Along the coast of south west Australia (6.10. - 15.10)
06.10.07 (9th day) Mosquitoes and bugs
Today, we have been heading south in the direction of Bunbury, the second biggest city in Western Australia, about 190 km from Perth. We have been bothered by mosquitoes much more than other days, so we used our repellent for the first time. There are so many mosquitoes in this area that they have started to spray them. Some of the mosquitoes can be dangerous, because they may be infected with “Ross River Virus”, causing long-term fatigue and sleepiness. Hopefully, we will avoid those ones.
Each of us has also had a tick. They are spread by the kangaroos and most of the time we sleep in the bush where they live.
07.10.07 (10th day) Hygiene
For many, it may be a daily necessity, but for us, a hot shower is a luxury. We try to get a wash every 3-4 days. Today was the day. I asked at a golf centre if we could have a shower there. When I entered the place, I happened to stand by a marble counter and right next to me was a posh function with a live singer. I stood there all sweaty and and sticky with my helmet on, feeling a bit stupid. The lady at the counter was nice and directed us to the showers as if it happened on a daily basis, that people like us come there asking for a shower. People from the party were interested in our trip. We look quite profiwith all our gear and the cycling outfit. Cool situation!
We could stay in camps and enjoy a hot shower every day, but this wouldn't be a proper adventure, and also, paying for camps would add up in such long time (3-4 months) substantially hitting our expedition budget.
The other day, I had a shower at one bed packers. I met 3 nice Taiwanese girls living there and working on a local vineyard and they arranged it for me. Cool! Martin had a wash in one natural cold pool full of cancers just before we met the girls. :-)
Sometimes, we find a hose at some isolated place or wash in the river, brr. I don't find these parts of our very romantic, but it an inseparable part of it.
08.10.07 (11th day) Animals and reptiles
We have seen a tortoise by the road today. It was trying to make a nest with its hind legs. Martin chased it away from the roadside back to the field. The tortoise was black with a long neck, it was a snake-necked tortoise. Later, we have seen a group of kangaroos grazing in a beautiful Ludlow Tuart Forest full of arum lilies. The kangaroos are everywhere, we see some almost every day and we can also smell their decaying bodies on the roads every day. Quite often, we also see emus and bobtails (big fat lizards looking scary, but harmless). On the rocky coast, thin long black lizards can be seen.
We have also been lucky to see two snakes. One was sunbathing on a bush path where we went for a short walk. It was black with a yellow pattern. We checked it in a book and it must have been a Tiger snake, dangerously venomous. But the snakes will not run through the bush to bite us, so unless we step on one, we should be OK. We have frightened the other one by the road as we were cycling. Spring is the best time to see snakes. They are coming out of their holes to warm up in the sun. Later, when it is too hot they are hidden back in their holes.
09.10.07 (12th day) South-west Australia
We cycle along the coast of SW Australia. The region is very green, full of natural parks, caves and vineyards. A lot of Western Australians come here for holiday.
Our original plan was to take the shortest way from Perth to the Nullarbor plain (about 700 km), but since in WA, there is so much to see, we decided to ride along the coast (over 1500 km). A good choice! We don't pedal that much, but we still stick to the plan of 500 km/week. And if we don't make the planned km, not to worry, we will catch up in other parts of Australia, where there is not that much to see. Hopefully :-)
We have visited many places of interest within the following 5 days:
Eagles Heritage: a unique collection of Australians raptors. There are falcons, kites, harriers, owls, eagles (Wedged-tailed Eagle) etc. We were lucky to be there in the right time to see a live bird show. The bird keeper let black kites fly free and they were catching the food as the man was throwing it in the air. The sight of these birds of prey is so great, that if they could read, they would easily read the headlines of a newspaper in a mile distance. These birds perceive 10 movements per second, whereas a man only one. Those, who were queueing early enough, could hold the kite on their arm. Unfortunately, we were not the lucky ones.
Busselton Jetty: this wooden 1841m long jetty is the longest one in the southern hemisphere and the second longest in the world (there is a longer one 2.1 km in UK). There is an underwater observatory at its end, where you can watch the underwater life through 11 large acrylic windows. Except for about ten different kinds of fish, we could observe the jetty pillons (about 60 years old) covered by sea animals – sponges, corals, crabs, barnacles etc.
Canal Rocks: a spectacular pink granite coastline created millions of years ago and shaped by the restless ocean.
Jewel cave: one of the over 300 limestone caves discovered in the Margaret river region. This one was found very late, in 1957, because the only entry to the cave was through a 12m long narrow opening created by a decomposed huge tree. The cave is unique due to its long thin straws, called helictites, the longest one has 5.4m. This cave is supposed to be the prettiest one here and we can confirm that it was really beautiful. Remnants of a dingo, Tasmanian tiger and a possum have been found here. The former two do not appear in this area nowadays.
Cape Leeuwin: the southernmost point of Australia (not considering Tasmania), where the Southern and Indian oceans meet. There is a tall white lighthouse and a bit further and old water wheel, which used to water supply the lighthouse. There are beautiful beaches with white sand along the cape. But still too cold for swimming in the sea.
14.10.07 (17th day) Karri Forests
We have moved to the area of huge Karri forests around Pemberton. Karri trees are huge trees growing to the height of 90m. They grow only in this area, where annual precipitations are about 1200mm. They have smooth pale grey bark that sheds in autumn. They are the third tallest trees in the world. 3 km from Permberton, there is the famous Gloucester tree, which you can climb to the height of 60 m and enjoy the view over the Karri forest on the highest live lookout in the world. Gloucester tree was one of a few trees chosen for looking for the wildfires. Near the tree, there were plenty of colourful parrots, they were not shy at all landing on our shoulders and heads to be fed. That was great!
Hi Janet and Don,
we are in Albany now. We will continue to Esperance via Stirling range. The coastline is beautiful here – Greens Pool and Elephant rocks in Denmark. Fantastic! I have written some more text about our latest experiences and things we have seen, it will soon be on internet with some more photos. Hope you are both doing fine. I am eating diligently your Usana pils, will finish soon :-) I still have hayfever, but in quite mild form, so it is OK. See you soon.
Renata and Martin