Thursday, October 7, 2010
The past few days have been fairly quiet for inspiring places to go for our family. We have still seen a few wonderful sights and experienced things we would never have experienced unless we were here, but from Barn Hill we headed to 80 Mile Beach full of anticipation.
If I said one of the best parts of 80 Mile Beach Caravan Park and surrounds was the Ablution Block (they had shower screens!) then maybe you'll get the gist of our collective feelings.
Alas, there was nowhere to swim at 80 Mile Beach. The beach itself had sharks, stingrays and catfish in abundance and the water was hard to see through as a greyish silt covered the water. It was a shame because as we came over the hill, there was a collective "Wow" in the car as we could see pristine aqua blue water and palm trees. The Park had copped a Category 5 Cyclone last Christmas and the trees that once lined the rows in the park had been shredded. We had also been told the fishing there was amazing. I caught 3 large Sea Catfish which was fun but we were advised by our next door neighbours at the time they aren't very nice eating and had to be prepared a particular way.
We did see the resident pheasant coucal take on a large goanna, and the people were friendly enough. The kids did swim the first day, but on the second morning as they were about to enter the water, a kind person who had been coming there for 10 tears explained why it wasn't a good idea to swim and with no pool, we decided that our original 2 night booking would be enough. It was a shame as the twitching could have expanded wildly as migratory birds come from everywhere to this beach to feed, and it is also a green turle nesting place from October through to February.
We drove out and set off for Port Hedland. If large mountains of salt is your thing, then Port Hedland is a must see. Alas, it is not something we were looking for, and the cost of the Caravan Park we stayed for the night was the highest we have paid thus far for not really much of what we like. There was a pool and Annie and the kids went for a swim while I went looking for a few camping supplies. Port Hedland is lit up like a major city at night, lots of street lights and refinery lights can be seen. They also have trains carrying iron ore which are 7.325 kms in length!
After our day at Port Hedland, we thought we'd see what Port Samson was like. Again, supposedly good fishing, and the best fish and chip shop in the Karratha district!
Our first attempt at a swim didn't go to well as the tide was out, and in these parts, it goes out a long way. But we did manage to amuse ourselves with a walk along the sand and into the sandy-rocky flats. The kids experienced their first close encounter with a small ray. I think they would prefer this to be their only encounter as it swum safely through the shallows around them but gave them a bit of a scare. We also saw soldier crabs like those at Philip Island among other places and an octopus was a little distressed as we hung around looking at it.
In the late afternoon I went fishing for little result but enjoyed the setting sun and surrounds. Annie tried to take the kids to a place nearby which may sell prawns (we'll find out tomorrow) which should be local as prawning boats operate from here. The other main feature of the area is the enormous carriers that are sitting out on the horizon. We think this is the main port for Rio Tinto (BHP uses Port Hedland), and there are probably 7 of these supertankers sitting on the horizon. They are taking the ore from Tom Price mine, which we intend to visit.
We may be here for a few more days or just one more night after tonight. The park we are in is quite new and the amenities are a far cry from some of those we have had. Either suits us, it is nice to have these amenities here, but when you are in a place like Barn Hill, the rustic toilet blocks don't seem to matter.
Tonight we go to sleep with the sound of the waves floating through the windows. In the morning we'll be awoken by the sunrise on the bay with a view to die for from our Jayco. Hope to post this photo and others tomorrow night!
To answer some questions, we don't keep anything we catch, only those we intend to eat, so sharks have been set free to swim again. We haven't seen a Brolga for over a week now. Our Twitching list should come close to Clive, but it is a tall order! The kids do get out of their swimmers, but only because we insist they wear pyjamas to bed. Our trip started at the very end of August and we won't return to Alice Springs until Australia Day or there abouts!
We hope you enjoy the photos and videos of recent times.
Octopus at Port Samson Video
Fishing at Sunset Port Samson
Posted by Waring Farthings at 6:30 AM