DAY 26 FRIDAY 17th AUGUST 2012
KAYAKING OUT FROM NED’S BEACH NINGALOO REEF
We were on the water just before high tide (around 10-00am). All I can say about today’s paddle is I’m glad we brought the kayaks along. Where we launched today the shoreline waves were only small but sufficient to tip the kayak sideways had we not been careful. Bev takes the forward position usually, leaving me to push off and jump in quick. The only word to describe how it feels when you push off and glide seaward is elation. It’s easy to get hooked on kayaking. It’s like bike riding. The advantages of both are that they are free and no licence is required.
Excuse the wonky horizon! One of the disadvantages of using a point and shoot camera extended to arm’s length is that it is hard to keep the camera steady. Give me an SLR with a view finder that you pull into your face any day.
Today we were on the water for about four hours, which is long enough when one considers the nasty effects of too much sun. There is an English couple camped next to us at the caravan park and the male of the couple is a keen surfer. He has heat stroke, obviously out on his surfboard for too long.
Map drawing this afternoon, writing and reading this evening and then early to bed. Everything is going well.
DAY 27 SATURDAY 18TH AUGUST 2012
KAYAKING OUT FROM PIGRAMUNNA CREEK NINGALOO
Made an effort to get onto the water earlier today. We launched from a protected little cove and paddled south out into deep water over coral beds. I did a depth sounding with the paddle expecting the water to be around a half a metre deep but it was well over two metres. The water is so clear.
Ningaloo Marine Park is renowned for whale sharks. These huge fish can grow to fifteen metres long and weigh up to forty tonnes, fortunately they live on small fish and plankton so they do not bother humans. However it has been reported that a diver was inadvertently sucked into the mouth of a whale shark, easy when you consider they have a four metre wide mouth (our kayak is seven metres long to give you a comparison). Whale sharks come and go from Ningaloo Reef; some have transmitters attached to their dorsal fins and satellite tracking shows they cruise well out into the Indian Ocean. We hoped to see one today but I think we would have had to paddle out to the edge of the continental shelf which, although not all that far out, is a bit daunting for a couple of old donkeys. The only large marine creatures we saw today were a turtle and a couple of big fish.
The above photo is courtesy of Brittany Billington WSD
This poor creature was washed ashore in 1965 just south of Sydney near Bare Island Botany Bay. Photograph Australian Museum.
This afternoon was a repeat of yesterday — reading, writing, painting and slumber.
DAY 28 SUNDAY 19TH AUGUST 2012
YARDIE CAMP TO STOCKYARD CAMP
(North of Carnarvon)
As the sun pushed over the horizon this morning I went for a walk through the Yardie rubbish dump and laid out on the ground was the history of Yardie Station before it became a caravan park.
Aloes were brought into Australia by the Chinese and planted close by to where they worked and lived to ward off evil spirits. Early European settlers boiled the leaves and mixed the juice with wood ash and used the brew to control diahorrea.
Suggested to Bev this morning we should shower before leaving the caravan park because after consulting the map it looked like tonight will be a free camp in the bush somewhere near Carnarvon.
After leaving Yardie Camp we stopped at Exmouth thinking we would be able to get on the net and do a blog posting but no luck. Rex, a hitchhiker who we picked up, told us that there are two large conglomerates in Exmouth that have expanded their band and thus pushed Telstra out and because we have a Telstra dongle we are unable to get a signal. The only way we could get connection is if we bought time from one of the two conglomerates.
Exmouth was originally established to house mainly American servicemen working in the 1960s at the nearby communications base who married Australian women. Today it’s a place for everyone, that’s if they can afford it. By the look of it you need to have a fair bit of dough in the coffers to be able to buy or build a house and live there. Architect- designed colourbond houses are creeping across the countryside and when you look at the cars parked with boat trailers at the boat ramp there are a lot of rich dudes in the town.
There is a lot of dough up in these parts. There were four rows of flash cars like these all with big boat trailers attached.
Note the small windows to prevent heat penetration, low eaves and the white roof to reflect the heat. One thing I notice up these parts is that the chippies (carpenters) are not afraid of complex roof angles such as the ones shown here.
Getting your house is only a small part of the cost; keeping it running is just as costly. The maximum temperature recorded in Exmouth is 48.9 degrees so I imagine one would spend a lot of time indoors during the summer with an air conditioner running. Electricity to run a reverse cycle air conditioner is around $1000 dollars per month.
There are some very innovative house designs in Exmouth. This is the start of what I think will be an interesting house.
One thing I notice in these tropical climes is that nearly every wheelie bin in public places stinks of fish, even the ones in kids playgrounds. I pity the council workers who have to empty them.
Look at the size of this fish. Its head is the size of the wheelie bin! Who would be so inconsiderate to leave it here expecting a council worker to clean it up?
We left Exmouth just before lunch and not far out of town there was a young bloke walking south with a small backpack and swag. He wasn’t actually thumbing a lift. It seemed he didn’t care if he got a lift or not.
It’s not often these days we see people on the road and when we do we most often stop and offer them a lift. Some of our overseas friends we are visiting later in this odyssey are people we have picked up and given rides or given shelter to. I asked him where he was headed and he said Darwin so we decided we could drop him at the crossroads about eighty kilometres away and he could continue from there. As I said, there are not many hitchhikers on the roads these days because I think the spate of backpacker murders south of Sydney years ago has scared those who travelled by thumb. Rex had been working in Exmouth for a few months but decided it was time to move on. He has been on the road since he was sixteen and is now twenty-eight. Bev asked how his mother felt about him leaving. The only advice she offered was ‘don’t waste your life’, and it seems he hasn’t. He has worked at a variety of jobs and has a number of work tickets. We dropped Rex at the intersection, but before he went I made him a sandwich and topped his water bottle up. His final remarks were ‘you two are awesome’. Makes you feel good, helping a young traveller on their way.
I wonder if we will ever meet him again, I hope so. I gave him our blog address and email and said if he is passing through our way to come and stay awhile.
The country from Exmouth to Coral Bay is devoid of trees and we were hard pushed to find a bit of shade to stop for lunch so we made a couple of sandwiches and ate as we travelled. In 1972 when travelling in our VW Beetle in the Middle East I boiled the kettle on a gas stove as we drove along. I often think about it and now realise it might have been a little dangerous.
Tonight we are camped just north of Carnarvon town in what I think is an old stockyard, a conclusion I came to because nearby is an old windmill and troughs and there are a lot of burrs underfoot, typical of a degraded area.