Might start with the following links – before they disappear into ‘old’ news. Guess which boy made the TV and online news…?
More on that later… 😉 After heading east out of Albany, away from the Karri forests found in the bottom west, we stopped overnight (Wed 22/10) in rather different country – amongst the huge wheat growing farms near Ravensthorpe. Lots of cropping in this area, though it doesn’t seem to be the best soil.
We’d heard nice things about the beaches along here, between Albany and Esperance, though most of them are a long detour off the highway (eg. up to 70km’s). However, as you get closer to Esperance the hwy gets closer to the ocean, so we headed in to Quagi beach to have a look. Yep, can see why they say they are beautiful!
We walked around the headland, and down the beach. To top it off we watched a pod of dolphins playing around in the waves for ages! Catching them, jumping back through them….
Then it was into Esperance, for you guessed it, more beaches! Esperance is a nice relaxed little town, just big enough to have some of the larger stores such as Woolies and Bunnings. Didn’t really get any photos of the town or bay – whilst nice and pretty they aren’t the main interest here. We headed out on the tourist loop, which of course goes past the beaches, plus a few other things (such as another wind farm!). West beach, we were told, is for experienced surfers (the surfing area breaks onto rock). We took some photos and moved on.
Then it was around to Twilight beach, voted Australias best beach 2006. It is beautiful.
The boys and I went body boarding, and stayed in for quite a while. Nicole went and got the camera, so you get to see some shots of me for a change!
Friday it was back into town for some shopping and haircuts. We then headed out to Le Grand National Park, around 40-60km’s (depending on what you read…) east of Esperance. We went to Le Grand beach first, but it was pretty overcast. The weather was improving though, so we went to climb Frenchman Peak. This was a pretty cool climb, and reminded me somewhat of central Aus – climbing Uluru (but not as tall or difficult), and the rocks to the south looked rather like some of the domes at The Olgas!
Hellfire bay is not far from Frenchmans Peak, and despite the name is quite beautiful. Some of the whitest and finest sand I’ve seen anywhere.
We were talking with a bloke fishing off the headland, and he reckoned the walk into Little Hellfire Bay was beautiful (as well as the bay itself). It’s not a long walk so we headed off…
On the walk back I noticed a tiny snake wriggling crazy to get off the path, that Nicole just missed. Only a tiny thing – perhaps 30-35cm if stretched out. I casually said to Jonathan, who was just a little ahead of us, that he could have stepped on that snake (he hadn’t seen it). Then a few steps later he said he did feel something, and as we were walking along I noticed a couple of little marks on his heel. Checking which foot and where he felt it, it was around the same area! Hmmm, so he would have been positioned perfectly to stand on that snake, he felt something, and we’ve got two little marks in his skin, around where he felt it. Still rather skeptical that he’d been bitten, and the snake wasn’t straight brown in colour – definitely had green it it so probably wasn’t poisonous anyway, we walked back to the motorhome.
However we had a closer look at his heel, and decided we’d better be cautious, so Nicole strapped it and then we drove round to where we knew we could get mobile reception. I called 000 to see what they thought we should do. The operator didn’t care about any of the details – she just wanted to know where we were so they could rush an ambulance out! And that’s before she even knew why I was calling – I could have just been feeling lonely…. Anyway, eventually we got round to talking about what the problem is, though I think the only two words she heard were ‘snake bite’. An ambulance was rushed out to us at great speed, and I did an absolutely awesome job of splinting his leg and foot with an umbrella and electrical tape. I added more tape after this photo….
Jonathan’s calmly playing Clash of Clans on his tablet when the ambulance races in, and checks him over. The paramedic noted the heart rate monitor on his finger was showing a fairly high pulse for someone his age. Not really surprised, I watched it jump further after that comment…! Anyway, into the ambulance and back to Esperance hospital. I would have taken some photos of him getting loaded, but figured I was probably supposed to be concerned and serious about the whole affair and taking photos mightn’t be a good look. Nicole went with him. Rather than going to see Lucky Bay as we’d planned, which is meant to be spectacular, decided Daniel and I better head back to Esperance too (besides the sun was setting!). Here are the marks (photo just taken – they were similar colour to each other earlier).
Anyway, turns out he was fine. They couldn’t find any venom, but did seem to think that there was a snake bite. They kept him in the night, just so they could fill out reams of paperwork, and wake the poor kid up every now and then to see that he was OK, and occasionally drain all the blood they could get for analysis… Apparently he was on the news that night (just a mention of it), and the flying medical evacuation service phoned and asked the hospital if they wanted him helicoptered into Perth!
Sat morning he was discharged, and it was off to Twilight beach again. Both boys spent ages in the surf (we told snake boy to watch out for sea snakes…), whilst I prepared tax stuff…. After we’d had enough of that it was back on the road. However we stopped in first at Mermaid leather, where they make fish skin leather. These are pretty cool, and feel just like ‘normal’ leather, but is thin and has cool patterns on it. They primarily use Barramundi and Pink Snapper skins, but have shark and all sorts. They use it in handbags, wallets, art, wrap around pens, and all sorts of stuff. It’s skin that would otherwise just be thrown out. Have a look at the website: www.mermaidleather.com.au
After this it was north into the Mallee country. Here we are camped the night in the mallee on the way up to Kalgoorlie.