Page 87: Denham, Shark Bay - We've Been Right Round!
     
  We've done it - we've closed the loop - we've been right 'Around the block'.  
   
 


In just under four years we have travelled the length and breadth of Australia.

• We have visited the most northerly, easterly and westerly points of the continent.
• We have climbed to the highest peak on the mainland.
• We have sailed on the largest inland expanse of water.
• We have experienced climatic conditions from the driest desert to the lushest rainforest.
• We have visited Canberra, Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane and Darwin.
• We have researched the history and exploration of the continent.
• We have marvelled at Australia's wonderful flora and fauna.
• We have been bitten by three million mosquitoes and ten million sandflies.

And we have loved every minute of it. So what is left for us to do? Oh, come on! We've hardly scratched the surface. We want to explore Victoria soon and though I've committed a mortal sin in leaving Tasmania off the map above, we can't wait to visit that beautiful island state.

 
     
  please learn from my mistake.  
  Towing the caravan from Carnarvon to Denham, we took a break after two hours. We had a walk around and some refreshments. About forty minutes after setting off again I began to feel drowsy, my eyelids felt heavy, and I began looking for a rest area.

The outside temperature was 30°C. and we had the windows down. We were listening to a 'talking book' on the CD player but the story had become boring. I had the cruise control locked to a moderate 70 km/h; all I had to do was steer the car. The road was straight with little traffic.

I wasn't aware of falling asleep. Suddenly the car was bucking about. Opening my eyes in alarm I found we had crossed over to the right hand side of the road and onto the verge. We were about to enter the roadside scrub and because cruise control was enabled we were still travelling at 70 km/h.

I rapidly swerved back onto the gravel verge causing the caravan to sway horribly, pulling the back of the car with it. After a short tussle with the steering, everything settled down.

Had a vehicle been coming the other way there could have been the most horrific carnage.

It can happen as quickly and as easily as that. Next time I feel my eye lids feeling heavy I won't wait for a rest area. Please learn from my mistake.
 
     
  Denham  
 

Being back in Denham was wonderful, but the town and the caravan park were all but deserted. Everybody had gone. For the life of me I don't understand why. Nomads head south as summer approaches, just as we are in the process of doing. But the weather in Perth is lousy, rain is forecast for the whole week, whereas the weather in Denham, though breezy when we arrived, has settled down and is beautiful. The temperature is in the mid to high twenties and the sun is shining.

 
     
   
  Knight Terrace, Denham's main seafront street. The coffee and doughnuts in the bakery are delicious.  
     
  We wrote a little on Denham when we visited previously on our 'test run' when the caravan was new. To go there click here.

One morning we set off to watch the dolphins being fed at Monkey Mia. Arriving at 11:30 we were told that the feeding was long since finished and to come back at 7:30 on another day. (They advertise the feeding between 7:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.) Once I had retired there was only one 7:30 each day and that was in the evening. We weren't upset, however, we'd seen the dolphin feeding on our last visit so we decided to spend the day visiting other places. One attraction was Eagle Bluff where there is a great walkway along the top of the cliff overlooking the clear water of Shark Bay and a couple of small islands.
 
     
   
  A clever non-slip walkway gave wonderful views across small islands and down into the clear water.  
     
  Looking down we could see what we were told were small sharks by a couple of young blokes with far better eyesight than we have. They looked like rocks to me; in fact what I was looking at initially were rocks but one of the young fellows patiently pointed me at a dark object that was moving. I fitted the telephoto lens and took this:-  
     
   
  It was a long way down and a fair way out. It could be a shark.  
     
  We were advised that we could expect to see ospreys, turtles, dugongs (sea cows) and sharks. On our previous visit we saw nothing. This time we saw a few sharks - maybe - and some distant birds on the islands. But it was a lovely walkway.  
     
