Hamish and Annie Say:

If anyone speaks badly of you,
live so that none will believe it.

     

      Pam's Journal For September 2008

     
  Monday 1st September 2008  
  We went in to town to check out where everywhere is. We were pleasantly surprised to find a nice, well- laid out town about 1.2 kms from the caravan park - well within walking distance. We found not one, but two supermarkets plus a few other shops and a decent looking coffee shop. We collected the mail which was our new heater element for the water heater so now we can finally put the saga of our water heater to bed. We did some shopping and then returned home for lunch. The weather was perfect for sitting outside reading, so that is what we did. The flies here aren’t anywhere as bad as Onslow but the sand flies are fierce.  
  Tuesday 2nd September 2008  
  We called in at the information centre and then walked the track to the Marina all 3kms of it. We didn’t walk quite far enough to reach the café at the Novotel Hotel and therefore missed out on our coffee. Next time! After walking back and having lunch we were pooped so had nana naps. Once refreshed we walked over the road to the pub and spent two very pleasant hours with a couple from Ballarat.  
  Wednesday 3rd September 2008  
  We organised ourselves early, packed a picnic lunch and sallied forth in the unknown. Well, it is unknown to us. First we checked out the industrial area, as one does. We were looking for the hardware store. We found it, but our ‘hardware store’ expert declared it wasn’t a very good one. It can’t have been, I didn’t even get one crossword finished. We checked out the second hand book shop and that was a very good place to be. He gave us good credits for the books I took in and he also had some very interesting books on shelves.

With all that out of the way we started our sightseeing, we drove past the Harold E. Holt Naval Base but didn’t see a soul. We saw the communications base and again didn’t see a soul. We drove to the top of the hill where there's a lighthouse and a lookout and every man and his dog was there. It is a popular spot for watching whales. We saw some but the best display was missed by Pete Mate as he had gone back to the car for the tripod. Shame because it was really very good. There were two of them, blowing and breaching, what a sight!

From there we found the turtle display where we enjoyed our picnic. Once we had read all there was to read we walked along the path to the beach, we didn’t see any activity because, according to the information, it is still too early in the year. Later we heard that, as it is unseasonably warm, the turtles are already mating.

Our next point of call was the wreck of the Mildura which we could see from the beach. The coast line along here is so beautiful; you stand looking at it and know in your heart that you live in one of the most stunning places in the world.

Again we were delighted to find many wild flowers as we travelled around. We then meandered back the way we had come before diverting to another beach. Here we found a café with million dollar views of the bay. We enjoyed iced coffees whilst sitting soaking it all up, including the UV rays as there wasn’t any shade.

Time marches on towards Happy Hour so we made our way back into Exmouth and checked out the Pot Shot Hotel. We weren’t that impressed and the wine was so awful I left it. Yep, it does occasionally happen that even I can’t drink it. We took Billy home, deposited the remains of our day in the caravan and walked over to Grace's Tavern. We enjoyed some nice company, Pete Mate had a cold beer and I had some good wine.
 
  Thursday 4th September 2008  
  Not a lot happened today, just washing, shopping, reading, knitting and the website. At least here I can reach the washing line!  
  Friday 5th September 2008  
  We awoke to howling winds followed by pouring rain. We stayed tucked up cosy in our caravan and read.  
  Saturday 6th September 2008  
  The rain has cleared and we have returned to clear blue skies. The wind hasn’t died down completely but it isn’t as bad.

We had a busy morning in town, a visit to the library and as the polling booth (Shire Hall) was next door we then went there. (It is a state election). Being away from home for nearly four years we had no idea who our candidates were so about two weeks ago I checked our electoral area and ‘googled’ the candidates, not that it helped much. When we were given our ballot papers and went off to the booth to vote I didn’t recognise any of the names, so I took them back as I thought they had given me the wrong ones. By this time Pete Mate had voted and was by my side asking “what trouble I was causing this time”. Very funny! It appears since we left home someone moved our house into another electoral area and I did have the right papers. So off I went again and this time voted but I was so confused I voted for the wrong person. If only Robert Redford had been standing I would have got that right.

After that excitement we went over to the shops to pick up a couple of things I forgot the other day. There are just the two IGA supermarkets very close to each other, one being an ‘express’ (I have no idea why). Both are owned by the same person but some things are sold in one and not the other, and vice versa. For instance I use light evaporated milk in cooking. In one store they sell only the full fat but the other store has the light. All very strange. We then returned home for lunch with the intention of going out to the Novotel Resort for coffee later.

