Sunday, September 18, 2011
Broome to Exmouth via Dampier
Anyhow, after refinding our land legs in Broome we departed south having been awoken somewhat early (3.45am I think it was) by a rather happy indigenous group who seemed to be celebrating something significant. Needless to say we were unable to share their pleasure or enquire as to who was getting married, had just won Lotto, etc. We travelled past Sandfire Roadhouse (aptly named!) along a strip of licorice splitting the vast floodplains, thru Port Hedland and South Hedland (excuse me, could you tell us the way to Dampier? Yeah mate follow the signs to Roebourne. Yep!) and arrived 750ks later in Dampier. Here we erected the tent (we are pretty good at it now!) in a site just across the way from a monstrous port facility that services the iron ore and natural gas operations. It is here we learnt a lot about the NW Shelf Gas Project and what a truly impressive thing it is.
The next day, after an obligatory photo with Dampier's red dog (see photo), we pressed on to Exmouth and immediately booked a snorkelling trip for the next day. We were, probably fortunately, unable to watch the Oz v Ireland rugby as the tv screens were all tuned to the WC Eagles. What don't these Westralians understand?!
So today we did the snorkelling thing on Ningaloo Reef viewing coral and all sorts of marine life including turtles, colourful fish and a sneaky stingray.
I had earlier sensed a strong collective intake of breath amongst our fellow snorkellers when I suggested that Humpback whale calves made good eating but they seemed to relax when they realised I was only kidding! We also saw a huge communications station with 13 towers which is the largest VLF station in the world for transmissions to and from mainly submarines. It was originally US-run and manned, so much so that it used only US$, drove on the right and had its own baseball diamond.....and US food on site.
In the distance we could see 2 oil platforms on the horizon reminding us of the huge envirnomental issues when nature clashes with commercialism.
Tomorrow we crank up Morrie once again heading for Carnarvon.
Thanks for listening............
I & J