Who wants to play a game?

December 18, 2014

by Tanya

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. 

telegraph station bush tomato gravesitewild beehive cooks cottage rusty wire

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.



6 Responses

Chrystal
Chrystal

December 18, 2014

What a magical part of the world :) so glad that there a wonderful people out there helping to keep our beautiful landscapes pristine always!

Inspiring blog :)

David Hatter
David Hatter

December 18, 2014

So glad others pick up rubbish on our would be pristine beaches. Nearly every morning when I walk my dog on the beach between the Tanker Jetty and Bandy Creek I pick up mainly small pieces of plastic thrown overbord from ships in the bay. It is well known that fish ingest small shiny objects which finish up blocking their gut and they die.
Wonderful pics of Cape Arid. The Telegraph Staion down from Cocklebiddy is also well worth a few days exploring and identifying bird life.

Ellen
Ellen

December 18, 2014

So loved these magical pix. Brought back lots of memories. Glad to see the Israelite Bay Telegraph Station is still there. Hope there is still a working NT Management Plan for it and nearby historical treasures.
Sad about the rubbish. Lucky you all had the patience and room to bring it back with you. Stingrays are so graceful are’t they? Occasionally see some close to shore here at Geographe Bay. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your families.

Marg Agnew
Marg Agnew

December 18, 2014

Thank goodness for wonderful, thoughtful and diligent holiday makers like yourselves that take on caring for our natural environment and leaving the beach in a much safer and cleaner condition than what you found it. Thank you, Marg

Tori
Tori

December 18, 2014

Great blog!! Let’s all make the effort to keep our beaches beautiful this summer (and every summer!).

Carol
Carol

December 18, 2014

Beautifully written article! The bay with all it’s intriguing history sounds like a wonderful place to visit! And yes, it’s so much simpler to pick others rubbish up than to spend precious time complaining about it… : )

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