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Published: June 28th 2013
“Yeah Mate, She’s Beaut on the Quobba”
Says Jimmy, beer in his hand, dreadlocks and beard. His two Jack Russels squabble over the green ball I’ve just thrown for them, as their owner tells us about how he will have to go back to work pretty soon. He spends six months here and the other six driving a dump truck. He loves the fishin'
We’ve been out here on “The Quobba” as the locals call it for a week. We are 75 kilometres north of Carnarvon when we arrive at The Blowholes, and Quobba Station. On the way there are goats, cattle and an odd emu or two lumbers away from the ege of the road. The goats run like the wind, their kids straggling on behind. We find a little camping village where people have been coming to their corrugated iron shacks for many a year. What it must be like in the summer here is beyond thinking about inside these dwellings. What a story they all could tell. There are lots of vans, camper trailers and motor homes, no power, just a toilet, dump and rubbish point. We find a nice little cul de sac and set
I get out with the fishing rod and catch a baby bream but throw him back, no luck today, so we take a track back through the scrub and find ourselves right in the middle of someone’s camp. There are lots of laughs and they tell us we are camped in Snake Gully! (Didn’t see any.)
We have no fish so they throw a packet of Spanish Mackeral into our bucket, when I cook it up at night what a delicacy, best fish we’ve had all trip.. A 77 year old Irish lady caught a 50lb mackerel this morning on the beach. Then she caught a 20lb one, she only weighs sixty pound herself!
We meet Pam she’s the Very Mobile Hairdresser on the Quobba, and she has a dog called Bruce, and sells books for the heart foundation.
Down on the beach we discover The Aquarium, when the tide goes out, a little bay forms which is protected from the ocean, it has over 200 species of tropical fish. It’s like another world under there as I drift over cliffs of coral, big eyed fish staring out from their hideaways. Every colour of the
rainbow and shape, they are all there. The most brilliant of them are the teeny weeny peacock blue ones that hover in their group on a pink coral, they are the size of tadpoles! Brilliant green and red parrot fish swim past my eyes and baby whiting snuffle about in the sand, they nudge the grains of sand away looking for something to eat underneath.Yellow ones with a square like sail fins float by, they have a black dot on the top of the fin. Tiny black ones hover in front of the mask, they look at me I look at them. Aha! I need an underwater camera now!
Even though we are frugal with the water, we are running low, and 75 ks from anywhere, so when we hear it raining one night I wake up to find Greg outside with only the shampoo! He soon comes back in, “bit chilly out there at 2am” He puts out the buckets and the big green tub. I have often wondered why did I bring this big thing! But now it’s worth its space in gold, as the gold’s now falling from the sky. The signs tell us there is
no water for the next 670kilometres. We do have enough drinking water; it’s the washing up and such that uses so much, even when you are careful. I wash the dishes in baby wipes where possible, you will think I’ve gone mad, but it does work, especially the brekky things.
We meet a lovely English couple who tell us funny stories, she always dreamt of having a campervan when she was a child living on the Isle of Wight. And now they travel around WA in one. They have had lots of adventures. He was a member of the French Foreign Legion and worked at The Dorchester Hotel in London. One of his jobs was to escort people like Shirley Bassey, Kim Novak and Danny Kaye to their suites while staying at the hotel. She tells us about her grandfather who swam every day at his home on the North coast of England and was a life saver. He used to swim the rope out to the boats in rough seas as there was no other way to get the boats in.
Another morning we go down the coast a bit to see the balloon fisherman. Two guys
from the camp are here on this rocky shore. Waves crash into the cliff and suck back revealing a flat shelf, water cascading off the edges. The water boils about surging back and forth like a massive monster washing machine. We stand way back; a man went down onto the shelf to fish last week. They haven’t found him yet. A huge sign greets you as you come into this place. “Big waves Kill!” He is number 61 in this area.
The fishermen abandon the fishing, the wind has swung around from an Easterly to a Southerly and the balloons are being blown onto the rocky cliff. They wind the lines in until the bait arrives, a garfish in this case, then they hand wind the balloon line on a small hand reel. Approximately 15mtres of line. We are about to drive away when I see a big tail poking out of the fishing bag. I jump out, ever the photo shooter, and go take a look at the big catch. It’s a Spanish Mackerel, approximately 12kilos. He’s a happy fisherman; it’s the first one he’s caught.
We are back to Carnarvon the next morning to our park
for a much needed shower, and the washing machines. I do some hand washing in my bucket and am loathe to throw it down the drain, I think, what else can I do with this, what a waste of water!
Tomorrow it's on to Coral Bay
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