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Reisverslag 16th till 19th Day
4 december 2016
16th till 19th Day
The writing is becoming a bit of a struggle for two reasons.
I feel now a bit in a dip of holiday enthusiasm, maybe even a bit of holiday fatigue. Every day having to think of what to do. Every day getting in the car and disappearing for most part of the day going to see things. I am always planning what to do tomorrow or the next day. At the start of every day I am even a bit restless, anxious to get going, will this sight be worth seeing or should we go there, there are too many options. Total calm is restored when the day is done. Besides that I am also conscious of the fact that we can see and learn only so little of these places and that feeling always leaves me a bit defeated or hungry for more and that is why I dream of staying at a destination sometime for longer, months even. But then there is home. It would take some time to get over the pang of missing home, all those people, activities, routines and things one is attached to……
The other reason is I am reading a novel by Tim Winton, Dirt Music and he has got me snared into his story. He delivers stories of this exact same region, but before the massive tourist boom. His knowledge of the sea, the local land, the local people, their language and their relationship with the land and water is phenomenal. He must have lived it, he must understand it. It makes me feel a dill at times, who knows and understands nothing and in the meantime it is a book hard to put down.
Margaret River and region is a paradise, a land of plenty.
We are residing in “Wisteria Cottage”, a comfortable cottage just outside Augusta, in a quiet bush setting. Weather has been great, mid-twenties and cooling off later in the afternoon. The cooling is caused by the wind, which increases in the middle of the afternoon. This happens after it warms up more inland and this warmer region then causes a draught from the cooler sea region. So our cottage only a few kilometres from the sea cools down quickly in the evening, so it is comfortable sleeping.
The Margaret River region is between Flinders Bay to the south and Geographe Bay in the north, between Cape Naturaliste in the north and Cape Leeuwin in the south. At Cape Leeuwin the Southern Ocean meets the Indian Ocean and we have seen the 2 currents clash gently on a calm beautiful day.
The area has a limestone coast and there are lots of caves in the region near the coast. A road called Cave Road runs from south to north along all these caves and is a fantastic tourist road. Limestone, a Mediterranean climate and reasonable rain fall are the reasons why there are so many wineries in this region. All this together, beautiful weather, beaches, great surf, wineries, magnificent forests and lovely country side makes this a tourist hot spot.
We saw the Jewel cave, only 200 metres from our cottage. It was a massive cave and well presented, steps, board walks, lights, up and down, all to highlight the cavernous space and the fantastic formation of stalactites, stalagmites and halactites. But the cave is no longer “alive”, nothing was growing any longer as the water had dried up, which is now being put in bottles with fancy labels, given strange tastes and being sold for lots of money. And I am a sucker for the stuff.
Next stop the lighthouse at Cape Leeuwin. We had a free voucher for 1 person from our accommodation host, so needed to pay for only 1 person. Well the good man behind the counter, Ray, was too willing to help us and accept the free voucher and forgot to charge us. In the casual and enthusiastic banter with him I forgot to pay as well. Jan “eagle eye” Smith did not fail to notice!
A half hour later, Ray was our personal guide of the lighthouse. He was a very nice chap, maybe a bit older then us, which was good as he needed to stop every 4 levels of steps to tell us a story (and him and us very casually catch our breath). He definitely was a lighthouse nerd, but told his story in a relaxed way, more following our questions then a script and so it was really good to establish a comfortable conversation and he enjoyed as much as we did. All for free, good on you Ray!
I booked a Whale watching cruise by phone for Monday in Dunsborough (80 Km north in Geographe Bay), was assured there were plenty of whales!!!
Following that we went for a swim at our nearest beach, Cosy Corner and we had the beach all to ourselves. We noticed that the water of the Indian Ocean was warmer then the water of the Southern in Albany. And a swim (or splash) in the sea is like a re-birth to me, nothing spiritual about it just feels great.
28 November, Sunday.
Drove to Margaret River, where we had lunch and did some shopping.
