We recently took a sneaky pre-school holidays camping trip out to Israelite Bay on the south coast of WA. Located on the Eastern side of Cape Arid National Park near Esperance (home to WA's rarest bird - the Western Ground Parrot - see Secrets at Sunrise), Israelite Bay is flanked by the Great Western Woodlands to the north, an area of arborescent diversity and a botanical mecca and the Recherché Archipelago to the South West. It's a pretty longish adventure to get there, about 4 hours from where we live. You can travel halfway on the bitumen but then you hit gravel, then sand dunes, then sloppy muddy woop-de-doos. As you approach the campsites you enter a near-martian world of mirrored salt flats (Lake Daringdella) that appear to extend to the horizon.
The campsites are nestled behind the beaches in a grove of mallee trees and the birdsong is indescribable. We spent four days tuned in to these beautiful bird calls. Reference books were out, binoculars raised and the race was on to identify which bird made what call.
Not far from camp is the ruins of the old Telegraph Station built in the late 1890's along with Cooks Cottage and gravesites from some of the early inhabitants. I'd highly recommend if you're heading out this way to pick up a copy of John R. Bridges book 'Challenges in Isolation' from the local Esperance Museum for the full story of the settlers in this area. Wandering around the vacant (yet well preserved) buildings definitely peaks the imagination about what life may have been like in those days.
Leaving the bush for the ocean we came across the Israelite Jetty and found a family of little stingrays meandering through the shallows. The vegetation fringing the beach was alive with bees merrily collecting pollen.
We spent some lazy afternoons at the beach on the Western side of Point Dempster. The menfolk were pretty happy fishing while we explored the shipwreck.
Incredible at this time of year with such perfect weather, we had the whole place to ourselves. We were blessed with golden sunsets and fresh fish for dinner.
In the mornings we hit the eastern beaches. We found a magical spot with no shortage of things to do. Some of us went snorkling (not me... I'm a wimp about the cold water), the kids poked around in rock pools while a few of us wandered about on the beach... and this is where there was a fly in the ointment so to speak when we stumbled on something that really didn't belong. Nestled in the white sands were broken glass bottles with jagged edges poised to slice open bare feet. Further excavation revealed this, all found in one small area just a few metres square...
There's no real value in inserting an indignant rant here about the carelessness of these litterbugs. Chances are, if you're reading our blog, it's highly unlikely that you're the kind of person who would be responsible for a mess like this. I guess I just wanted to make the point that maybe it's not enough to just take your own rubbish with you. We were camping with some awesome humans who thought nothing of taking a few minutes to pick through the sand, collect this mess and dispose of it thoughtfully, by taking it all the way back to town (excuse the dodgy pic... it was taken through the window of the car where I was bound with a sleeping toddler on my lap).
Let's make a pledge through this summer season to plan ahead to take as much rubbish away with you as you can carry out and leave these magical pristine areas cleaner than you found them. Take 3 or whatever you find.
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To eat meat or not eat meat, that is the question. People have different reasons for eating the way they do: culture, taste and habit are all contributors. Sometimes we understand one another more if we just ask why people have made the choices they make. Some people may not eat meat because of the impact livestock production is having on the planet, others because they are concerned about animal welfare, and others for health reasons...or because they simply don't like it! My friend Asta simply likes animals too much to eat them.
Efforts to save tonnes of strawberries from being dumped in the wake of the needle scare, including the sharing of strawberry recipes on social media and strawberry picking outings to pick your own farms, show that we can use our power as consumers to great effect. But this is not the first time we have used our clout to save something we value, as the SPC Ardomona story reveals.