Thursday was a Great Big Beautiful Day. We checked out of the Monkey Mia tin shed early and headed out to Denham, for a day fishing with Unreal Charters, one of only two remaining fishing charter boats in the area. The skipper, Heath Francis, certainly knows where the fish are and if we ever return to this part of the world we'll be sailing with him again. The weather was awesome and the sea was as flat as a millpond, Dolphins swam alongside the boat as we rapidly motored 80km to the peak of Dirk Hartog island. Mackerel leapt out of the water, dodging the dive-bombing birds.
I took my stills camera with me, but didn't get much chance to use it as within a couple of hours we were already hauling in the fish. Connor kicked it all off by landing a large mackerel (top right) before anyone else had got a bite - much to the chagrin of the older fishermen on board. The kid then spent the rest of the day pulling up fish after fish, with a bit of assistance from his older brother. Michael and I had a good few catches too, but beginners luck was with the little monster that day.
Amanda joined in too, making her presence felt amongst the local fish population. The boat had to keep moving from reef to reef, as everytime we started bringing up fish, the sharks would start to arrive. At one point five anglers had something very large on the line simultaneously. The rods bent over, and over. Then all of a sudden all the lines snapped at once and we knew that whatever we had hooked down there, the shark had got it. We took lots of video, but at the time of writing I haven't had the chance to put the video together yet.
We would have loved to sample some of our catch, but upon reaching the shore we had to trek 400km back to Kalbarri. So we settled for fish and chips on the beach before heading off into the night. Luckily I had grabbed a nap on the boat during the ride from the fishing grounds back to port, so I stayed wide awake for entire drive. The Aussie bush is not a place to be driving tired at night. All of the wild animals come out and night, and quite a few try to turn themselves into roadkill, so it's essential to stay alert. It's at this time that the speed limits make sense.
Friday morning and we headed out to the Kalbarri Gorges for a 2nd attempt at shooting. The first time the road was blocked by rain, but this time we got through. We didn't have time to walk down to Nature's Window, but I made the most of it by taking a big gigapan of the Gorge.
Down here you the only thing you can hear is the movement of the river, and there are very few people here to remind you that you're in the 21st century. You might as well be in the Jurassic period, because almost nothing has changed there since then.
You can explore the Gigapan below to see if you can find any wildlife, or even a photographer. There was a fairly dense low cloud layer which diffused the light a lot, but some of the shots will turn out nicely once they've been through a few Photoshop techniques.
After a couple of hours I drove another 360km down to Jurien Bay, arriving just after 7.30pm. The weather back down here is noticably cooler than it was in Monkey Mia, but I guess that's what 800km closer to the Antarctic really means. Daytime temperatures are around 12C. Not exactly penguin country, but cold for us. The wife and kids snuggled up and slept while I processed some more shots, downloaded the video footage onto the backup hard drive, and listened to the drunken hoons howling up the street outside as they celebrated Foundation Day.