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13 Shark Bay - Denham, Monkey Mia & Kalbarri

overcast 20 °C

24th July
I was up early, had a quick breakfast, and headed down to the jetty to have another try at catching fish. Three hours of many nibbles and bites – but nothing to show except smelly hand and a cold body!
After lunch we all trundled off to the Ocean Park shark show. At $15 entry it was not very cheap, however, after an unpromising start with the sharks deciding not to eat the fish the keeper was providing, we were taken around the other exhibits available. A range of local fish was kept in separate tanks and we found this quite an interesting display. The local squid managed to change into various colours to ensure that it blended into it’s background as camouflage.

The one sea snake in the exhibition proved quite tame – at least as far as the keeper was concerned!
The weather remained fine and the wind finally dropped so that it was a very comfortable stay. About 4am I noted that there was a beautiful moonscape on the ocean, however as it was rather cool I headed straight to bed for a bit more sleep.

25th July
On a fabulous morning we very reluctantly departed Denham for Kalbarri, some 370 km south on the coast road. The landscape was low rolling hills which played havoc with my cruise control on the car. As we neared the crest of a low hill the engine suddenly surged as more power was added, and usually as we passed over the crest we had well and truly exceeded the control speed, and so there was a quick deceleration! It wasn’t worth the scary ride so I cut the automatic and drove normally as at least I could read what speed we were travelling at and assess the size of the next small hill. Eventually we reached the level plains again (at least for a while) and so I re-engaged the controller again.

After turning on to the Kalbarri road we were suddenly facing a completely new phenomena – arable farms with hundreds of hectares sown in wheat. The sight of bright green shoots after about 9,000 Km came as a pleasant shock. However, that was quite short-lived as we then entered the Kalbarri National Park with a drab olive green and brown plant life from horizon to horizon. We soon reached the beautiful beach resort of Kalbarri in the latter part of the afternoon and found our van park and got set up complete with awnings tied down in less than an hour. A nice cuppa was a welcome relief after a very tiring day! It was fine but turned cool as the sun set and we had a pretty cold night (at least by our standards).

26th July
We started out with getting the washing up to date and then planned the next stops to Perth. After hanging out the washing Mary & I headed off to nearby Red Bluff from whence we had a fabulous view of the coast, the sandbar and the town of Kalbarri. While enjoying the views I was most surprised when my mobile rang and it was Larry from Royal Brisbane Hospital Chaplaincy ringing for a business chat – what a strange world we live in to be able to do that simple task in such diverse locations. It was only slightly windy but it was also a bit overcast, however, we really enjoyed the spectacular views. (Photos on our blog should appear in the next day or two).

In the afternoon we headed in the other direction to visit the Wildflower facility. West Australia being renowned for its wild flowers in spring. We waited while the staff prepared their next batch of hot scones and soon were enjoying large, hot and very delicious scones with a coffee. While waiting and then while eating out on their veranda we enjoyed the beautiful bird life (mainly honey-eaters) in the nearby branches.
It took much longer than we expected to view all the variety of local wild flower plants there but we managed to take a lot of photos, and some actually came out very well.

On return I managed to book two of the next three stopovers, including the critical week in Perth so that Mary & I could do a lot of sightseeing to Freemantle and the Royal Flying Doctor base, and so that Brian could make some family appointments there.
Back at the van park I prepared a dinner of bacon, eggs, tomatoes and toast for dinner, before another cool evening.

27th July
At 0830 all four of us managed to cope with the cold breeze to see the local pelicans get a free feed. After about half an hour, and again no pelicans, we headed off in Brian’s car to do an 8km walk along the cliff top a few kilometres south of the town. Mary, Brian and I headed out to walk while Maureen drove back to camp with a pickup rendezvous for us at 12 noon. However, the wildflowers were everywhere, so we needed to take more photos, and we were entranced by the frequent sight of humpback whales frolicking all across the ocean. Very spectacular indeed. The pathway, although well marked, went very close to the edge of the vertical cliff face in many places, and with a serious health risk when gusts of wind hit! We got even more photos of the spectacular red and multi-coloured cliffs all the way on our walk. We noted three men who had miraculously managed to descend the cliff at one place and were busy rock fishing beside large swells crashing onto the rocks.
Because we took extra time taking photos we were an hour late at our rendezvous, and Brian in particular was very pleased when we reached the end of the walk. Altogether a most exhilarating trek.

We arrived back to camp for a very late snack and an easy afternoon uploading our many photos and deleting the small number that turned out less than great. For dinner we went to the local fish and chip shop for a feed and ate it on the seats outside while enjoying yet another Indian Ocean sunset! However, it turned quite cold as we walked home for an easy evening.

Posted by psstevo 04:49 Archived in Australia

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Sounds like a beautiful trip, David. I have been following your fortunes for a while, but finally decided to sign up so I could keepin touch a little. Enjoy Perth & Freo. Looking forward to some pics.
Blessings, Don McPherson.

by eutyxus

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