Day 8, Sun May 21
It was the best of days, it was the worst of days. Best: swimming at Fern Pool. Worst: first trip to the Dump Point (no longer the Doctors job, no pun intended). Isn't a dump point supposed to be a hole in the ground that you pour nasty stuff down, not a pool of rising non-describable matter. Reported to the Camp Host.
Last day here at Karijini. Told the Doctor I was going to do one sunrise. This is it! Up around 6.15 and headed down to Circular Pool Lookout. Haven't seen one damn dingo. That would be a great pic. Mind you heard one howling early this morning.
Watched the sunrise light up the gorge walls. Beautiful colours and no one around, other than 2 German backpackers who stopped for a minute. No doubt they were travelling in a Whizz-Bang. That's the sound they make at 5am in their camper vans. Whizzzzzzz!- Bang! Most of the tourists we have seen are from Germany.
Watched some of the Eagles game. Rubbish!
While we have been here the Solar Panels have kept the battery fully charged every day. Lowest our battery has got is 82%. Recharge back to 100% every day. Running 40 litre Waeco, running TV, some lights, phone charges, and 12volt pumps for shower and sink. 160 watt panels and one 120 amp battery. As long as there is sun we are fine.
After lunch we headed back down to Fortescue Falls and Fern Pool. Braved the water, which we shared with a few people and a lot of fish. One guy said he had seen a python here but not recently. Great! Swam over to the waterfall which we sat under getting a slightly warmer shower. Just brilliant, another incredible experience.
Back to the van for pack-up. Had my last shower, had the conditioner on, waiting to rinse off. Just about shat my pants ( lucky I wasn't wearing any). A shadow of a massive spider on the outside wall of the shower tent. Doctor to the rescue. That's her job, getting rid of unwanted wildlife.
Off to a free camp between Tom Price and Exmouth. The Gorge tour is over and the Ocean tour begins.
Just saw the news. Perth is raining. So sad!
Day 9, Mon May 22
Leaving day. Heading towards Exmouth. Another beautiful morning. Don't want to leave.
Finally got a chance to use my " pickeruperer". Try to leave the site cleaner than we found it. $10 from Bunnings.
Tom Price for morning tea. Shopping and coffee on the run from the Pickled Bean.
Next stop Parabadoo for petrol.
The scenery changes as we head West. The red iron-ore hills change to grass topped hills, then piles of rock hills and some long straights. One section is allocated for the RFDS to land. Even has the airstrip markings at either end.
Drive is a bit boring so started surveying peoples waves. Result of survey: single cars - no wave, 4wd's - 1 finger, miner workers - 1 finger point, caravaners and motorhomes - 5 fingers. Obviously they are the happiest group. Told you the road was boring.
Some excitement: dodging brown and white stray cattle. Squadrons of finches (I think) playing chicken. Unfortunately one was a tad slow: Falcon 1, Finch 0.
Nanutarra roadhouse for another coffee (more important than petrol).
Arrived at Barradale free-camp at dusk. Set up all good, even 3G. Note to self: work out wind direction before setting up. Downwind from toilet was an awesome decision. Wondered why it was empty.
Then time for the obligatory vocabulary test (setting up satellite dish). Actually unlike at Karijini only mentioned a couple of @# *! words as I found signal then knocked the dish as I walked away. Anyway the Doctor is happy, made it for Home and Away.
This is what a Semi looks like as it thunders past the campground. Might be a long night!
Off to Exmouth Tomorrow.
Day 10, Tues May 23
The 18 wheel jetliners are constantly flying by on their North/South flight path. I feel like Dale (tell em you're dreamin) Kerrigan. I slept quite well but the Doctor listened to a truck running it's engine for a long time in the wee hours. Speaking of wee hours, we both braved the convenience late last night. Not sure what was going on in the Doctors cubicle. Sounds like she's fighting a wildcat. Apparently the lever doesn't do it's job.
Set off to Exmouth. Long straight road. Stopped at Bullara Station for coffee and scones. This a working cattle farm with sheep and goats roaming around.
Arrived at caravan park in Exmouth. All set up and ready for some beach activities.
May do the Swim with the Whale Sharks on Friday. We will see! Need a calm day and a lotto win tonight.
Day 11, Wed May 24
Went to Whalers Restaurant last night. Service a bit average. Couldn't find booking( booked less than 2 hours before), then found a table. Ordered sparkling water. Bottle bought out and left with us to pour. Waited about 25 mins to order. Desperately trying to get staffs attention. Had to get up and ask to order. Table next to us got their entree then main while we wait, and they came in after us. I could eat the serviette, it looked pretty good. Finally got our Steak. Had to ask for salt and pepper which the waitress bought from another table. The steak was great but I couldn't wait to get home for seconds.
Booked in for the Whale Sharks for Friday. It's an all day trip. Lady at office said quells are the best for sea sickness, just pop in to the pharmacy. Ok dropped in. Sold out! Only chemist in Exmouth. Had to settle for Travelcalm. The doctor is not happy.
