Published: November 14th 2012November 12th 2012
We said goodbye to Western Australia and headed for Albany, a small town on the South coast. As we pulled in, we saw giant piles of wood chips waiting to be loaded and shipped to China. I don’t know how many eucalyptus trees were there but I think of the Koala’s who need the trees to survive and wonder.
It is 11/11 or Remembrance Day in Australia, Veteran’s day in the States. We were all given poppies to wear. Shuttle buses carried us into town and dropped us off at the Town Hall. We drove through the side streets as a Remembrance Day ceremony was being held at St. John’s Church. The homes we say were small but immaculate, some with gardens filled with roses. Later we looked at pictures of homes for sale and noticed that the average price seemed to be $500,000.
We browsed the craft market and thankfully were under cover when the skies opened up. The rain was over in a few minutes and the rest of the day was fine if a little chilly. Since it was Sunday, most of the stores were closed so we window shopped for a while, stopped at the Pioneer Hotel (founded 1891) for a brew and continued down the street until we came to the shuttle bus stop and returned to the ship. Last time I was in Albany there was a Dixieland band playing where the crafts were sold and a rock band at the foot of the main street. There was no music this time and I missed it.
November 12 brought us to Esperance. After a bumpy tender ride to the dock, our little band of twelve boarded a van and set off for a day of cultural discovery. Our guide was Aboriginal and he shared with us his family stories. It was not so very long ago that the Aboriginal people who have been on the land for 60,000 years were not permitted to own property because there were not Australian citizens. Doc showed us where his grandparents camp was, where he played as a child with his cousins, now a housing development, and the property his father wanted to buy but couldn’t. Doc owns the tour company with his brother in-law. His wife and sister cook the morning tea. When not busy giving tours, he assists with archeological digs and tagging Great White sharks. He loves the land and is proud of his heritage and it shows.
He shared secrets of clearing land and hunting kangaroo and the easiest way to get a duck for the pot. Once out of town we drove onto Le Grand Beach and drove along the water for a nice long time. We stopped for a photo shoot and a short walk to a fresh water stream that flowed into the ocean. This is the kind of place where kangaroos hang out.
Then we drove out to Lucky Bay, an incredible long, wide strip of the softest and whitest sand you can imagine. Here kangaroos are virtually tame and enjoy browsing along the beach near the fresh water streams. Doc showed us how to feed these cuties. We held a piece of banana in our teeth and the kangaroos took it from us with a kangaroo kiss. We got to pet them including a little joey. We took a short walk through the bush for a morning tea of damper bread, bush jam and billy tea. This was common fare for the native peoples and was really tasty. This was a great tour and one I would recommend highly. The tender ride back to the ship was even bumpier than the one to the dock but we all arrived safe and sound.
We are now looking forward to two wonderful sea days before our next port of call, Port Lincoln.