That didn’t happen as I gave Pete Mate a haircut and then before we knew it, it was time to get ready to go out for dinner. We walked across the road to the tavern as we had heard their meals were really lovely. I am afraid we weren’t impressed and thought it was expensive. Ah well, back to beans on toast.
 
  Sunday 7th September 2008  
  What a carry on this election is - we still don't know who is going to be our next government. Neither major party had enough support to win in their own right. They now have to wait for the Nationals to decide who they want to play with before forming a joint government.

We walked the 3 kilometres to the Marina again, but this time went a little further and found the Novotel Resort. The outlook was beautiful from where we sat and had coffees. The building itself was very impressive; everything was done with taste and quality. Even the ladies toilets were a joy to use. (I know it's sad when one gets excited about a well placed loo!)

We ordered two iced coffees which were very nice - but they needed to be at $7 each. We then walked back through the new estate that is busily being built. It is going to be very nice and very expensive. The houses that are already there didn’t do much for us, they looked as though the builder had started with one room and then added another and so on. The only way to describe them is higgledy piggledy. They all had very high garages to accommodate a boat on a trailer.

On the way home we passed the cemetery so went in for a look, the graves weren’t that old, the oldest dating back to the early 1960’s, so no pioneers were buried here. Exmouth was only established in 1967 as a support town for the Harold E Holt Naval Communication Station, a joint Australian and U.S.A. Government venture.

The town took a battering in 1999 from cyclone Vance and is now in the record books for a record wind gust speed of 267km per hour. Every town has some claim to fame.
 
  Monday 8th September 2008  
  It wasn’t an all action packed day today, we read, knitted and computered. (I know it is a made up word). We didn’t even wander over to the pub for Happy Hour. There is a sign in the pub that states; ‘All unattended children will be sold into slavery or sold to the medical profession for experiments.’ I think it should be in the caravan park as well and include all children that scream constantly.  
  Tuesday 9th September 2008  
  What bliss! The family with the three screaming kids packed up and left. It took us all our self control not to rush over and help them. No, we are not grumpy old people. Well . . . maybe a little.

We walked into town via the track along the dunes which is twice as long as walking along the roadside footpath. Since we needed the exercise we didn’t mind much. The iced coffees we had on arrival were very welcome, as was the sandwich.

We did a few things in town and then wandered back via the Information Centre where Pete Mate asked a few questions. The lady there didn’t know the answers, so what to do? What else but go to the pub for Happy Hour and talk to the locals. There we got all the information we needed plus a few extra stories. Pete Mate spent a lot of time talking to and old guy called Stan so I was left to chat to two blokes standing at the side of me. The television was on showing "Deal or No Deal". My companions very kindly explained the rules to me whether I wanted to know or not. One chap was from Albany and comes up here for the winter every year to work; the other chap came a few months ago with his family to see his sister and stayed. If they had been women, by now I would be looking at photos of their children etc. but men don’t possess those all important social skills!
 
  Wednesday 10th September 2008  
  We gave the Cape Range National Park the pleasure of our company today. First though, we returned to the lookout at the lighthouse to scan the ocean for whales but alas they weren’t playing today. It was a good spot to have morning tea though.

The National Park was surprising in that when we first entered the vista was as flat and uninteresting as you could imagine but as we ventured further in we encountered rocky outcrops, hilly ridges and the wildflowers. The lookout at Mangrove Bay looked out over mangroves, so no surprises there. We wandered over to a bird hide and sat awhile but as it was windy we didn’t see many birds.

The visitors centre was next on the itinerary as the centre also housed much needed toilets. The visitor centre was full of information about the park including all the flora and fauna. The chap in there gave Pete Mate some information whilst I checked out the gift shop. They also provided picnic tables and chairs so we ate our picnic lunch whilst fighting off the flies.

After lunch we set off to Yardie Creek Gorge to do the walk recommended by the chappie in the centre. It was an easy, pleasant walk along the top of the gorge looking down on the creek. Pete Mate decided to go higher; I tried but found the terrain too uneven and turned back.
 
     
  Two views of Yardie Creek Gorge. Pete Mate, for once, caught on the other side of the camera.  
     
  Once back at the car we were in need of cool drinks so we high-tailed it back to the visitors centre to purchase some before it closed.

By now it was nearly Happy Hour so we headed home via the pub. Pete Mate spent some time chatting to his new friend, Stan, so what could I do but drink red wine, lots of it. We enjoyed a really nice pizza and then I believe I went home to bed but as someone stole the rest of Wednesday from me I cannot say for sure.
 
  Thursday 11th September 2008  
  Such a busy day today; I first did some washing then we had to go to the doctors. The surgery is inside the hospital and we are told the hospital only deals with very basic complaints. The rest of the time the patient is flown down to Perth by the Royal Flying Doctor. Our main reason for going was to have our scripts renewed but I also have a lump on my hand. After the doctor had a look he booked me in for a scan the next day.