Drove out to Cape Range and Ningaloo. First sight of the vivid turquoise water blows you away.
It's was wildlife day today. I saw a 4wd stop in the middle of the road. Why the hell is he letting his dog go for a walk here? I get closer. Dingo!!!
I've finally seen one. Many dead and some live roos, an eagle at the top of a communications tower, crabs, and many fish at Turquoise Bay. Tried out the snorkel gear at the beginners beach. Couldn't believe the amount of fish in knee-deep water. We were both amazed. Coming back tomorrow to try the drift. Hopefully won't get washed out to sea. Then Friday is the big one. Whale Sharks!
It's winoclock in Exmouth. (Doctor wino)
Day 12, Thurs May 25
Snorkelling at Turquoise Bay. Will try the drift which is for proficient snorkellers. That's us, we had 30 minutes yesterday.
You hop in way down the beach then you drift with the current that is working its way along the beach then out to sea. Basically a rip.
Slowly built up our confidence to go a bit deeper where the coral and fish are.
The doctor saw a sting-ray which I confirmed on the video. Tried it four times. Brilliant!
Drove to the end of the road to Yardie Creek. We may do the cruise from here through the gorge on Saturday, our last day.
Drove back dodging the roos and some big birds, I think they are called bustards. Get off the road you stupid bustard! You'll get flattened. Got home in one piece, ready for the highlight of Ningaloo: swimming with the Whale Sharks. All day tomorrow. Praying for flat waters.
Day 13, Fri May 26
D-day has arrived. Looked out the window at 7. Windiest it's been since we have been here. Checked weather report, now wind increased. Awesome. Bus pickup at 8. Hopped on and popped our Travacalm, as prescribed by the doctor (Green), sea bands on, drinking water, have ginger nuts and ginger beer in the bag. Watch out seasickness.
Taken to our boat on a rubber duckie. Starting to feel like a navy seal mission. Breakfast served and the usual safety checks.
Fitted out for our snorkel gear and the very fashionable onesie stinger suit.
Stopped in the lagoon for a practice, to check our ability. All good.
Now headed out through the reefs to open ocean. Ok now it's getting interesting: 2-3 metre swell. My brain flicked to the movie "Perfect Storm". These waves are looking big especially as we have to float around in them.
The spotter plane (hang glider mounted to a motorised tricycle) sights the first Whale Shark. Action stations.
"GROUP 1(us) move it, equipment ready, on to the marlin board".
Ok so it is a navy seal mission. We even look like them in our matching dark suits, poised to attack with our snorkels and flippers.
The first Whale Shark decided to dive deep so most of us missed it.
Next time we were able to swim alongside them. Only 3 metres away. So incredible. Hard to keep up though. This is a juvenile male around 4 metres.
Over the next 2 hours managed to see a total of 3 whale sharks. One was around 7 metres long. So fantastic.
Only had one issue where I ran out of breath, my goggles started to fill with water. Ok now I'm struggling a bit. Now what was that signal from the safety training. Wave your arms frantically if you need urgent help. Ok not that. Next one I remembered: stick your hand up with a closed fist. It worked. I wasn't going to float to Africa. Joy.
Brooke, our guide, threw me a floating device. She dragged me along to get some great footage on the small wrist mounted camera. Thanks again Andrew Mansfield. Quality is really good. Did you say it was waterproof.
The other interesting experience is going to the loo in a 2-3 metre swell, wearing a wet onesie. Challenging!
Saw a humpback whale, dugong, starfish and even another emu (from the bus).
Had a great lunch and even a glass of champagne to finish the day.
Now home and totally knackered. What a fantastic experience.
Video of whale shark tour https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3v9sBZAFC4
Day 14, Sat May 27
Leisurely bacon and egg breakfast. Checked out the Ningaloo Whale Shark Festival. Lots of markets. The doctor is in her element. Also had the microlight planes on display. Don't tempt me. I might just check later if any flights available for tomorrow when we leave. Still not sure I want to do it.
Went out for our last snorkel here at Exmouth.
Went to the Oyster Stacks but looked too rocky for us. I took some pics while the doctor picked up some hitchhikers. Haven't they seen Wolf Creek. Actually they were great, so we reorganised the car to fit them in.
Headed back to Turquoise Bay (our favourite). Today a lot more people here. They were all lined up along the beach. They looked like they were waiting for some entertainment. Didn't feel like a Navy Seal today, more like a gladiator heading into the arena while the hordes looked on waiting for some blood. No blood. The water was actually nice. The doctor shot out to the coral bombies looking for turtles. She saw another stingray instead. I stayed in the shallow area, but just about ran on water when I drifted into another snorkeller.
Headed back to Exmouth to check on flight availability. You guessed it!
10am spot. Ok I suppose I had better do it. Hopefully the chance of taking photos over Ningaloo outways the fear of flying in a motorised hang glider. I suppose if the engine stops we can glide back to a landing spot. Anyhow one good omen: my pilots name is Liv.
Shame the Doctor can't come. Then she would be the Flying Doctor.