Saturday, September 7, 2013

Exmouth - Western Australia

Saturday - 10/08/2013

One of the first jobs we had to do when we got in the marina was wash the dock down, this section of the marina is a brand new dock the whole finger was still being completed whilst we were there, the work commenced in March when they drove the poles in and then May they commenced installing the floating docks. No sooner than they had the first section in a colony of sea gulls (hundreds) moved in and they stay on the dock most of the day and night so you can imagine the droppings and the smell was a little high. The marina management do not know what to do about them they are not allowed to shoot them so they are hoping that when the boats start moving in the gulls will find somewhere else.
(The new marina finger the mast right down the far end is ours)

We are told that we were lucky to get a berth as when all the work is completed which was completed the day before we left, all the berths are booked out by locals and there is a waiting list with a lot more people wanting berths.

I did a search for a car hire in town there are the four usual services with cars at $97 per day plus insurance, then I found Allen's Car Hire, he has his own fleet plus an agent for Hertz, his own fleet is aged cars in good running order not flash but alright at $55 per day plus $20 per day insurance so we organised that and the crew on 'Banyandah' went halves in the costs and we ran around together. Glen has another crew member flew up from Tassie Louise she is going as far as Geraldton.

So Nancy and I walked to town picked up a cheap hire car from Allen's Car Hire, we drove up to the CBD which is quite small checked things out and went back to the marina. Allen's Car Hire is also a car and boating gear store so we were able to pick up some gear whilst we were there.

We called into 'Banyandah' on the way passed and told them about the car and discussed what they wanted to do about fuel runs and shopping and having a look around. We decided to do the fuel run in the morning and then go for a drive, do the big shopping on Tuesday car goes back Wednesday.

After that we returned on board to do work, 'Alana Rose' has not had a good wash since Darwin and she is filthy and crusty with sea water. Anchoring off the coast with SE winds brings the desert dust plus places like Port Hedland and Dampier with the iron ore loading, although I must say these two places were quite good as they spray the storage down with water which keep the dust levels down.

Nancy cleaned inside whilst I cleaned outside and that is how the afternoon was spent.

Whilst washing the boat Nigel came to see me and said that a bloke heard us talking fuel and he has some fuel that is surplus to his needs and he would sell it at a discounted price, was I interested, silly question, course I was interested with fuel prices at the bowsers  at $1.85 litre. So we went then and picked up our discounted fuel in our containers.

Fuel prices in Exmouth that we saw was as follows:

Caltex main service station in town $1.85

Exmouth Fuel Supplies next to Allen's Hire Car $1.81

Caravan Parks out of town $1.81

(Exmouth Game Fishing Club)

Sunday - 11/08/2013

We all piled into the car and went into town for a look around sourced the Laundromat for the 'Banyandah' crew had coffee picked up a few items from the IGA stores, there are two of them and I have been told owned by the same person, it pays to look in both before buying as prices differ between the shops on different items.

We had coffee before heading back to the marina via the Thirsty Camel, they had my beer on special and some wine specials so I picked some up.

 After all the work and showered we all had dinner at the Exmouth Game Fishing Club which is located at the marina just at the top of the finger we was on so not far to walk home. Very good food very friendly service and drink prices very good. We all had a good night before returning on board for a good night's sleep.

At dinner last night the young lady that served us told us that they had roast dinner Sunday nights so we asked if we could book, but unfortunately they were booked out which is the case for most Sunday's you have to book early. So Louise said that she would cook us a roast dinner so we had roast dinner on 'Banyandah' and a good entertaining night with much liquid refreshments.

Monday - 12/08/2013

All in the car for a tour of Exmouth. We headed out of town towards Tantabiddi Boat ramp and anchorage as we were interested to see where our first anchorage would be. On the way we stopped at the Harold E Holt Communications Naval Base which is detached from the aerial farm a few kilometres away. This base used to be the USA base for communications with their Submarines which was back in the cold war days.

Out the front of the base is a model submarine or part thereof, at the back of it is a door with a window and when looking inside there appears to be a mini submarine but I cannot find any information about it.

(Submarine model outside the Naval Base)

(When looking in the window of the above submarine I spotted this which looks like a mini sub but I cannot find out anything about it)

(This is the sign outside the Naval Base, an interesting point the township of Exmouth only came to being in 1963 after this Naval Base)

Websites of interest (You may have to copy and paste address):

From here went continued down the track until we reached the turn off to the light house

the Vlamingh Head Lighthouse is located 17km north of the Exmouth. The Lighthouse overlooks Lighthouse Bay and has the distinction of being one of the few places in Australia where you can watch the sun rise and set. The Lighthouse was built in 1912 and stands on the northernmost tip of the Cape Range.

