Weekend in Esperance

esperance 044

I’m in Esperance.

Esperance is on the south coast of Western Australia – south of Kalgoorlie. 

It is a long way from anyone and not really on the way to anywhere.

But.

It. Is. Beautiful.

People who visit Esperance will tell you how stunning and unspoilt the beaches are.

You’ll hear about Twilight and Salmon beaches and maybe you’ll even hear about Lucky and Hellfire.

They will tell of snow white sand, so fine it feels like cornflour between your toes.

They will tell you of turquoise waters as clear as glass.

Of granite rocks that slope into the sea.

But they will not be able to do justice to the natural beauty of the Bay of Isles.

It is simply magnificent.

And the best bit?

The beaches are deserted.

I’m lucky.

Esperance

Work brings me to Esperance and I have managed to work in a bridge congress over the weekend.

When I got here on Friday I must admit to questioning why I came to the congress.

What was I doing in a room full of strangers – all except two more than ten years older than me??

But once we started playing cards and partying at night I soon got into the swing of it.

We all stayed in the one house – well 13 of us did – and we had a great weekend.

More alcohol than was strictly good for us, great food, convivial company and then early morning walks to bring some of the best coffee I’ve ever tasted back for breakfast.

(Coffee Cat – in the red van near the jetty)

One morning I even spied the resident seal, under the jetty.

Sammy the Seal

Did I play well?

Did I win any money?

No.

I had fun though I missed Groover’s debut at Theatresports – apparently he rocked!

After the congress finished I caught up with my work colleague who has kindly put me up and we drove out to Cape Le Grand National Park.

Hellfire Beach, Esperance

OMG the beaches!

The sand is so fine and compacted it is like concrete.

In some places where it is softer – it flies around your feet like talcum powder.

The water is oh so cold but as clear as clear can be.

It was windy.

Hellfire Beach, Esperance

My colleague drives a little Daiwoo which she says “runs on the smell of an oily rag”, which I thought was lucky as there we were 70k from Esperance with the fuel tank on empty.

A light will go on when you are really running out won’t it?

Oh yes she says but don’t worry…

So on the way to dinner tonight we run out of fuel and you would have seen me with three or four hefty gals and guys of Esperance pushing said Daiwoo up the hill to the petrol station.

LOL – an interesting end to a long weekend.

I’m in Esperance one more day so tomorrow we’re going to check out the famous Loose Goose restaurant, then Wednesday I’m on a bus to Kalgoorlie!

My Flickr Photo Set

A religious experience

Where do you think this church is?

It could be in Europe – a sunny part obviously – it could be in South America or Mexico.

It’s in Mullewa, about an hour east of Geraldton in the midwest.

On the cross

Birds on the Belfry

Afternoon light

Gargoyle

Sunset in Mullewa

Correllas on the Cross

Coming across this church as the sun set on Wednesday was surreal.

I had driven up with the new manager of the Geraldton station, he’s been in the UK for the last couple of decades so we took the inland route to familiarise him with the midwest.

It had been a long drive, meeting some of the locals and we were way behind our frankly unrealistic schedule.

You know how driving trips look shorter on paper…

We’d had to stop just before Mullewa to wait for some sheep to cross the road.

Sheep crossing the road

We were tired, it was dusty and dry and I’m sure he was overwhelmed with the scale of the new job ahead of him.

As we drive into town we see the belfry.

We had to stop.

It was as if we had stepped through a portal to Mexico.

I was waiting for a tumbleweed to roll past.

Both of us are keen photographers.

We whipped out our point and clicks and between us must have taken a hundred photos.

Oh for a DSLR!

It honestly felt as if we had traveled across the world.

Pylon wars

It’s the first day of my holidays and to make it feel like a holiday and not just a weekend, instead of a walk by the beach I insisted we swim around the Cottesloe pylon.

I needed to feel sand between my toes and have the sharp bite* of the Indian Ocean wake me up.

But a shock was in store…

cottesloe-pylon

Those hooligans from North Cottesloe surf lifesaving club had been up to mischief!

You might remember not that long ago I commented on the fact that the pylon had finally been repaired.

Here it is in all it’s glory back in October:

pylon_close-up

Note the Cottesloe Surf Lifesaving club colours of yellow and black.

cottflag

I wonder how long it will take them to paint the blue and white of North Cottesloe over.

Meantime, we swam around the pylon. It was low tide and wasn’t quite the workout I had expected.

I can tell you that both the repair job and the paint job are not so flash from the other side.

* Not a literal bite obviously although that’s not an implausible conclusion. The area is known for it’s Great White attacks…

Smoke haze over Perth

They were burning off in them thar hills and this morning the city was in a muted shade of grey.

smokyday

I took this photo out my car window, stopped in traffic on Thomas Street.

You could smell the smoke all the way back to the coast.

A few hours later the seabreeze came in and now the air is clear and the sky is blue.

An expensive perch for one seagull

The Cottesloe Pylon has been fixed, just in time for summer.

pylon_close-up

Not sure what the final cost was but it was quoted at $170 000

I like the way the colours reflect those of Cottesloe Surf Lifesaving Club… or maybe they reflect the paint on the pylon?

pylon_fixed

I heard talkback callers saying they were going to jump off the pylon no matter what the authorities say.  I guess the authorities have to say you can’t but I kind of wished they had put a ladder the side and a little jumping platform.

Bloody lawyers put paid to that no doubt.

It was a much cooler weekend this weekend…

Here’s the difference at the same time last Saturday:

pylon

A postcard from Roebourne

roebourne

On Thursday I visited Roebourne.

Roebourne is a small community of about 1000 people about half an hour from Karratha.  In fact, Karratha is in the Shire of Roebourne.