After the doctors we went to do some shopping, and then it was home again for a late lunch. After sorting out the shopping and the dry washing it was time for Happy Hour so Pete Mate wandered over to the pub to see his mate Stan and I stayed home and prepared the dinner.
 
  Friday 12th September 2008  
  I went for an ultra sound on my hand; the nurse explained it might not work as the machine was twenty years old. I bet they are not that old in Canberra! The scan did work and the lump is sacs of fluid around the tendon; nothing major but I have to see the doctor next Friday to discuss treatment for when we are back in Perth.

After the scan we went back to the caravan for an hour. I then left for town on foot; the pathway that follows the road only takes twenty minutes and it is a nice easy walk. I had my hair cut and then coloured with purple streaks again. When the hairdresser washed the residue dye out I sat in a chair that gave me a back massage, plus she gave me a really good head massage. Then I had a pedicure which was very good, the foot massage was excellent. At the end of all this I was feeling pretty good and wandered over to the café to meet Pete Mate for lunch.

Pete Mate had spent his time in the information centre checking out the history of Exmouth. On the way home we called in at the centre for P.M. to collect some photocopies. Then it was home again to relax before Happy Hour. We wandered over to the pub at 5.00 p.m. and the drinks were half price for an hour plus they served bar snacks. We have never seen so many people in the pub.
 
  Saturday 13th September 2008  
  A cleaning, washing sort of day. Apart from reading not much happened.  
  Sunday 14th September 2008  
  What a perfect way to spend a few hours on a Sunday; we walked to the Novotel Resort and sat and had coffees whilst admiring the million dollar views. We walked home along the beach which was full of interesting pieces of coral, shells and other "seaside things" which we couldn't identify. The pebbles were smooth and coloured and reminded us of sugared almonds.

Once home it was back to the books; the one I'm reading won’t allow you to be away from it for long. The big news of the day is that our politicians have now decided who is in charge of the playground. We now have a Liberal/National alliance. Hopefully this has to be all good news for the country towns.
 
  Monday 15th September 2008  
 

We intended to do the long walk into town for the exercise but that idea was reworked to the short walk. Why? you may ask. Because Pete Mate takes forever to get ready, he always finds something else to do and then forgets he is getting ready to go out. Plus the fact that when he goes for a shower he chats to all and sundry on the way back. Then he has the audacity to ask me why I am grumpy. Men! We did the short walk, collected the mail, had a mediocre lunch and walked back.

Later we went on a whale watching tour. We booked this tour last Friday but were told to confirm it on Monday morning. When we paid for it I had to sign a form that waived all our rights to anything. The tour was confirmed so we rushed up to reception at 3.45pm and had to hang about waiting for the bus. When it arrived it looked like it needed some TLC but we all piled on. When seats ran out people had to sit on laps and in the aisle, not a health and safety person in sight.

We arrived at the boat and again it looked like it needed some TLC. I am not a boat lover so I wasn’t happy, then we all had to take our shoes off; why, we weren’t told. Anyway, we all had to wait in one area whilst some more waiver forms were filled in. By now I am thinking, what are they actually going to do to us? Maybe I read too many James Patterson books.

After the safety talk, we set off. Incidentally, Kelly, one of hosts, needs to be told you CAN but a life jacket on back to front. Been there done that. We set off and it soon became apparent to me that where I was sitting is where I was going to stay, none of this clambering along the side of the boat or up the steep steps, thank you. The whales entertained us with a spectacular show.

Later the ‘gourmet’ snacks were handed around. There were plenty of them but gourmet they were not. We often have better in the caravan park at Happy Hour. As I said there was plenty of food and the two hosts worked hard passing it around all over the boat. Have I mentioned that the average age of the three members of the crew must be around 20 years?

I won’t go into details of how Pete Mate tried to drink someone else’s wine as he has already mentioned it. Where will it end? Next will he take someone else’s wife home! As the sun set and the full moon came up the sky was very beautiful. The prawns were then served. It was like a feeding frenzy, you would think some people had never had a prawn in their lives. Pete Mate managed to get four and I got three. Then it was time to return home which I was glad about. If there is one thing I dislike more than being on a boat during the day, it's being on a boat at night.

Today’s journal does seem to be a little negative but we did have a nice time. I just think we were spoilt a few years ago when we did whale watching from Kalbarri. It was a very professional outfit and we were much closer to the whales.

