West Coast Day 126 - Ningaloo Reef

Wednesday, Nov 25, 1998 at 01:00

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

We woke up this morning in our own piece of paradise.

We have been commenting on how this is really the first time we've felt "out bush". Camping in Australia is so regulated that we have found it difficult to find a place and just set up camp - free. The Caravan Parks Association is to blame - they have struck a deal with the councils that anywhere within a 50km radius of any caravan park is declared illegal free camping. We see "NO CAMPING" signs in all the best places and we don't risk avoiding the laws. Some people do, but like Gigs and Spencer found it is inconvenient to be moved on by authorities knocking on your window at 2am!

We fished, swam, collected seashells and sunbaked all day. We watched a large stingray come all the way into shore and puff himself up onto the beach and then later move back into the water with the next wave. Even with all our diving I'd never seen this type of stingray - it was about 2 metres wide, yellow with black dots and its tail was thick and twice as long as his body. There are 12 different types of stingray in the area apparently. The highlight of our day was watching a pod of dolphins leaping out of the water close to shore. One left the pod to chase a large fish and to our delight, chased it all along the weed line just one foot from the shore! The stretch of beach was many kilometres long and we were able to run along beside the dolphin watching his fabulously fast tail movements. He outran us of course, but I tried to get a photo. They say the dolphin is magical, and I thought it bizarre that I couldn't focus my camera when I zoomed in but could only focus when the lens was far out and each time that happened the dolphin ducked under water.

Collectively, we caught enough fish to feed the 6 of us. We used bits of raw chicken and beef to catch garfish that were then used as baitfish. Jackson collected pipis from along the beach and used those too. It was difficult work taking many hours in the hot sun. The strong wind pelted sand against the backs of our legs and Dorothy and I couldn't persevere as long the boys. Six-year old Jackson didn't give up all day. He uses a child's learning rod that is intended to teach them to cast a plastic fish. The tiny reel is similar to a bait caster without a bail arm and operates by pressing a button. David caught 2 flathead, a trevally and a flounder and then the last catch of the day was a beaut golden trevally caught by Jackson! He was so proud and so he should have been. It seemed a miracle that he could catch such a large fish on such a tiny rig.

We prepared a camp fire dinner, Dorothy and I combined all that was left of our fresh vegies into a camp oven, and each fish was prepared a different way. The flathead in foil with dried thyme and garlic. One trevally was cooked whole with garlic and a little olive oil in foil. The other trevally was filleted and coated in cajun spices, pan fried, and the flounder was basted in flour and pan fried. The 6 of us sat inside the Adcocks camper trailer and ate together to keep out of the wind.

We had a perfect day, with temperatures not exceeding 32 ° and our fridges running smoothly at 4 ° . We have to ration our fresh water, although we carry 60L but that soon goes if we wash dishes or ourselves. Each morning we collect a bucket of salt water from the sea and leave it at the back door of our car. We rinse all our dishes in that water and quickly dry them off with a tea towel. That seems to take away the salt. We don't wash ourselves, other than swimming in the ocean and occasionally splashing a bit of precious fresh water on our faces to wash off the salty grit at the end of the day.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
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Always working not enough travelling!
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