Friday 27 Sept
Middleton Beach is in front of us and there is another Top Caravan Park at the other end. I start my days along the beach. Very few in the water yet.
National Anzac Centre, built in 2014, large cantilevered building. Excellent displays. Australian and N.Z soldiers left from Albany in 2 large convoys. The enormous safe harbour gave plenty of room for them. Getting large numbers ashore wasn't easy in those days, so the soldiers spent most of their time onboard.
We'd seen an ad in the camp office for the Friday evening dinner at the adjacent sports club (bowls and tennis). We met 2 nice couples - one from Tauranga who'd seen our wings, and one from Geraldton (Dave and Diane) who were wheat farmers in Kalannie. Their son mainly runs the farm now. Last year was a really good year for W.A wheat, but this year way less. They'd done 630kms today with their caravan from Esperance, and had photos of 2 of the silo murals without realising there is an art trail of them now. Dave, and some surrounding farmers, like a Brisbane supplier of Landcruisers, and a Bathurst manufacturer of the aluminium canopies. By the time they'd flown over there and driven back, they were quite expensive options.
Sat 28 Sept
Farmer's market. Dive shop to get snorkelling gear. We'd been to plenty of sports shops but this time got good advice.
We checked out some of the recommended beaches, but will wait for a warmer day. The tropical looking Shelley beach is on West Cape Howe, the southernmost point of W.A.
18 wind turbines provide 80% of the electricity for Albany's 37,000 residents. They can operate from 5kms of wind (and are closed down at 120km). They're controlled from Perth.
The Gap and The Bridge are amazing features in the gneiss (tortured basalt) and there are spectacular walkways and a viewing deck cantilevered over the cliff to see the waves below. It's the most amazing stainless steel construction and must have been so expensive. Like many of these places, it's in a national park where you either have to pay a daily rate or (like us) an annual pass, so I guess that is where the money came from to construct this facility.
We had a late lunch at the whaling station, which only closed in 1984, but will do the tour another day.
Sun 29 Sept
Constitutional along the beach, laundry, out to Betty's Beach and Little Beach. Although they are supposed to be the best beaches in W.A and today was our pick of the forecasts, the onshore wind kept us out of the water.
Lunch at the Old Marron Place. We were at a table outside when a diner next to us pointed out a brown snake heading across the lawn. Our resident snake expert (with allegedly lightning reflexes if required) stalked it for a photo. I took photos of her in case they were required by a coroner - they always suspect the husband, so they do.
The staff monitored it for a while, until it got into the aviary. They figured that it wouldn't want to leave as there was so much food there, so time for Snakey to be ex-snakey.
In the phone call to KD we found that there's now a 5 hour time difference as NZ is now on daylight saving time. We don't think that W.A does that radical stuff as the cows don't like it and it fades the carpet (if you have any).