Thursday, 31 May 2007

Almost in Asia

I'm actually in Denmark, a wee village in the south west of western australia.
Its a cute little spot, and I've come here mostly for a days surfing, and it was an awesome experience. Not for the waves - though they wernt bad at all, but instead for the sight of a large humpback whale slapping his flippers and partial breaching the water about 50 meters from where I sat on my surfboard. I've seen a lot of spectacular animal scenery on this trip, but I think this has to top it. Especially as it wasnt part of the agenda (surfing) and there was no one about apart from a couple of surfer girls and me. Later I spotted a couple of baby whales just to top it off. Awesome.
The south west has been really cool - though mostly the weather has left a bit to be desired - cloudy and raining, but the last couple of days its been beautiful again.
After leaving Coral bay I headed north again on the wonderfully times 3:00 am greyhound to Exmouth, to dive on the muirion islands which was really good - including several pretty large white tipped reef sharks, huge schools of fish and the largest moray eel I've ever seen.

After all those buses it was a relief to fly down to perth, and I picked up a hire car and headed south to Bunbury, a teaming metropolis compared to what went before. It was weird getting used to traffic, towns and people again. After a couple of days hanging around with the locals, including UK standup Ross Nobel whos traveling round on the same BMW bike more famously used by Ewan McGregor on his big trip,

it was off to the cheese, chocolate and, most importantly, wine of Margaret River, where as well as quaffing the local excellent produce in copious amounts, I got to sample the delightful taste of a witchetty grub (made famous by class shows like survivour and I'm a Celebrity) - albeit in this case an already dead one.

I also passed glorious coastal scenery with lighthouses aplenty - though mostly shrouded in mist and rain, and some beautiful forrests, where I completed 3 fairly high adrenelin tree climbs - trust me, there a lot scarier than they look, as well as the pretty but fairly tame tree top walk.

Next stop is Albany to complete a dive on the HMAS Perth and then its back briefly to Perth to catch my flight to Singapore.
See you in not such a long time...

Monday, 21 May 2007

Coral bay revisited

Much to my surprise I'm back in Coral Bay. By now I was expecting to be heading back from Darwin, but as often happens plans go awry and you need to execute plan b.
Basicially the tour company fucked up the booking so we were left without a seat on the trip to Darwin. It was almost a blessing in disguise for me, as my back was pretty fcuked from the bus to Broome anyway. So we decided to chill in Broome for a couple of days. For not the first time, I bumped into Gerri and Steph (from my tango days) and almost went with them on a 4wd trip but decided against it after advise from my Chiropractor! Instead we spent much of the time lazing on the beach watching sunsets with the odd bit of drinking, planet spotting and wet T-shirt contest watching.

Clare headed off to Darwin and I hooked up with Priska and some mates on the bus for a couple of more lazy days.
After all this r&r and with no real plan I decided to have another shot at seing the worlds largest fish and headed back down to Coral bay.

The trip started well as we encountered a turtle and a white tipped reef shark on our warm up snorkel, then after an hour or so the spotter plane located one of the beasts and we chased off only for the fcuker to dive down before we got in. Another hour and they found another one, this time group 1 (not my group) got in to swim but again the b@stard dove down and we missed him. I was starting to think maybe someone didnt want me to see one when the boat took off to another spot, nearly losing us from our precarious position standing at the back decked out with fins and snorkels. This time I wasnt going to miss it and although were suppose to wait in a group I followed the dive master straight over to the shark and nearly into his mouth - I definitely couldnt have gotten much closer without touching it, but it didnt seem to mind and swam along happy as larry. It was a really stunning thing to see, really rally beautiful and worth all the long bus journeys and money - the fact that it took so much time and effort to see it made it all the more rewarding in the end.
So now its back to some chill time in Coral bay - I spent about 30 mins snorkeling beside with a turtle yesterday which was pretty cool just watching him go about his daily business.

Thursday, 10 May 2007


Finally arrived in Broome last night after several thousand bumpy dusty kilometers. Theres no mistaking your in the tropics up here, at a latitude of 18 degrees its pretty dam hot.

Nice though, with lovely cool breezes to temper the ever present sun.
And some pretty nice beaches, complete with camel trains at sunset.

The last couple of days on the bus were pretty long, the highlight being camping in Karijini national park with its beautiful gorges and swimming holes - croc free as well, which may not be the case further on.

Our last night was in Pardoo catle station - a pretty enough place but with ferocious mossies that ignored repeleant and smoke.
The days on the bus were long - often with fairly repetitive scenerary, but it was quite pleasant watching the red dust and eucalyptus pass, snoozing, listening to music and chatting with the passengers - which were a good laugh. Due to the nature of the hop- on-off trip, we lost a few people along the way, but also added a few - with Gina and Michael from Melbourne the bus is actually becoming quiet Aussie.

All the bumping around seems to have done something to my back, and its a bit fcuked at the minute, so might search out the services of a local Chiropractor, expecially if I continue as planned with Clare onto Darwin - another bit of a marathon journey.

Friday, 4 May 2007

Elusive sharks

Well the whale sharks failed to show - theve only been spotted once this week aparently, but its still been good fun in the Ningaloo reef. We did manage to snorkel with Manta rays, Carpet sharks and reef sharks so it wasnt all bad, and we spotted some dolphins, Minke whales and turtles from the boat. I also managed to get in a couple of dives which were nice enough, but not overly colourful.
The trip up here has been a bit of a laugh too, even if at times I'm the only bloke in a bus of ten. This traveling business is tough.

On the way we checked out the Pinnacles and later stoped in a lovely town called Denham, which acts as a jump off point for the Dolphins at Monkey Mia - a fun enough experience, even if its a bit of a circus at times.

Not sure what it was about Denham - its just a wee village really, and the beach isnt all that, it was just a really chilled out place where you can stroll along the beach in the evening and chat with the super friendly and genuine locals. There was also some awesome canyons to see on the way, and shell beach was totally beautiful. Coral bay is a bit more of a scene but still really lovely, and there is coral 100 meters from shore to snokel in so its a great place to spend a bit of time in the water. Also met some really nice people here - Warren an Aussie, Lenonard a scot and Emma (English) and Priska from Switzerland, one of the few on my bus over 20.

Off now to the BBQ party and then an early night I reckon, too many nights of excess in recent times, I must be getting old.