Swimming snorkelling kayaking fishing paradise beach and marina- saw huge groper, millions of fish, man gave us live bait and helped us, kept taking the hook frustrating but fun. Learnt to cast the line much better.
Cooked food and met a surfer dude/ diving enthusiast from Devon called Brad, was nice to hear a familiar accent and made a welcome change from the french (so many french on the west coast at times I felt like I was in france) and we had also kept meeting a group of 5 people who had hired a wicked camper van which was nice to keep seeing them at different points of the trip.
Next day, we went back and saw Brad again, he was trying to get people together to hire some kayaks cheaply and as he was a diver in the area he knew the best spots, I shared with Alex, and Gwen and Lynda had another other one, 2 dutch guys, and Brad. Paddled for miles out and the waves got bigger. We then jumped out the kayak, I was aware how far out we were, and it did cross my mind that if a shark took a tasty bite, no1 on shore would even notice! This thought did worry me slightly. Regardless, I saw amazing huge ray with lots of fish swimming on top, just like finding nemo, you know the bit when the ray is the school teacher taking kids for rides? Anyway Gwen and Lynda had never kayaked before and they were really scared and angry at Brad for not helping or showing us good spots that he had promised. The word 'Putan' was used a lot here, if you don't know what it means in English, Google it. French people are horrible when they are angry.So they went back. I enjoyed it though.
So after lunch, we set off towards Exmouth, saw another million termite houses, they are incredible. When we arrived, the town was much smaller than I imagined and more spread out. Nothing special.
That day we went to a beach nearby and I was intent on catching a fish for dinner. I have learnt fishing is a very social sport in Australia (if you have no mates, go fishing!), because people always help eachother out with bait, equipment, technique sharing etc, and then have a casual chat about something when the fish aren't biting. And it is mostly men who fish, so if there is a girl around, it seems to catch them a bit off guard, especially now I can cast quite well, it is always a bit of a shocker. They will always help you out.
Fishing is a great Australian tradition, and I can understand why because the fish are just so beautiful and amazing, every time you catch a different species, more crazy, strange or colourful. I have acquired quite a bit of fishing paraphernalia on my travels including guides and posters which I am checking off the different types of fish when I catch them. Alex is quite interested in fishing but the others reckoned I definitely wouldn't catch anything, so that just made me even more determined! Used a bit of a fellow fisherman's squid which he gave me and put a fairly small hook on, and within minutes I had caught a good sized 'Dart'! (a beautiful silver fish with black dots and a tail as the name suggests). It's always a thrill when the line on the rod goes spinning and you have a little battle on your hands. Nothing in comparison to the big salmon I caught near Northcliffe, but was still great. The guy next to me who had been fishing for ages and only catching undersized bream looked at me in a new light! I had entered the fishing world...not such a stupid girl now huh! We had a good laugh, and now the other Frenchies all wanted a go with my fishing rod..its amazing I can persevere for a whole day and no1 wants a go when I offer, but as soon as there is some excitement they all want to use the rod! Anyway we all had some jokes and caught some more little bream, one of which swallowed the hook whole, the hungry w***! So he came to a sorry end unfortunately, and we threw him back into the ocean. And within minutes, there was a large splash, we all looked up and hugeTiger Shark came to the surface with its big fins right out of the water and ate the fish! I couldn't believe it! We were standing on a half-submerged jetty so close! It's something like one of the top 3 worlds' most dangerous man eating sharks (I think), next to the great white! The lady who was getting off a boat said the locals hear about tiger shark stories but they never get to see one, we felt very very lucky. A moment I will never forget.
That night we got moved on by the rangers for sleeping in carpark, very friendly but horrible when you are fast asleep banging on the door of the car with a flashlight. Ended up sleeping on top of a huge hill next to a light house. Very windy and creatures jumping ontop of the car (I was too scared to investigate) but I think it may have all been worth it to see the sunrise in the morning. I was the only one who woke but we were almost surrounded by ocean and it was breathtaking, most people climb this hill at the crack of dawn to see sights like this, and I just rolled out of bed to it by default! And took a few photos with Alex's camera but it just didn't do it justice.
Up in Exmouth we went to Yardie Creek and saw this cool gorge with Gwen and Lynda, then went snorkelling in Oyster stacks. I made friends wih a swiss dude and went snorkelling with him we saw turtles, coolest array of colourful fish, some species I had not seen on the barrier reef, the whole time I was working on Frankland islands in Cairns. I think maybe the snorkeling was better, apart from maybe a spot I found in the Whitsundays. We then went to Turquoise bayand saw octopus and nemo. and alex found a huge coral in the shape of a bum and duck dived to show me some rude actions (which caused me to nearly drown as my mask and snorkel filled with water from laughing too much- I literally nearly died from laughter.
