Up at 3.30 to run to the bush bog so not a great start to the day! Drove to Dale's Gorge as soon as it was light enough to start the hike. Realised very quickly that this gorge (which was at the opposite end of the park to the ones we did yesterday) was very different - much more jungle/Laura Croft esque. First we went off a side track to Ferne Pool which was very other worldly. There was a wooden diving platform with metal steps going down into it.
We saw movement above us and looked up to see hundreds of bats hanging in the trees. After attempting to get some pictures of them flying we walked back to the main path, down the amphitheatre, past the waterfall and along the gorge stopping at another pool at the other end. We walked past a HUGE boulder that looked like it had handprints on it - very creepy. Climbed back up the gorge which was hard work, then along a path along the top of the cliff. Drinking in all the views from the top and getting increasingly frustrated with the flies we made it back to the car in one piece and headed for the visitor centre to take a shower.
Sadly it was closed and not to open for another 40 minutes so we turned around and made our way to the nearest roadhouse . Filling up with fuel we noticed that they had showers there and after asking at the till the girl said we could use them for free - result! It was such an epic feeling having clean warm water cascading over me removing all the dirt, dust and god knows whatever the flies had left on me! So feeling cleaner than I think I've ever felt before I bought a sandwich from the roadhouse, inhaled it and then set off again, promptly stopping so we could switch places and I could have a nap.
Stopped in Port Hedland to stock up on a few bits at Woolworths, got out the car and instantly started sweating. Phone read 45 degrees! Back in the car and a sugar rush later the bush fires we had been snapping from afar seemed just a little too close for comfort. We turned a bend and the fire was right in front of us on both sides of the road! Hesitating, we decided there was no way we could go back so Charlotte put her foot down and zoomed through the fire. It was a scary few seconds.
We made it Eighty Mile Beach caravan park feeling relieved as it had been a long old drive. The caravan park looked absolutely beautiful and finding our way to the beach we realised how apt the name was - beach EVERYWHERE! Minus the flies it was a wonderful place.
We had noticed signs in reception about a volunteer programme for Flatback turtles and so we made our way to the BBQ area for orientation. We were shown a presentation by Sara, the wildlife ranger in charge of this operation, all about the Flatback turtles, why they needed us and what we were to expect from the evening. After that we were fed a 'sausage sizzle' which was tasty and nice to have a cooked meal at last.
We were assigned into groups and then taken onto the beach. Us and 2 others were allocated the first set of turtle tracks and we quietly crept towards where the turtle was digging her hole. It was a wonderful sight, something that you only really see accompanied by David Attenborough's dulcet tones. Looking up the beach you could see many turtles making their exhausting journey up the beach to lay their eggs as the moonlight was reflecting off their shells. They were a lot bigger than I they would be! So we watched, and we waited. Watched and waited some more before the turtle realised she wasn't in the mood and made her way back to the sea. I found a different turtle to watch and Charlotte found another and we patiently and quietly waited. Mine dug a hole, covered it over, moved about 2 metres away, dug another hole just kept on digging.
About 3 hours and 4 turtles down Charlotte flashed her red torch in my direction and ninja instinct kicking in I barrel rolled and back flipped my way over and we proceeded to watch the turtle lay her eggs. I couldn't believe that I was actually seeing this in real life! Nature at her finest. We watched the turtle finish laying her eggs, then she covered the nest with sand and then exhausted commence her long journey back to the sea. Finally she made it, and off she went sticking her little head out of the water for one last breath before disappearing into the darkness.
After marking the nest with Sara and the last of the volunteers we headed back and had a quick shower to wash off all the sand and finally made it to bed at about 11.30 (couldn't believe I'd managed to stay awake that long!). It was the hottest it had been so far and so we slept with all the doors and windows open.