Tuesday, 29 December 2009

The Christmas Story

(I should mention that the best laid plans I mentioned in my “argh, I’ve only got 2 minutes left of internet time and I still need to blog” post on Christmas Eve actually went wrong for the better. It became clear that the local nursing home would probably be having more of a rave up than that particular hostel I’d booked into for the week. So at the last minute, I got a lucky refund and hopped on the next bus. Then I headed, with eleven others, to Albany. Where I got absolutely smashed with some likeminded backpackers at the hostel)

The only problem was that once I’d got on the bus, the ‘jump off’ option that first attracted me to this trip was limited. As it was Christmas, if I got off anywhere I would have been stuck for a week instead of just a few days. So I’ve spent every day since Christmas Eve being herded from 8am, cattle-like, from beautiful place to beautiful place. Whilst – granted -  there are worse things that you can be subjected to, the group I’m with are fairly quiet and the ongoing small talk, coupled with a planned itinerary, was starting to grate by the end of Boxing Day.

But yesterday came the reason I’d chosen to come on this second trip, and that was Esperance. It’s a small coastal town in south western Australia where the main draw is the absolutely incredible Cape La Grand National Park. This place is home to the whitest beaches in Australia; the sand is snow-like in sight and sound; it crunches and squeaks under your feet. Continuing the glacial theme, I can only describe the water as an icey blue colour, tinged with a very pale turquoise. In short, it’s bloody marvellous down ere, and as with most places in Western Australia, relatively deserted.

Esperance 044So given that I was beginning to tire of being in the passive, follow-the-cow-in-front mentality of the group by this point, while the others went for a walk I opted for some much needed Jo Time. I wondered over some rocks and onto Thistle Cove, where I lay down, wrote in my diary and enjoyed being the only person on the whole beach. I contemplated a swim, but time made me decide against it. After 45 mins I dragged myself back to the bus, where the driver was busy losing on Mario Cart.

“God, it’s beautiful down there” I said, while I settled down to wait for the others to get back. ”I was the only one down there, had the whole beach to myself. So nice.”
”Ah yeah, that’s because you can’t swim there.”
”Eh? Really?” I said, glancing cautiously at the toe I’d dipped in the water. “Why not?”
”Well, bout three or four years ago, some great white sharks caught a whale as it was migrating through the area. It got beached in Thistle Cove and the rangers buried it behind the sand dunes. They didn’t realise that as it decomposed, the juices from the whale would leak through the sand back into the sea. So Great White’s are always being drawn back to  the beach by the scent, even years later.”
”Oh. Right. But there’s no signs up or anything…”
”Yeah, it’s just a known thing.” He added, “Suppose I should have mentioned it before you went down, really”

At this point I contemplated what would be more painful: death by boredom at the hands of my bus group, or having my feet gnawed by a hungry great white.

Yesterday, it was a close call on both counts.


Anonymous said...

Are you travelling with Easyrider? They are the ones who took me to Coral Bay and other incredible places (although I also couldn't say much for the fellow passengers}. I can never, ever get over just how predatory tour bus drivers are though. One of mine lived with another driver, and told us that in their house they had the 'titty wall', ie a wall covered in topless photos of girls they'd slept with on their trips. They must have got through a lot of rohypnol, that's all I can say....

Grump said...

Hope you have a rip roaring New Years Eve with your bus load of grating passengers. No really have a good one and hopefully we will see you over in Melbourne soon.
Woof x

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Anon - Yep, Easyrider. Funny you should mention the lecherous drivers. I haven't had any problems, but apparently the Sleazyrider tag got known a couple of years ago...but they said they've got rid of the worst one. I've seen it on Oz Experience before though...so weird.

Grump - Happy new year to you!


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