  Who loves ya, baby?  
  Ever get the urge to shave your head? It's doubtless all part of senility but I did, so . . . I did. I discovered I had a birth mark just above my left ear that I hadn't known about for nearly 67 years.
 
     
   
  Would you buy a used car from this man?  
     
  We would like to thank the senders of both the congratulatory emails that flooded in after we announced the completion of our round Australia trip. Thank you Lizzie and Nev. Thank you, also, Peter and Eileen from merry England. Peter and Eileen had snow on the ground in October for the first time in 72 years. Not to worry, P. and E., you'll be in sunny Australia very soon. Are you counting the sleeps, yet?

We also received a much welcomed email from Alby and Geraldine, readers of our website of whom we were unaware. They, too, had experienced the trauma of the driver falling asleep while towing a caravan. Alby writes: I managed to pull back on to the road without further incident and pulled over for a rest with the heart pounding away. It certainly woke me up!! We occasionally see the 'nano-nap' ads on TV and can fully relate to them now!

I agree wholeheartedly, Alby. The 'nano-nap' ads are uncomfortably realistic. One second everything is rosy, the next you are off the road with no recollection whatsoever of what happened.
 
     
  Kalbarri  
  After Shark Bay we moved down the coast to Kalbarri which we have visited twice before, though only once as nomads.  
     
  Above: Kalbarri on the Murchison River, photographed from a cliff-top lookout overlooking the coast.
Below: A boat negotiating the deepwater channel into the river mouth, photographed from the same place.
 
     
  When we arrived, a little out of breath, at this very windy lookout, we found we weren't alone. There was a lizard waiting to greet us. He/she looked very much like the bobtail lizards that we see at home in Perth but with a longer tail and painfully tiny limbs.  
     
   
  The lizard above was about 37 cm. (15") long. The one below kept running around in front of us on the way up to the
lookout and waving a foot in the air. Bit of a show off, I think. He was about 10 cm. (4") long but most of that was tail.
 
     
   
     
  They shall not grow old, as we That are left grow old  
  On November 11th, Armistice Day, Pam was keen to attend the Kalbarri Cenotaph at 11 a.m. and so, of course, we did. There was no bugler for the Last Post, just a recording, but even so it was a moving ceremony attended by about thirty people and a lot of noisy galahs. The old boy bedecked with medals had a sense of humour and no time for ex-prime minister, Paul Keating, who he 'accidentally' referred to as Paul Cheating. Keating puts no store by the Gallipoli landings which many believe was the birth of Australia as an independent nation.  
     
   
  Armistice Day in Kalbarri. While a little lady in front of us sobbed her heart out . . .  
     
   
  . . . a pelican watched the proceedings with disdain. However, . . .  
     
   
  . . . a curious galah showed a lot of interest.  
     
  At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We shall remember them.
 
     
  Fish and chips for How much?  
  After the service we wandered down to the boat harbour where there is a fish and chip shop par excellence. It was closed, so we wandered back to the other end of town and found one open. The fish and chips were very nice but the charge of $20 made me think back to my childhood when the same meal for two would have cost half a crown. Kid's, that's thirty cents. That must prove something, surely? Unfortunately, according to Pam, it only proves how bloody old I am.

Then we went home.
 
     
   
  Our home in Kalbarri.  
     
  As I took the photo (above), Pam was walking down the road towards me. I pointed the camera at her and she put on a great performance of gyrating about, throwing out her arms and kicking up a leg. What she didn't know was that a man was walking just behind her. When she turned and saw him she was naturally a bit embarrassed. She smiled at him but his face remained stony.
 
     
  We love Kalbarri  
  In every place we have visited while touring Australia we have asked ourselves, would we like to live here? There have been many towns where the answer was, "Perhaps" and Kalbarri must rate in the top three.

We had only scheduled three days for this visit so soon we were on our way to Geraldton. And as I have greatly exceeded my allotted one megabyte of memory on this page, it seems an appropriate time to move on to page 88.