Sunday 3rd May 2015
Carnarvon to Coral Bay
Now that the cyclone has passed, the flies have gone (they’ve probably been blown to Mauritius) to be replaced by ants and joyfully the sound of birdsong. We fill the water tanks, because our next stop Coral Bay only has artesian water, and leave this delightfully tidy park set amongst market gardens with rich brown soil to more unknown surprises.
Minilya River is an oasis, red soil and a little water shaded by gums. It is nice to see a river that has water in it. But there is quite a bit of water lying about by the roadsides. We cross the Tropic of Capricorn and shortly after we turn off towards Coral Bay there are rich brown termite mounds everywhere.
Coral Bay is tiny. A community tucked into a dune overlooking a pretty arc of white sand and a stunning turquoise sea with Ningaloo reef offshore. There are two van parks, a backpackers and a resort. A handful of shacks dot the dunes. There is a modern pub a couple of shops in an ‘arcade’ and that is about it. We stay at People’s Park Village overlooking the beach. There are coconut palms throughout the park and out front there is a ramshackle row of shops connected with spaghetti electrical wire reminiscent of a low budget Pacific Island getaway. I doubt we’ll be having a $40 steak at the cafe and anyway the thatched BBQ areas in the van park are rather cute.
Shirley and I go for a swim and try hard to scrub our rough old feet in the sand. “Look” says Shirley “here come out knights in shining armour.” As soon as Double or Nuthin’ hits deep water a stingray nudges his hip and whips his wrist leaving three barbs behind. Then Woody is chased by a large Trevally that has to be two feet long. Double or Nuthin’ wades to shore in pain, Woody is running in circles shouting obscenities at the fish that keeps on chasing him. Our ‘knights in shining armour’ indeed! Another swimmer tells us that the fish are hand fed regularly at the beach so they come looking for food. “I don’t want to be eaten by a fish” says Woody as he stomps off up the beach.
While the ‘Oldies’ have a doze in the sun I go for a walk around the point, the tide is receding and green and black striped crabs dart amongst the oysters in the under cliff. The beach is littered with dead coral and there are camouflaged crabs in the rock pools. In the distance the reef comes close to shore about a kilometre away and I count fourteen tour boats out there. Towards evening there is a rush of folks to the beach with chairs and wine in hand to celebrate the sunset.
Travelling Kms: 234Kms