day 7 - saturday 26th july
out to monkey mia for a second visit because yesterday's ticket is valid for 2 days... ruth really loves watching the dolphins, so it's good for us to come and see them. same sort of show as yesterday with the same group of dolphins (give or take 1 or 2). we watched the first show and then most of the second show before heading off to capture our first 'virtual cache', a photo of the monkey mia resort entrance wall.
we went to peron homestead on the way back to denham. the homestead is right on the edge of the francois peron national park and is used as a base for calm / dec / whatever they call themselves now. met an old bloke out there who lives in denham but does odd jobs out at the homestead. he used to work on the station before it was subsumed by the government for environmental purposes. he reckons the last owner was frank love of loves buses.
the homestead itself is off limits but they have a really nice hot tub running which is fed directly from the artesian basin below the property. magic hot water direct from the ground. the kids loved it (and so did I)...
back in to town to sit around and relax. took the kids down to the town jetty to jig for squid but to know avail. yesterday you could see the squid in the water and there were heaps of them. today - nothing - nada - zilch.....
song for the day: jimmy barnes - working class man
day 8 - sunday 27th july
denham - carnarvon
another day another town... took to the road and headed for a one day stopover in carnarvon before heading off into the bush. nice trip up the highway with not a huge amount of traffic although it did take 40 minutes to get fuel at the overlander cos we had to wait for all the caravans and winnebagoes getting fuel too.
got into carnarvon and discovered that what we thought was a booking wasn't. ended up being squeezed into an unpowered site in the park's overflow section along with a bunch of others who also must have just dropped in. got set up and then off to do a couple of caches. one up at the old satellite tracking station and one out at the one mile jetty. the jetty is now one kilometre then a big hole where there was a fire and then another couple of hundred meters to the end. they still run the coffee pot train out as far as the damaged bit. the satellite tracking station has had a range of different roles but it is most famous as being involved in helping track the lunar landing mission in 1969.
turns out that this weekend is show weekend in carnarvon, so there's heaps of people around and lots going on. 7.30pm ish they had the most bizzare fireworks display i've ever encountered. there was a standard display and then about 15 minutes later there was half a dozen more shots fired and then 5 or 6 minutes later there was a couple more... weird hey!!!
at dinner time i got yakking with a bloke who recognised our car from albany and as we talked we realised that he had been a student at the amity hostel back in the late 80s / early 90s when i worked there as a supervisor. small world.
not much later the rain set in. it was light but constant through the night. the camper leaked a bit but we survived. come morning and we were just getting up and down she comes in buckets. its raining inside almost as much as outside. we packed up in record time and quite obviously weren't in any need of showers that morning.
song for the day: david bowie - space oddity
day 9 - monday 28th july
carnarvon - exmouth
bitter disappointment... the rain in carnarvon has extended inland and whilst only light now, is forecast to get heavier and more persistent. looks like temple gorge and mt augustus are going to be a no go. flipped a coin and decided to skip the inland leg now and maybe come back at some other point in the future (maybe christmas???) to tackle that bit. headed north instead and aimed for exmouth. secured an unpowered site at the exmouth cape holiday park. got here in reasonable time despite the fact that it rained the whole way here. only the last 20 kms or so have been dry. caravan park lady says it hasn't rained here all day. hahahaha - we'll soon change that.
got in and set up, put tarp over camper so there will be no leaks tonight. people all around looking at us wondering what we are doing. we have learned... we are stopped in a new town - it's gonna rain.
settled in, went for a quick drive around town, got dinner organised and then started cards with the kids. not long after, the drizzle started. there's a mad scramble around us as everyone gets there gear undercover. they won't be looking at us so strangely from now on. we've brought the rain 2000 kms with us. we're not letting go now !!!!!!
song for the day: panic at the disco - northern downpour
day 10 - tuesday 29th july
ahhhh yes. rained most of the night and blew a gale for a while and guess what - no leaks. yay!!!!!!
today we went out and visited a whole bunch of places along the ningaloo reef. out as far as yardie creek and then back into exmouth via bloodwood creek, turquoise bay, the jaribi turtle interpretive centre, the exmouth lighthouse, the wreck of the mildura, bungedi beach and then exmouth. did caches at yardie creek, the mildura site and bungedi.
as awesome as the natural wonders are up here, in some ways their beauty is overshadowed by the immenseness of the aerial array at the harold e holt navcommsat. the array (and the complex that goes with it) is huge. while i think that it doesn't detract in any way from the surrounding environment, it does dominate the area.
the cape range divides the exmouth peninsula and as we drove along the ningaloo road it struck me how odd it was that on one side of the rad there were these magnificent mesas and hills and gorges, and on the other side was this reef with turtles and whalesharks. a real juxtaposition of the dry and almost decaying age of the rasnges with the life and new beauty ofg the reef.
the other fascinating feature of the landscape up here is the termite mounds, literally thousands of them. everywhere you look there seems to be more of them. most of them seem to be dormant or dead or something - at least not crawling with termites - so i wonder where the live mounds are?????
film night at the caravan park tonight. they have an outdoor cinema area and an amazing camp kitchen with indoor and outdoor areas, internet access points, seating for 70 or 80 people, microwaves, toasters, kettles, fridges, ovens, the works. blows your mind really.
song for the day: the cat empire - saltwater