 
  Tuesday 16th September 2008  
  We did very little today as we both seem to have acquired some bug. We picked up a little by Happy Hour so went over to the pub. It was a little boring so we stayed an hour and came home.  
  Wednesday 17th September 2008  
  We are both still under the weather. We didn’t do much at all apart from the washing and reading. Late afternoon we had visitors; a couple we had met in Tamworth had today arrived in the caravan park and had spied us carrying our washing home. So we had a very pleasant Happy Hour catching up. They arrived in W.A. at the top end the way we did and had done many of the same things we had.  
  Thursday 18th September 2008  
  We decided to have a walk today as we haven’t had much exercise in the last two days. We walked to the hardware for some items to repair the lockers in the caravan. Then we continued on to the marina where we had coffees whilst again admiring the view. We then walked home along the beach, so it was a good long walk, just what we needed to blow the cobwebs away. After lunch Pete Mate fixed the lockers. It took a lot of drilling, screwing, sawing and lots of swearing. As always he did an excellent job and the locker shelf will be still standing when the caravan falls down around it. I did what all good wives do at times like this; kept quiet, out of the way and firmly planted my nose in a book.  
  Friday 19th September 2008  
  What a windy night, all I can say it is a good thing Pete Mate and I have put weight on as we kept the caravan firmly anchored down. I always have a disturbed night if it rains or if it is very windy but Pete Mate usually sleeps through it all. Last night, however, the wind also kept him awake.

We had to go back to the doctors today for the results of my scan. What a fiasco, they couldn’t find the scan and they didn’t have a printed copy of the results so the doctor went off somewhere and read it on a screen. If I go back in a week’s time they should have located everything for me. I asked him just to tell me what the lump on my hand is, and said it's a ganglion which is benign and might go away by itself. I have never had one before so I think I should treasure it.

We left the hospital wondering if it was a shortage of funds or they were just incompetent. What concerned me is when I first saw the doctor he said if it was anything ‘nasty’ he would contact me straight away. I wonder how that would work if they lose things? Anyway we decided not to bother going back and waste our time so we went and did some shopping, much to Pete Mate’s delight, then it was home again.
 
  Saturday 20th September 2008  
  We decided to do the long walk into town along the beach. We were so busy talking that we missed the entrance to the track and were half way to the Marina before we realised. Okay, part way to the Marina. Well . . . a few metres. We walked on until we found another track leading to the beach and then started the walk to town. The beach was quite busy with people walking and ‘hoons’ driving far too fast past us.

It was a very windy day, yet again, and my hat kept blowing off. We discussed different ways of keeping it on, super glue, rivets and welding not being amongst them. Pete Mate came up with the very original idea of fitting a cord, so once we arrived in town we headed for the craft shop. It was just about to close as it was Saturday noon. I explained what I wanted and not only did they come up with the goods but the gentleman fitted it to my hat for me so Pete Mate bought some as well.

We then went to off to enjoy a couple of coffees before walking home. How our hearts stand the excitement I really don't know.
 
  Sunday 21st September 2008  
  We walked along the road to the Marina. We had to walk on the road as Pete Mate had just polished his black leather sneakers and walking on the track or the beach would have made them dusty. You apparently cannot arrive at the Novotel for Sunday lunch with dusty shoes. Something left over from our Pommy days, I expect. Having said that about Pete Mate, I didn’t wear my usual shorts but wore some trousers, so I guess we are pretty much the same.

Anyway we arrived there casual but smart to see other patrons in their board shorts, thongs (settle Brits, thongs are flip-flops), and tee-shirts. We also examined, with some curiosity, a couple of guys with dreadlocks. Pete Mate wondered how (or if) they wash their hair. Anyone know? I was less kind and wondered how much wildlife was to be found in there.

We enjoyed a nice lunch and a couple of glasses of a very good Margaret River white. The view was magnificent as usual, more so for Pete Mate with one or two bathing beauties about the place. After coffees we walked home along the beach which was busy with walkers, fishermen, bathers and surfers with kites. I am not sure what the official name is - ‘kite surfing’ maybe? We watched how they did it and it was quite fascinating. Once home we read for a while and then before we knew it was time for Doctor Who. And so another day of breathtaking thrills drew to a close.
 
  Monday 22nd September 2008  
  We did the short walk into town in the afternoon. It was quite a hot walk back so we called in the pub for some cool drinks. Pete Mate made a new friend and spent some time with him comparing Jayco flaws.  
  Tuesday 23rd September 2008  
  We walked over to the Book Exchange shop and swapped our books for new ones. We then pottered around doing various things for the rest of the day.  
  Wednesday 24th September 2008  
  We decided to explore the east side of the peninsular today. The first point of interest was Shothole Canyon where we could drive the base of the canyon, but alas it wasn’t to be as the road was closed. Someone was quite willing to take whatever chance needed to get there but I wasn’t and I won!

