A great campsite in Karijini
Ben found us a great free campsite (well, without toilets, you can’t have everything!), with a great view. Arrived in Karijini, we are all excited by the view, by the feeling of nature, of freedom!
We spend an excellent evening in the middle of this magical nowhere.
Mount Bruce, Karijini National Park
The next day (Tuesday morning! Argh in a week I go back to work!!), we leave for Mount Bruce, the second highest mountain in Western Australia.
It is around 8 am when we start the ascent. Maybe a little late…
The sun gets very hot very quickly. The hike starts slowly with a fairly easy path, then it becomes more and more rocky and steep. We will have to climb, sneak in, and overcome our vertigo to reach the summit.
I leave in front with Scott, we will be joined by Ben on the second part of the trip. The way and the arrival are worth the detour, the view is spectacular. And this preserved nature is well worth our sweat and sore legs…
Karajini’s natural pools
After this beautiful effort, and warmed up properly by the sun, we go to the Karijini Gorge, where the natural pools will surely refresh us.
It is too hot and we have too little time before sunset to walk around the gorge and enjoy the pools. Too bad, we decide to opt for a moment of relaxation and swimming! Maybe tomorrow morning before the road … (or not…)
The pools are a beautiful turquoise blue, and are warm enough for everyone to swim. I enjoy it a lot, I swim, I splash, I float, in short I live my best mermaid life!
We enjoy this moment of relaxation each in our own way, it feels good to breathe!
In the evening, we celebrate the first part of Max’s birthday! 30 years old ! We can say that we are watering well his 30 years !
It’s a good evening, but we might as well tell you that the next day, we won’t get up to walk through the gorges?
Hit the road Britney !
Getting up quite early on Wednesday, it’s time to get back to the sea, direction Exmouth!
I start driving, the atmosphere is a bit calmer than on the Carnarvon-Karijini road, but we have fun.
Same road houses or almost, same snacks, same team. I leave the steering wheel to Scott for the last three hours. Bridget and I sit in the back and start the aperitif!
Arrived at Exmouth, we are both a little tipsy! Tonight we sleep in a luxury campsite in Exmouth, overcrowded with holidaymakers. We appreciate the shower (it’s been two days!) and we go out for the first time of the road trip!
30 years, that’s something to celebrate!
The evening is very nice, a singer strumming a guitar on stage. The place is very warm and worthy of the best hipster bars in Paris!
Pizza is a joy! After days of sausages, I can tell you that it feels great to eat something else! (Yes it’s me who says that!!!).
We all go home a little drunk, tomorrow a great day awaits us!
Day on a Boat
The next day, Max, Val, Ben and I let Scott and Bridget travel the coast to embark on an extraordinary adventure!
We opted for the company Ningaloo Whale Sharks, because they have their own plane to spot whales and whale sharks!
They come to pick us up by bus at the campsite, small anecdotes about the region during the trip and we board the boat. The personnel is really nice and caring, they deliver us the material, indicate to us where to take a coffee, etc. I’m joking, I’m in a good mood, in spite of a light hangover!
Exmouth, like Coral Bay, has its own small coral reef. Less known than the Great Barrier Reef to the east, it is however a sanctuary for many species of fish.
We start with a small snorkeling session inside the reef. This is a good way to get familiar with the equipment.
Frankly, it’s beautiful! I see a lot of fish, each one more colorful than the other! I even have the chance to see a catfish, extremely rare!
Faster than we thought…
We go back on the boat. It is time to go beyond the reef to meet a whale or whale shark.
The instructors give us instructions and explain how to snorkel with such an animal. They warn us, we have to be patient, we don’t know when we will see one. Maybe we will have to wait several hours. They divide us into two groups.
And there, everything rushes, team 1 in place! Team 1, it’s mine. Uh, but… Uh, it’s fast all this !!!
The stress rises, we jump in our flippers, we all put ourselves at the back of the boat, hop we jump in the water, cooler, because much deeper!
I almost have a panic attack, I have trouble breathing, I look for eyes where to place myself, I am lost. My heart is beating a thousand miles an hour.
I try to follow the instructions, I start to catch my breath…
And then I see him. It is there immense, magic. My eyes can’t believe it, I swim next to this immense fish. It is beautiful all spotted with white. His head is funny, and when he opens his mouth, he looks stupid.
My fins are beating the pace and I’m not letting go of it for a second. Strangely, I feel like I’m alone with him, while there are 10 of us swirling around him.
I stole the pictures from someone more talented than me, and also because at that time, I only wanted to enjoy them with my eyes.
So captivated by the sight of this marine specimen, I forget the notion of time and miss the instruction to get back on the boat, when I raise my head my team is already a little far away, and team 2 is in place. Oops, I hurry to join them. We get back on the boat, for a few minutes, but ready to dive again.
