Monday, August 11, 2008

DAY 291: Giralia Station to Coral Bay


Sun 10th August 2008
106km @ 19.8 km/hr
Sunny, 28 deg C
Elevation of /destination 5m
Distance to date 17956 km (11222 miles)

I was pretty tired so Mr.Snorer didn’t keep me awake, so I didn't have to throw anything at him, and in fact I slept very well. I awoke to a couple of hundred Corellas screaming and squawking over the sleepy campers. I could also hear the resident nags wandering around bumming early scraps from the punters, so took my cue to pack up before breakfast. The red dust was everywhere, and the station owners clearly don’t bother to water to try and get the grass to grow, very mucky underfroot.
It was quite nice to have a kitchen though, and I took advantage of the toaster to use the last 3 muffins, spread with PB and rhubarb jam.
I picked my way back along the 4km gravel road, which wasn’t too bad going the other way, but once back on the bitumen it was hard yakka with a draggy uphill for 12km, at which point it got quite hilly. The wind was on the side so no help whilst on this section of road (the Burkett link road) but as I had decided not to ride north to Cape Range NP (it’s fully 360km round trip to the end of the NP road from the junction I was coming to), if the wind stayed put for a few hours it woud be behind me to Coral Bay. All along this road I coud hear the song of the Chiming Wedgebill - 4 bright and resonant descending notes as if they were practising their scales.
I stopped at the junction with the Exmouth to Carnarvon road for a cuppa and snack, then was pleased to note that I did indeed have a tailwind, and a good one too. I flew the 50km south to the Coral Bay turn in just over 2 hours, and in view of the competely open landscape it was fortunate that this wasn’t a headwind, which would have been tough with no shelter. There wasn’t even a tree or bush for much of this section, a desert-like scenario. The road undulates gently in long straights. Still plenty of wild flowers though, and I caught the scent from time to time.
Although the NE wind was not quite in front of me on the Coral Bay road speed dropped considerably, and it gets quite hilly too. Still very open landscape with views of the sea as I got closer to the coast.
Coral Bay is a very small community, entirely, as far as I can see, devoted to tourism - the Ningaloo Reef comes down this far, and there are tours for whale-watching, swimming with Manta Rays etc., and 2 large caravan parks, which happened to be competely full, even for a small tent. I opted to stay at the smart Ningaloo Club backpackers, and pushed the boat out by booking a room to myself ($80/nt). This meant I could keep the bike in the room, which gives me a good chance to check it over thoroughly. I also booked a whale-watching tour for tomorrow ($120) - I fancied snorkelling with Manta Rays (did you now they have the biggest brain of all the fishes, and are extremely playfull?) but they’re booked up until Friday.
I had a quick swim in the (as usual) very cold pool and strode 100m next door to the small shopping complex, where there is a very good bakery - what a range of cakes and pastries they have - and there’s a nice seating area in the middle of the shops. I’m going to enjoy staying here!
In the evening I sat in the bar among the ‘young un’s’ and had one of the very popular house ‘burgers cooked by resident chef - help yourself to salad - very good value for $6.50, and you get a beer for half price too. There’s a big screen showing the Olympics, although no sound unfortunately, so I enoyed my supper with the first TV in months. Very enoyable.
There is internet here but no uploading, but there is another place that does allow which I’ll use tomorrow.

No comments: