LUCKY, LUCKY, LUCKY! SO LUCKY TO BE HERE
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
325Trip End Oct 31, 2013
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JOURNEY: Esperance to Lucky Bay, Cape Le Grand NP. 60kms
WEATHER: 16 degrees, overcast and drizzling at 10am
We have committed the month of December to camp hosting at Lucky Bay camp ground in Cape Le Grand National Park.
Unable to contact either ranger, we rang the DEC office in Esperance at 8am on Friday 28/11, and asked them to contact ranger Cameron by radio about our arrival at Lucky Bay.
Mobile phone and internet coverage is only available in a couple of spots in the park- so we will be incommunicative except for a weekly visit to the ranger's office.
We were told to come on down and Ranger Dave would be in the campground doing maintenance work and would direct us to our site. A quick stop at the supermarket to stock up on supplies and off we went on the scenic road to our home for 5 weeks as camp hosts.
The weather was very cool and skies were cloudy but our spirits were high and we were not disappointed when we caught views of the Cape Le Grand National Park. Rugged granite peaks and boulders dotted the low bushy scrub and the gorgeous WA Xmas Trees- Munji were putting on an intensely yellow display of flowers everywhere. In the other areas stocky banksias were thriving and flowering and we noticed deep red kangaroo paws (flowers, not creatures!) along the roadside. We stopped at Cape Le Grand Beach and campground briefly and met the out-going camp hosts who were tucked away in the bushes with their large caravan. This area has 15 cosy and private campsites nestled behind the sand dunes and we gasped at the beauty of the beach and yes, the sand is as white as snow and the ocean varying shades of aqua.
Then it was onto Lucky Bay and we started singing Kylie’s song: "Lucky, lucky, lucky, we should be so lucky!" when we caught sight of the bay and contemplated the thought of being stationed here for 5 weeks! Lonely Planet describes Lucky Bay as Australia’s most beautiful beach and we admit we are always describing so many newly visited places as gorgeous, wonderful etc. but we think this has to be a new best!!!
Even on this cloudy day the snow white sand, the sea, striped with different shades of aqua and the interesting rocky headlands made a stunning impression.
Matthew Flinders on a sea journey from England to chart the southern and western coast of Australia took shelter from wild seas in this bay in January 1802 and hence the name. The onboard botanist collected and named over 130 specimens of plants from the Lucky Bay area and apparently the samples are stored in the Natural History Library in London. And indeed the diversity of wild flowers here is fascinating and you are always catching sight of another beauty.
Cape Le Grand was named by the French who reached this land pre- British, in the late 1790's.
So here we are settled into our private little camping spot, a small distance away from the other campers and ready to take on our duties: collecting camp fees, cleaning the dunnies and camp kitchen. We receive a thorough training induction from ranger Cameron, sign forms and don our uniforms. There are 25 caravan sites plus a sandy tent area that campers fit themselves into and which at busy times looks like tent city. Everyone is so happy with the bay that so far we have had no problems with the campers.
The weather! Well to tell you the truth the weather can cause problems; as we put this together the westerly wind is blowing 45kms per hour and today we have had alternate sunshine, clouds, and a little downpour of rain on and off, all day, and the constant question for us is, you guessed it-“what’s happening with the weather and when will the wind stop?”. Wish we knew the answer!
The temperatures have varied from warm to very cool, so the thermals are on hand for the southerly winds. But we love it and when it is warm and calm we get the pesky flies so we both have fly nets for those occasions. Our daily exercise regime is a fast 6km return walk along the beach on the very hard sand to Mississippi Lookout and back, and the ocean changes daily with the weather conditions.
Our duties take about 3-4 hours, depending on the occupancy and we have divided the cleaning; Kath has showers and dunnies, Sheila keeps the kitchen clean and tidy. We do a round of the campground together, around 4.30pm to collect fees and chat to the campers, and Kath does a 6am walk around to catch any late arrivals from the previous night.
We have temporary use of the facilities in the relief ranger’s house, 200 meters from our site until he and his family take up residence on December 17; the extra ranger is required for the extremely busy school holidays which is great for us to have another person close by available to handle possible difficult situations!
So at the house until then, we can wash clothes, use the shower and kitchen if needed. The house is great for plugging in to download photos and type the blog story as a word document ready to paste into Travelpod when we get internet connection and it means we are on mains power and don’t have to use our solar power during these cloudy days!
On calm days, you can watch dolphins close to shore and one of our campers from Canada expressed a life long wish to swim with wild dolphins so one early morning Sheila ran to the campground with news of a pod of 8 dolphins close to shore and within minutes he stripped off and braved the freezing conditions and swam out to them, enjoying a good 10 minutes in their company. His wife and kids were so happy for him and despite shivering with cold he had a beaming smile plastered over his face when he returned to shore. Lovely!!!
Another special moment was the morning when one of the young campers called in at our van to say they had found a tiny creature curled up in the bottom of their bucket. It was a pygmy possum, drowsy because he is nocturnal so under the ranger’s guidance he was wrapped in a warm scarf until nightfall and the family had visitors all day coming to check out the tiny creature. It is a rare occurrence to actually see these possums and they live off the nectar of the native bushes. At sunset they encouraged him from his warm shelter and he hopped from person to person as if to say thanks and scurried back to his home in the bush. Priceless!
We are in Esperance today, using MacDonalds WiFi to transfer this story to Travelpod, Sheila is calling her mum in Puerto Rico via Skype and we will stock up on groceries, before returning to Lucky Bay.
It is a cool cloudy day and almost 2 weeks since we arrived in Lucky Bay. We will probably put together another episode of the Lucky Bay story when we finish our camp hosting on January 1, 2011.
Until then we wish all our readers a peaceful and happy festive season!!