Our last couple of weeks at Yardie were pretty much more of the same, lovely beaches, big fish and friends. The weather did turn a bit colder (by Yardie standards) and a couple of nights we even had to put a jumper on! It was also quite windy for a few days so there wasn't a lot of fishing done. However, there couldn't be a post without photos of a couple of large fish so here are some new ones.
I did manage to get a bit of sewing done while Alan was fishing. This is part of a quilt that I was also working on last year while we were travelling. It is all hand stitched so has been quite a while in the making, but that is what I love about patchwork - the process, not necessarily the finished article. This one might get finished this year.
There is a lovely man called Alek who takes tours out on the Reef in a glass bottomed boat. I had been going to do this last year but didn't get around to it so I was determined that I would this year. Alek is very knowledgeable about the Reef, the coral and all the creatures that can be found there.
The coral of Ningaloo Reef is not like the Great Barrier Reef with all the pretty colours, but the formations are quite spectacular.
There were lots of beautiful bright coloured fish too, but the thickness of the glass and the reflection makes it very difficult to get photos. We also saw a turtle and a huge groper which Alek estimated would have been about 250 kilograms!
Something new which we also did this year was a drive up one of the tracks into the Range.
Mark and Evelyn who are longtime Yardie goers took us to a section where there were some beautiful wildflowers, caves and spectacular rock formations.
Tugga was still enjoying the beaches and getting a lot more confident about going in the water. The "throw the stick in the water and I'll bring it back" has become a favourite game.
Walking along the beaches is always interesting. There are lots of things that get washed up, particularly over the couple of weeks when the tides were particularly large.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end (so the saying goes, not sure I agree with it), and the time came to leave Yardie. The plan had been to head north, perhaps along the Gibb River Road. However all plans have to be flexible and so instead we turned south from Exmouth. The first night on the road we camped at Gladstone Scenic Lookout, a place we had stayed twice before. The views from the Lookout are quite spectacular, especially at sunset.
There is a kind of memorial cairn here, where people place objects, gnomes or rocks with messages written on them. I have taken a photo of it each year and it grows each time.
One advantage of leaving Yardie a bit early was that we were able to see lots of gorgeous wildflowers. There are grevilleas that I could recognise, but not much else, just colour everywhere. It is a bit hard to get photos while driving past, apparently wildflowers don't rate stopping for photos.
As well as beautiful flora, there was fauna! There were bush turkeys, a bit hard to photograph as they tend to run away from cars.
We came upon an emu family crossing the road. Fortunately the road was fairly straight at this point, so everyone had time to stop. Dad was keeping a close eye on the babies who weren't sure which way to go. It was very cute!
Further south we had a new overnight camp - Sandy Cape Recreational Park. This isn't a free camp, but it is an area where you can just camp wherever you like in the Park. We were camped just behind a sand dune only a few metres from another stunning beach.
And of course there have to be more sunset photos.
After this we spent a few days in Mandurah, which doesn't rate much of a mention - lots of houses and people and boats (which is the reason we were there) and rain most of the time. We did however go to Margaret River to have lunch at the beautiful Voyager Estate - just 170 kms each way for lunch. It is seriously worth it to eat at Voyager and to see their beautiful gardens.
And of course, no visit to Margaret River would be complete with chocolate.
After we left Mandurah overnighted in the driveway of some friends from Yardie, Ron and Glenys. They live near Australind just north of Bunbury. We had a delicious roast dinner and shared some Yardie memories. They plan to travel our way in September so we look forward to returning their hospitality then.
It was then time to turn eastwards towards home (slowly) and we decided to take some dirt roads to Norseman to explore some new territory. The weather wasn't great as we left. It was still raining and the clouds were very low.
It was bitumen to Lake King where we spent the next night in the caravan park all by ourselves. It was very peaceful and there was no wait for the amenities! The pub was next door so we enjoyed dinner there and got some local information about the roads. The one we had planned to take was deemed to be unsuitable (not quite the expression the barman used) so we took the advice offered to try another way. The roads were quite good as there were lots of mines in the area and they are kept in good repair. However there had been a bit of rain and we had to cross some water in a couple of places and there was a lot of mud.
From Norseman we were making our way to Fraser Range Station where we had stayed twice before. The facilities here are excellent and they have a large campfire each night which is very welcome on these cold nights.
The next 2 nights were bush camps, luckily there was plenty of firewood along the way as it is very cold on the Nullabor at night. The second night we were joined at the fire (we were the only ones camped in that spot) by Ashley who is riding his pushbike from Perth to Portarlington where his mother lives.
For those of you not familiar with where we live, that is only about 20 minutes from us. He has actually ridden his bike from Cardiff in the UK through Europe, Turkey, Khazmanikstan (who knows how you spell that), China and ending up in Singapore from where he flew to Perth. I did ask him why! He didn't really know why, just thought it seemed like a good thing to do. He shared some of our dinner. Most of his meals are oats as they are easy to carry on the bike. The beer went down well too. Ashley left before us the next morning and we passed him a couple of hours along the road. Hopefully we will catch up with him when we get home and hear about the rest of his adventures.
After this we decided to visit Fowlers Bay which we had heard was a good place to spend a couple of days. It was a very small settlement with a few houses, a shop and 18 permanent residents. There isn't much of a beach, it is covered in sea grass. I have never seen so much on a beach.
Fowlers Bay is popular at this time of the year as whales spend some time there. There were 11 whales in the bay while we were there and quite a few people were there to see the whales. The caravan park was quite busy.
These photos were just taken from the jetty so there wasn't a lot to be seen, but they are whales!
And after our few days at Fowlers Bay we have settled in at one of my favourite places from last year, Streaky Bay.
From here it will be only a couple of weeks until we get home (or maybe even less if I can't stretch it out a bit). As much as I love our family and friends at home, I am rather partial to the nomadic life of the silver gypsy and could continue this for a lot longer.
See you soon