THURSDAY 9 NOVEMBER DENHAM TO HAMELIN POOL 116kms
I got up at 7am and went for a walk along the shorefront and main street. It was very enjoyable at that time of day.
Then I was hailed by the young guy who’d befriended us, as I went by where they were staying, and spent half an hour chatting with him.
John was up when I got back to the van.
Breakfast, pack up, hitch up were all routine.
We did a few things in the township, on the way out. Some bakery purchases. John talked to a real estate agent who spied him looking in the window. I bought Lotto tickets, because there is a draw coming up on 11/11! Lucky number for us – we hope!
I went to the CALM Office and bought the brilliant aerial view poster of the Shark Bay area. It was not cheap, but I really wanted this memento.
We stopped in at Whalebone Bluff, not far off the main road, where there was a little bluff and an informal camping area. It had great views, but they were not quite as spectacular as those at Eagle Bluff.
Then we stopped at Shell Beach, which is as the name suggests, a great expanse of tiny cockle shells, instead of sand.
We noted the vermin proof fence across the Peninsula at that point. Because the Peninsula is so narrow here, and because of the sea surrounds, it was considered a promising place to try to eradicate introduced predators like cats, and foster a recovery in numbers of some of the threatened native animals of the area.
We booked into the Hamelin Pool caravan facility, for $14 a night. We got to choose where to set up. Unfortunately, some of the best i.e. shaded sites, were already occupied. We were annoyed later when these turned out to be day trippers visiting the stromatolites, and who left after doing so.
However, we managed to find a place with a bit of shade, to set up.
The tap water was salty. The power goes off at 10.30pm.
The Telegraph Station precinct looked much better than I’d remembered it, from ’93. The Telegraph Station was built in 1884 and was a major link in the communications chain from Perth to parts north. The Post Office for the Shark Bay area was also here, for years. And it was a cargo landing and loading point in past times. So it is quite an historic place.
I recognized much that V had described in her letters. The two caravans that housed the staff when they worked here, were still there.
The surrounds were well kept.
The ablutions block was ok – I have been in plenty that were more primitive than this one.
A couple about our age were managing the place. There did not seem to be any other workers there, but we are out of the tourist season.
After setting up and having lunch, John had a sleep.
I wandered over to the tea room shop where I bought a polo shirt and some other touristy oddments.
After John woke up, we walked through the shell quarry to the stromatolites.
The shell quarry is a place where blocks of solidified cockle shells were quarried for building with, both on site here and in Denham. I thought it was similar to the limestone block quarries of the SE of South Australia.
Shell block had been used to mark one lonely grave – a man who drowned in 1911.
The stromatolites, although not particularly exciting to look at, are of great significance as living fossils, a truly ancient life form.
All this area has been taken under CALM management and looks good. There were informative and interpretative signs and a board walk over the stromatolites themselves, to prevent damage. I remember, in ’93, just being able to walk all over them!
The whole area is much more pretty and attractive than I remembered it. I could see why V liked it here so much.
The sunset, which we glimpsed from the van, looked to be wonderful. I hoped we’d be back tomorrow in time to see it properly.
By late afternoon it had become rather windy, and chilly enough – just – for us to need long trousers and windcheaters.
Tea was assorted salads and tinned fish.
There was no TV here! We listened to the radio and to CD’s – very pleasant.