Margaret River and the manta ray – Monday 19th March 2012


We’ll be arriving home exactly one month from today. We have been traveling for 5 months so far!

I’m told the last leg of a journey can turn arduous. A longing to get home sometimes creeps in. Certainly, we decided to take this campervan to give us a brand new experience, to stop us from wandering about, just waiting to go home.

We have no great urge to travel far. Margaret River is the area to be in South West Australia. Various people have told us not to go as far as Esperance, which we originally planned to do. So we plan a move to Hamlyn Bay.

Wifi connection is a constant difficulty unless you are in a town. Even then it is often Edge/ H or simply an enhance version of 2G- in other words slow! The town of Margaret River has good car parks and you can find a number of campervans here, all intent on using their pocket hot-spots to email. We do the same! We also buy muesli and yogurt. We book accommodation in Perth, back in the YHA because it is central and cheap.

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If anyone thinks they are going to camp on grass in this area in March, they need to think again. It is difficult to get fresh water for our tank, unless we would like bore water, and the pitch is sand here. But we are adjacent to the beach of white lime sand and the bay of turquoise sea.
Having set up camp, we walk the length of the stunning beach. It’s a steep sand waterline and not good for body boarding, but exceptional for walking, our feet plunge into the soft sand.
We think to move off the beach and towards the headland. We have been sitting, gazing out to sea for some time. As we climb the steps, we saw them. Black circles of underwater menace, cruising the shoreline. We’ve seen stingray before, once as we drove over a bridge to Philip Island, and then again in Russell. Then we were scared of them, remembering Steve Erwin’s fate. Here, however, people stand in the water watching them. We join them.

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The ray sweep the coast line for fish guts thrown back by fishermen. They Hoover up debris, keeping it clean. We see three large one and a smaller species, brown rather than black. We watch them eject water from a socket behind their eye. Fascinated, we stay for ages.

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Back at the van we download and sort our photos. It’s a small competition we have to see who has taken the best. John has a far superior camera to my Cannon Ixus!
While we eat a group of ducks visit the back of the van, sifting the sand with their beaks for food. They make a curious intense sound, that is very quiet!

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