Photo of the week
Leaving Exmouth we back tracked 135 km to the NW Highway on our way further north. We are on our way to Broome via Karratha and Port Headland. This part of the trip has taken us three days and over 1,500 km.
Let me go back and recap our Exmouth experience first, before moving on to the other parts of our trip. Exmouth itself was not that fascinating but there was a shipwreck that we had a look at just offshore and a sunset next to a lighthouse facing over the ocean, unfortunately the light house was being restored and was covered in scaffolding and tarps. Not exactly the most picturesque sight, but next to it was a World War 2 era radar station.
One whole day we spent on a boat snorkeling. This was our whale shark diving, the main reason we decided to go on this trip in the first place. The whale sharks and the entire day did not disappoint at all! We saw 4 or 5 different whale sharks and got into the water with them 7 times. Each time was just such a fantastic feeling, and very humbling. These giant fish are so serene and peaceful. I took several photos which I will be submitting to ECOCEAN in order to identify the sharks and to help scientists learn more about them. If you want to learn more visit their site here . Below is one of my favorite photos that shows one of the magnificent animals with a diver to show size.
The pink dots in the photo are the plankton that the sharks come to feed on this time of year. This particular whale shark was about 5 metres long. On the same trip we saw and swam with a black tipped reef shark and a tiger shark, and even several turtles. We just missed out on swimming with manta rays because they decided to play in the breakers rather than swim with us. Oh well, our consolation prize was to see a pod of about 1,000 spinner dolphins playing in the waves and our wake. These dolphins are called spinners because they literally jump out of the water and spin in the air. It was really exciting to see so many dolphins at once and for them to be performing their acrobatics just of their own free will. We also saw flying fish which were so interesting with their ability to jump out of the water and glide for hundreds of metres before touching the water. Swimming with such amazing creatures was definitely worth not only the money but also the long trip out.
The following day we had a long drive to Karratha which is a major mining town with heaps of miners driving around everywhere. There was so much activity everywhere with trains, trucks and ships moving at all hours of the day and night. We managed to find a quiet beach with some local help where we spent the night. On the way to the beach we stopped to have a look at several hundred aboriginal carvings in some fantastically red rocks. We had a native guide (a young kangaroo) that showed us around. It was really interesting to see not only the carvings but also the place itself, especially because we were there at sunset and dusk when all the colours were very vibrant. Below is a photo of one of the carvings.
That evening we made a campfire on the beach and roasted marshmallows, which also gave me a chance to take some star photos and photos of the fire. Below is a star photo that I took over 30 minutes.
Notice the creepy red glow on the mountain that was not added in post processing. It was caused by a nearby natural gas plant that was burning off some of the exhaust gases.
It was such a nice night with no other people around and then waking up to a sunrise straight outside our bed. We had a leisurely breakfast by ourselves on the beach, just watching the waves roll in. Eventually we moved on to a neighboring town called Cossack, which has now been abandoned since the 1950s. It used to be a prominent pearling community and the first port in Northwestern Australia. At times there were over a 1,000 people living there including Aboriginals, Malaysian, Japanese, Chinese and various Europeans. However, the port was too shallow for large ships and so when the pearling moved to better fields to the north, the town was no longer economically sustainable and was soon abandoned. Today it is a historical area that is kept up by various donations and has several restored buildings. Cossack was a very harsh place to live with high temperatures, lots of mosquitoes and frequent typhoons. Below is a photo of the European portion of the graveyard.
The graveyard was segregated for the Europeans and Japanese, with other people either receiving sea burials or merely being buried at the nearest beach, a very interesting segregation that continued even unto death.
Today we finally reached Broome and had a quick look around. We saw a hovercraft taking off and skimming across the mud flats and over the water. What caught my eye was the sign on the road advertising a hovercraft base. We also found some dinosaur footprints which are visible only at low tide.
Come back to see what Katie and I are up to next, including our flight to the Horizontal Falls.