A busy place, nice too and lots of consumption.
I am happy to inform you that I am progressing well with my Sumo training. Haven’t studied any moves yet, but well on the way in turning my body in the shape of a whale, a Sperm whale I suppose.
29 November, Monday
Today was going to be an exciting day, we were going to see whales. On Saturday I booked a 2 hour boat trip in Dunsborough looking for whales in Geographe Bay. I was assured by the guy that sold me tickets over the phone that there were still plenty of whales about, mainly humpback whales.
So we drove the 1.5 hour drive to Dunsborough. Dunsborough looks a completely new town. All buildings and houses appeared to be new and lay-out and traffic arrangements were different from normal towns. The weather was again glorious and the sea was like a milk pond.
We first went to the public library and I uploaded a few days story and some photo’s, but the internet was to slow. Photos did not load. Public libraries here in Oz are great facilities, everywhere is free access to internet, for seniors at least, and borrowing books is of course free for everyone. Another example of that wonderful public and civic service by the Australian people. Every town in Australia no matter how small will have a bigger or smaller civic green with free toilet facilities, barbeques and table and chairs in the shade. Yesterday (3 Dec) we used some in Corrigin a tiny town on the Brookton Highway to Hyden.
So much praise for the civic mindedness of little towns, not so much praise for the individual tour operator. As you can guess by now the sightings of whales was a big fat zero. Oh they had seen one this morning, but we saw only blue water and a pod of dolphins, but they were not keen on us either, as soon as we approached they disappeared. We also saw the shadow of a large turtle, it would have been at least a metre in diameter. He too took to diving as we approached. And the skipper yelled out that he saw flying fish, at a particularly boring moment. Everybody was swivelling their heads like the clowns at a fair and pretending they had seen it to. But it was all a hoax, I am sure. However in their defence they had told us at the start that they may not find any whales and the lads did tell us quite a bit about whales and their migration. (They also told us that the noise Skippy made in the TV show was a speeded up sound of Kookaburra’s). And we could go on another tour for free. Well that will have to wait till next year, or the year after or till never.
We did speak to a woman from the UK, who was a chatterbox, but it was nice to exchange some travel information and it passed the time.
I really felt disappointed after that, although I knew that it was unlikely to see any whales as I was told before that they had already gone, but I wanted to believe in fairies.
After that we drove to Cape Naturaliste and had a look at the bay and the Indian Ocean. There a calm came over me and the frustration from the disappointment faded. You can’t force nature and I did not want a poor whale to be all alone in that great big ocean, having to travel alone back to Antarctica.
We decided to go to Margaret River and have a nice meal. And we were successful in that. The proprietor was a Swiss, migrated to Australia 5 years ago with his second wife and had started this restaurant. He was a smooth talker and salesman. It took all of Jan’s definite no no no to reject a delicious desert. We had to (!!!!), as you get very quickly twice the size you are with all this beautiful food and doing very little work or exercise.
Driving home in the dark was very tense as we did not want to hit a kangaroo. Both Jan and I were glued to the windscreen, did not say a word for fear of losing concentration and I was driving only 70Km per hour. We made it home safe and tomorrow we drive to Fremantle.
Foto's bij verslag (9)
4 december 2016 09:51 | Door: Lieve Jan en Peter
Wat een fantastische verhalen. Leuk dat jullie ons op de hoogte houden.
We wensen jullie nog een mooie en onvergetelijke reis toe en geniet ervan.
Veel liefs en groetjes uit het koude " Kirchroa"
Jeroen, Sonja en Sam
4 december 2016 12:12 | Door: Jan & Alda
Great reading again, and we recognize the holiday fatigue; it' s normal and it will pass so don't worry.
Winton's book ( translated in Dutch) is in our local library, so we are going to read it. Saves us a long journey and holiday fatigue!!
Tomorrow is Sinterklaas, don't forget to put your shoes in front of the mantelpiece. If you don't find any candy in it, evidently you have not been nice enough.