Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Broome to 80 Mile Beach.

The stretch of road between Broom and Port Hedland is 600 km of nothing. The Sandfire Roadhouse is about 323 km along this road and 45 km before the turn off to 80 Mile beach caravan park. We make good time – Sandfire for refuel and a drink. Temperature is already 36 degrees and the wind has picked up and swung round from a tail wind to one that buffets us from the side. Ken and I confer and as we've made good time consider pushing on to Port Hedland. The compromise is to have a look at the 80 Mile Beach caravan park – it's only 9km off the highway – then make the call about staying or pushing on.

The road down to the beach is undulating but straight, corrugated and pockmarked with hidden holes full of fine red sand. In a word Gnarley! The temptation to handle the corrugations at speed is soon overcome by the experience of hitting a pocket of deep fine dust and almost coming unstuck. Slow and steady standing up on the pegs does it.

The approach to the beach is through flat scrub country that holds little promise. However as we top the last rise and get our first view of the ocean we know we've come to the right place.

The caravan park is tucked behind the dunes with direct access to 80 Mile Beach. An endless stretch of flat white coral and shell sand. The camp site itself is a little oasis. Grassy areas and plenty of shade trees. Clearly they have access to a fresh water source just below the surface. Although there are still quite a few people here, they are for the most part fishermen who come here for the season. Many spend 3 to 6 months here, just fishing from the beach. Apart from ourselves there are not to many overnighters. As we are setting up our tents, one of the neighbours is heading to the beach with his fishing gear. In jest we tell him to bring us back some fresh fish.

Down to the beach for an afternoon swim and back to camp for tea and a yarn. As we're sitting there thinking about what to do for dinner, our neighbour re-appears with fresh fish! Easy decision - barbecued fish for dinner!

Sun sets quickly and we are left with a sky full of stars. We've left the smoke of the fires behind us in Broome so the sky is clear over head. Ken will be pushing on tomorrow but I'm in no rush. In the morning I'll decide whether or not to linger for another night before heading on. That will give M and U an extra day to catch up.

Slack day at 80 Mile Beach.

Easy decision to make. The night was cool – down to 14 degrees, so a good nights sleep was had by all. I suspect the scotch helped as well.

Slow breakfast with Ken as he packs up to go. We may catch up with him in Perth if we get there before he leaves. He is planning to spend a couple of weeks down there with one of his sons.

I spend the day reading, hiding in the shade, swimming, eating, drinking cool drinks eating ice cream and talking to some of the residents.
Todays topic is fishing....

As the afternoon wears on the new arrivals for the day start appearing. Today more people arrive than leave, so the camp site is a bit more crowded.

Marco texts that tyres are sorted and that they will leave Broome tomorrow morning at sparrow's fart. That's my plan as well. On to Port Hedland and then south to Karijini National Park.

PS -it's Marco's birthday today. Happy birthday old timer. 64 years old....

When I get older losing my hair, many years from now........

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