Monthly Archives: August 2013

… and Red-tailed Black Cockatoos and Freshwater Crocodiles at Giekie Gorge, just out of the town of Fitzroy Crossing.  The pics of the fauna are a little scratchy mainly due to the large amount of glare on the water mid-afternoon. Just wasn’t catching the critters well from a long distance today.

I had a little better luck with the gorge shapes and colours though.

We were hoping to do the morning boat ride up the Fitzroy River but fate got in the way. The car was serviced in Broome yesterday morning, so when we woke this morning we didn’t expect it to have disgorged most of its oil. Never a good look when you’re using caravan park property and the car needs to get to the garage quickly over their driveways.

It seems that the washer attached to the old oil filter remained in the car when the new oil filter with its own washer was fitted. The service company covered the costs of today’s repair but we lost a little time and some embarrassment was caused.

The big news is that the compass on the car is mostly pointing eastward. It will be good to be home in a few week’s time, albeit briefly. I have a trip to Georgia in the US in the first week of October of which you will hear more as and when that happens.

Tonight, it’s casual dining in the bar. I hope we don’t need to don disguises.

red-tailed black cockatoos - Giekie Gorgebrolga - Giekie GorgeFreshie - Giekie GorgeGiekie Gorge panoramaGiekie Gorge afternoon 1Giekie Gorge shapes 1Giekie Gorge shapes 2Giekie Gorge afternoon 2

“Cheesed off” is not strong enough to describe how I’ve been feeling about the state of Australian politics, particularly as this election approaches.

I’m disenchanted with the two major political parties. They will not get my vote in the future unless and until:

  • they stop feeding on people’s fears and prejudices about asylum seekers and setting up unacceptable inhumane processes in the name of Australia
  • they begin to work in a partisan fashion on all issues – don’t just give us words about a kinder, fairer parliament, show us how it’s done
  • they act on climate change, with visionary targets
  • they represent the community, not vested interests (I know that’s a big one!)
  • they show leadership on job creation
  • they support the majority view on marriage equality
  • they value inclusiveness and diversity and opportunity for ALL Australians to achieve their goals
  • they support the arts and creativity – these may be what save us from losing our soul altogether
  • they bring us with them – visionary leaders make caring communities

I don’t believe that the minority government was a bad thing. And much as I was disappointed in Prime Minister Gillard’s approach to many issues, there is no doubt that she demonstrated how to work with people across all political spectrums to deliver an impressive amount of positive legislation such as The National Disability Insurance Scheme and reforms to education funding. And all this in an environment where she was being white-anted inside and outside her own political party.

Independent Members of Parliament such as Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott represented how it is possible to contribute constructively to policy in a respectful and polite way. They will be missed in the next Parliament.

I’ve expressed my frustration in face-to-face and social media conversations. I’m clearly not alone.  One response in those interactions went thus:

I’ve struggled with this election too, and could easily opt out of voting. …………… But I know of too many people (especially women) who have fought for the right to vote, who queue, not for hours, but for days, to cast a vote.

So, in a serious conversation with myself, that started with “You can’t throw away your vote / vote informal / not make an effort to turn up while traveling in remote areas”, I decided to go to the policies using this tool provided by our very own ABC.  If you haven’t already done so, head over here to Vote Compass to get a sense of where your views match with current policies as publicised by the parties.

This is how it worked out for me.  I cast my vote yesterday.

Vote Compass ABCAnd after the election? I reckon we have to get better at being active encouragers of our representatives to be respectful, humane and compassionate representatives with the common good in mind.

It’s our responsibility to be active constituents in our own communities. There are many examples of concerted community efforts changing decisions and the direction of policy. Hope without action doesn’t quite cut it.

This is a beach. It is a very long beach as you will infer from its name.80 Mile Beach - tracks

It is known for its colourful shells….

yellow shell - 80 Mile Beach

and acrobatic seagulls.

standing on one leg - 80 Mile Beach

Since mid-morning, lots of people have been angling for a catch. I saw no evidence of the catching element on my morning stroll. Most of those fishing are now returning after the high tide.

Still no fish, but a good day on the beach by all accounts.

fishing 80 Mile Beach 1fishing 80 Mile Beach 2

fishing 80 Mile Beach 3

Yesterday we were pretty much convinced that the wind would knot (sic) allow us to get out on a boat to see the outgoing tidal action in King Sound and over Talon Reef. Happily, a short window in the weather opened up and we were able to witness the incredible forces of these 6 hourly tides. It was late in the afternoon and the tides were going out.

After a couple of smoky days, this salt water spray and sunset interlude full of giant whirlpools and waterfalls in the ocean was a great way to complete our visit to Cape Leveque. That, and the dinner we enjoyed afterwards.

giant tides 1giant tides 2giant tides 3giant tides 5giant tides 4reef waterfall 1

reef waterfall 2

reef waterfall 3reef waterfall 5reef waterfall 4pearl meat taster

The wind was making its presence felt from the early hours of this morning on the Cape. It was enough to rule out some planned activities including a tidal boat trip out of Cygnet Bay cancelled due to the choppy waters.

We took a drive along the beach allocated to fishing.

fishing beach - Cape Leveque

These fellows are demonstrating what it’s like to tempt crocodiles from deeper beach waters.

fishermen tempting crocodiles - Cape Levequea drive on the beachOn a clear day, the lighthouse stands white and proud.
on a clear dayThe beach ride required 18 psi on the tyres (note how well I’m picking up the jargon after 8 weeks on the road).  Here’s where we pumped up again.


morning fire on Kooljaman roadOn the way out, we noticed this small fire on the road.

Thence it was on to Cygnet Bay where the tide was rushing in over the mangroves. We checked out the pearl farm guided tour in lieu of the boat trip.

tide coming in - Cygnet Bay mangrovesAs we turned into the road coming back from Cygnet Bay, another driver coming out let us know that the camp was in lock down.  This may have been the reason.

what's that skip, a fire?The staff were in full fire management mode before water tanks, police and fire officers arrived on the scene. A few of the campers got into the swing of things too.

campers on the jobThis chopper hovered above just as flames were being extinguished around the lighthouse.

As I write there are still spot fires emerging and being managed as they occur.  It’s handy having a UHF radio and listening in on what’s happening.

news helicopterThe lighthouse pic to the left is what it was like yesterday.  Smoke certainly got into our eyes today.
smoky lighthouseCape Leveque lighthouse

And so to the tip of the Dampier Peninsula with sand roads for the first half and bitumen on the home stretch.  For a region in winter it sure is heating up.  It was still 35 degrees at 6.30 this evening.

road from Broome to Cape Leveque

We made tracks to the lighthouse and down to the eastern beach soon after we arrived, then across to the other side of the peninsula to absorb some more red sand moments as the sun set.

fresh tracksCape Leveque lighthouse
western beach Cape Leveque sunsetwestern beach at Cape Leveque

sun on sand sunset - Cape LevequeCape Leveque sunset - gull