"We're on the road again!" - rolling out of Port Dennison on a beautiful sunny morning, looking forward to our next adventure along life's highway while remembering our previous ones. As I write this blog, I recall the time I needed to get a repeat prescription so a visit to a doctor is required. After doing the necessary, I chat with the young doctor who happens to be Irish and new to the country. He nervously leans forward and asks would I mind if he asks me a personal question. Wondering what's coming next, he continues and enquire as to wether I am what they call "a grey nomad" we laughed together as I said I am and proud of it. I apparently, was the first he had come across and he now knows what the term means.
We stayed at Kalbarri for a week, a beautiful little seaside suburb with lots of nice walks and photo opportunities. We went out early in the day, (to avoid the heat) to see nature's window. A huge rock with a great hole through the middle, giving a spectacular view of the Murchison river in the background. The view was great, but sadly not much water in the river and the sun was in the wrong position for good photos. We did consider going back for better photos but decided that we needed another reason to come back this way again another day, - next time!
On the way back into town we stopped at the Big River Ranch to see about me going horse riding. As it turned out I was riding on my own, just me and Jason, my guide. Chris was to drive to us off road, to take photos but somehow couldn't manage to find us, I'm not surprised as I was totally lost. WOW, what a time I had, we went along sandy tracks down to the river, swam with the horses (3 times!!!!) cantered and galloped. I forgot that I'm not a teenager anymore and not likely to bounce and guess what, I didn't care. I had the best time. Loved it, Loved it, Loved it!!
Chris went canoeing with Joe and a group of others a couple of days later. They set out early in the morning, driving a way up the river before putting their canoes in the water and then began the 10km trip back, stopping along the way for rests and a beautiful fried breakfast cooked out in the bush. The boys were quite excited about their experience and especially the quality and quantity of the breakfast. Well I guess they earned it, after all that paddling and they were just a little bit sore the next day. Not that I was after my horse ride. Of course not!!
We visited and walked lots of the Kalbarri National Park, admiring the scenery and swatting the flies, which again were a problem but not quite as bad as at Gladstone and Shell Beach. We watched the little boats steering into the shallow bay as they caught the tide to come in and wondered why there should be a life size Scottish bagpiper in the front porch of someone's house.
After Kalbarri it was on to Geraldton. We stopped near to the Pink Lake to take photos but again, the wrong time of day for the best effect.
Geraldton is a large town known for it's Lobster/Cray fishing. Unfortunately the Fisherman's co-op was closed pre season, so we missed doing the tour there and also here in Port Dennison. Never mind, next time! We did however, manage to buy some fish at the harbour, straight off the boat. A nice big Red Throat Emperor, enough for 3 good feeds, with some still in the freezer.
While talking with some locals who told us about the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, we decided on a spur of the moment to do a flight over them and then land on one. There are 3 main groups, made up of 122 Islands. These are just off the Coast of Geraldton consisting of mainly coral and have been the cause of many a shipwreck over the years. The Batavia being probably the most well known, shipwrecked in 1629 and for which this area, the Batavia Coast is named. Nowadays the islands are known for the Italian fishermen who used to fish out there and also the production of fertiliser called guano, harvested from the dense layers of bird droppings. There are basic townships out there still, only lived in for part of the year, where the fishing/cray industry thrives but nowadays it's seriously monitored by the fisheries department.
Our plane landed on the main Wallabi Island and we walked around the shore line to a shelter where we had morning tea before I went off for a snorkel. The weather was overcast that day and the water was a bit choppy so Chris declined and instead sat talking with Joel, our guide and pilot. I was determined to make the most of the opportunity to snorkel but as I was on my own I didn't go out as far as I would have liked (remembering my last adventure at Monkey Mia) so I stuck fairly close to the shore but I did manage to see several different types of fish and coloured plant life. We were able to go off exploring before returning for a light lunch and then heading back to our plane and the flight home.
Thank you Joel for a good flight, a great trip and especially for turning a blind eye when I took one of the big shells home with me.
While in Geraldton we also visited the HMAS Sydney memorial, to commemorate the loss of 645 lives, and the maritime museum to read the history of the area, the Islands and the shipwrecks.
From Geraldton, it was on to Dongara/Port Dennison, which seem to be one and the same. (I expect the locals could tell us different) again a lovely little seaside area with beautiful walks and little beaches for swimming with a bustling harbour with boats coming and going all day.
Chris manages to get the odd game of golf in, playing at both Kalbarri and Port Dennison, getting out onto the course early in the morning before the sun gets too hot. It was here at Port Dennison that we said farewell to Maggie and Joe as they head home to Perth, like many other friends we have made on the road, we will stay in touch!
Now as we head closer to Perth, our thoughts are on our trip to the east coast and family time. We are so looking forward to seeing all the family and spending time with Josh and Ellie along with our newest soon to be, grandchild.