The whitest sand in the world – Thursday 12th April 2012

Just a 2 hour journey today. After weeks of traveling relentlessly towards Sydney, we are going to stop for a few days and enjoy ourselves. Jervis Bay was recommended by our friends in Melbourne, but we have seen it rated as on of the top ten “whitest sandy beaches in the world”. Who could we not want to come?

We have two hours before we are able to book into our ‘budget bungalow’. After the past few cabins in holiday parks, I am beginning to get an eerie feeling that the title of this is not good. There were beautiful photos of bungalow 1 and Waterfront Bungalow, but only a stark ‘older kitchen in budget bungalow’ photo. Still it is considerably less expensive than the others and brilliantly located as absolute waterfront on the river.

First we head off to Hyams Beach. This is said to be the beach with the whitest sand, according to the tourist books and Internet. We look at the smaller section first, to the left of the main beach. Yes, the sand is white, but seaweed covers much of the beach and the grain of the sand is slightly course. I feel irritated with myself for having such high expectations.

John insists he has not warmed up yet from the cold of yesterday, which had actually been warmer than the day before. He stubbornly sits on the beach with his jumper on. My concept of tropical beach has difficulty coping with this.
We move onto the larger Hyams Beach. This lives up to my imagination. The sand is talcum fine, and brilliant white. It is truly hard to see without sunglasses. The water contrasts beautifully with the white. Even John is warmed by the view and his jumper magically disappears. We sit in awe of the beauty that surrounds us, envious of those in the sea; we have swim wear lodged in the murky bottom of our cases back in the car.

Eventually, we quit the beach for an impromptu lunch of hummus and bread from the food bag out the boot of the car.
Finally, at two o’clock, we arrive at Husskison at the budget bungalow. The setting is just as I wished for, grassy, well kept with a long wooden jetty protruding into the estuary. Two wood chairs and a small table invite us to take coffee and admire the view.
We spend the late afternoon wandering round the town. They too have a sandy beach, where we have brought our swimwear and simply soak up the sun, until the evening shadows force us to return home.
But the bungalow itself is, also, as expected. The kitchen is large with two modern yet already aged sofas and a smell of unkempt, unloved cupboards. The bedrooms are good enough and we set to making it comfortable. The best bit is the verandah, where we bask in the evening sun and eat our meal.
Best of all though, we are staying here a while. Four nights to recover, to relax, to get to one the area better.

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.

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.

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.


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!