearling Lugger for tomorrow and don’t want to get burnt. We get back from the trip after sunset so we’ll book in for another night and will be able to go the markets on Saturday morning –believe it or not Alex suggested that!

Looking back towards Cable Beach

Anastasia's Bath

Some silly Pterodactyl standing in an ancestor's footprints.

Osprey's have a nest on the second to highest level.

Broome

Before continuing to Broome we stopped at the Prison Tree in Derby. Although some of the aboriginal people held were considered to have stolen stock others were  “Blackbirded” ie they were captured,chained and held at the Prison Tree before being taken off to work as pearlers. Nearby is the 120 m long trough that watered 500 bullocks at one time. We think the stock would have been taken up the Gibb River Road to Wyndham. The old yards are still there, not far from the Prison Tree at Derby. There is also a “bath” built by some soldiers for the troops refreshment but of course, the officers got to use it before the other ranks each day.

Prison Tree, Derby

Alex at the end of the trough.

We’ve been told that you have to queue from early morning to get a site at a Broome caravan park but we were lucky, though we couldn’t be picky & the site we were allocated was VERY DIFFICULT to get into. Luckily we had a helpful neighbour and Alex managed to shoehorn the Camper in. The bay looks stunning.

Beautifully cooked salmon and salad for dinner, polished off the Annie’s Lane and now it’s time for a cider. If we don’t have one each our stocktaking will be way out of kilter!

We have booked in here for 3 nights but will see how it goes. If we want to stay longer we have to tell them the morning before and there is no guarantee of the same site. I can tell you it will be on this site or not at all!

Derby

We left Windjana early and continued on the dirt road which was fine. As the person at Kununurra said, if we’d started at this end of the Gibb Road we would have continued, there were no wicked corrugations. It was great having the time to catch up with everything & to restock our supply of cider. We’ve enjoyed one each night and had used our last. Accomodation here is very expensive, we have a “Motel Room” which cost $150 for the night. It’s a very basic room with tiny ensuite but beautifully clean and there is also a full kitchen which we can use. The other motel was $195 a night and the hotel $250 a night, nothing looked salubrious.

The car started acting as if it had a flat tyre when were in Derby, getting lumpy on startup so we hope it’s nothing major. An air filter check is in order, we think. We’ve just has a nice meal from the Cafe on the Wharf and watched the sunset so that is our photo for the day. Tomorrow we head for Broome and have been told you have to line up from early in the morning to get into the caravan park but we’ll see.

Our view from the "Catch Cafe", Derby.

Windjana Gorge –Monday 22nd Aug

No roosters this morning, just the loud “Honking of the Camper Bird”. We set off up the gorge at 6:30, which was AFTER breakfast. The ridges are part of the Devonian Reef which means the campground and all the flat country around are what was seabed. It’s all really too hard to describe, you need to see it but maybe the photos will give you an idea.

We became quite blasé about the crocodiles lazing about on the sand. I did expect a snapfest when one big crocodile started moving in on another’s patch of sandbank but it didn’t go beyond growling and mouth gaping. Luckily Crocodile Mac had his hearing on high alert and stopped us near some rustling grass. We stood and waited and gradually a snake appeared. We waited to warn the next lot of people coming up and the woman was in a tizzy about the VERY POISONOUS Brown Snake but Alex was remarkably calm. He said nothing at the time but afterwards told me he wasn’t worried, he was certain it was an Olive Python because he’d read about them on the info board.

It’s now only 11:30 and we’re back for R&R & showers while the campsite has only a few occupants. The water is solar heated so after an influx of campers during the afternoon the water is cold until the following day.

These National Park campsites are great, it cost us $11 per person because we already had a Park Pass, if there are no showers it’s about half that.

For  anyone who is interested our average fuel consumption according to the car computer is 12.5ltrs per 100kms.

Tomorrow we head for Derby and we expect to have Internet access again.

A wonderful place, Windjana Gorge

A Boab is worth a hug.

Crocodile Mac identified this as an Olive Python

Croc looking cool.