Sunday, 1 October 2017

Squeezin in at Sandy

September 15-17

Watching the weather during the week, it wasn't looking too promising. However, Thursday night, Leo and myself decided we would head for Sandy Cape on Friday afternoon and take the risk of the now predicted light showers and just live with it. Leo got off work early on Friday and I met him on the road about 1430. The plan was to head up to Jurien, have dinner at the pub, move onto the campsite afterwards and just take what comes from there.

Discussing the weather over the radio, I asked Leo to put his money where his mouth is. A pint was no on the offering for me should it rain. I would be buying if it didn't. Leo also wanted to play a game: how many cops would be see on the way up. Another pint on offer to the one who scores correctly. Against my better judgement, I elected 2, Leo, 4.

We arrived in Jurien about 1700. A slow trip up, we got stuck behind a line of half a dozen vehicles following a booze bus doing its legal speed of 100Km/h. Being the cops, no one would overtake it....go figure! which meant we had a leisurely stroll up the highway for about an hour. Time being on our side, it wasn't an issue anyway. But with 2 cops seen, I was feeling pretty chuffed - a free pint was coming my way. Winning!

Leo having never been north of Lancelin, I showed him a few bits of Jurien. It was way too early for dinner and we had some time to kill. But after an hour or so at the boat ramp, the sun getting closer to setting, we decided to forego the pub dinner, buy something to cook for tea at the local IGA and head on out to camp in time to watch the sun set over the ocean. And a good idea that was too. Leaving town, we were tested by the slow moving booze bus. The female copper laughed when I told her we had been stuck behind her for the last hour.....Oh the irony.

Arriving at Sandy Cape, the place was heaving. It just seems to be getting more popular as time goes on. I guess, with the restrictions Dandaragan Shire has put on free camping on the coast, then the very few legal places to go will only get busier. We managed to squeeze into a spot for the night, a mere 50m from the beach:

As is quite often the case in a public campground, you have no choice over your neighbours. A large group across the road was carrying on a bit, swearing, driving around all night and just generally being a pain for others. The neighbours in the van next to us made some comments about them earlier on to us. All in all, it could have been far worse than it was. By 11pm, with a few beers and reds under the belt, we retired for the evening. Not a bad effort for me, seeing as I had been up since 0330.

I was woken about 0600 in the morning. The sounds of Leo snoring and the dew raining down on my swag had pushed the bladder into action. Peeling back the covers of the swag revealed a pretty amazing sight:

Fog. And wasn't it thick:

I took a stroll down the beach with the camera. You couldn't see either the South nor the North heads:

Killing time for an hour or so, Leo decided to raise his weary head. The underside of both our awnings were as wet as their tops. So we had a slow relaxing morning, waiting for things to dry out. It was about 1030 when we had finally cooked breakfast and packed up for some explorations for the day. At this stage, we hadn't decided where we would camp tonight. We would just wing it and see what the day had in store for us.

First port of call for the day was to take Leo out to one of my fave little places: Stockyard Gully Caves.

A relatively minor track to get in, I was surprised by the amount of cars in the car park. I had never seen so many. Donning our caving gear, we headed off down to the gully.

The bee hives at the entrance creating quite a loud buzz in the air:

And into the cave we go:

A flat walk on soft sand inside of some 250-300m, and pretty soon you are in complete darkness. Turning of ones head lamp and taking in the blackness is a surreal feeling. As you will see in my vid, I mention the bad habit of souveniring cave flow structure. I know it happens in other caves and I find the practice abhorrent. However, upon reflection, I have to admit, some (most?) of this damage could well have been caused by flood damage. You see, the cave is really just a tunnel. Its a creek bed, and in times of high water (no doubt that was some time ago), then it could well be possible these structures were removed by water and debris. At times gone past, the whole "tunnel" could have been under water.

Anyway, this time around I found evidence inside the cave that some movement monitoring is going on:

And before you know it, the rays of daylight start poking your eyeball's:

On a hot day, its a remarkable place down here. The river gully, vegetated with large gums is a cool little oasis. The vegetation so far removed from the scrappy salt bush that lines the coastal plains in this area.

The cave itself also provides great relief from the flies and heat on a hot day. With a couple of hours of exploring done and lunch now baking in the oven, we hit the track out, this time heading for Green Head.

Arriving in Green head at Dynamite Bay, the Pie and Chicko roll was ready for the Eating.

Poor old Leo had to go to the store for lunch and had a chocolate ginger scone with a choc milkshake to wash it down. Yuppie! A nice little store it is too, if you are in town, I recommend it.

From there, I took Leo up towards a little tourist track to see some of the other coastal scenery about the place. Venturing in to the new Milligan's Island camp ground to see if that's where we would like to spend the night. Quite different to the Cape, there was no one here. Whilst it seemed a nice, new campground, it just didn't have the appeal of Sandy so we decided we would venture back there for the night.

We drove down to the beach and spotted the most amazing contrail. A B777, on its way to Singapore at 36,000Ft, leaving a phenomenal contrail and a black exhaust plume parallel to the cloud. I've never seen that before:

From there we headed out to Point Louise:

Time now starting to get on, we decided its best we head back to camp in time for the sunset. However, a drive along Anchorage Bay back to Green Head was in order:

Returning to Sandy Cape, we found the place to be even more packed than when we left. With slim pickings to choose from, we managed to squeeze into a small site among the vegetation:

And just in time to grab a beer, a camera and a GoPro to watch the sun go down over the Indian Ocean:

Dinner again a simple affair. A pre made chicken parmigiana, garden salad and some dressing. Too easy:

However, once the sun went down, boy did the mozzies come out to play. Over a few drinks, leo decided to look up the International Space Station to see where it was. With pretty flakey coverage, He turns and says, would you believe its right above us......No way, I shit you not. So out into the darkness we ventured and watched as the space station zoomed on by. A Cosmonaut and an Astronaut or two, flying over, right above us, some 400Km above. Here we were wishing we could be where they were, and here they were wishing they could be where we were!

Come the morning, we helped a couple with some issues trying to fill their water tank on a rental troopie, packed up and headed for home. Leo made note of the fact he was now due a pint, due to the fact no rain had fell over the weekend. So, with that and the cop bet, we ended up even.

The only really thing of note coming home, was coming across an accident scene with a lucky escape. An older lady, trying to open a drink bottle, lost control in the dirt, spun and crossed to the other side of the road, backwards, burying the commodore arse end in the dirt. A lucky escape, a fella towing a boat coming the other way, only just missed her as she reversed out of control right in front of him.....

So a nice couple of days adding to the nights under canvas, now at 29 nights for the year.

A measly 560Km weekend, 210Km from camp to home, made it a pretty easy weekend. One we both dearly needed, since it had been nearly 3 months of being locked in at home and work since we had last been away.

The Tab seems to be doing the job nicely and the multi odometer function is a handy novelty.

In a month, I get a week off, so I'm thinking I may go and have a ferret again with the detector. Will this be the time I pop my nuggetty cherry???

And the trip vids:

part I-

and part II-

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