Monday, February 08, 2010

1 day of luxurious exuberance!

I am now sat in the tiny airport at Exmouth, waiting to fly back to Perth. The trip up from coral bay was quite interesting. When boarding the coach, the driver mentioned that he had a traumatic journey up to coral bay, and i darent ask. About 30 mins later, in pitch black, out jumps a kangaroo right in front of the bus..... well, needless to say that the bus won the battle. i saw it being hit, and then heard it roll under the bus and then bumped over it with the rear wheels..... it was quite gruesome... and all the driver could say was " there goes another one"

So - arriving in exmouth at 2am, we got to our lodge, which to be honest, was more of a backpackers accomodation. Tanya was not impressed at all. To be fair, it was quite skanky!

On the saturday, we had a wander round the town, and basically, nothing was open. Apparently, the summer of their off season! most restaurants were closed, the visitor center was closed (due to it being the weekend), and even the mini golf was closed!!

So we walked down to the beach and saw some interesting marine life at the foot of the shore - stingrays, a small catfish thing but it looked like a shark, and a turtle!

in the evening, we skyped my parents again, and this time my sister was with them with my 3 nephews! they also bought our dog over so we could see him, but he couldnt see or hear our voices over the computer. he was more interested in licking my dads face!!

On sunday, we hired the 4 wheel drive jeep, and headed to Turquoise bay. This is an amazing beach, and has some of the best snorkelling i have ever experienced. They have this drift, whereby you start at one end of the beach, and the current carries you down over the corals and you just see all the marine life floating by. I saw all sorts of fish, including stingrays, catfish, clown fish... etc etc... the list goes on. we didnt see any turtles or sharks though!!

As our lodge was a bit skanky, i decided to go online and book the 4 star hotel in town as a treat for us both. I kept it quiet from tanya, as i do like to surprise her now and again.

I have to say, that this place was a palace compared to the lodge we stayed in. The room was massive and very new (opened in 2007). The balcony overlooked the marina, so i settled on the sunbed with a beer in my hand, and watched the sunset over the town!!

We then ate at the posh restaurant and had some nice local champange, and mojito cocktails. We then got talking to a british guy working as a waiter there. He had just finished his shift, and was wearing an arsenal shirt!! as i knew the chelsea v arsenal game was going to be on, i asked whether he wanted any company to enjoy the match - as tanya wouldnt be interested!

so, he opened up the conference centre at the hotel, and we watched the match in surround sound on a huge projector screen each with a 6-pack of beer. He also sorted out some potato wedges!

All in all, we probably had the most alcohol and food in the most expensive place on the west coast - it was a good night and well worth it! but hey, its only money!!

So, we have 1 more night in perth, and then we fly back home to the rain and minus temperatures! not looking forward to that WHATSOEVER!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Good G-Reef

Well - I have to say, we have had both the best and worst days of the trip so far since the last blog.

Carnavron has to be the most BORING place on the planet. There is absolutely nothing to do there, and is completely dull. the highlight of the 2 day stop here was the old post office cafe, which served some excellent food, and the out door swimming pool. I wish to god we skipped this place and came straight to Coral Bay.

Which brings me onto the best part of our trip so far!! diving with Manta Rays and reef sharks at the Ningaloo Reef!

i had 2 scuba dives and then we snorkelled with the manta rays. the 1st dive was really good, and saw lots of fish of all shapes and sizes such as bull rays, scorpion fish, morays and a spotted sweetlips!!.

the 2nd dive was amazing. just before we went in the water, we spotted a huge tiger shark lurking in the area. everyone was a bit worried but the instructors just shrugged it off and said we'd be alright. So, the dive itself was incredible. we went through caves and canyons made up of corals, and it was beautiful. We also saw 2 grey reef sharks - these are harmless, but look like proper sharks!

we also had a school of bludger and golden trevalley fish, quite large, circle us for a while, which was also an amazing experience. someone took a couple of pics of me, so i have given them my email address so they can send me the pics. Tanya didnt dive, she just snorkelled.

The manta ray was really cool. It had a wing span of about 4 meters, which is pretty small compared to the 9 meter rays seen at this location. even so, it was swimming backwards and forwards along the bottom, feeding. It was very elegant and glided across the sea bed softly! The best bit, was when it did a flip for us, which meant we saw it come up, turn over, seeing the underside, and then continue on its journey.

