Sunday 17th May 2015, clear breezy and 25
The Ollies move on towards Broome while we fall, hook, line and sinker for Port Hedland. We join the Seaman’s Mission tour of the harbour with our neighbouring caravanners. Obviously, they’re all ship buffs! This is Australia’s busiest Seaman’s Mission with 70,000 seamen visiting the port annually. The chaplain conducts the tour and after learning about their work and what our tour cost is used for we board their harbour boat and pick up and deliver crew all over the harbour.
In typical Pilbara fashion the statistics are mind boggling. It is Australia’s 2nd largest port. The world’s largest iron ore port and there are usually about 35 ships waiting out at sea to enter. There are seventeen berths including the new one being built for Gina. But the best of all, each ore loader loads the steel equivalent of one Toyota Landcruiser per second! Doug from Bendigo says “I told you they were all plastic.”
To top off our mineral fix we visit the salt pans and climb the lookout. Rio Tinto send salt to Europe for use on roads in winter and for manufacturing. It can’t be sold as 1st grade salt because it is slightly pink from the amount of iron ore in the air, thus Rio Tinto fine BHP Billiton for contamination. While we stand on the bridge looking at this almighty mountain of salt two trains pass under us each with 250 carriages and 4 engines.
It seems that there is no such thing as a cottage industry in the Pilbara, everything is on a mammoth scale.
Out of respect they try hard to promote the two indigenous languages here. Surprisingly though, we keep hearing French! There are a lot of French tourists.
And one last harbour fact, they ship over a million tonnes of cargo on each tide. Phew!
Travelling Kms: 0