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Sunday, October 31, 2010

A few quiet, boring days at Peron Peninsula

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After our trials and tribulations of Point Quobba, we arrived here to some more wind, but things have changed a bit and it isn't as windy and we are expecting a few quieter days.

Yesterday we headed over to Monkey Mia to see the dolphins being fed. Our family was extremely lucky as there were 8 people (out of about 100) chosen for the first feeding session, and Banjo was chosen. We took our time so much afterwards that we were there for the second feeding of the day. This time was much nicer as there were only about 30 people and this time, Moses got his chance. There are photos and videos on posts below.
We then set off for a viewing afternoon at Eagles Bluff which had a lovely boardwalk, but very little in the water below. This was a little disappointing as we had hoped to see a range of stingrays, sharks and hopefully a dugong. We decided to leave our disappointment behind and headed to the Ocean Park Aquarium, aout 15 kms south of Denham. We had a great time watching smallish sharks being fed, and some gorgeous little turtles that were being nursed back to health before being set free back to the wild. As we approached the "nasties" tank, our kids quickly identified each of the dangerous marine life in the tank - lion fish (Ruby has now seen two in the wild!), puffer fish, box puffer fish, and then we were treated to be able to see a true stone fish. It really was weird. We also saw some of the reef fish we had seen snorkelling so it was nice to ask the very knowledgeable young people working there what each one was. They were equally impressed by our kids' knowledge about the various fish and eels and other things in the tank and were very friendly.
We came away thinking we had had quite a good day, and then tried our luck in a small lagoon with the fishing rods until just on dark. We have photos of quite possibly the smallest fish ever caught! Never mind, a lovely dinner of soup was whipped up by Ruby.

Today we set off to the Peron National Park with hopes of seeing a dugong. After our experience from yesterday we weren't overly confident, but there are supposed to be between 11,000 and 14,000 living in Shark Bay so we drove off in hope. We weren't disappointed.

We probably saw 10 dugongs in total. But where we saw them was filled with other life in the ocean. Skipjack Point Lookout was a fantastic viewing platform and the wind had dropped markedly so we could see almost everything. The list included the dugongs, mantarays, cowtail rays, sharks, turtles, dolphins and schools of different fish. The kids were very excited, and were buzzing as they went to bed tonight with the excitement.

It is experiences like this that we will remember, and we are very thankful that we have this time together as a family.

WFs

Photos from Monkey Mia and Peron Peninsula

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Dugong in the water at Skipjack Point, Peron Peninsula




Kids spotting dugongs, rays, mantarays, turtles, dolphins, sharks and fish at Skipjack Point



Mantaray at Skipjack Point




Moses feeds the dolphin at Monkey Mia


Dolphin at Monkey Mia

videos from Denham/MonkeyMia and Peron Peninsula

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Moses feeding the Dolphins at Monkey Mia






Dugong from SkipJack Lookout at Point Peron, Peron Peninsula


Friday, October 29, 2010

Coral Bay to Denham via Carnarvon and Point Quobba

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For those of you wishing we would stop having fun, you have your wish but we managed to get some beautiful experiences in anyway.

