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Friday, 23 March 2012

Are you sitting comfortably (part 2)

For the first time in nearly 60 days since arriving in Perth I have woken up this morning and it isn't sunny!!! Ooooh we might get a storm :-)

So much for the next night and part 2! 

I thought I would take the opportunity to sneak on here whilst Mollie was asleep and try to finish off the last of our trips. I reiterate - are you comfy???

Where did I finish off? Oh yes, Albany.

Tripadviser has been really good at delivering lovely wee places that you would never expect to stay in as they aren't in the brochure or they are too small that they go unmentioned. However, there is a lovely wee B&B down on the beach in Albany which is run by an older couple. They were just fab. I got a deal on the room as it was a last minute thing, they recommended a resteraunt in town and even offered to give us a lift in so I could have a glass of vino which I didn't. Breakfast in the morning is cooked by the couple. Mollie was given freshly squeezed apple juice and pancakes which she asked for with fresh strawberries! Lovely. Had it not been for a certain cat called Cubby and  meeting some of George and Ritas friends out at Serpentine then I would have stayed for another night.
The main thing in Albany to do seems to be to visit the Whale World. This isn't a zoo type place with lots of lovely whale types, nope it is the remains of the last whaling station in Australia!! It took ages for Mollie and I to get there but it was well worth it. We took the guided tour around the place (which is set on the most gorgeous beach I may add) which lasted nearly an hour. You are then free to do the film shows and revisit some of the exhibits that were on display. One of the exhibits includes the full skeleton of one of the last whales caught by the men of the station. The film show was really informative about Whales and what happened. I watched Mollies wee face as she realised that people used to kill whales and that some countries still do. The actually place still has all the machinary in place so people can see how things were done. It is well worth a visit if you are passing lol!

We ended up staying at the Whale World for longer than I anticipated as it was soo good and Mollie was obviously enjoying all the artefacts and information that was on display. We also took a wee walk down to the stunning beach at the side of the building. I can't get over how gorgeous the beaches are here. People do look after them.

Right, on the road again from Albany and it is a straight - very straight and long VERY long journey back to Byford on the Albany Highway. In fact in some parts I can see at least 5 miles in front of me, probably more. The neighbour had given me a DVD palyer for Mollie which I think was the one thing that kept us both sane on the drive back. The towns are few and far between on the road. I stopped at one for a rest and to get a bite to eat but there wasn't much on offer to be honest. I checked my phone which has a wee navigation tool on it to see roughly how far I still ahd to go. No reception! I only got receptuion back 30 kilometres from Byford. So, back to the road again. For a long time I passed barely 2 cars. It sort of gives you the feeling that if the car broke down, with no reception and very few passing cars or fuel stops you could be stuck for a while! Hmm, not a nice thought. I eventually pulled back in to Byford at just after 7pm absolutely shattered.

George and Rita have friends about 20mins drive away who are both teachers and so I had arranged to go out and see them - oh and they also had horses which was the main reason. They were just lovely. Chris and Robyn Brown. Mollie and I went initially just for coffee but ended up staying for lunch. They had a collection of horses, chickens, quails, ducks and a rooster which Mollie loved feeding. Hmm, she will be doing something to do with animals when she is older, I can jsut see it.We had a fantastic time there and guess what? More new friends lol

I already had flights booked for Exmouth which is up in the northwest of WA. Towards the end of the week after Margaret River trip a cyclone appears to be heading for North West! Noooooo! Fortunately Cyclone Lua decides to stay up by Broome and then head inland. as a result when I am boarding the plane with Mollie on Sunday 18th March along with 30 other men!!! I ask the stewardess if I'm on the wrong flight (or the right flight?!) and she laughs and say that the cyclone prevented the guys being flown offshore so they were all heading up to Exmouth for chopper flights now. Ahhh!

The flight up to Exmouth is nothing less than spectacular. We fly over turquoise blue water and fire red ground below. I've taken loads of pictures of it so I won't forget but I don't think I will ever forget this.

