There she blows! There she blows!

Trip Start Oct 31, 2013
Trip End May 01, 2014

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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Quobba blowholes were great fun – you could get right up to them – in fact there were a group of kids standing over the smaller ones getting wet in strange places! Trying to time them for the camera was impossible so we just took a lot of photos and hoped for the best – John did well!!

We didn't go to Point Quobba last year as it’s a bit of a diversion - 50+ Km each way.  Our Camp book said there was a paying site, but in fact there were no rangers about so we didn’t have to pay.  Quobba turned out to be great so we stayed a couple of nights camped against the beach again, alongside a bay which is the best swimming spot we’ve come across.  Quiet, blue, warm water with lots of fish – perfect for snorkelling. 

Our next stop, Coral Bay, is famous for swimming and snorkelling but although it’s the beginning of the Coral Reef it didn’t suit us as well because the water was so cold!  However we walked around the bay and found the Shark Nursery (we did read your journal Mike and Gill) in Skeleton Bay – shallow water which is a safe haven for young Reef Sharks (harmless – mostly!)

From there another diversion to Exmouth – gateway to Cape Range NP and the Ningaloo Reef.  We stayed here last year (Dear Mr Milton – Paradise has been found) and camped in the NP, but this year we had less time and a different agenda – Turtles!  It’s egg laying season………  During the day you can spot the turtles swimming off shore but at night they drag themselves up the beach to dig pits and lay eggs.  They are very susceptible to disturbance so we went to the Jurabi Turtle Centre for an educational session.  We learned the code 'stop, drop, rock’ and it really did work.  We walked quietly along the shore (a group of us) and almost immediately saw a turtle leaving the water ahead.  We stopped, dropped to the sand and behaved like rocks.  You have never seen a group of people so still and quiet!  We were so still and quiet that soon we had turtles either side of us and one trying to get past us.  The only problem is that turtles aren't quick so we spent a couple of hours being rocks, but we did actually get to view a turtle digging a nest and laying her eggs.  Amazing. Photos not allowed.

You would think from our travels in Australia that John and I are a couple of beach bums – we seem to be constantly on or near the coast.   Back home we don’t really ‘do’ beaches very much other than surfing or walking.  Western Australia, like much of the rest of the country, is mainly built along the coast – the interior doesn't offer much except for the station owners and hasn't been developed.  The major roads run around the coast – in fact the only tarmacked road running through the centre of the country is the Stuart Highway which runs South/North.  The East/West roads are gravel roads and can be very rough in places.

We had arranged to spend Christmas in Karratha – a town developed in the 60’s to house mining workers.  The people we are house-sitting for are in Bali for Christmas – he is a roofer, which in this heat seems masochistic to me.  We fancied something different this year and thought the experience of living this far north in the summer would be interesting.  We travelled there in a tremendous storm – all around was thunder and lightning with localised very heavy downpours.  We camped in a Rest Area and more or less drove the van into a bush as protection from the wind, which was rocking us so much that we dropped the pop-top when we went to bed! 

The house is 18 months old, single storey, spacious and built for the heat – air con and pool.  We are looking after a heeler X called Katie and a cat called Toby – both very sweet.  We walk Katie early in the morning, sometimes locally and sometimes on the beach, where we have breakfast as well.  Then a swim to cool off. Christmas was good – a bit quiet – with a Barbie by the pool.  On Christmas Eve we thought there was a full scale emergency – sirens going nonstop for ages – then we realised it was Santa going round the streets on a Fire Engine!! 

Then came Christine – a Category 3 cyclone.  Apparently the Pilbarra coast gets more tropical cyclones than any other part of Australia so there are a series of alerts in order that people are prepared.   You have to tidy up, tie down and make sure you have food and water.   If and when it reaches Red Alert – this was after about 3 days – that’s it and you have to stay in.  Not ‘advised’ to stay in but instructed, and you can be fined significant amounts if you go out before the all clear is given.  This, along with other protective measures, has given us food for philosophical discussions (as we had plenty of time!).  Despite the severity of the storm there were no deaths or injuries; compared with the toll in the UK’s recent storms it makes you think!  Our modern house is "built to code" and we felt very safe.  Karratha was close to the eye and was badly hit, and there was widespread damage to trees and buildings. 

There she blew!

(Apologies to those expecting whale stories!)
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Jane and Dave on

Wow what an exciting Christmas! beats the windy weather we have had in Derbyshire! What a lovely beach, Jack and Baz would be in doggy heaven!
We had a great Christmas, busy though! We went to see friends in Whitby and had a picnic on the rocks above the beach....wearing slightly more than you though! The daffodils are poking through and the we wait with anticipation for the first snowdrops!! Keep the photos and blogs coming, must show Evie as she is now very interested in your travels too.
Happy new year! Jane and DaveX

Janey Crowley on

Hi There you two.
First chance I've had to take a peek at your new blog, as Christmas saw a happy house full of family and various goings on ... then a rather sodden trip to Clun on the Welsh border for the New Year, followed by a visit to my Mum in Kidderminster. (Not quite as exciting as your adventure yet most enjoyable)
Now home ... rain, rain and more rain!! Thus in an effort to mentally escape the outside dampness I've just read the entirety of your blog and caught up. So enjoyed it. For a brief moment I was there with you which brightened up my day considerably. Love the photos too, they add to the atmosphere. In my dreams I'm there with you. Look forward to your next update. Wishing you belatedly a Happy New Year and safe travels. X

Cathy on

Love the story of the turtle beach - sounds amazing. Pleased that you had a reminder of Freddie - playing the same old game with Katie! As you know we had a full-on doggie/puppy Xmas in Torquay (which was lovely)and soggy but fun New Year in Oxford. You will be bored with hearing about the wet and windy weather here - some good pics of a completely flooded Porlock Weir on FB. Looks picturesque but of course horrible for anyone whose home/business was underwater. Lucky you in the sun! Happy 2014!xx

Pat on

Enjoyed reading about your very interesting Christmas. Cyclone sounded scary!!! We are just getting back to normality after a lovely Christmas with the boys....cranium memorable!! Then up to Yorkshire via Manchester for the new year and a catch up with family.
Happy New year to you both. love Pat and Clive xxx

Sue B on

Wow - what marvellous experiences! Amazed you managed to stop sniggering when grown adults are pretending to be stones! Thinking of you from a dryer WS today, however more rain forecast. Severe weather warnings and flood alerts yesterday with high tide, rain and winds - but fortunately for those living near the sea, the damage wasn't as bad as predicted. Seafront was closed, meaning Malcolm couldn't play golf, which of course was a big upset for him! Keep safe, Sue xxx

Virginia and Martin on

Glad to hear you know how to turtle watch - fascinating!
We are sitting with the roof down in our van at the moment with up to 90kph gusts of wind rocking around us so can quite empathise with your stormy experiences - although we luckily have no rain.

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