We had heard about the Fremantle Doctor, but no-one told us about the Cape Range Surgeon, the Coral Bay Neurosurgeon, the Carnarvon GP, or the Point Quobba ER Specialist! Wind, wind, and windier! We left Cape Range to get out of the wind. Made it to Coral Bay and enjoyed probably more than we should have, with a ride on the Quad Trek to Oyster Bridge and the Lagoon for some snorkelling. The Oyster Bridge was amazing, and the kids loved the quad bikes ("faster Mum!" and "faster Dad!") So after spending Australia's monthly Exports amount on the Quads, the boys and I went fishing, while Ruby and Annie went on a Mantaray boat trip for some swimming with a mantaray and some amazing snorkelling further out on the reef. Moses caught 3 small flathead, Banjo 2 dart and I was fishless again.
Had one final snorkel (Annie and Banjo did anyway) before setting off for Carnarvon. Fresh fruit and vegies were beckoning and a restock before our sojourn to Point Quobba. The kids were very keen for a bit of Harry Potter audio book, so we asked Banjo to do most of his times tables. He managed to get through his 2's, 3's, 4's, 5's, 6's, 7's, 10's and 11's. I think we found his mathematical achilles heel!
We arrived and setup the Jayco behind one of the many shacks around (we weren't really sure if this was kosha but did so anyway) and used the verandah for our "annex" as it was a little bit windy when we arrived.
We spent the night in relative calm as the wind swirled past the shack. We awoke to a stiff breeze and decided to head up to Quobba Homestead and beyond. With hopes high the wind would abate, we set off, marvelling at the cliffs and seascapes, and were treated to a delightful display of breaching by a humpback whale about 70 metres off shore. Continued on to the cairn for the HMAS Sydney and then tried to find the "best rock fishing ledge on the coast". I swear I just wanted to look .... well ... anyway, the signposting wasn't too flash (ok, so we had no idea where we were really) and we had a lovely saunter through the sand hills along a beautifully paved goat track (glad we had the 4WD!). We eventually found the rough area the ledge was supposed to be in, but by this stage we were all getting a bit fed up of being in the car so headed back to camp via the blowholes. They were ok but not fantastic at the time.
I was not to be denied my attempt at fishing, so Annie dropped me off, went back with the kids and got some afternoon tea and warmer clothes for everyone not fishing, then returned to a despondent fisherman. The wind was starting to pick up more and more as it got closer to dark. We ate dinner, another sumptuous meal whipped up by Annie and Ruby, and then the wind started to come in harder. Our little Jayco fought bravely all night, the kids were pretty brave too. Annie wanted to pack up by 11:00 pm as it was roaring outside and had shifted and we were in the line of fire. Neither adult got much sleep, so at first light we were up and trying to get everything packed.
We eventually headed out at 7:30 am, a new packing up and leaving record time! This seems to be important to the kids when you are in the car and heading out. They did realise quickly we were keen to get going and helped out.
We drove in to Carnarvon after 2 days of being windswept and without a swim or a shower. We decided the car and the Jayco needed one first so we headed to the car wash. ("Oh yeah, the Jayco is white, not red!")
We continued on and made it here to Denham, near Monkey Mia, and guess what, there is a Denham Doctor too! Oh well. We have all enjoyed a fairly easy afternoon going to the visitor's centre, the pier and then dinner and a most welcome hot shower in non-salty water!
Tomorrow (Saturday) the plan is to get up early and go to see the dolphins, and hopefully catch some fish!

WF's

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Videos from trip to Coral Bay

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Hopefully I'll have more success this time. These are not in order.

Swimming with the Turtle!


Banjo Catching a Golden Trevally at Cape Leveque


Richard catching Golden Trevally at Cape Leveque


Moses and Banjo at Millstream National Park


Spear Making Part 1


Spear Making Part 2



Mud Crab Catching Part 1 & 2


Family Swim at Circular Pool, Karijini National Park

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Photos of Ningaloo Reef and Mesa Camp Cape Range National Park

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Family watching Turtles frolic in the water below


Turtle coupling


Exhausted female turtle takes a break on the beach


Kids and small emu at water tap for Mesa Camp


At the site of the turtle nest Annie and Ruby had witnessed the night before


The Beach Stone Curlew



Ruby Stalking a Crab



Richard snorkelling


Reef fish


Mesa Camp by the dunes. The beach is just the other side of the dune, Our Jayco is second from the left


Emu by the turquoise waters of Ningaloo Reef


Emu near the sign at the water tap. "Sparingly...."


One of the crabs that scurried around the dunes and beach (and the campground!) at Mesa Camp area


Butterfly fish


Annie and kids at Turquoise Bay


"Gill" from Finding Nemo fish


Clams at Mesa Camp beach

Video of Turquoise Bay Snorkelling

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Exmouth to Coral Bay via Cape Range NP (Ningaloo Reef)

