Friday, August 14, 2009

A new windscreen, friendly folk and a giant Spider

The plan was simple enough: to leave Greenough about 11am, park up in Geraldton and have lunch with Col before we left for Kalbarri. Everything was going swimmingly, with the packing up attended to, the kids had done their homework and we’d had one last chat to Bird Guy. Then from the driver’s seat we heard “Oh, no” (really, no swearing!) In trying to attach the mount for the GPS back onto the windscreen, the glass had completely shattered.

Another quick chat to Bird Guy revealed a Novus windscreen outlet in Geraldton, so we headed there, parked up on the verge as there was no way we’d fit into their driveway, and one of their repairmen came straight out to measure up. Luckily, in previous years, all the windows in the bus had been replaced with flat glass rather the original curved panels, so it was simply a matter for the windscreen guys to cut a pane to fit and install it. Two hours later and $500 lighter, we were on our way again. Col still came out to meet us at the windscreen place and we had our bbq lunch there, in the middle of the industrial estate. It’s called, making the best of all situations!

We arrived in Kalbarri and parked up by the jetty. Again, we were overwhelmed by the friendliness of the people we encountered. We met a lot of locals who dropped by to say hello to “the people in the big bus”, including one family who are very keen to do this kind of trip with their children and came and asked lots of logistical questions. (Hello Amyleigh and Teagan – I hope it all comes together and we see you on the road soon!!)

We spent a few days hanging out with a couple of nutty sisters, Oksana on holidays from England, Daka an ex-pat living in Perth and Daka’s 12 year old son Slade. They’d run into us at Greenough, and then again on the jetty at Kalbarri. I had a glass of wine or several with the sisters while Slade enjoyed spending time fishing with Trucky and the boys (I think spending lots of time with his mum and aunt was cramping his style a bit!!), we headed out in boats on the river together, fishing and cruising, the four kids played on the playground while the adults drank coffee and chatted. They were great fun people, and we plan to catch up with them in Perth on our return.

Kalbarri has an awesome seahorse sanctuary, where we spent an hour watching thousands of seahorses, from tiny babies, through the ones in primary school (yes, there is a seahorse school!) to those in the retirement village. One good thing about travelling outside of school holidays and weekends, means we can go to these places when they’re basically empty, so we had the marine biologist to ourselves, answering our questions and facilitating our learning about these interesting fish.

Another tourist attraction in Kalbarri that was immensely entertaining was the Pirate Amusement Park. There was mini golf (not to brag but… guess who won!!), trampolines that the kids had great fun on and Alex has now mastered landing a front flip, arcade games and the giant Spider. It’s basically a big cage full of elastic bands, and the kids climbed up to the top and then let themselves fall through the seven layers back down to the bottom. It looked like heaps of fun (and the kids concurred) but unfortunately height restrictions meant Trucky and I couldn’t have a go. He did beat me at air hockey that made up somewhat for beating him at golf! We had the place to ourselves so the kind lady in charge let the kids have a long turn on everything. It was a fun way to spend a few hours.

We left Kalbarri rather reluctantly, but there’s still so much to see! We stopped at Hawks Head and Ross Graham, two of the gorges in the Kalbarri National Park, on the Murchison River. The scenery was spectacular, with so much wildlife! I was surprised to see wild goats grazing away on the banks of the river, but there were also many wallabies, bright green birds and even dragonflies playing. At Ross Graham we were able to walk down though, so into the river. The water was lovely and refreshing as we sat and cooled our feet.

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