When we arrived back to the bay, there was this HUGE Groper fish hiding under one of the boats.... you wont believe me when i say it was as long as a motor bike (like the long harley davidsons) and as fat as a horse or a cow.... i couldnt believe what i was seeing. aparently, it was about 40 years old, and the locals have even given it a name, and treat it as their pet!!

This was money very well spent and i feel more an more confident about dives. Shame we are not in the whale shark season, as i would definatley give it a go!

Today, we sunbathed in coral bay. the best thing about coral bay, is that from the beach, you can swim out about 50 meters, and you are instantly greeted with the ningaloo coral reef! so, we spent most of the day snorkelling and swimming, trying to spot more fish. i managed to see a soulfin catfish and a couple of small stingrays! learning from steve irwins experiences, i decided NOT to provoke the stingrays!!

We are hanging around now until 23:30, when our coach comes to pick us up and take us to exmouth. This is the last place we are visiting up the coast before we fly back to Perth. I have reserved a jeep in exmouth to take us to some of the amazing beaches up there such as turquoise bay and bundegi beach for the legendary sunsets!!

Monday, February 01, 2010

life's a beach

Well, i'm sat here down by the beach in Shark bay writing my blog, and life couldnt be better. We have had a brilliant couple of days here in denham and monkey mia. the journey here was a bit arduous, i can only thank god i'm not driving!

The 1st day in denham, we just milled about... walking the long white sandy beaches and taking in a tan. In fact, someone got a little burnt on the back of their legs, and it wasnt me!

Our chalet overlooks the indian ocean, and is pretty amazing in day light and sunset. We were lazy and decided on take away fish & chips for dinner.

Sunday saw us hire a car and drive across to monkey mia to see the dolphins. they come right up to the shore and are hand fed 3 times in the morning. The moment we arrived, there were 3 dolphins almost on the beach, with about another 8 a little further out.

Tanya was lucky and had the opportunity to feed one of them.... it was called "surprise", but cant remember why?

We then had a bit of a sunbathe, before heading off to see the world's hottest outdoor hot tub. I'm not sure what our expectations were, but i suppose in this heat (mid 30's), i was expecting a cool refreshing hot tub.... but this baby was 44 degrees.... there was no way i was stepping foot in that!

In the evening, we watched murry get beat by Fed... and then pompey getting stuffed by man city! We also had a skype session with my mum and dad back in good old blighty. I took them outside so they could see the indian ocean and the sourrounding area.

Today (monday), we headed off to some local attractions. a beach entirely made up of tiny shells, aptly named shell beach. It was a brilliant white contrast against the clear blue skies!

We then stopped off at a couple of scenic lookouts (of which there are many). We saw some lemon sharks from a distance, swimming around the bay.

we then went to an ocean park (a small version of the sealife centre), where we saw some sharks being fed up close. they were pretty ruthless. we saw lots of different fish, turtles, rays and squids..

we then finished the tour, with an iced coffee and a huge cheesecake!!

so now, we are sat at the beach, just killing time until our coach journey up to carnavron. We have had 2 brilliant days here, and you will see from the pics, seen some amazing beaches and scenery.

Friday, January 29, 2010

trip to the moon

The trip to the Pinnacles was pretty amazing. we headed over in the afternoon, so that we could catch them at sunset. It was like being on the surface of the moon, with rocks taller than me! there were thousands of them across a vast area.

I also tracked an Ostrich whilst viewing the rocks.... i almost felt like an explorer.

Friday was a bit of a nothing day. we have travelled 650km and it has been REALLY BORING! The roads are so long and straight, you could fall asleep and travel 10km without any issues!

So, we are now in denham, which is Part of the Shark Bay heritage area. Just planning what adventures we are getting up to in the next few days.... feeding dolphins, snorkelling and boat cruises..... life is so hard sometimes!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Snags on the Barbie!!

G'day. well, Australia day went down very well. We spent the day down at the foreshore, and got involved in all the activities. We even kayaked without using any oars....

We also spent some of the time on the beach, and as a result, got a little burnt. You can clearly spot us now as tourists! we're the red people!