(SS Mildura's anchor with the Lighthouse in the background, it was after the Mildura run aground that the lighthouse was built)

Website information:

This site was also used during the war having a radar tower and this was camouflaged with sandbags in front of a timber wall and camouflaged netting, the steel structure still standing and there are some sand bags or the contents of them remaining probably due to the rain wetting them and the sun drying them making them like mud bricks.
(The old radar framework and remaining sandbags)

(Warning about not going near the sandbags)



At the base of the lighthouse hill is the Lighthouse Caravan Park  and holiday units.
(The Lighthouse Caravan Park below and those towering antennas)


From here we went to Tantabiddi boat ramp and had a good look at the anchorage, when we get here in the boat we have to pass through reefs, this is well marked with leads and port and starboard markers. After checking this out we drove up the road a short way to the rangers station but decided we would not go into the National Park. We then headed back towards town calling in at the Homestead Caravan Park to see if we could get a coffee but we struck out on that cold drinks only.

We then called in at the Turtle Centre, although it is not the time now for turtles to come ashore to lay eggs the centre has a lot of information and has the story of the turtles life. We walked onto the beach front and watched the crashing surf from the SW swell and I suppose we all quietly thought about being out there in this type of seas on this coast.

(The turtle Centre that has displays and information)

(These pictures are all around the centre that tell the turtle story which I have copied below)

The turtle story.

Hatching turtles from sand to sea, the mother lays eggs in the sand on the beach,

we grow down below out of reach, when the sands are warm only girls are born, when the sand is cool it is boys as a rule,

we hatch out in the sand after 8-12 weeks, it takes 6 days to the surface, then the ocean we seek,

 We dodge gulls and crabs to reach the waves on the shore, the dangers won't stop there will always be more,

as we enter the surf we swim for our lives, to avoid hungry fish we have to dart and dive,

for the next 8 years you may think we are 'long gone', but we drift on the currents growing big and strong,

 more than 20 years later we start heading for home, only one in a thousand  will arrive fully grown,

 between the reef and the shore near the beach where we hatched,  we meet in October  to look for a match,

high tide at night people must take care, for females on the beach are easy to scare,

we dig holes in the sand and lay eggs in our nest, we leave about a hundred there's no time to rest,

the cycle of this journey is a natural trend,  with your support and care,  we will be back to breed again.

We then called in to the Lighthouse Caravan Park for that caffeine hit, but again disappointed.  Many places here have some days of operation only and this was not one of them.

Before going back to town we detoured to the cape to see the wreck of SS Mildura there is not much left these days as the sea has taken most away.


So it was back to town for a coffee and lunch, after lunch we did the important shopping, the needed and probably not needed but wanted refreshments, beer, wines and spirits. My XXXX beer was still on special so got some more of that, the back of the car was filled with goodies. So we returned on board storing our goods.

(The serious shopping for the two boats)

As 'Banyandah' supplied dinner last night we did tonight, so dinner on 'Alana Rose' and a few more liquids, Nancy had a surprise belated birthday cake from Nigel.  Nancy's birthday was on the 4 August and we were in Dampier and had dinner at the Mermaid Hotel Restaurant and we did not tell Glen and Nigel it was Nancy's birthday only that we did not want them to do anything special. This had come up in conversation about ages last night when it was pointed out I was the old man of the group. Well Nigel had put his talents to work and made a cake. So when our dinner was finished and Nancy was washing the dishes Nigel went back to their boat got the cake and brought it back lit the candles and sang happy belated birthday to Nancy. The comical part was the only candles that they had on their boat was left over from someone else's birthday, two numbers  '65', they could have put them 56 but Glen thought it would be funnier having 65. So we had another great night with great company.

(Nigel with Nancy after presenting her with a cake he cooked for her)

Tuesday - 13/08/2013

Today all back in the car to town to get food stores, the big shop and the 'Banyandah' crew did their laundry whilst we all shopped, with all groceries loaded we went for coffee then back to the boats to unload and pack away. After lunch Glen and I went back into town to get unleaded fuel, oil, gas and a few items we required. Then returned on board.

We are waiting for the weather to change for favourable sailing down the coast, meantime doing a little maintenance to the boat today I scrubbed the grass skirt off the hulls, the moss around the waterline is growing well.

Tonight we all had a quiet night on board.

Wednesday - 14/08/2013

I started the washing early as we had a lot to do the car had to go back this morning so Nancy took the car back and I stayed on board and finished our laundry, when that was finished I checked the engines and gave them a bit of a run.

The afternoon was spent getting some blog notes together and photos.

Another quiet night aboard.

Thursday - 15/08/2013

Today is the big challenge, testing our skills on eighteen holes of golf. The five of us walked to town and hired our clubs and ball at the mini golf course, yes 18 holes of mini golf. What a fun time we had, I think we changed a few rules along the way or at least made some up.

(We all had fun)

This was followed by lunch at the Grace's Tavern before walking back to the marina and the rest of the day was quiet.

Friday - 16/08/2013

Looks like we sail tomorrow after checking the weather  strong winds behind us to start with but should be a good sail.

Nancy went into town to do the fresh goods shopping whilst I did checks on the boat, checked bilges, giving them a clean out and checking bilge pumps and alarms, give the engines another run in and out of gear, toped up fresh water tanks . Gave the boat a hose down cleaning the week of dust off it.

Glen and Nigel came over for a quick sundowner
s before we all went to the Exmouth Game Fishing Club for dinner again, very nice meals at good prices. We had the mandatory bottles of red wine, it was a good night. Back on board for a good night sleep as we will sail in the morning.


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