We have been doing a lot of driving and our tally is now up to 13,000 km. First night out from Kalgoorlie we free-camped in the desert at the top of the Madura Pass. We weren’t entirely alone – there were a few other vans dotted about in the scrub – but we certainly felt alone. It was soooo quiet and soooo black. I expected to hear the odd dingo, but silence reigned.
We then drove to Fowler’s Bay where we spent a couple of nights, and then Smoky Bay for another two nights. We weren’t particularly taken with Fowler’s Bay, but the tiny settlement is nestled against enormous, and very beautiful, sand dunes. If this sounds cosy, it is anything but. The dunes have already swallowed the town once, and they continue to creep forward. One optimistic soul has his beach-front holiday house up for sale. It is situated about 100m from the base of one of the largest dunes! When it comes to insurance, I’m not sure how you are placed if your house is swallowed up by sand. Is it regarded as an act of God? Geoff actually went out in the afternoon to climb the dunes and he took some great photos, then, and the following morning. The patterns in the sand, the flowing shapes, and the effects of light and shade, are breathtaking.
Smoky Bay is a lovely, little spot and we enjoyed our stay even though it was stormy and quite cold. Geoff went to the oyster sorting sheds and paid $7.50 for 17 fresh-out-of-the-water oysters. He then had to pay $6.95 at the local general store for an oyster shucker! He ate most of the oysters straight from the shell and we shared a few cooked a la Kilpatrick. Delicious! Then the manager of the caravan park gave us a couple of squid, all prepared for cooking, and they were also terrific. Nice to have a win – WA was diabolically expensive. There was a wedding at Smoky Bay last night – a local lad and lass, I was told with much pride. It was a rowdy celebration, so there would have been a few sore heads around town this morning.
We are at Port Augusta for the night and we will explore the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden in the morning, (we missed it on the way through), before we leave for Clare, which is only about 200km away.