Ships on the sand and flights on the water

Trip Start Oct 17, 2007
Trip End Oct 16, 2008

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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Monday, July 21, 2008

Just when you thought we`d done it all and there could not possibly be any mode of transport left that we hadn`t used - we found another one!

With no brakes, little steering and even less traction our "flight" across Roebuck Bay and its beaches and sand bars in a bright yellow hovercraft was quite an eye opener. We began on dry land at the Hovercraft Base where we were allocated seats so as to balance the vessel and then we were off down the launch ramp, onto the beach and without even noticing onto the water - quite a strange sensation.

Unlike a boat, which even in a calm sea moves with the "motion in the ocean" a hovercraft skims over the surface, so the waves just feel like bumps in the road. Our pilot, Tim, must have wanted to be a rally driver when he was a kid, because we spent a lot of time going sideways and kicking up spray on our trip across the bay.

Somehow he brought us to a halt on the beach near some rather interesting 130 million year old dinosaur footprints which we spent a few minutes wandering between before returning to the hovercraft for the flight back to base.

The trip was really cool and very different and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. In fact we`re thinking of getting one for the daily commute when we go home so that going to work isn`t quite such a chore!

We went off in search of another kind of dinosaur footprint at Gantheaume Point. The site is accessable by road and the morning Town Bus goes there but we chose to take a delightful 5km stroll along the quieter stretch of Cable Beach and make a day of it.

The footprints, one of 9 different varieties in the Shire of Broome, are actually covered by the sea at all but the lowest low tides and even then are very tricky to get to but to avoid disappointing us tourists the authorities have taken casts of the prints and set them into rocks higher up the cliffs. We expected them to be a bit bigger, but thinking about it anything carnivorous with feet that big is probably quite big enough!

We ate our picnic near the Gantheaume Point lighthouse watching the nesting ospreys make good use of the scaffold-like structure and the sea birds diving from great heights to catch their lunch and then wandered back along the beach.

We picked our spot, cracked open a few tinnies and settled in to watch the famous Cable Beach sunset, complete with passing camel trains. What better way to relax after our 10km walk.

Before we left Broome on our Western Australia adventure we had the chance to see a strange phenomenon called "The Staircase to the Moon". The "staircase" occurs when the rising full moon reflects off the water left in the mud flats at low tide, creating the illusion of a set of steps with the moon at the top. Quite interesting and much more striking than our photographs make it look.

While we still had contact with civilisation we also treated ourselves to a delicious meal at one of the beach front restaurants to celebrate Julie`s birthday and our 3rd anniversary. It was really nice to have proper food and to let someone else do the washing up for a change, especially as we`ll be back to basics for 3 weeks as we explore some of what WA has to offer.
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