Sunday, 24 June 2012

On the Road to Tom Price 21st and 22nd June, 2012

We took two nights to reach Tom Price, both nights being spent in really good roadside camps. The second night was at Beasley River roadside stop which we reached by lunch time. We were the first to arrive and so had the pick of the camp and settled in for an afternoon of sewing and reading.

Halfway through the afternoon Ian decided on a campfire which was made possible by some kind person leaving some firewood behind.  We also had tiger prawns brought from Exmouth and to go with them Ian decided to make a very tasty damper and was able to make use of our new firestand which hasn’t had any use on this trip as there are no fires allowed in the National Parks. 

As you can see from the pictures we were able to enjoy a very happy evening with our friends the two doves who arrived during the afternoon and decided to settle in and enjoy the sunshine. There were also a large number of Major Mitchell Cockatoos who are taking on the dusty appearance of the red dirt here. We have well and truly traded the sand from Exmouth for the red dirt now.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Exmouth 22nd May to 5th June, 2012

We travelled from the Blowholes to Exmouth and spent the night in the Big 4 Caravan Park prior to travelling out to Tulki Beach at the Cape Range National Park at Exmouth. Having powered up, food shopped and filled the water tanks we set ourselves up at Tulki where we spent the next 8 nights as planned. The weather was great except for the wind which was unrelenting and on the advice of our terrific camp hosts we tied our awning down to the posts surrounding our site! Still the wind blew, keeping us awake during the night as we heard the awning flapping and straining against the ties until we couldn’t stand it anymore. Despite knowing that putting the awning down was not wise (at all!) in the wind, we did it anyway and I was pleased to be able to hold on to the ropes as we waited for a lull in the wind to put it down and secure it back on the van.  However ……. We did it and then didn’t have to worry any more about it.

We went for a cruise up the Yardie Creek Gorge and saw the Black Footed Rock Wallabies which are really unique and so different from the kangaroos which are throughout the park. We have to be very careful about leaving any water containers about the van as the kangaroos come around in the evening and do their best, sometimes succeeding in taking the tops off to get at the water.  Crafty little buggers!

 Despite all of that we had an absolute ball at Tulki, enjoying snorkelling at a number of sites twice a day, finally settling on Turquoise Bay as our favourite. On one snorkelling adventure we saw a very large octopus sitting on a rock with a large number of small fish hovering around.  We only notice the octopus initially because the fish move as a group whenever the octopus moved.   Each evening we enjoyed chatting with our fellow campers and watching the sun set. We had planned to move back to the Blowholes after our 8 nights at Tulki but having decided that we were having such a great time here we were able to secure another site in a different camp within the National Park. There are no sites available in the pre booking system until August so it certainly is a very popular place. Once you are in the park there is a process each morning of the various camp hosts communicating via radio and discussing any vacant sites which campers already in the park can transfer to. Then any remaining (!) sites are made available to the cars waiting at the entrance to the park which have been waiting there since 4am! So the best plan is to do as we did and book ahead where you are able to and then transfer once you are in the park. Happily for us we are now staying at Lakeside Camp with two other campers from Tulki and have new camp hosts Bill and Hazel who are just as helpful as Patrick and Barbara from Tulki and we can stay up to 28 days in total at Cape Range National Park.

We have continued to snorkel every day and the wind has largely disappeared so we are very pleased with that.  The fish we are able to see here has been fantastic and we are having a ball.  We have seen fish up to 2 feet long and some miniscule. The only thing we had wanted to see and not been able to, was a turtle as it was not the time of year when they are seen in any number.  Yesterday we went back for a second snorkel and low and behold there was a beautiful turtle who was more than happy to stay with us for quite a few minutes, coming up for air and paddling just below the surface whilst we followed him. When he decided he had had enough of us he retreated down amongst the coral and we left him in peace. I’ve called him Harold for absolutely no reason.  We also came across a very large sting ray, which I could have done without.  They stay on the bottom covered with sand except for their eyes and when they decide to move they are quite disconcerting I think because they rise up from the sand and are very large.  We had seen a number swimming which is fine because they are just like any other creature in the ocean but when they come up from the bottom that is another thing altogether for me. We are so lucky to have had wonderful weather with lovely sunny days and warm nights.  Each evening we take our chairs down to the beach to watch the sunset with our fellow campers and discuss the day’s activities and plan what we will do the following day. The photo Ian took was from our chairs and just shows how tough it is!!

Today is the first day we are not swimming as the weather is drizzling and very windy so it is a good opportunity to blog, clean and set ourselves up for a few more days here if the weather improves. If there is no improvement we will probably move on on Thursday to Tom Price and then to Karijini National Park.

We heard ourselves described at the weekend on the radio as “The Grey Haired Stimulus Package”. We’re happy to be of sevice!