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After our brief stay at Exmouth to re-provision for the coming days, we set off in hope of getting a camping spot at Cape Range National Park. We were lucky enough to get in and we had a site at Mesa Camp.
Our first dip in the ocean was an amazing experience with lots of fish, an eel of some sort and the day was fairly still so very little wave action and beautiful clear water.
From there the snorkelling got better. We had heard that there were some lovely beaches and some great snorkelling and we weren't disappointed. The water was a beautiful turquoise colour and the reefs were close in to shore which meant we could all comfortably snorkel.
At Lakeside, one of the better snorkelling sites, we experienced a wonderful family moment where we all swam with a turtle. If I can I'll get the video up for this. We saw a myriad of both reef and "fin" fish as well as an octopus, a reef shark, some colourful parrot fish, a large estuary cod, "nemo" fish, reaaly small and some quite large fish. The coral wasn't spectacular, but as an introduction to snorkelling for all of us as a family, we couldn't have asked for anything more.
Annie and Ruby had another wonderful experience as they headed off to a beach where we had heard there was a good chance to see a turtle laying eggs at night. I took the boys fishing and even though we had a nice time, Annie and Ruby did see a turtle laying eggs which is something neither of them is likely to forget.
Another day the boys and I were fishing while Annie and Ruby went snorkelling nearby. We watched a large Manta ray swim by and then the girls arrived in time to see a turtle swim by. Both the ray and the turtle were very close to shore. Then a pod of 5 or 6 dolphins started playing around above some coral about 30 metres from shore right in front of us. Another memorable morning's viewing.
We saw a few different birds at a place called Mangrove Bay which has a bird hide. A white sea eagle, some cormorants and egrets and some small wading birds. We could also see some of these near our camp and along the roads through the Park.
We had other snorkelling days at Turquoise Bay and tried the Oyster Stacks but the weather had started to turn a bit against us and the wind had increased throughout the week.
We bought underwater cameras for the kids (what's processing mean Mum? - obviously they are digital age kids!) and they all enjoyed taking photos underwater, although Moses took a few out of water too, maybe he was just trying to work out a camera you had to wind on - we'll give him the benefit of the doubt.
On a very windy day we went back to the beach where Annie and Ruby had seen the turtle laying her eggs and saw 20 - 30 turtles frolicking in the water and onto the sand. We also looked at where they had seen the turtle laying and the mounds and Ruby was very good at explaining how the turtle had dug a hole and then dug an egg chamber.
Our bird watching has become a great ongoing learning experience for all of us for the trip. We named 10 birds of prey we have seen on this trip in the car today (yes we have photos of all!) but the true excitement now is seeing unusual birds. Pete, we saw a Beach Stone Curlew, which is considered an at risk bird (yes, we have photos too), and there have been a lot of emus up around here and we have taken many photos of them, including some younger emus at the place we collected water from each day, and this morning we saw two chicks running across the road with an adult on the way out of Exmouth.
The reptiles seem to keep well hidden, not surprising considering the birds of prey, but we did see a freshly run-over snake this morning, a large lizard at Yardi Creek and a perentie in the pool area here at Coral Bay this afternoon.
The Camp Hosts, Greg and Adele, were really friendly and helpful during our 7 nights at Mesa Camp. They seem to really enjoy their role, which is on a volunteer basis, mainly retired folk, and the NP pay for their fuel if they have a generator, and they get their camping for free. Their role is to collect the camping fees, offer general information, keep the toilets and camp ground clean, and Greg and Adele had 5 pm welcome drinks where whoever felt the need could go and sit and chat about their travelling experiences with the other campers. They were doing a one month stint, and then heading off somewhere else. Seemed like the perfect life for some retired folk we know!
After a week at Mesa, we felt the wind was just getting a bit out of hand and we decided to come south about 140 kms to Coral Bay. It is a little more sheltered, but the wind is still pretty strong. We'll see how it goes for a couple of days and either stay a bit longer, or move on to somewhere further south.
I don't feel as though I have done the Ningaloo Reef justice in this blog but as Annie and I agreed, it is really hard to explain to people something that was so special for us as we experienced it. The photos are to come.

WF's

Friday, October 15, 2010

Videos from Trip to Exmouth

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Banjo hand feeding a Barramundi One Arm Point Hatchery





Sorry folks, internet is very slow for unknown reasons. will try to add more later.

WF's

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Port Samson to Exmouth via Millstream NP, Karijini NP and Tom Price

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Hello Readers in the world of the Internet from Exmouth! Yes, we have come a long way. We are over 6000 kms on the trip meter.

I have done the photos a bit differently this time (smaller) so click on the small photo to make it load bigger on a new page.

We have done lots, and today has been a big day so not much writing. We continue to have a great time. Hope you enjoy the photos. Will aim to get some videos up soon.

WF's

























Photos from Millstream National Park
















The following are a collection of photos of our time at Karijini National Park.


















































Today was a "big" day. Everything about the day was big. We started off by packing up from our one night stay in Tom Price and decided to take a sneak peek at the size of some of the trucks we were about to see on our mine tour. Yes, the wheels were bigger than dad! And the truck dwarfed our car and van.











You have to wear the right equipment so we were all fitted with hard hats and safety glasses. Can you guess who wasn't impressed with the hard hat?











Next it was off to the mine. Tom Price mines Iron Ore and it was all very big and impressive.












We then set off on our big drive and saw an enormous wedge tail eagle and we almost come a cropper at an emu crossing!
We arrived at Exmouth just after dark and did our first setup in darkness which took 20 minutes from the time we backed the van in to the time we were set up. We are all very pleased with ourselves!