A few minutes too much a priori, because I already feel the seasickness coming…
Let’s go for the second session! Magic assured once again, and I forget the slight nausea that started.
After the second session, we go back on the boat for about twenty minutes. That is more than enough for my seasickness to be confirmed.
I go to the front of the boat to be able to look at the horizon, but it is already too late. My God, I feel awful.
No time to dwell on my heartache, third session started ! Hop hop we jump in the water again !
My brain is able to ignore the nausea to enjoy our benevolent fish. It swims slowly and we can really enjoy it! We will learn that we met the most peaceful and slowest whale shark of the season, a real chance !
However, by the end of the third session, I am close to vomiting in my snorkel. When we get back on the boat, I go straight to the front of the boat.
Between Whales and the desire to die
The fourth session will be without me, I feel extremely weak, I am cold, I struggle not to vomit.
My only desire at this moment is to find myself in my bed under a blanket. Yet I appreciate the view and the sea air is pleasant. But I am trembling with cold and nausea makes it all seem insignificant.
In other words, I don’t eat anything at lunch and I don’t move from my position. This being said, I have the best seat on the boat!
Oh, in the distance, we see a mother whale and her little one! I measure my luck, and I watch them, struggling not to pollute their water from my dinner yesterday.
And there, while everyone is on deck watching the whales, I feel the worst of the whole excursion. It’s no longer a struggle, but a war to keep me from giving my guts back. It’s a good thing I don’t have anything in my stomach after all.
Snorkeling and fake champagne, it gets better.
We go back to the reef, the waves disappear and the boat does not pitch anymore. My nausea is still there, I am still shaking from the cold, but I feel a little better.
This is our last opportunity to snorkel from the boat, no more whale shark, back to the good old fishes. Come on, Mymy, you can do it, it can be good for you.
A little late compared to the others, I end up jumping in the water. I find it icy, whereas this morning, I was so good in it. The first few days, I’m freezing to death, I feel weak. Then I try to amuse myself with the small fish around.
Honestly, it’s not in great shape, and I have moments when I really want to get back on the boat to warm up, but I’m holding on!
Everyone goes back up, fake champagne and taste. I feel a little better…
Full crew and sunset.
Bridget and Scott were busy and while enjoying the coast, they found us a campsite 20 minutes away. Perfect!
After restocking Hard Cider, we find Bridget and Scott. The campsite is ideally placed, a few steps from the sea.
We spend the late afternoon and early evening on the beach, before eating… sausages… at the campsite!
Sunrise near the lighthouse
The next day, Bridget, Ben and I get up before the sun to watch it wake up. Direction the lighthouse which overhangs the hill, not far from our camp.
Once again, Ben finds a kangaroo hopping and running away… Pretty morning vision…
It’s a beautiful sunrise, and a beautiful day ahead.
The coast between Exmouth and Coral Bay
The rest of the day we jump from beaches and snorkeling spots to beaches and snorkeling spots.
The coast is beautiful, and once again we don’t meet many people! It’s quite crazy to have so many people in the campsites but nobody on the beaches.
First beach, we walk and we see in the water the head of a sea turtle coming out! I am over the moon. Hop Hop, I put on my Decathlon snorkeling mask and I try to find the turtle… In vain, it disappeared, and only the fishes will delight my vision!
The second snorkeling spot will be the right one. While I’ve been swimming for about 20 minutes looking for a turtle, talking to the fishes and trying to tame them to show me the way… (Yes good, well it’s ok !). I join Ben, he hasn’t seen any either, he’s about to stop, and I’m about to follow him, when at last he spots a turtle !!!
She’s not very big, but she’s so cute ! Ben leaves me, and I swim with my turtle friend for long minutes ! If at the beginning, she is a little scared, she ends up getting used to my presence. And I follow her in the reefs. She’s beautiful, her scales are strewn with pretty drawings, and her big eyes give me glimpses. It’s as if she is flying, it’s beautiful.
I’m moving away, I’m moving away, it’s time for me to go back to the beach. Regretfully, I leave my little turtle! Thank you Mrs. Turtle, it was a real pleasure!
Where do we sleep? (Here we go again!)
So, yes, organized, not really… Spontaneous… Yes !
That’s not all, but we have not booked tonight’s night. We know that we want to sleep in Coral Bay and spend the next two nights and our last day there.
It’s Ben again who calls us to order and takes matters into his own hands.
We are already on the road and a little bit panicked not to have a place to sleep, when Ben finally manages to find us a place to sleep ! He will be our hero of the camp !
Two hours of road later, we arrive at Coral Bay!
