Greetings from Western Australia. Again/still,you know.
Anyway, we've made our way down to Exmouth, home of the Ningaloo Marine Park. If we wanted to we could drop a bunch of dollars and get a boat out to swim with the Whale sharks, which can attain a length of 18 meters (we'll wait while you picture that, on the orger of schoolbuses here. Go on, think about it. )Apparently thay are completely harmless, which is a bonus whn they pop up beside you! We're not sure if we'll go out yet,but maybe.
We are definitely excited o go snorkelling,and maybe soon go out on a deep sea fishing trip to see what we can catch. As for now we've gone the easy route and have picked up some so-fresh-it-hadn't-been-packaged local fish to fry up for dinner.
Surpisingly, the national park here is actually booked up solid so we're in a caravan park here in Exmouth, a mixed blessing, since we're way overdue for showers (overshare!) and Rob has been using our laundry bag as a pillow (wrapped up in his fleecie for his protection!). Anyway, we'll have a chance to remedy that and hopefully we'll get into the park tomorrow for a few days.
We bought a book on free camping in WA back in Broome and it's full of places that have been set up on creeks, rivers, and the beaches where you can camp either for free or something cheap like $5/night. You are guaranteed to met a bunch of sweet pensioners who are always quick to offer advice on camping or chat about the weather. We get asked if we like Australia without fail every time and soon I may be tempeted to complain about how horrible it is to be near friendly people and aqua blue oceans just to see their faces. Anyway, we werre at this almost-free camp site on Cleaverville beach where we made friends with the long term campers (who turned us on to solar showers, bsically a black bag of water that heats up all day and is ready in the evening for a rinse of, nice!). We were all excited to finally go swimming in the ocean since we'd been off the coast for a bit in Karijini national park, when we were told about the blue-ringed octopus that can be found there. Of course, the blue ringed ocky is one of the top five or ten most venomous killer creatures places in Australia. During low tide,they occasionally get stranded in the rocky areas and squirt water at you in fear.
We ended up getting squirted at three times and we freaked out like they were squirting acid at us, ony to later find out that have to bite you with their beaks (note: octopi have beaks. I know, it's weird, but they do) to kill you, and the water is harmless.Oh, ans we likely saw some other variety of octopus, not the blue-ringed. Even so, it took the shine of off swimming for us!
Instead we bought fishing rods at K-mart (go K-mart!) and have been plying the waters for whatever. Since we know nothing about the fish here too, I'm terrified to catch anything, but that hasn't been a problem for me, since I have yet to catch a single thing. Rob caught something but threw it back, so he's one up on me.
The next bunch of days will be snorkelling some of the protected reefs along this Corl coast area and making our way south. Our next major stop will be the Monkey Mia reserve where we will be able to swim with dolphins (!!). Our next immediate stop may be an almost free caming site on the coast down a 45 km dirt road (which will be hours of crawling along in our little car du to corrigations!) because it is said to be a prine spot with a protect4d reef right off the each with plenty of colourful fishies to see!
We bought aqua schoes because we are afread to step on living things in the sea wich seems to be more abundant here, and (in my imagination anyways) totally poisonous. I'm just overreacting, I know, but man! What's with the fatal creature of Australia, eh? Well, even though they are technically here, it's usually very rare to see any one of them, so I guess it's fair enough.
Other than that, Rob has adopted a policy of no shirt once we are farther than 10 km's away from any town centre, and seems to be pleased with his bronzing in the sun. His beard is still frowing and I'm sure you can imagine he's a conversation starter when we're setting up our tent amongst the pensioners! One pensioner said he looked just like a savage of Borneo, which made me laugh since this guy was wering a see through under shirt and tight white shorts, reminding me that he was likely a savage from Wimbledon or somewhere :)
We've been meeting nothing bu friendly peope and we are really happy to generally be off the tourist tracks. I'm sur we'll think of a few hilarious stories once we're off the computer, but you know how it is. We promise to ake pictures of Rob's new face, but posting it is a pain sice we have to dig out the wires and find aplacve that'll let us cennect and download. We'll see what we can do, but if you saw what we manage to cram in the car, you'd be sympathetic about us trynig to find anything smaller than Jimmy Hoffa. We'll let you know if he tns up, by the way...
Cheers, enjoy your summer everybody! Take care and feel free to write us because we LOVE to hear how you are doing!! (Yes, YOU.)
xoxoxoxoxo marianne and rob