Smithsdownunder
Our journeys around Australia

Western Australia at the start of our journey

28-Sep-2004
   
23-09-04 Denham - Canarvon
Did I mention that Denham only has 30mm of rain each year? Well, it's only going to have 15mm for the next 12 months 'cause the rest fell yesterday. We moved out today to pop up to the next town along the coast, Canarvon - 334km away. That's like driving from home up to the Lake District but with no towns or much else in between! Canarvon is a fairly modern town and there is a lot of fruit grown in the area. There is also a prawn factory and Ali bought a kilo of monster prawns for $12. I think she ate most of them the same evening.
24-09-04 417km Canarvon - Exmouth via Coral Bay
Left Canarvon at 8:00 this morning (A new personal best for early getaways) to drive up to Exmouth (380km). This time we stopped at Coral Bay on the way up which is not so much a town as a resort. Quite a few people around but nice beaches and the Ningaloo Reef starts just offshore. We just stopped long enough for a coffee before heading off again for Exmouth.
This little chap was sitting on top of a post near the beach.
You wouldn't want to find him in the bottom of your sleeping bag!
Lizard
Topic of Capricorn

The countryside changed to vast expanses of sand dunes covered with giant termite hills. On the way, we crossed over the Tropic of Capricorn so now we are officially in the Tropics. My meteorologist tells me its 'Bloody Hot here' so it must be right.

It was a bit tricky getting it through without scratching the paintwork.

 
We are staying in Yardie Creek Homestead campite, which is outside of Exmouth on the North West Cape and is handy for the Cape Range National Park, which is just along the road. The beaches are mostly white coral sand and turquoise sea with lot of dunes behind them. We are spending 5 nights here and will then move into one of the Park campsites for a few nights. The Park sites are very basic - a long drop toilet, no water, no electricity so that should be interesting. The benefit is that the sites are restricted to 5 or 6 pitches and they are in the dunes right on the beach. Also, they only cost $5 per person, which is another bonus. The Ningaloo Reef comes right into the beach in places and snorkelling over the reef in the warm waters is fantastic with loads of colourful fish and corals. From the beach, we were watching a Humpback Whale thrashing its tail on the water. One bay we visited had loads of stingrays swimming right up to the edge of the water. Turtles use the beaches to lay their eggs in and they can often be seen swimming just off the beach. (The turtles, not the eggs!)
There is a steady Southerly wind blowing most of the time so I have been able to exercise the kites. Perhaps I should have left the bows at home and brought the kite buggy with me?

Ali checking the tide level

The expedition meteorologist and trainee navigator checks the level of the tide. (She is not quite ready for the final navigators exam at the moment as we got lost in Woolworths car park the other day!)

Shothole Canyon Took a drive along the floor of Shothole Canyon. It's called 'Shothole' because in the past, some large explosions were setoff in various places for seismic surveys. It's a pretty canyon to drive through and was pretty hot as well.
This is as far North as we are going on this part of the trip. After our stay here, we will start heading south back towards Perth some 1200kms away. Communications are just about non-existent here so don't expect to here from us for a few days. Having said that, there is a huge radio transmitter at the end of the cape. The masts are over 1000ft high and were once used by the US Navy for communication to submarines. They must have had problems with their mobile phones as well!