On the way back there were millions of Kangaroos jumping across the road, and seeing them at sunset, just the silhouette was amazing, although dangerous driving as they are so stupid. A shame I couldn't capture it on camera, but unforgettable.
That night was my last night with the frenchys, and over dinner I was talking to Lynda about what she did in France, and she said even though she has a psychology degree to get a job she has to pay a lot of money that she cant afford just to get experience. They won't let people work for free in companies because they expect them not bother working hard. She can't get an office job unless you know someone in the company. She also said that people in all shops, restaurants etc everywhere will only employ beautiful people, she was not accepted for one job because they said she was too tall!! And when she was working at a phone shop, all the men would not approach her because she was taller than them!! She said her friend was turned away because she was not attractive enough for their shop, and all the people who work in shops are really attractive but very aloof and rude!! I could not believe what I was hearing, I know in some up market shops like abercrombie etc have this kindof attitude in London but not in general shops! The more I learn about France and the French attitude the more I don't like. I actually think maybe our employment laws are actually there for a reason now. Even Alex said how he finds people in France to be very selfish in comparison to Australians, but then again Australians are sooo generous it is amazing. People always offering to help you, give you a lift, let you stay at their house with not a care in the world etc especially on the west coast.
1st May Exmouth
Last night we slept behind a building in 'Le Dude' woken early by the bright sunshine, we cleaned the car out and tried to find my camera which has been missing the whole time but no luck. I havent lost all my photos but the last ones from in the pub in Northcliffe which is sad, but things could be worse. It was then time to say goodbye to Alex and the car. It had been a great trip, lots of fun and beautiful things to see along the way. He had been a great travel mate and very easy going, but I was secretly glad to have my own space. I checked into the 'Pot shot' hotel resort, which has a backpackers inside. This was a different world to mine for the past two weeks, there was an amazing pool, cool poolside bar and restaurant, that evening a really good band playing by the pool .I couldn't believe it! I actually think I am getting my $28 worth for once! From living in the car for free...to luxury all in 1 day. Felt a bit like Cinderella… rags to riches haha.
I did have a pang of homesickness today though, I usually do a bit when I am in limbo, with no immediate plans. Looked through all my pics from home and really missed everyone. I think I will have to try and get a home visit in after Asia for a month or so, and need to see the new kitchen mum has been working hard on!
Went on a trip today and saw the most amazing creature, the biggest fish in the sea, the whale shark! Don't worry he only eats plankton, not people. They can grow to 20 metres, but this one was only about 6, though still huge. We snorkelled with him for about an hour in total, and he was so slowly and friendly. We were lucky because a lot of the time they dive down when they get scared but this one couldn't because it was too shallow! Also they only come to the west coast of australia for a few months every year, and they can't be found in many other places in the world! Right place, right time!!
Girls day trip!
On the boat made friends with a couple of great English girls (Sharon and Kelly) and we went on a road trip back to the national park the next day, which was awesome, saw a reef shark, and more turtles (see blog pic! I swam with him for about half an hour). Had lots of fun, and made friends with some wild horses who put their heads inside the car, was so funny we couldn't stop laughing I kept trying to get them to go away but I couldn't!
I then took a bus back to Perth, which stopped overnight in northampton where we stayed in an old convent which was a bit spooky! Went into a pub with the other people from the bus, and it was EXACTLY the same as the northcliffe pub, complete with a backpacker behind the bar.I think all Aus country pubs are the same.
Anyway I am now in Perth, I got tonsillitis which is a bit of a pain and taking antibiotics, and just trying to get stuff sorted as I am off to Bali tomorrow and staying there until 3rd June when I fly to Singapore. Just had my last drink in Australia, with my Irish friend Orla who I met on the east coast, and again in Monkey Mia on west coast trip. Was very nice to see her again, and just right for my last night. Packed all my stuff and ready to go feeling nervous and excited. Can't really imagine what it will be like! Hopefully if my plan comes together, the hotel in Echo Beach, Canggu, will pick me up at midnight. We will see.
Must say a final goodbye, to my old friend Australia. What can I say, it has been epic. <3 Hopefully I will be back one day.
So sorry again about the long post but haven't had a chance to upload along the way, plus will be nice for me to read one day when I am sat in an office dreaming of that paradise I used to live in!
Lots of love to everyone!! Think about you all the time... and you are always in my stories xxx