We continued on to Charles Knife Gorge where we drove along the ridge of the gorge. The scenery was quite spectacular but the day was misty which spoilt the photo opportunities. Beyond the lookout of Charles Knife was a road leading to the Thomas Carter Lookout. Onwards and upwards we went, the road was a bone shaker and when we got there it wasn’t a lookout but the beginning of a three hour difficult walk. So we turned Billy around and retraced our steps. We found a nice spot for lunch before returning to the main road. We drove to Learmonth Jetty which was surprisingly small. We walked along it, met a couple fishing without much success and walked back. The last two points of interest were two memorials to commemorate certain activities during the second world war.

At the end of the sightseeing trip we are no wiser who Charles Knife or Thomas Carter were, or have any information regarding the two memorials. So tomorrow we will be in the information centre trying to glean these facts. Last on our agenda was a visit to the Kallis fish shop. After making our purchases which included a much needed cool drink each, we returned home.
 
  Thursday 25th September 2008  
  The beginning of today’s journal is for the ladies only so any gentlemen reading please go and make yourselves a cup of tea or clean out the shed. Or even better, make your wife a cup of tea.

Now ladies, do you remember when you first became a wife/mother, your system seemed to go into the automatic mode of waiting? When Pete Mate and I decide to go out, I wait and wait and wait for him to finish whatever he's doing. In that time I could bake a cake, clean the floor and read a Bryce Courtney novel. Occasionally he surprises me and ‘appears’ to be ready first! However, it is only an illusion because I still end up waiting.

Today's plan was to walk into town along the beach after lunch, do some chores in town, have a coffee and then walk home the short way. So ladies, he had all morning to get ready, then, just as we are about to leave, he decides to get the printer out and print some letters we need to send. These letters haven’t just materialised, they have being sitting in the computer for days. So out comes the printer and we print the letters and get them ready for posting. The printer is then put away and we are ready. Wrong! I have my hand on the door handle to leave and ‘someone’ says, “I have just remembered, I haven’t cleaned my teeth”. Pete Mate, today you excelled yourself. What can you do but love them?

Okay men you can now return to this informative and spellbinding page of events in our lives.

Anyway once out of the door we had a lovely walk along the beach into town, did our chores, the coffees were excellent and then we walked home as planned via the information centre. We managed to find out that Learmonth Jetty was built to service the prawn industry until the late 1990’s when the construction of the marina nearer town was completed. Cyclone Vance destroyed the majority of the jetty so that explains why it is so short.

Thomas Carter and Charles Knife are a mystery to the staff at the information centre and they pointed us in the direction of the library. I 'googled' them and found nothing on Charles Knife but Thomas Carter was one of the first squatters (settlers) here and a renowned ornithologist.
 
  Friday 26th September 2008  
  We awoke to grey, cloudy skies and then we were treated to a short downpour of rain. When it stopped we decided to go for our walk along the beach taking our raincoats for insurance. It was a very pleasant walk as it was cool - just the right conditions for walking.

Today’s coffee destination was the Novotel Resort at the Marina. The place was the busiest we had ever seen it and we soon discovered there was a conference between local people and the government bods to decide what is to be done about the roads in this area.

I mentioned on Wednesday that the road to Shothole Canyon was closed. We found out that the reason was the road had been washed away a good while ago and no one is fixing it. So I guess that would be one road on this conference's agenda. By the time we were ready for the walk home the sun was shining - those good old raincoats work every time. We noticed more children than normal about on the beach and realised that the school holidays are upon us yet again.
 
  Saturday 27th September 2008  
  Today was taken up with washing, ironing, cleaning and shopping.  
  Sunday 28th September 2008  
  What a perfect day. The sun was shining but the temperature was perfect for walking so we walked along the beach to the marina where we again enjoyed some Margaret River white and a very nice lunch. We then wandered back along the beach home.  
  Monday 29th September 2008  
  A day of idleness for me. Pete Mate worked on the history of the Krait before going for a walk on the beach.  
  Tuesday 30th September 2008  
  We walked along the beach to town. It wasn’t the best walk we have done as the tide was in and there was very little firm sand to walk on. Once we had completed our tasks in town and had enjoyed our usual coffees we walked home via the information centre. Pete Mate wanted an audience with the boss who turned out to be a very nice Scottish lady from Perth. Pete Mate explained about his research into the story of the Krait and she seemed interested and requested a copy when it was complete. She explained she had only been here six weeks and was still getting to grips with the area and what could be offered to the tourists. Good luck to her.