As we land at the airport which is a tin shed with two doors. Through one doors is arrivals and the other departures. A partition splits the two sides! Anyway, it is roasting hot and I run to get another bottle of water. I try to hire a car with no luck so the wee shuttle bus it is. I have booked The Novotel for 4 nights for Mollie and I which is our last bit of relaxation before the journey home. The hotel is situated right on the beach but also has two pools and views of the sunrise in the morning.
Check in goes smoothly and we are taken up to our room. Before we even get there Mollie spots a lizard. Not a wee 5 cm skink think but a .5m  lizard. I hear "coooool, mum did you see that?!" coming from her. It's already late afternoon and 38 degrees so I need to cool down as does Mollie. Pool it is.
Monday we meet a German / Swiss couple who also have a 4 year old daughter called Ella. Their English is perfect unlike the daughter who doesn't speak or understand a word. We get chatting and before we know it we are all heading to Lakeside Beach which is round in the Cape Range National Park which is full of rugged limestone ranges and 50km of beaches! There is heaps of wildlife including wild emus, lizards and snakes. Don't go wandering off in to the bush is the warning.
The beach itself is gorgeous. Lakeside is one of the flatter ones and doesn't have as much of a rip as some of the others do. The reef is also within 5 mins swimming so we can all go and see it. Mollie has her won wee snorkel set and is delighted to see a ray, nemos, angel fish and other delights. A fab day. Remember what I said about Ella not speaking English? Artilla (husband) and the girls go looking for crabs in the rocks beside us. I watch them trying to work out how to share the bucket. They don't argue as they know they can't understand each other!! So that was Monday. Tuesday was a glass bottom boat out on to Ningaloo Reef. Mollie doesn't snorkel as the cyclone has left the sea quite rough and even I find it quite tiring. There is a strong current too so she stays in the boat with a couple of the guides but she loves watching all the fishes through the glass. She also gets to see some of the photos that the owner, Alek has taken and compiled on his undersea folder. I get a chance to snorkel. The reef is utterly amazing and I would go as far as to say better than the Great Barrier. There are loads of fish, the coral isn't damaged and the colours coming from them are spectacular. But it comes to an end all too quickly.  The afternoon is spent beside the pool where Mollie displays more of her swimming capabilities with dives in and swimming down to touch the bottom of the pool although it is only just over a metre deep.
Wednesday I at last am able to get hold of a car for the day. The comopany gives you "100km free" I laugh as when I drive back round to the Cape National Park to visit some of the other beaches including Turquoise Beach I have already travelled 70kms by the time I reach them. I did look at a place called Coral Bay but that was 150kms south and I didn't come here to drive. It can wait for another time. Turquoise Beach / Bay is a lovely beach with tropical blue water the temperature of a bath! the coral is even closer than Lakeside Beach we were on and to the delight of Mollie we found little holes coming out of the sand. The last of the baby turtles had been making their bid for freedom that morning. We could see the little flipper tracks heading down to the water. If I had been on the ball we should have pitched up earlier and we might ahve seen them. Nevermind. Another fab day on the beach which I may add was nearly empty.

Exmouth is famous for the Whale sharks that come in each year and I did mention them before. When we arrived at the hotel there was a big board at the entrance stating that indeed the whale sharks had been spotted and were in the area. My first thought was "book it!" However, after speaking to the receptionists and some other people I decided against it. A few reasons. The boat has to go quite far out to find them and it can get really rough. With the cyclone passing through the sea was even more choppy. I would be allowed to get in the water but Mollie wouldn't and I felt that I would be too stressed thinking about her on the boat to really think about enjoying the moment. They were also wanting to charge over $200 for her to sit in the boat! So for the moment it's one experience that will have to go on the bucket list and hopefully it won't be there for too long. We will definitely be returning to Ningaloo and if you are ever in Oz I thing you should visit it too!

Well guess what? The sun has finally appeared. The weathr did say that some sort of trough was bringing rain and storms Yippeeeeee! In all the time we have travelled round Oz I ahven't seen a decent storm. I might yet!

Anyway, with 3 days to go packing and cleaning is beckoning. I think I still have it in me and time to do one more posting before we return. But the adventure is nearly at it's end.............................

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