Saturday, July 15, 2006

- Mud Crab -

If you haven’t tried it, you definitely should. Though I don’t recommend buying one… having a meal of mud crab is a more enjoyable experience if you catch one yourself, cook it up and make a complete mess devouring every last bit!

Though we unfortunately didn’t catch this one…it was just freshly caught by a man we kindly gave a lift to. (So he could fetch his car and boat trailer from another jetty) And so we cheated a little, but it still makes a good story. He gave us one of his 8 mud crabs he just caught for our trouble… Yummo!

Mud crab obviously live in the mud, especially in the mangrove systems found around Broome. They can be quite a lot bigger than this. But you have to be VERY careful of their claws. Something like that could cut your toes clean off!

You can cook mud crab a few different ways… some like chilli mud crab, but with our limited space and equipment we boiled ours. Bring a saucepan to the boil with a little salt or vinegar, pop the crab in and once back to the boil, time for 12 minutes. I’m sure this method differs greatly (which we’ve later discovered) and is usually up for discussion.

It quite a sweet meat and very filling! This one was enough for lunch for 3 people! I’d recommend everyone to try it.

- The Aussie Flag -

When we first set out on our trip a friend thought it fitting and funny to put an Aussie flag on the roof of my car… tightly fastened with sticky tape! “It better make it out of town, or I won’t be happy” he said jokingly. After our good byes, we set off on the road heading north. After a while we looked at the shadow of the car as we drove… no flag! Geez it really didn’t make it out of town!

After a few hours drive we finally arrived in Geraldton, only to discover the flag was still there!! Only a bit bent over! God we laughed... and took a few photos for our friend who had kindly made this flag our mascot for the trip! Over the next few days of travel, each time we arrived somewhere we’d check the roof and sure enough the flag was still there. Only now it was beginning to fray slightly. It has traveled from Lancelin, though Kalbarri, Shark Bay, Canarvon, Coral Bay, Exmouth and Karijini National Park up in the Pilbra of Western Australia.

Then on day 2 of our stay in Karijini… we looked up to our flag… but alas it was gone!! Only the stem it was attached to remained!! What a sad moment it was! It had travelled with us for around 1800km across Western Australia, and I never believed it would last 5km out of town back home!

Not that it really signifies anything in particular, that the flag lasted that long… but you could look at it as a symbol of our Australian spirit. It became battered and frayed from adventure and travel, the excitement of a new area but it survived long and strong. Though the flag is no more our spirit for travel lived on and we finally made it to sunny Broome. We are staying for here for a while now, but we’re definitely going to keep with our new tradition and the roof of my car will bare the Aussie flag again on the next leg of our journey.

- Port Headland to Broome -

We drove onto Port headland and Dale and Trendy had a tour of the BHP (iron ore) shipments. We then headed of to Cape Keraudren for the night.. a beautiful sunset... though the sandflies loved the taste of me!! Ouch!

Relaxed for a while there then off to 80 mile beach the next day. The beach was great with huge tides and long white sand.. loads of shells. We decided to camp the night at 80 mile beach caravan park.

Then finally we departed on the final leg and drove into Broome. We arrived Thursday and caught up with Dales mum and cousin.. hit the town the first night (as you do) and its been fun and games ever since!

- Karajini National Park -

(one of the lovely gorges we explored through!)

(Spectacular red escarpment of the Pilbra region.)

(The scenery during the 2km walk down to Circular Pool, what a contrast in colour.)

Next stop was over a 600km journey into Karajini NP! It was awesome... the colours of the red rock and the abstract like formations. We did a number of walks and the last being the best with a swim at circular pool... a crystal clear water hole at the base of red cliffs in the middle of nowhere with ferns and waterfalls... what a relaxing place to swim and end the day.

(Battle of the red bull dust... it gets into everything as you can see, this is my back window.)

(Beautiful Circular Pool, which is apart of Dales Gorge. We swam here in the afternoon, very cold water! We had to get under the waterfalls to warm up!! what a magical place!)

- Exmouth -

Drove into Exmouth and set up camp, spoiled our selves by going out for seafood dinner and lots of wine!! Rained over night & woke to have Trendy floating in water!! Later at about 7am the caravan park staff advised us to pack up camp because we were going to get flooded out.
lovely! It was still pelting down and we managed to pack everything in the car pull down the tent in knee deep water and get to a dry place.. How nice for our first night in beautiful Exmouth!

(Dale walking towards me through the water with the soaking tent about his shoulders.)

The next day was mainly drying everything out and resetting up camp in higher and drier ground. A break in the weather the next day allowed us to get round to the Cape Range National park to explore and snorkel at turquoise bay! It was wonderful, the amount of fish and colour of the reef was amazing we swam with reef sharks and followed a small turtle for ages! On the Friday we booked a fishing charter! It was great, 5 customers in total and 2 crew on a 26ft boat. I was the only girl.. In a debatable "man's world. We trawled out with each having the chance to land a light game fish. Dale landed a lovely Spanish mackerel! As did another guy on the trip but his was a whopping 1.5metres long weighing in just over 20 kg!

(Dale looking very proud of his Spanish mackerel!)

