West Coast Day 128 - Coral Bay

Friday, Nov 27, 1998 at 01:00

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

This morning we woke and agreed to move on. The wind has really taken its toll. It whips up the sand and makes it most uncomfortable to sunbake or to stand along the water's edge to fish. The Adcocks had quite a bit to pack up but we had very little, so after we were ready, we lay in the morning sun for an hour. I was beginning to think I might have a good tan - an amazing feat for skin of my type but even Dorothy, who is olive skinned, commented on my colour. We religiously cover up with block-out and hat at all times and slowly, but surely, both David and I have changed from a sickly white Sydney tan to a rich golden English-backpacker-in-Australia type tan.

Our plan was to drive to Coral Bay today and maybe to stop off along the track to check out the various beach camps we might find. We figured we'd only gone about 30kms the day we left our previous camp at T-Bone and that meant we'd have about 70kms to get to Coral Bay.

It took about an hour to leave Winderbandi Point because of the soft sand. Once we met the main track again, we had to stop to use the air compressor to pump up the tyres. David carries a spare air compressor so we loaned that to Rob whilst we used the heavy duty version that is permanently mounted behind the driver's seat. It takes quite a long time to get the tyres up from 15psi to 50psi. We are noticing that our new tyres we bought in Cairns have taken quite a beating, mostly from the Gibb River Road. There are huge chunks out of the tread pattern and the rear tyres do not look like they'll make it home.

Once on the main track again we moved quickly although at times the track became quite soft. We attempted many tracks to the right that we knew would take us to the beach but many turned out to be inappropriate for swimming with rocky and difficult entry points.

The views were spectacular and this part of the trip would rate the highest for our entire around Australia trip. I had no idea that water could look so beautiful in Australia. Many tracks petered out into completely impassable sand bogs and David and I jogged along the last few stretches of a few to take photos of the coastline that we knew had not been seen, and would not be seen by many humans.

After looking at almost all the possible beach camp sites, we agreed that we probably had stayed at the best at Winderbandi Point. Probably because it was so inaccessible, it was so unspoiled and we enjoyed the days we had the entire coast to ourselves.

The track we were on took us through 2 properties and so there were many gates to be opened and closed. Neither of the properties had enough money to establish a way of collecting fees from campers or passers-by so that is why we were able to enjoy free camping. Obviously, we had to take out all our rubbish with us (something we are getting used to) and of course, there were no facilities like toilets or fresh water. I remember thinking before we left Sydney that I'd never had to go without a toilet long enough that I couldn't hold on. Things have certainly changed in that regard! In fact, it is often preferable to take one's spade into the bush than to hold one's nose in a smelly pit toilet!

We made it into Coral Bay around 4pm. We were all quite surprised to find the township was even smaller than expected with a population of only 120. We turned off the beach track and hit the bitumen at a T-intersection. About 5km later the road just ended at the 2 caravan parks and the beach carpark. Both the caravan parks operate supermarkets (NOT!) and dive shops. There is not much else to Coral Bay. I realised quickly that there was no Post Office and the mail I'd instructed my mother to send had probably not reached here. However, the water looked beautiful and the tourism must have been good enough to support two dive shops and two glass-bottomed coral viewing boats and a handful of fishing charters.

As we booked in and paid for our camping I glanced in a full length mirror hanging on the wall and saw my full reflection for the first times since Broome. I was brown! And a lot thinner thank god!

Once the tent was up, our first thought was a fresh water shower - with soap and shampoo. I had not shampooed my hair since the caravan park in Exmouth exactly a week ago and had not had a real shower since then either. I stood under the running water for about 20 minutes waiting for the taste of salt water to stop running into my mouth. Eventually, I couldn't understand that I could still taste salt water running off my hair and down my face and took a taste of what was coming out of the shower-head - it was salty! As it turned out, the water in Coral Bay is 15% salt and comes from an artesian bore so it wasn't much better than being out on the beach.

Whilst I was pampering myself, David and Rob drove 100 metres to the bottleshop at the only bar in town. They hadn't realised it was within the Coral Bay Resort and when they arrived found it was happy hour. They stayed for a few drinkies and returned well before dark. Unfortunately, due to the poor shopping facilities, I didn't have a very hearty dinner ready and waiting for his return. I did manage to scrape up a few vegies for an Indian vegetable curry that turned out to be very satisfying after a long day.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
Travelling fulltime in 2024
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