North-western Australia is pretty remote: we saw our last traffic light 3 days ago, and driving at night becomes a battle of the wills between the driver and the members of the local wildlife who regard mini-buses as objects of curiosity and wonder… Since I’m not driving, it’s all great stuff!
Today we have reached the zenith of our trip north: the town of Exmouth, located about an hour’s drive north of the Tropic of Capricorn, and close to the Ningaloo Reef. It’s very different to the East coast of the country which has a lot of rainforests: here the landscape is defined by the vivid red soil, with scatterings of short scrubby bushes, and “rain days” number just five a year. Sadly, today was one of those days! We still managed to get in our snorkeling though—apparently fish don’t mind the rain—and the water was still its famous brilliant turquoise colour, but the views of the beaches were not as stunningly beautiful as they would have been on a sunny day.
Snorkeling was good fun: Rosie’s enthusiasm to spending as much time in the water as possible (preferably observing fish!) meant I saw a great many varieties from pretty many-coloured coral-eating parrot fish to evil looking black catfish, and even a shark (which thankfully sped away in the opposite direction as soon as I turned around to find Rosie to save me!).
Tomorrow we head south again: it will take two long days on the bus to reach Perth and actual coffee shops (“civilisation”) again.