Saturday, August 25, 2012

All good things ....

What can I say? Our holiday is at an end. We had a great time and again are indebted to:

  • Annie & Rich for the loan of the van and car
  • Ben & Ves, Brielle, Zoe and Codi for great company, fun times plus a little supervision and guidance!
  • Helen & Harry for kindly offering to take the van back to Alice thereby saving us some driving days
  • Mick & Annie for "looking after" (see below) Digbee!

While we were madly packing and handing over the van to Harry & Hellen, Ben and Ves surprised us with this ...

Look! Owl! Where?
Actually it just occurs to me - Are they celebrating our parting a little too much?
Happy Birthday Kath (for the 22nd)!
While thinking of Broome and "class" I remembered these photos taken at our previous Broome caravan park (Cable Beach). There were pockets of immaculately kept sites, daily raked free of leaves (possibly twice daily) and presented carefully with seashell decorations for the next arvo's grey nomad soiree! Noice!!

Then there was our sites ...

The ibis were fine judges ...

On one of our last days we ventured down to Cape Gantheaume to checkout the dinosaur footprints only seen at extra low tides. I say ventured because the slippery rocks had "orthopaedic ward" written all over them.

On arrival the actual site of footprints wasn't obvious. We thought we would just have to wait for this ABC3 camera crew to move on so we could check out what they were filming. Turns out they had no idea either and were faking it! The day was saved with a bit of mobile phone google work from Ben and a serendipitous finger point by Hannah (she was pointing at a fish actually)!

Annette sent some reassuring pictures showing how Digbee was being looked after. The Sydney Swans' have made the finals - could their form be attributable to their new team mascot?

A great holiday and great places to visit! Amazing dry season weather!
We'll be back (God knows when)!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Broome Bird Observatory

I just had to get to the Broome Bird Observatory on this trip. I snuck out for a twilight visit on Thursday to case the joint even though I knew the tide wasn't right for close views of the visiting waders. The plan was to return the next day with complete knowledge of best viewing points etc.

While there however I was chatting with the Observatory manager who informed me that there was a spot available on a birding tour for the following day. Wow! Great!
Which tour?
The all-day Lakes Tour of Roebuck Plains. Hmmm - last day at Broome, spent away from the guys, will miss high tide at the observatory completely. Not so good. A tough choice.
Birders in Broome are not interested in the barbecue, they want the BBO!

An impressively cheeky bird hide within 2-3 metres of the bird bath. Almost too close for photos as the shutter noise could be heard by the visiting birds! This is a short walk from the observatory office
BBO Head office
BBO wader's beach. Roebuck Bay at mid-low tide (wrong time to see many waders close at hand)
Bet you won't see these camping rules anywhere else!
Anyway I decided to join the Roebuck Plains Lakes Tour and had no regrets. It was quite an experience. Theresa, our driver and guide, was a visiting Spanish ornithologist and naturalist who was a gun at identifying birds. The couple who had arranged the tour were from Sydney and had booked it looking for wildlife photography opportunities - I was seriously "out lensed"!

Most of the viewing was through scopes (provided). Kath & kids were relieved that I finally got to see Australian Bustard. I was anticipating seeing them roadside throughout our travels. My exclamations of "Come on ya little bustard!" were getting more desparate and frequent as we neared the end of our holiday.

So a few pictures follow showing the typical habitat and birds. I expect more bird related pictures and reports will follow at my other blog for all those interested (Ha ha).

A distant view of Australian bustard

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cable Beach Camels

Before you read any further do yourself a favour & check out the Shanavan's Middle Lagoon post if you haven't already done so!

Well here we are back at Broome nearing the end of our holiday. It is Kath's birthday and what better way to celebrate a Broome birthday than a camel ride and dinner at Cable Beach.

There are three camel ride companies apparently all offering similar service but with different coloured apparel. We had booked with Red Sun Camels for the sunset tour.

Ellen meets one of the camels.

The camel ride is not everyone's cup of tea. The launch in particular can be a little fraught. One older lady in our group (who was hard of hearing) was certainly not braced in the "lean back" position and nearly came to grief. Another found her perch to be distressingly uncomfortable and opted to bail out completely. Hence we had an empty camel in our group.

Zoe didn't really show any nerves. She would have been absolutely at ease however if only she were able to see how relaxed her father was during mounting. The camel didn't seem too happy either but was coaxed into action by the handlers (mostly we were looked after by young Natasha seen below)!

All of today's pictures worth clicking on to get the enlarged view & fully appreciate the aesthetic qualities!

The handlers had their camels in a particular order and suited to different loads. We were at the back of the train. First in our group was Seta who carried Peter (maximum load reached apparently). Next Vesna, Brielle and Codi were on Wun.

Ben and Zoe had Kabul. Coco carrried Ellen and Kath. Hannah and Tom were carried by Ghan.

Our carriages of the train

Ready to go. We had worried about the unusual afternoon fog that had enveloped Broome. Would it make our sunset a dud? Should we have cancelled? You can see the mist over Brielle's left shoulder.

I haven't quite got this reverse-angle thing worked out!

The other two companies seen through the mist after their turning point.

Not your typical Cable Beach sunset!

Natasha was happy to take photos on foot with our cameras which was great!

Like my camel, I thought it important to keep an eye on Natasha.

These two pictures (above & below) were taken by the Red Sun Camels photographer (as well as the portrait shots shown at the start).

People picknicked, jogged and walked their dogs while the spectacle of the camel trains passed. We were surprised however by an amateur photographic club using us as subject matter.

There's that Natasha again, always getting in my photographs
Now that's just silly, mate

A few of Natasha's photographs of our group

Sunset camel rides for two families: $500
USB of photos taken by the company: $65
Camel toys and souvenirs: $58

Those photos you took of your brother when his camel stood up: Priceless!