Saturday, April 1, 2017

West Coast Beaches

We spent most of the day on Saturday visiting beaches in Cape Range National Park.  They were lovely, but none of them had any shade (and I sunburn easily).  No trees, just a lone umbrella that Ben had purchased under which he could hide (he'd been sunburned the day before).  We had rented snorkel gear, so at the first beach I waded in and snorkeled away, only to be stung by the jelly fish that were quite proliferate at the particular location.  Thankfully it wasn't a bad sting, and I did see a turtle and some fish before that happened.  I wasn't "jonesing", as they say, to snorkel so I decided to walk the beach instead.  It had a two-fold purpose since it also kept me cool - it was a scorcher of  a day and I can only stand to lay in the sun and cook if it's not too hot.  I believe the average temperature in Exmouth for this time of year is about 95°F.

After lunch at a second beach (this one thankfully had a small picnic shelter that we were able to snag) we headed off to one last snorkel spot.  Since I'd reapplied sunscreen recently I determined that my wisest move would be to stay out of the water for a bit to let it soak in some more.  This beach was mostly large rocks and there were tons of crabs scurrying all over the place.  If you weren't paying attention I'm sure you could easily have missed most of them, they do an excellent job of camouflaging themselves (although, as soon as I typed that I thought, "God's really the one who camouflaged them").  This beach had less jellyfish, so I did eventually get in the water; it's much cooler in the water and you can't get burnt under the water.  We didn't last long at the beach though, everyone was too tire, hot, and cranky.  Thankfully, I only seem to have some sunburn on my feet and ankles, which I quite certain is from yesterday's adventure (there's a distinct line around my ankles where the wet suit stopped).  After arriving back at our hostel Arpana and I headed to the pool to enjoy the rest of our free afternoon.

"Exmouth is situated at the tip of a slender peninsula, enabling you to watch the sun both rise and set over the water.  The best view is from the lighthouse." This little note was on an advertisement for Exmouth that I had ripped out of the 'Qantas Spirit of Australia' inflight magazine on my flight home in March of 2015, and it was certainly a good tip.

We all hopped in the bus and headed up to Vlamingh Head Lighthouse to watch the sunset.  Exmouth was first used as a military base during WWII.  "During the Second World War the North West Cape became a very valuable refueling depot for US Navy ships, and the Air Force developed a base at nearby Learmonth."
There were several of these with lots of fascinating facts about this area

"Navigation along the north west coast had long been known to be hazardous
 (it is one of the most dangerous coastlines in the world)"
Although it was certainly not the most amazing sunset I've ever seen, it was beautiful - especially the after-glow.

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