Hi everyone its been ages since my last post and I have a bit of catching up to do!! So let me take my mind back to WA, where we were on our way to Perth and my 40th birthday! ....
Bryce standing under the dome of seagulls
We made a few stops on the way to Perth; one worth a special acknowledgment for me was the memorial in Geraldton, dedicated to
the 645 soldiers that died on the HMAS Sydney II, during WW2. This well planned memorial is simply beautiful, every structure and sculpture symbolic to those lost and those that loved them. I found it to be incredibly touching and emotional. The 644 seagulls that create the dome represent the soldier’s that died. The pool of remembrance symbolizing the circle of life and death, the circular terracing symbolically descending down into the depths of the ocean and the final 645th seagull marks the exact location of where the ship rests on the sea floor. There was so much more to this memorial and I would recommend to anyone driving past Geraldton to take the time to stop and have a look.
We found The Pinnacles quite a surreal experience, walking around
the rock pillars that nature has sculptured and placed across the sand hills for miles. Bryce described it beautifully as an 'ancient cemetery'.
Flowers lining the side of the road
After so many months of sparse landscape and dry red dust that spread into every nook and cranny of the caravan it was wonderful to see bush and wildflowers. The drive to Kalbarri was like a beautiful garden in bloom. No wonder we have all been sneezing!!!
It was great to have a whole week in Kalbarri and to be able to slow down and relax. We spent a day in the national park, admiring the flora and doing short walks to lookouts over the gorges. The rest of the week was spent swimming and snorkelling at the pool or the beach. Quite a few families holidaying from Perth here so the boys had many kids to pay with. We meet up with some travel friends and did more fishing. Mike loved Kalbarri, more trees and less people!
Mike has been very fastidious and persistent in cleaning the car and to a lesser extent the caravan. Over the past months WA's red dust and salty water has tested his border-line cleaning obsession! He has provided a lot of amusement for us and our travel friends.
Yes that is filtered water he is using to clean his beloved Charlie (car).
In the car park while we were fishing!
Oh well, it keeps him happy!
Yay!! Monkey Mia
We arrived in the beautiful sea side town of Denham with the wind still howling. There is quite a lot to see around Denham and it is very close to
Monkey Mia without the price tag. We pick a site with a view over shark bay and didn’t put our owning out!! At night the wind pick up to 60km but Jackaroo (that’s our caravan) held strong.
Monkey Mia was great and the boys were lucky enough to get picked to feed the dolphins. There was a new baby dolphin so everyone had to stand out of the water rather than the usual knee depth. It was much more protected from the wind and we spent the day swimming and watching rays and turtles swim by.
Shark feeding frenzy
We drove out to Eagle Bluff which has a long board walk on the cliff looking over a shallow bay full of sharks and rays. We went to the Ocean Park Aquarium and leant about the fish and heaps on sharks, it was very good. We did some more unsuccessful fishing!! The boys and I spent a day at the beach and playground to give Mike a rest with his man Flu. Drove to an amazing beach that was made up of small cockle shell rather than sand and was appropriately named Shell Beach. Then to Hamelin Pool to see the stromatolites, these corals are the oldest living things on the plant approx 3.5 billion years old and responsible for producing oxygen that has created the world as we know it today! As impressive as they may sound, to look at they are, to quote Tom“rocks in the water”. Oh well!
Over the past few weeks it has become increasingly windy and the drive to Carnarvon was quite slow due to strong head winds. It would seem that the spring/summer winds that Western Australia is famous for have set in.
The caravan park had a jumping castle which was a hit with the boys and they spent hours in it. We chilled out here for nearly a week doing fishing, or maybe we should call it fish feeding!! Visiting the local sites such as the one mile jetty, that had recently been set alight so is the ½ mile jetty, and visiting Bumbaks plantation, famous for its ice-cream. It also gave us a chance to catch up with the blog and some schooling. We caught up with Margie and had a great night eating Pizza and chatting.
We took a day trip out to the blow holes and Point Quobba, then further north to Red Bluff. This was definitely the highlight of this stop with its beautiful coast line. At Red Bluff we watched a guy cleaning fish on the beach and then feeding the scraps to a very large shark coming into the shallows. We decided not to bother snorkelling! Once finished he decided to have a wash!! It was quite funny watching this guy play tag with the shark. As he went in the water the shark came to the shallows, so the guy ran out and when the shark went out and he went back in???? His mate stood on the rocks above to keep watch and yell down where the shark was. This was certainly nothing we have seen before and as for the boys, well… we explained that teasing sharks was a game that you could one day lose!! Although it was highly entertaining to watch.
