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Sunny West Coast - part deux

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Monday 12th had me heading off on my 2nd trip of the west coast of Oz.  This time I was heading north for 7 days to Exmouth. Our first stop was the Pinnacles Desert where limestone pillars of rock are appearing through the sand. The wind and rain excavates the limestone rock and when the rock appears above the surface, it is all misshapen. Maybe I’ve been spoiled with all I’ve seen on this trip but I didn’t get that excited about these. Next stop we got our sand boards from the back of the truck and walked to the top of a sand dune and slid to the bottom. It was great craic J The rest of the afternoon was spent driving to Kalbarri where we spent the night. After dinner we sat around having a few drinks. I had reason to celebrate that night as Cadbury had just rang me offering me a 3 month position starting 3 days after I flew home.


Day 2: We were up early to hike the Kalbarri N.P. The scenery was stunning. Red rock against green vegetation and the blue of the river. I seemed to have been bitten by another mossie in the middle of the night and it was very red and swollen and quite painful. After our hike we had a long 4hr drive to Monkey Mia. Along the way we stopped at Shell Beach, where as the name suggests the beach does not have sand but shells. Walking on this beach in bare feet is not recommended! That night we all gathered on the beach for some drinks and spent the night looking at the stars. It was beautiful J


Day 3: We were up at 6.30am this morning to see the dolphin feeding at Monkey Mia. I watched from the jetty as 7 dolphins swam in around the keeper’s feet. They were so tame and have been coming to the morning feeding for the last 30 years. 20 lucky people on the beach were picked out to hand feed the dolphins. At 8.30am I went on a Culture Walk with a local Aboriginal man named Capesy. He showed us what fruit is safe to eat on the trees and how the Aboriginals tracked their prey by the tracks they found in the sand. The guide also explained how land is very important to them and when meeting another tribe they would always ask how is your country, rather than how are you, because if your country was sick then you would be too. Capesy also explained that the Aboriginals had 6 seasons and these were determined by the fruit and animals that were available to eat and also by the rains. It was a very interesting walk. We left Monkey Mia at 10.30am and headed towards Coral Bay. The bite on my leg had gotten a lot worse and half my leg was swollen and very painful. I decided to pop to a chemist to see could they give me something to take down the swelling. The pharmacist took one look at my leg and told me it was a spider bite. I got a little bit pale when we asked me how long ago did this happen, I said I first noticed the redness the previous day. He said then it probably wasn’t a poisonous bite as I was still alive ! He said I was having a severe reaction and he put me on an antibiotic and I had to keep the wound covered so that it wouldn’t get infected. He claimed to be able to see the bite marks on my leg, but as the bite was on the back of my thigh I couldn’t see a thing.


Day 4: This was a free day to spend in Coral Bay. Most people decided to do a boat tour as the Ningaloo Reef was supposed to as nice as the Great Barrier. I wanted to do the manta-ray tour. The day trip involved 2 snorkelling sites and a swim with the manta if permitted. It was a lovely sunny day when we headed off to the jetty to board the boat. Our hunt for a manta took almost an hour. These animals can swim at amazing speeds, so it happened that twice we were in the water but the manta had taken off. It was a case of 3rd time lucky as the manta decided to swim beside us and show off. It was a she and she was huge, a wing span of almost 3m. She did twists and turns and 360 degree spins. It was amazing. When the manta swam off you had to be quick to chase. I caught up with her once more before she took off again. That evening we made the short trip to Exmouth our final stop on the northbound trip. After dinner that night we went to the beach to have some drinks. It was a beautiful warm night and the stars were so clear in the sky. Another great day on the west coast J


Day 5: This morning we got up to hike Yardie creek. The area was all red stone which is so beautiful against the green trees and river etc.. From the top of the creek we saw a turtle surfacing for air ! That afternoon we headed to world renowned Turquoise Bay. This beach was paradise. White sand and as the name suggests, clear turquoise water. It was about 30 degrees and everyone was tired after our hike, so most people chilled on the beach reading or snoozing. We had brought snorkelling gear as there was a reef just off the beach. The current was quite strong around the reef and people were encouraged to pop their head up every once in a while to make sure the current wasn’t carrying them out to sea. Our hunky guide Macca aka Paul Mc Manus offered to take me snorkelling, he promised that he’d find me a turtle and a reef shark. We snorkelled for over an hour and he was true to his word, within 5 min we had spotted a turtle, who just swam alongside us, not at all phased that we were there. Towards the end of our snorkel we spotted a reef shark, lying in the sand not far from shore. It was about 1m in length and took off as soon as it saw us. Macca took off after it, but I was happy just to watch. On our way back in we spotted a 2nd reef shark, this one actually circled us and scared the crap out of me and I thought it was a different type of shark, but it eventually took off as well. Another fantastic day J


Day 6&7: These two days were pretty uneventful as we made our way back to Perth, almost 1,500km away. Day 6 we covered 1,000km so spent the whole day driving. We spent the night at a working farm which made a change from a hostel. Day 7 we left the farm and stopped at the Greenlough Wildlife Centre where we got to feed kangaroos, emu’s etc.. I held a python and it crawled up around my neck, its skin was cold and felt very weird. We arrived into Perth after 6pm and said our goodbyes. We organised to meet the next afternoon in Freo for dinner and drinks.


The next few days in Perth I spent getting organised to go home, closing bank accounts, writing blogs, packing my bag etc.. I also spent about 3 hours in the Qantas office that week, trying to find out if my flight was even going to go. I eventually was told at 10.30am on Thursday morn that I would be flying that afternoon. My last full day in WA, I went to Rottnest Island. The island is known as a weekend get-away for anyone in the city. No cars are allowed on the island, so the only mode of transport is by bike. I rented a bike and snorkelling equipment and spent the day cycling from beach to beach, swimming, reading my book and just chilling.


That’s the end of my 3 weeks in WA. I’ve had a ball. The whole year has been fantastic and I wouldn’t change a thing. So that’s it from me, this is the last blog as I don’t think my life back working in Dublin will be as exciting. Glad everyone enjoyed reading about our exploits.


Over and out Mel xx




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The sunny west coast part deux :)

Kalbarri, Monkey Mia, Coral Bay, Exmouth, Australia