It’s an old gold rush town and was once the biggest settlement between Darwin and Perth.  More about Roebourne.

The old buildings are made of stone and are still prominent features of the town.  The Police Station, now abandoned Shire offices, the Visitor’s Centre just three examples.

We went up to the old folk’s home and family centre – housed in the old schoolhouse.

schoolhouse

The first schoolhouse was built in 1874 but was destroyed in a cyclone in 1884. 

It’s interesting that back then the builders of the day understood how to build in hot climates, high ceilings, ventilation to take out the hot air, thick walls.  We could learn a lot and lets face it the buildings look so much nicer than today’s.

The family centre is home to an increasing family of peacocks apparently.  I didn’t see them.  They are breeding like rabbits although seeing that there seem to be a predominance of males maybe that population will regulate itself.

I went to the police station too and was kindly shown around.  I was taken to see the original cells – the one where John Peter Pat died – the death that sparked the Deaths in Custody Royal Commission.

The cell is not used these days and not well cared for.  The local people – said the officer who showed us around – think of the cell as a place with bad karma (my words) and don’t want to have anything to do with it.

So it is fenced off. 

I think it needs to be looked after.  It is a place of great shame for white Australia and that shame needs to be remembered.

Interestingly the memory of John Peter Pat has been turned into a memory of hope at the local Indigenous radio station, Juluwarlu.

I met the lady who was leading the group there.  She had been in Roebourne for one week!  They start broadcasting after more than a year not broadcasting next week.

river3

This is the Harding River that flows past the main drag.  I couldn’t get close enough to take photos of the white jabiru type of bird… don’t ask me, I’ve got no idea what it was.  Some kind of long legged marsh wetland species.  Beautiful though.

We visited three art galleries along the main street. 

The town is dusty and dry.  Rubbish flattens itself along fences in the wind.  I was there around lunch time and very few people were around.  No doubt inside escaping the heat.  A lot of the businesses were shut.  It felt deserted.

It has a bad reputation.  Domestic violence and alcohol related crime is rife.  It is a noisy place to live.

And yet, I left with a feeling of hope.

Wildflowers of Karratha

mulla-mulla

I’ve just returned from a short visit to Karratha.  Clear blue skies, temperatures in the high 20s, low 30s.  It was nice to feel hot.

But it just gets hotter later in the year.  Too hot.

What struck me this time coming in from the airport were the roadsides covered with purple flowers.

Mulla mulla.

Or lamb’s tails.

mulla-mulla-3

When I got out of the car to take a few snaps I also noticed another wildflower.

Straggly plants which looked like weeds – and maybe they are – but the flowers were quite startlingly blue.

karratha_blue_flower
karratha-blue-flower-side

No idea what they are called though so if you do – please let me know in comments.

I stayed at the All Seasons hotel.  Sounds flash doesn’t it?

It’s not.

The mold smell pouring out of the air-conditioning made me feel as if I was breathing in death – not helped by watching The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas on the small flat screen television.

In the end I slept up against the open window breathing in the warm night air.

I think the caravan park would be a better option next time.

Butterflies and rivers

butterfly

Isn’t this a great photo?

I can’t claim credit.  It’s one of my dad’s from his recent trip to the Kimberley.

That ochre coloured stain on the rock is in fact… ochre.

The butterfly had landed on some rock paintings.  In fact many had.

Maybe it was attracted to the art like my father.

I love its spotted chest.

butterfly_closeup

Chest?  Surely I mean thorax.

The dots look as if they’ve been painted on too.

Perhaps the butterflies inspired the artists.

Maybe that’s why the butterflies land on the paintings?

painting

Unfortunately in this case the link is not obvious.

The paintings are not Dot Paintings from the Western Desert but Wandjinas.

Magnificent.

Commanding.

Enigmatic.

Not so many dots…

It’s time to go back to the Kimberley.

Instead, today I made do with the Swan River.

We decided to go canoeing and made our way from the Causeway around to East Perth.

The canoes were sea kayaks.

Clumsy plastic rafts, but the weather was calm and there was a real sense of adventure as we set off up the river under the bridge.

Our bodies, unused to sitting and paddling, soon complained and I fear tomorrow we will discover new muscles.

They’ll be the ones not moving the way they used to.

It felt good though to be doing something active and exploring a new aspect of our city.

Not quite the Kimberley perhaps.

One does what one can.

A perfect life

What would you do next if you were at the top of your game in a Melbourne restaurant?

Open another restaurant?

Get even more busy?

japaneserestaurant

Well the fellow who runs this place got it right I reckon.

He has a restaurant in Albany which he opens when he feels like it.

Maybe he’ll open the whole restaurant, maybe he’ll just take a table of six, maybe he’ll go fishing and not show up for a week.

When my colleague wanted to hold a Christmas lunch there, he said yes but they had to have their orders in two days before and they ended up being the only ones in the restaurant.

This is not a place you can just roll up to and hope to get a table and so I will never ever dine there. 

I like to think of my life as spontaneous but in reality I’m just disorganised.

But I kind of like his attitude.

He obviously cooks for the pleasure of it and you can imagine the food he prepares will be made with a light heart.

And isn’t that what we want?

Not just from a chef but from whatever job we are doing, from whatever service we require?

I’m going to work on that light heart stuff.

🙂

Oh, and apparently the food this guy prepares is fantastic.

No surprises there.

Albany Pelicans

eye-of-pelican

pelican_fishing-boat-harbou

pelican

pelican_pole

There’s something special about pelicans… they fly in like a squadron of bomber aircraft and land with pin point accuracy on their target.

I travelled to Albany this week and discovered how beautiful a place it is.

I took these photos down at Fishing Boat Harbour.

More stories to come.