We were at Carnarvon longer than we expected as we were waiting for a school package. So I took advantage of being able to enjoy doing more yoga. I reached a goal that I have been working on for months which was to be able to do the splits before I am 40. I did with 3 weeks to spare! Yay!!
Coral Bay was beautiful with a great swimming beach and again only a short swim to the reef.
The boys loved the fish feeding on the beach, they had huge fish swimming around their legs and bumping into them fighting for food.
We booked a Quad bike tour that was Awesome! Mike and Bryce on one bike, Tom and I on the other. We raced through the sand hills and down the beach to a great snorkelling spot called Oyster Bridge. The tour guide allowed us to have a longer snorkel, so when we headed home it was a fast and fun ride! The boys were so excited, Bryce declared it was thr best day ever in his life!! We all had grins from ear to ear.
Ningaloo just gets better and better!!
The next day we did a boat trip to snorkel with manta rays. If we were not able to see whale sharks we thought this was the next best thing and it didn’t disappoint. The tour was run by 3 women, a dive master, instructor and skipper. The first spot was great dive or snorkel on the outer reef. It was too scary for Tom to get in, which we were of course ready for. So Mike and Bryce swam off with the guided snorkel tour and I swam around the boat with the skipper happy to help entertain Tom by throwing fish food on my head so the fish attacked me. It was great fun and I got kissed by some huge fish!!
When the group returned the skipper and I did the snorkel tour, great visibility we saw huge fish, sharks, turtles, mountains of coral and more.
The spotter plane found a manta and we jumped in and out following this huge graceful giant that looked like a massive bird flying in the water with a wing span of over 2 metres. We reached what they called the cleaning station which is where the mantas go to get a cleaned by a certain type of fish. Here there were 3 mantas that we watched and swam with, it was magic!!
We had a great time here, the boys both decided it was "the best time ever!" We met up with Margie and watched yet another magnificent sunset. The Coral Coast is wild and BEAUTIFUL!
When we first reached the Northern Territory we noticed trees that had been decorated with beer bottles or Tyres and trees of shoes or thongs, Christy stuff and much more. As we headed to Western Australia we noticed it changed to termite mounds being dressed up! As we were coming close to mining towns heaps of the mounds would be dressed in hard hats and work shirts. At touristy sea side towns in sarongs, towels and sun hats. It’s given us a great laugh on our very long drives. What people will do for entertainment when they’re drunk or bored!
It was so exciting to be in Exmouth or to be more precise to be by Ningaloo reef! For a long time I have dreamed about diving and snorkelling here. We have unfortunately missed the whale shark season but there is so much more to see here. Turtle are nesting and they were everywhere! We snorkelled with them, waded in the swallows close to them and watched them mating! Not that Tommy seemed that impresed!
The reef is so close to the beach that it was great for the kids to be able to snorkel and see a huge variety of fish and corals. We spent a long time at picturesque Turquoise Bay where the boys played and practiced snorkelling with their noodles. Many of the spots are a short swim over the sand with depths around 3 m, to reach the reef that was generally between 1 to 3 metres. Bryce has really got his confidence in the water and was able to explore with Mike or myself a lot more. Tom too was confident with his snorkelling gear but liked to stay in his depth, so he loved a place called the Oyster Stacks with coral straight off the rocks. It was perfect for him and I was able to take him out further than he realized as there was so much to see.
Once the boys were cold and had had enough, Mike and I would take turns snorkelling. As a rule you should always snorkel with a buddy, but that wasn’t an option so we had to adjust accordingly and go alone. Generally this might mean that you don’t go out so deep and hang around the area of other snorkelers. But at times I found this hard, I went snorkelling at Oyster Stacks while Mike and the boys had lunch and rested in the car and at an amazing spot called Lake Side, I went out in depths of 10 or more metres with great visibility in the hope of finding some sharks and mantas. I would keep popping my head up making sure I could see the markers and the beach! It was great and scary at the same time, but worth it when I found a black tip reef shark resting on the bottom and swam though some huge schools of fish. I LOVE Ningaloo!! It’s exciting to see the boys getting a greater appreciation of the ocean.