November 5 -
November 11, 2001
(Week 7 Continued)
Leaving the Walpole-Nornalup National Park, I'm now heading for the Cape Leeuwin area. It's a fair distance and I'm trying to get there before the lighthouse closes at 4:30 PM, and remember that Brett has given me instructions to climb that lighthouse! The route takes me through some gorgeous farm country, and the large trees we saw at Tree Tops has some carryover in this area ---
-- and some good looking farm country, although these appear to be smaller family farms in this area. I'm getting a little pressed for time, and so I elect to take a shortcut, that does cut some time, and covers some interesting areas ---
Tony seems to like it!
Before you know it, we're at the Cape, the point where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean -- and the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse!
BUT -- we have a little problem! It's 3:45 PM, and I'm advised by Brenda, the guide/Curator (?) that as of two months ago, because of vandalism, they only take people through the lighthouse in tour groups, and the last tour of the day, at 4 PM, is already filled out! Now I'm heading north to see the Carys in Dunsborough, and I can't come back tomorrow, and Brett has put down the challenge. What would you do? Well, I have given some thought to writing a book, and I am keeping a journal which is already on it's second book, so it really wasn't that much of a stretch --- "Brenda (you sweet thing!), I only have today, I was told I could climb the lighthouse if I was here by 4:30, and I REALLY wanted the lighthouse in my book!" Not only did Brenda fit me into her last tour -- she refused to let me pay the $3 entry fee!
Brenda -- my hero! She led, I was second, and the tour followed. (What else would you expect -- I am the guy with the questions!) Since you asked, it's 176 steps up, and 176 steps down. A piece of cake compared to climbing down and back up at the "blowhole" in Albany!
Note Felix, my pet fly!
I hate to end the day with such an ugly shot, but felt you'd want to know who I'm talking about when I mention Felix! So I'll start off the next day, Sunday, with something beautiful! Would you mind waking up to this view every morning? Our new pals, Julie & John Cary (thanks to our Kiwi mates, the MacLachlans), live here, and get this view, and more!
All right, the scenery is great, but how is this for gorgeous? (We're talking about the one on the right!)
Meet Julie & John. This was shot right after I met them, while they were still happy to meet me -- and they were still smiling when I left! I can hear you, Jake!! Anyway, they sure are special folks, and they provided me with one of the most enjoyable days of the entire trip. There home is called Innamincka, and I know I'm going to get this wrong, but it's Aborigine for something like "Our home, your place of rest". Whatever -- it is beautiful! It is right in the bush, and the gardens are just spectacular, as are the views. I'm going to show you a few shots around Innamincka, but they just don't really capture it. The building on the left is a guest house on the other side of the pool.
Talk about similar tastes!
Just another attractive Bush Gardener!
The "Grasstree", or as it was known for many years prior to the sensitivity of political correctness, the "Blackboytree". Actually, Aborigines referred to the tree in this way, and believed that these trees actually deterred many would be invaders from coming ashore, because of the large numbers of these trees in some areas. From a distance, the "spears" and "grass skirts" of these trees appeared to be warriors at the ready, and there are historical writings of British sea captains who referred to "the large numbers of armed natives who inhabited these shores". The blackened bark came about as a result of these trees withstanding the almost certain annual bushfires, and the fact that these trees grow at the incredibly slow rate of only about one inch per 100 years, gave them a reputation with the Aborigines (and today) as a strong growth tree almost impervious to everything. The Carys have several on their property that they prize, including the very unusual split tree --
They really are fascinating, and proud old trees!
At one point we went up to their "farm property", where they have built several "holiday homes", now under lease. It's a wonderful area, and John has an antique Chamberlain tractor that a friend of theirs had, along with a mate of his, come to see, and to give John an estimate of it's value. Two really interesting guys, and again, for me, an opportunity to interact with more of these great Aussies!
Their names are Ron Snook, and John Slee, and I told them I thought Snook & Slee sounded like a great law firm. Eventually the Ugly American image wore off, and we had some great discussions about various things, including John's Dad who had been shot down over Belgium in 1917 in a dogfight, by Hermann Goering (who he later met after he had been captured by the Germans), who at that time was a German flying ace, and who of course years later became Hitler's right hand man. John said he'd often speculated about how the course of world events might have been altered had his Dad won the dogfight! Some of Goering's papers are preserved in a museum in Carlisle , Pennsylvania, and I'm going to see if there is anything in there that would be of interest to John and his family.
This is Eagle Bay, and one of the many attractive areas that John and Julie took me to as we explored a bit of their little corner of Australia. Once again, the beaches and water are just spectacular (I realize that I seem to be using that adjective a great deal, but that's just the word that keeps coming to mind as you look at these areas. Nothing I've ever seen in the Caribbean, Mexico or the Greek Islands compares!) One thing that is a bit different here in Western Australia are the number of beaches that have shady areas -- really something you rarely see.
John looking trim next to Fat Boy! Then just another great beach -- this one at a spot called Yallingup - note the surfers.
--- and this is Boogie Beach, so named by Julie because this is where she and her pals come to do their thing on their boogie boards!
After our tour of the beaches, we stop back out at the farm to see the roos in their evening romp - note the Joey!
We head back to Innamincka where John does a great BBQ, with an assist from Julie, and no help at all from me!
What a special pair! It was really a great day for me, and I add this picture so that Jake can see how happy Julie is to be associated with me!
The next morning I'm off for Perth by way of Freemantle. As most of you know, the latter is really the sailing capital of WA and there sure are a few masts - but Freemantle is also a very pretty town! There I go getting ahead of myself -- that's week 8! Did you think I'd ever wrap up Week 7?
This old adventure is quickly coming to a wrap-up!