Once about 20 mile out we bottomed fished with handlines... For ages it seemed like I wasn't going to catch a fish.. With dale and the others landing sweet lip snapper, large Rankin cods, etc. Just after 11 we (set off on the trip about 7) I landed a beautiful coral trout!! About 75cm what a fight it was! The crew said the flesh would cost $50 to $60 a kg in the shops! After a few more sweet lip snapper and spangled emperor were landed we headed back in with Trendy and I left to catch a light game fish from trawled All of a sudden I was on.. The rod was screaming the boat was in a frenzy and I somehow managed to get the rod in the belt and began to wrestle with this monster on the end of my rod which was now bent right over with weight and force. After what seemed ages and burning arms I had landed a fucking big yellow fin tuna! I was beaming ear to ear!

(Me, Beaming ear to ear with my yellow fin tuna.)

Shortly after getting the lures out and increasing speed we were back on! Trendy was up there reeling in another monster... Dale managed to get the awesome fight on video with Trendy landing a Spanish mackerel around a meter long!

Once back on shore and dividing the days catch we headed back to camp, exhausted and dying for a beer. That night we cooked up the coral trout in the camp kitchen amongst a bunch of backpackers eating 2 minute noodles and hovering around the hot plate... We stuffed ourselves... The whole coral trout... YUMMY! We ended up staying 5 days in Exmouth, even though the weather wasn't at its best, we had a great time!

- Windabandi Point -

(This is one of the many gates we had to open and close while traveling through the station)

(The border where Ningaloo Station ends and the sanctuary zone begins.)

Leaving Coral Bay we headed north. Rather than driving back to the highway we decided to take the coastal 4wd track. Travelling through some stations that fringe the Ningaloo Reef.

(This is our camp, very basic, and very close to the beach!)

We stopped 2 nights at Windabandi point, which is part of Ningaloo Station. Although very windy it was a great place to camp right on the beach! Unfortunately no camp fires aloud... That didn't stop Trendy belting out a few tunes on the guitar!

(We took a drive to check out the 4wd crossing at Yardie Creek which is at the southern entrance in Cape Range National Park.)

(Trendy taking a break from playing the guitar...)

- Coral Bay -

After catching up with Roshi in the morning we arrived at Coral Bay in the late afternoon. Finally a clear day with no rain! Coral Bay was great with warmer weather and a chance to fish again.

The snorkeling was good though a lot deeper than expected. In the afternoon just before sunset we went down to watch the snapper feeding. 20 or so snapper (a nice size too) come into the bay to be hand fed by a local diving group.. Its amazing to watch..You cant help but feel a little hungry after that!

We ended up staying 2 nights at Coral Bay and managed to have a few drinks with our camp neighbor's and Trendy strumming out some "Coral Bay Blues" on his guitar!

- Catching Up -

After we packed up at Hamelin Pool we called into Canarvon on our way to our next stop at Coral Bay. We called up our old school buddy, Roshi who lives in Canarvon and suprised her with a visit! She was so excited! We went out for a bite to eat and few games of pool. It was great to catch up!

(Above is a photo of the Gascoyne River, most of the year its completely dry. Though sometimes it flash floods with the water level above the bridge we are driving across!)

- World Heritage -

(This photo is taken on Shell Beach on the drive up to Denham. The Shells reproduce at a rapid rate and are believed to be 20 to 30 feet deep on the beach.)

The rain followed us up the coast to Denham (Shark Bay) which is where we spent our next night.We decided to rough it in the Frances Peron National Park at a place called Big lagoon and try to catch a few fish.

(This is the view out of our tent, surprisingly good weather at the time of the photo. It rained most of the night.)

(Fishing wasn't that successful as you can see! haha this is my first fish I caught on my new rod.)

Fishing wasn't that successful so rather staying another night we departed and headed for Hamelin Pool which is a World Heritage listing for the Stromatolites (living fossils) that are found in the bay. They are believed to be over 3 billion yrs old!!

(This is a close up photo of the Stromatolites, which are supposed to look even more strange at a lower tide. The same living organism's have been found in rocks believed to be the oldest on the planet.)

(This photo above is from the boardwalk that is suspended over the Stromatolites to protect them. What a lovely sunset to end the day.)

(This is our basic overnight camp at the old telegraph station near Hamelin Pool.)

- Kalbarri -

The next day we headed through the rain to Kalbarri, stopping along the way at Port Gregory to stretch our legs.

Kalbarri is beautiful, with the bright red cliffs giving away to the ocean and the mouth of the mighty Murchison River.

We stayed 2 nights at Kalbarri and explored the National Park by taking a 8km walk, known as "The Loop". It begins and finishes at the famous Nature's Window, which is a wind calved hole (the window) in the rock.

Thank god it was overcast! It wouldn't have been as enjoyable on a 30 degree day!!

- First Night -

We left with a big bang as expected and headed for Geraldton for our first night. Kate was kind enough to put us up in a wonderful B & B with a spa!! Thank you so much! I never knew our first night, was going to be this good! Though we shouldn't get used to it... From here on in is a lot of Pindan red dirt, sand and sleeping on the ground!!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

- A Slow Update -

I've decided I'm going to post photo's and stories from our trip so far. So then hopefully by the time we head off again my blog will be up to date with real time.

This is us the day we left home in Lancelin, a big thanks to Greg for the flag! But more about that story a little later. We actually left on Mothers' Day, 14th of May 2006. Aren't we nice children?

So that's when this trip began.

until next time...

Sunday, July 09, 2006

- A New Way To Communicate -

This is new to me so it'll take some time for me to get the hang of posting new blogs and photo's. Please be patient and don't expect too much about my travels all at once. As I'm going to make you jealous and tease you! Just make you wish you were here too!

signing off from Broome....