Day Four, 19Dec16
Tourists today, photo-snappy and adventurous tourists.
We began our day sans traveling with a hearty breakfast: chopped bacon made into a hash with steak-seasoned potatoes, peppers and onions with a cup of instant coffee.
We then turned right from our campsite and off we ventured, each gravel-road kilometer bringing us closer to the coast.
Our first stop took us to Labatt Point, a cliff top overlooking Australia’s only permanent year-round sea lion colony below. The red Rock was littered with the creatures proudly calling to each other as they sluggishly slithered along the smooth stone. The area was safe from crashing waves, waves which had clearly torn the sheared cliffs in centuries past. A shallow assortment of submerged ocean rocks created crystal clear pools of cold water, within these pools Josh and I observed playful sea lions chasing each other in jumping circles.
After several photos we embarked on our second tourist stop. Driving through hardened ground covered in a shallow field of red, green and pale purple succulents we made our way to Salmon Beach. We had the gorgeous sandy beach to ourselves. Instinctively we shook off our flip flops and waded into the blue green water laughing as the icy cold water lapped at our ankles. We spent a short while combing the beach, the fine sand warm between our toes. I found where the rocky coast met with the sandy beach, the smooth battered rock was pocketed with round bowl-like cuts and lining these bowls were teeny tiny clusters of oysters.
After the beach we stopped inland at a cluster of random rocks, some two stories high. Red and rough the rocks cropped out of the land in odd formations. Without description to explain how the rocks arrived there, it was left to our minds to imagine. Some of the rocks caved forming funnels, others resembled plump turtles or toadstools. The high afternoon sun pounded us with 40 degree heat and surrounded by endless golden fields these rocks provided desperately appreciated shade. However the flies also enjoyed the shade – swarms of them clustered in the shady crevasses of the rocks so dense they looked like solid black shadows. There were so many flies it sounded at times as though we were standing in a bee hive.
After Murphy’s Haystacks we continued back to the coast to check out caves driven into the coastline by the ocean. With stairs dilapidated we couldn’t explore the caves however we could sit atop the cliff edges and enjoy the sound of the ocean beneath us. The ocean was brilliant turquoise, it’s color deceptive since the beach looked as though it belonged in the Bahamas, yet we both knew it was frigid cold. We sat long enough in the wind to see several pods of dolphins feeding along the cliffs, and two manta rays slowly moving through the shallow waters.
We tried to eat lunch on Mount Camel Beach, however the weather turned windy and along the coast this equated to cold air.
We returned to the campsite where the heat returned, thick and oppressive. We decided to bathe in the shallow and warm gulf waters along our campsite before turning to the pub for a shared platter of fish and chips over happy hour beer.
After dinner we walked to the end of the town pier, then suddenly the sky turned dark, forbidding and began pouring rain and snapping thunder. Josh sprinted back to the campsite to save our bedding from the opened tent flap. By time I’d walked back Josh and I were soaked through, embracing with laughs we called it a night.