FRIDAY 7 SEPTEMBER BARN HILL TO EIGHTY MILE BEACH 260kms
Departure was easy and routine – we were already hooked up from the relocation of the other day. I was sad to leave Barn Hill – hoped I would be back.
The track back to the highway had some burnt sections where the fires had crossed it. There were also recently burnt sections beside the highway, on both sides of the road, and smoke from some still active fire sections.
We had only some 240kms to go today – an easy move.
Sandfire Roadhouse – 323 kms south of Broome, and not far from Eighty Mile Beach – was still serving fuel, even though the buildings had been burnt out in a fire at Easter, caused apparently, by an electrical fault. We needed to refuel there, despite it being very expensive, at $1.63 cpl.
I had a long standing grudge against this Roadhouse, since the time in 1993, when we stopped in there to get fuel and lunch, after leaving Marble Bar and driving through deluging rain and floods. We were charged $28 for a basic hamburger, a round of cheese sandwiches, and two cans of Coke. There had been no prices on display so that came as a shock. At the time, that was equivalent to caravan park fees for two nights, so I wished all sorts of bad things to befall the place……
The 9km track into Eighty Mile Beach was decidedly corrugated.
The caravan park was much as I had remembered it from previous visits, the most recent less than a year ago. Since then, cyclones had crossed parts of the Pilbara coast. If one looked closely, a few signs of these were evident, but the place was mostly unscathed.
John wanted to stay here for at least a week, so we paid for a week, at $27.50 a night, powered.
We were allocated a very nice site – one of the drive-through ones, tucked in between she oaks. The little central “park” area was in front of us and we were not far from the amenities. M was on a nearby site.
John was happy – through the park’s re-broadcast system, he could get three TV channels, quite clearly. I was sure that the prospect of better fishing, and TV was behind his wish to leave Barn Hill for here.
The park’s shop was better stocked than I expected, given that it was getting quite late in the tourist season. They had a fair range of groceries and frozen foods, fishing bait, tourist souvenir items, magazines, fishing gear.
We took our time getting set up for a comfortable stay.
John decided not to start fishing until tomorrow, but the three of us went for a long, afternoon walk along the beach, instead.
There was the usual array of people fishing from the sand, with the occasional quad bike giving mobility along the beach to an elderly fisherman.
Also as usual, there were lots of shells washed up on the sand. I had been tempted by shell collection here, on previous visits, and was determined, this time, to only pick up something if it was really unusual.
In the late afternoon, we took a vantage point in the dunes behind the beach, to watch the sun set – always wonderful, here. However, this time it had been upstaged by the unusual and brilliant sunsets we had seen at smoky Barn Hill.