The firework display in the evening was pretty amazing, with about 30 mins of fireworks and a fantastic finale. Not sure why we cant celebrate St George's day in a similar manor. Every ozzie was draped in the flag, face painted or wearing patriotic clothing. I cant believe more brits celebrate St Paddy's day than St Georges!

Today, we headed back down to Jurien Bay. we hired a car and made our way south. It took around 2 hours and was the most boring drive ever! Long straight roads.

We have a deluxe chalet in a caravan tourist park, and its brand new. you can even smell the paint on the walls.....

We bought some food in and made use of the BBQ facilities. They have metal plate bbqs here, and i didnt buy any cooking oil to cook the meat with.. so i had to humbly walk up to some locals, and sheepishly ask for some cooking oil.... with the excuse of... in england, we only have coal bbqs, and am not used to cooking this way! what a pillock!

We have managed to watch a lot of tennis over here, with the open now being played. Tanya is getting into it a little bit, but she still hasnt worked out the scoring yet. only a little annoying to explain each time a point/game/set or match is won!!

Off to the Pinnacles tomorrow.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Happy Australia Day

Well, it is now Tuesday morning. My sleeping pattern is still dodgy, but i am getting slightly more sleep each night.

So, after my 4 hours sleep sat night, we headed off to Swann Valley for a wine tasting tour. The trip was fantastic, and we even learnt something as well!! there was this bloke on our tour, who was an absolute double of a friend of ours - an irish guy called tony. After a few glasses of wine, i worked up the courage to get my picture taken with him, so that i could send it to my friend! i know, i'm a loser!

We purchased some cheese, olives and crackers, and ate them with some wine when we got back to the apartment. pure indulgence!

Monday was us leave perth and head northwards into the unknown. Trying to hire a car was a bit of a nightmare, so we decided to coach it up, using a hop on hop off service.

So, after 6.5 hours, we arrived in a place called Geraldton. This is a small coastal town, with not a lot to do!!

It is however Australia Day on the 26th Jan, so the whole town is closed down and there is loads going on down at the beach. We'll just turn up, and be pretend Ozzies for the day!

there's lots of debate here at the moment about whether the union jack should be removed from their flag.... the funniest thing is, those who want it removed, have no idea what to replace it with..... what would they do without us eh?

The next few days are all about visiting some small towns on the coast, so not sure if there will be much to write, but will keep you posted on any action we may come across!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Zombie Land

Oh my god I NEED SLEEP. It is now Saturday night, and since Tuesday morning, I have had 8 hours sleep in total..... WHY ME! I am just walking around in a daze... We also havent stopped either, which is why i cant understand why i cant sleep. Tanya can sleep like a little baby!!

Its taken us a while to get into the 21st century. Pay as you go mobiles and wireless broadband sticks are a nightmare to organise! We have now been upgraded into the technological era!

So, friday (after 2 hours sleep), saw us take the train to Freo (Freemantle). A quaint little town on the outskirts of Perth. It reminded me very much of Manly in Sydney. Lots of oldie worldie buildings, markets and coffee shops. The afternoon saw us head to cottesloe beach for a sandblast exfoliate. The wind had picked up somewhat!

So there's me, looking to start my tan, when i notice that practically all the men have tanned and tonned shaved chest. Feeling a little insecure, i kept the t-shirt on feeling slightly inadequate with a scrawny hairy chest. Then, as if by magic, two french speaking gals walked past with hairy armpits... well, the shirt came flying off! and let the tanning being!

I thought that an early night would cure any jet lag symptoms... plus the added bonus of herbal medicine to assist sleep! So, to bed i went..... 2 hours later, i was awake and thinking about EVERYTHING!

So today - we took the trip to Rottnest island..... talk about your trains, planes and automobile situation. It tool 3 hours to get there. we spent 4 hours on the island. and then it took another 3 hours to get back. There were some good photo opportunities, but all in all, not the best place we have visited.

The ferry trip back saw a very impressive thunderstorm. This is the 1st time i have seen lightening in the day time!

We had a visit to an outdoor cinema on our return to perth... Unfortinuatley, the storm followed us back and the film was canceled... after a mad rush and expensive taxi's to get there!

Anyway - i have had a bottle of wine to assist my sleep ambitions tonight. PLEASE GOD LET ME SLEEP TONIGHT.

Its a wine tasting tour tomorrow in the swann valley region.... if i am still sane!