Published: September 5th 2010July 9th 2010
Next we trucked 300 kms further up the coast to the Shark Bay Heritage Site: Straight, empty roads all the way there, with the occasional 'road house' every 100kms or so.
We stayed in a few campsites here - one in Hamelin Pool, where Paula went for a run and saw a dingo in the bush (this is not a euphemism).
Later that night I approached a man on the campsite to ask if I could put a couple of jacket potatoes on his fire (nor is this either).
I ended up talking to Chris the poet, Chris has been travelling since the early 1980s. He has an encyclopaedic memory for dates, events, places, and for the hundreds of poems he's written. He was quite a big chap, and looked how I expect the honey monster would look without hair.
Later I went back to the van to get some plates for the spuds, leaving him and Paula alone at the fire. Paula says that at this point he asked her (very politely) if she wanted to hear his "sex poem". Apparently he launched into it before she could answer, but I'm guessing the answer was always
going to be "yes" anyway.
I came back just as he was finishing off (the poem), and for a minute wondered what had been going on. Paula says they could see me walking back to the fire and he speeded up the end of the poem so he'd finish before I got there. She's blocked most of it out of her memory, but the bits she can remember are not fit for publishing on the blog. Very little was left to the imagination apparently.
Chris later asked if we wanted to go and watch a Ghostbusters video with him in his room, and after we said maybe not, he then said he had Mad Max and we could watch that instead if we wanted.
An awkward silence followed, which I thought was a good idea to fill by saying that we had an early start the next day, and that anyhow Mad Max II was better than the original. An even more awkward silence followed, after which he disappeared into the darkness and came back with a spade. Luckily it turned out this was just to remove our jacket potatoes from the fire.
A couple more
of his poems later (one of which he'd memorized from Streetbike Magazine in the 1980s), he offered Ghostbusters one more time (slightly more aggressively) before taking his cool box and disappearing off into the shadows.
We bought one of his poem books off him the next day, and we often read to each other to break up long journeys.
The rest of Shark Bay was fantastic - we walked for miles along a beach at Monkey Mia, without seeing a single other person, but saw loads of wildlife: A stingray sitting in some shallow water with an albatross hanging around waiting to eat it, a dead octopus, a washed-up turtle bone, and millions of tiny crabs shuffling about.
Next morning we went back to the beach to see dolphins coming in for a feed. The best bit was watching a scuffle between a pelican and a dolphin, a sight I never thought I'd see (the pelican bottled it and flew off, pretending there was something more interesting on the beach that it wanted to look at).
Then we headed to the Shark Bay Speedway, for a day spent behind a chainlink fence watching battered cars bounce
around a dirt track, spraying chunks of mud up behind them and occasionally crashing, This, as it sounds, was great. The crowd was equally interesting - made up mostly of ripped sleeveless denim shirts, huge white beards hanging over beer bellies, and scarred tattooed faces, And this was just the children, Ha ha. Seriously though, I think I know how Louis Theroux feels,
We left the speedway just before it ended and went to a free council camping area, which was really just a clifftop car park 7kms down a dirt track. It sounds rough, but was brilliant - it was Eagle Bluff, where you can apparently see dugongs (a type of sea cow) grazing in the sea,
We didn't spot any of these, but did arrive in time for the best sunset so far. The sun dipped below some clouds and made them look like they were on fire, We camped there, then 12 hours later we watched the sun come up again. Went for a stroll and saw some dolphins mucking about in the sea.
We also called in at Shell Beach, which as the name suggests is a huge long white beach, made up
entirely of tiny shells, not sand. We also had a look at the stromatolites at Hamelin Pool (Paula loves science and insisted that we see them). Google them if you want to find out what they are, but they're one of the earliest forms of life and the reason that there is oxygen in the air.
And with this we sped off, poetry book tucked safely in the glovebox.
There are more photos below