Yet more sun sea and body boarding – Tuesday 27th March 2012


The kookaburra returns for breakfast and brings a mate with him/her. The mince is finished but we offer chicken or bread. Bread is best apparently!
By 11.00 we are at Yallingup. It’s a short walk down to Smiths beach, not a soul can be seen unless I screw my eyes up and peer to the far distant end of the beach where theymay be a man and a dog.
For a while we sit and judge the waves. John goes out on the body board and gets some good long runs. At times he is inundated by cross waves. In my turn, I slightly improve my technique and for two hours we play on the beach before going back to the van for lunch.

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We camp near Binningup, another National Park camp. It has a very clean long drop toilet and is virtually deserted. A family of kangaroos are constantly in the distance and dozens of birds. It has a certain charm, but also has mosquitos, so I stay inside or most of the evening!

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Body boarding – Sunday 18th March 2012


Waking in the National Park is awesome: silent, sun streams through the trees and gradually the birds stir.
Breakfast takes an additional edge as we sit virtually alone, watching birds: parrots, wax eye, fan tails and birds whose names I cannot guess.
We drive North to Prevelli. This weekend there is a surfing competition here, but we cannot get close to it. Instead, we park by a bay, observed by life guards.
The surf seems strong against the rocks, coming in short bursts near to us. John asks advice on the best place to body board, weed and rock free, just down the sandy beach…off we head.

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John just gets better and better at it, riding over higher and higher waves. I love watching him. Mostly I enjoy swimming today.
Despite being a wine growing area, well perhaps because of this, it is incredibly arrid. Dust lines the roads, blackened trees remind the grim possibility of fire.

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Because there is very little of colour, the sea seems an even more vivid blue, the waves shine brilliant white. It’s very inviting.

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Eventually we just sit on the beach in the blistering heat before admitting we need the shelter of the van.
By 2pm we have found our next campsite. We get a corner plot, take on water, empty the toilet cassette, which proves to be less difficult than we had thought. The dust is hopeless. This is a sheep farm and the sheep are grey. I think back to New Zealand sheep and their white coats.
As we sit under the shade of a tree, a strong wind sets up. Whilst it cools us, it also picks up the dust.

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Perfecting the camping experience – Saturday 17th March 2012


Now we are more familiar with the monster, Transit Van, and we have the special map for finding campsites, we feel much more laid back. We have no need to do anything! The camper van has become an end in its own right. It’s like being a snail, your home is always with you.

When we hired the van, there were a list of extras. To be honest we felt we were already paying lots for the van, but a picnic table and chairs seemed essential and a body board…

Now, my son-in-law makes surfboards by hand. He has a wonderful eye for a line. The boards he makes are works of art in themselves. He is a pro-surfer, entering competitions, able to judge them. His life was built around them until he met my daughter, but that is another story.

Anyway, he is always telling us to try surfing. Once, I tried swimming in the huge waves he loves so much. He taught me to dive through them, under the crest so it was safe. But I never, never felt I would like to get on the board.

Maybe that is why I wanted to take the body board with us in the van. Today would be a good day to find suitable waves.

The first beach is too rocky and only has small, really gentle waves.
The second beach is beautiful, but only the softest waves lap the golden sand.

Is this sounding too much like Goldilocks?

The third beach is a resort, an area for swimming has been cordoned off with a long pontoon. A little further along a massive pier stretches as far as the eye can see and a train takes those who wish to spend $29 to view the underwater observation area. There is a serious volley ball match on the beach and lots of families lounging under trees enjoying their weekend.

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No waves, no open swimming and too public for a first attempt.

Fourth beach: more promising. A boat ramp, waves just right, lovely sandy beach but sea full of sea weed.
OK this is getting a tad irritating. But John spots the ideal place just a few hundred meters away. And it is lovely! A stepped sandy beach, clear waves you can almost see through, a few people sun bathing and others swimming.

This is where the van comes into its own. We change into swimwear, leave everything locked in the safe, walk straight down to the beach. An ideal nursery board site.
We take turns to ride the waves, taking photos for evidence.

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I once saw a photo of John about 10 years old. He was in the sea, riding a piece of plywood, a body board. His face at 10 is the same as now, in the waves. Excited, full of adrenalin, achieving something a bit scary!
We spend ages taking turns. I have to admit that John seems to manage longer runs than me. The old pro!!

Done it! Hooray!

We picnic by the trees on the beach, dry off and set off South, again to Margaret River. The next site in our “Camping 6” book. For $14 we stay in the Canto campsite in the Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park. The individual pitches are spaced to provide complete isolation. There’s water but no power – thank goodness for our solar panel!

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We dine outside and watch the Milky Way intensify. As John says, it’s magical! It’s the perfect combination. Totally at one with nature, but with the luxury of our van, providing for us.
After dinner, John stays for ages admiring the stars, while I read. Then I join him, silently: the two of us sit in total darkness pondering infinity.