Star date: September 2004
Hello Dear Family &
"Live as if there is no tomorrow,
Learn as if you'll live forever!"
These were the parting words of a ranger we were talking to at Shark Bay National Park. He was telling us about growing up on an outback cattle station with the Aboriginal people; and his life as a farmer and rodeo rider before semi-retiring to the park. In a week’s time he was going in to “have his head opened up with a chainsaw” and to have a brain tumor removed. After talking a couple of hours, alongside our illegal campsite, we wished him well. His above words are still forefront in my mind. We all need this reminder from time to time! Thank you Lester!
After spending almost 5 weeks traveling across the outback from Cairns, Broome was a fun, booming tourist town with warm weather, beautiful beaches and “action”. For a belated 3rd anniversary we went out to dinner and enjoyed a sneak preview, at the Under the Stars Cinema, of Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11. A must see for anyone interested in what’s happening right under our noses world wide . One night we happened on to an opening at the Short St. Gallery highlighting Aboriginal art from Melville Island, north of Darwin. Geraldine, one of the artists who has never been off the island, invited us up to stay with them. She offered to take us out to catch mud crabs, and eat lots of good tucker like sea cow, fish, and sea turtle. It would have been quite an experience, but too far back. Her auntie’s name was Mary Magdalene, a sinner and a saint, as she called herself. An interesting evening.
South of Broome we found our favorite beach on the coast, Barn Hill. If you walk a couple kms past the rocks there is a second, totally private beach. Spectacular! Turquoise water, white sand, interesting rock formations. We stayed at Bidyadanga Aboriginal Community, 100 kms south, with a teacher and Servas host. You have to have permission to enter these communities. We visited the wide eyed children in her class and Joseph was able to share his e-text collection of 50,000 books (with the electronic reader) with the principal of the school. He enjoys sharing his hard work of e-text collecting with these children. The reader will turn any book into a “Book on Tape”. They were fascinated. Jenny celebrated her 50th birthday and her house was turned into the Greek Olympics complete with food, decorations, costumes, lighting of the torch and games. A fun weekend.
After miles through the Great Sandy Desert the road seemed to never end. We sang resounding choruses of “Tumbling Tumbleweed” and yelled “McDonalds” at cows by the side of the road. We counted giant termite mounds. We kept a lookout for our bicycling friend, Clyde, but no luck. (Where’s Waldo, Where’s Clyde??!) We found out that he had run into bad weather for the second time in his 6 month trip around Australia and had sold his bike and bought a ticket to the Olympics in Greece instead. Seems the delay with our car engine kept us just short of the rain and we have had sunny days for 7 weeks now. Knock on wood.
Another favorite spot was a lookout off to the left, just past Auslei Roadhouse. All of a sudden there were canyons everywhere and we parked at the end of the dirt road for 3 days, with canyons on either side. We took the loop down to Karijini National Park. We hiked 5 hours through a canyon and were mesmerized by the secret world 600 ft down at the bottom. Our hike ended with Fortescue Falls and the mint green water of Fern Pool. Lovely. We parked along a dry river bed and saw a dingo watching us one morning and a herd of emus the next. You just never know what’s going to be looking at us in the morning when we are “bush” camping.
One of the last pristine reefs in the world, Ningaloo Reef, was a wonder to behold. It is the home to the great whale sharks. People can swim with them (for $250 each) but they had gone for the year. We will have to catch them down the road at either Doron Island in the Philippines or around the Seychelles Islands. We did see an orange octopus, large trintata clams, blue tipped stag horn coral, purple and green fan coral, endless colorful reef fish and sea turtle eggs buried in the large costal sand dunes. Worth the extra trip up past Exmouth.
This area is often over 100 degrees in the summer. It is winter here now and we were lucky to have warm weather for the coast and many days without the blustery wind. As we headed south the days were sunny but the nights increasingly colder. I finally broke down and bought a new hat at the King Kong Discount Store in Canarvon. We also spent 2 days visiting the farms along the river and stocking up on a wonderful selection of fresh fruits and veggies. We met a father and 18 year old son in the middle of a 5 month trip up north from Melbourne. We ended up camping with them out in the bush that night and shared great conversation around the fire while roasting corn on the cob and potatoes, and being entertained by Adrian on his guitar. Great guys. Happy trails!
Next south to Perth. And so it goes………………………………
Hope you are happy and healthy and living as if there is no tomorrow!! Thanks for keeping in touch and the news via email. It’s always great to hear from you. Take care! Keep smiling!
Love, xoxoox Nancy & Joseph
Camel caravans along Cable Beach in Broome.
Aboriginal cowboys in the outback driving a herd of horses.
The beach at Barn Hill.
"Easy Riders" along the beach in the Aboriginal community of Bidyadanga.
Fern Pool, down in the gorge at Kirijini National Park.
All of a sudden the
desert exploded into a kaleidoscope of
All colors, all shapes and sizes.
O.K., you can't see
us, right?? Only in a few places, in 12
Joseph going snorkeling at Ningaloo Reef.