Sunset on Coral Bay
We arrive in time to see the sunset on Coral Bay. We will settle down later.
The beach is deserted, only an army of seagulls and a few manatees populate this beautiful sandy beach.
The small team discovers the place where we will spend the whole day tomorrow.
The sunset is beautiful, and it is a beautiful evening that begins.
You know me a little bit, and I can’t help but throw myself in the water, do a few fathoms in the glow of the sun as it moves away.
Last day: wonder and relaxation
Argh, it is already the last day before the return tomorrow and the 12 hours of road which await us!
Between Fear and Wonder
Waking up at dawn, I take the opportunity to go for a walk on the beach before sunrise. No phone, no camera, just me and my pupils.
The walk is perfect, resourcing, and I admire the first rays of sunshine on the white sand. The sun barely rises, and I have a crazy desire to swim.
I am alone, there may be a few people in the distance, but not before several hundred meters. I throw myself into the water, it is cold in some places and very hot in others. My arms embrace the surface, I float, I spin. When suddenly, I see a fin one and a half meter away from me ! My blood only makes one turn, I swim as fast as I can to get back on my feet. Nobody could have saved me. It only takes a few seconds, but I am terrified.
Then I turn around, I scan the sea, I see the fin again. Its shape looks more like that of a dolphin. Oh no, I missed the opportunity to swim with a dolphin???!!
Confirmation, the dolphin at about ten meters jumps, he will start again several times. I swim again, but he is too far now…
That day will be the day I almost swam with a dolphin. Or the day I thought I was swimming with a shark !!!
Beach, Swimming, snorkeling
The day continues on the beach. Soccer, swimming, sunbathing, it feels good to do nothing.
I’m off to do some snorkeling with Ben. The coral structures are impressive, it’s crazy. I didn’t take my Go Pro, and once again, just looking at it allows me to anchor these images in my mind.
It’s like a megalopolis for fish. It’s like Nemo, I track to see if I can’t find Dori in all this! I go a bit crazy, I talk to the fish, I follow them, I observe them, I marvel at the coral structures. In short, I enjoy myself to the fullest! I lose Ben and I come back a few minutes after him.
The rest of the day will be quiet, beach and ice cream before relaxing at the camp.
Last sunset, nude swimming and seafood
We go up on the dune to observe the last sunset of the road trip.
Bridget and I are all excited, while the peaceful others watch the colors of the sky reflect on the bay.
I prefer to go and observe all this directly in the water. I go down the dune snapping my hands (for snakes), and here I am swimming lit by the last rays of the sun.
I suddenly feel like taking off my swimsuit, no one can see me, and I really want to swim naked. Ah, what a pleasure ! I should do that more often !
Go, shower, coquetry and direction the restaurant where a superb seafood platter awaits me that I have been waiting for days.
Two espresso martinis, a nightcap in front of the van and it’s time to go to bed, not without getting tipsy. Tomorrow, 12 hours of driving are waiting for us.
Last sunrise, last swim
Before spending the day in the van, Bridget, Val, Max and I leave to watch the sunrise.
We split into two groups, Val and Max stay on the heights, Bridget and I walk on the beach on a background of confidences. It’s a nice moment, the air is fresh and the sand is soft.
Once the sun rises, we observe the surface of the ocean in search of dolphins, but this morning, they are absent. That doesn’t matter, it will be our last swim, cetacean or not…
After this quiet moment, shower, tidying up the camp (mostly done by Scott and Ben who stayed in the van), breakfast and it’s time to hit the road.
It’s a long way to go, I’m taking the first fifth and then I’m giving way to Scott, willingly. I’m nauseous this morning, I’m exhausted and it was time to get behind the wheel.
Ben drives Max and Val’s van, and the atmosphere is wise. Bridget co-drives, and I get a real bed to sleep in the back.
The hours go by, I am shacked, I drive again, I find my favorite co-driver. Night falls and the fear of hitting a kangaroo keeps me on my toes!
Scott finishes the last few kilometers while I start my night.
Arriving at the inn, I suddenly feel a wave of nostalgia that overwhelms me. Yes, it’s like coming home, we are welcomed with warmth. Yes, but here we are, it’s already over.
Review of the road trip
It was a great road trip for me.
There was no tension, at least not visible. Of course, I felt at times that the dynamics of the group were a bit shaky. Sometimes I felt Ben and Scott a little less into it. Max and Val needed to get together as a couple a lot, and most of the time we were together as a foursome. Still, I think it was a win-win situation for all of us.
From my point of view, it was a great ten days. We ran out of time to enjoy a little more, but we had a lot of fun and I was able to swim so many times !
I thank my little companions, for their presence, and for their photos that I borrowed!