AWOL Around Australia… Beach bums. Part 2

So two nights at Mungliginup Beach and it was time to move on. Back to Esperance for some fuel and some weather checking whilst the phone service was good. My initial plan to head up through the WA goldfields from here was scuppered by temperatures ranging from 35-45 degs C (95-115F) over the next week. In fact pretty much anywhere inland was very hot. The only place that seemed to have reasonable temps was where we were, south coast of WA. So we may as well stay here a few more days then. There are worse places to be…

70km up the coast was Quagi Beach. This was a bit more ordered and busy than he last spot. But a trailer for rubbish and basic toilets made all the difference in terms of campsite cleanliness. Another fantastic beach and some awesome rock pooling to had.

I had bought (not caught unfortunately) some local fish from the butcher in Esperance. So we had that tonight. I was just buying vegetables that were in season so, had mulled it over the last few days whilst the fish, caught and frozen at sea, thawed out.

Pan fried WA blue grouper, chinese broccoli (rapidly becoming my favourite green) stir fried with shrimp paste and white wine. Coconut, cucumber, lime salsa.

Not too bad looking a dish either.

I was happy how it turned out. Growing up in a cold climate I sometimes struggle to think of good combinations for hot weather food, so it is satisfying when it works.

The next morning whilst N and the pups hung out at camp, I followed the cliff track west. A couple of our fellow campers had told us about it in one of the regular ‘sundowner’ conversations you can have at these places.

The track is very rough, rocky and slow at the start. I was thinking ‘if it’s like this all the way I’m going back to do some rock pooling!”. Luckily it smoothed out. After just under 5km I got to a ‘hazardous descent’ sign and also the sign that meant you couldn’t go any further along the cliff.

Down the hazardous descent (not that bad) and as far down as you could drive without being a total idiot.

Through some soft sections that with hindsight might have been the place to stop,and walk from there as it was only the last 50m of track.

Thumbs up and serious face, must be a good spot…

Coming down the hill an orange blob at the other end of the beach had caught my eye. I had a wander down and found it was a buoy of some kind that had washed up in the National Park. It was light so I packed it out back down the beach and shackled it onto the spare.

Do I win a prize?

It should be noted, that whilst I’ve always packed out anything I’ve brought in. I never used to pack out other peoples rubbish, I always thought ‘why should I clean up after other people?’. Well after being inspired by people like Travis Wolcott, who base their whole trip on cleaning up, I thought that is a much more positive way to go about things. So I now try to pack it out as much as possible.

Other rubbish.

Double Happiness. Like happiness, but double.

Ciggies from? Can’t be Australian, we’ve had plain packaging laws for years now. Still mostly full, I would have sparked one up but they were a bit soggy…

My pet hate, broken glass. Found just ahead of where I had stopped the car, just where some excited little kiddy might go running out… What is wrong with us?

Took a few photos, it was a lovely spot.

I knew I would need to lower the tyre pressures to drive back up through that soft sand. So down to 20/25psi, centre and rear locker in, low range. That got me as far as the start of the soft sand but immediately I could feel it wasn’t enough. Down again, 12/18psi this time.

Up we went, floating like a 3 tonne magic carpet on top of the sand. Right up until the final twist and rise, where we again decisively came to a stop.

I managed to cock up reversing, but enough to pop in the front locker, but same result.

I backed up to the top of that last small rise, maybe 5m, and got serious with the tyre pressures. 8 in the front, 12 in the rear. Took the front locker out, as I didn’t think it was helping with the amount of turning required, just causing the truck to plow on. I had a quick walk up the track, as I was now hidden in the scrub and wanted to make sure no one was coming.

All clear, so I gunned Bertha into action once more, and we popped up and round the rise no problem. Tyre pressures is all sometimes. As soon as I had cleared the scrub and was visible, I stopped and aired back up somewhat.

I knew going into that soft sand, it would be fun and games getting out. But being on my own and not that far out, it was a good situation to have these little tests. Putting yourself in mildly challenging situations every now and then is how you start to build up the bank of skills and experience that you’ll draw down on the time things get serious.

What if I hadn’t made it that time? There were still Maxtraxs, shovel and a hand winch in the toy box.

An easy drive back, and I chucked my collected wares in the campsite trailer bin (someone later retrieved the buoy, I figured that thing must be worth some $).

Alien looking scenes from rock pooling that arvo.

The pit of Sarlacc.


The bobble looking golden seaweed is Neptunes Necklace as I was later to find out (no service at the camp), and also all seaweed is edible (or at least not poisonous), I would have tried eating some had I known. Next time.

This girl and me, we been some places.

Frickin’ fish tacos that night. Coconut and fresh chilli welcome additions.


Next morning, I’m fussing around just outside the tent at about 6am. When a couple of kids we saw playing yesterday walk past, I wave, they wave back. Didn’t think anything of it.

15 mins later Dad comes roaring past in his Prado, stops “have you seen my kids?” “Yeah, a while ago, heading to the beach” he takes off. I’m thinking they are probably just playing in the surf.

Maybe 10 mins later I’m walking out to the road to get some reception so I can check weather reports. Mum is at the stairs down to the beach crying and calling out the kids names “you still not found them?!?” I say. The severity of the situation finally coming home… “No!” she wails. “I’ll help you look” I say. Figuring Dad must be down on the beach I peg it up the 4×4 track I took yesterday, it winds through the scrub and is hard to see more than 50m or so ahead. Thinking I can run this track up to the furthest point, about 1km up, where I can drop onto the beach and track back from there. No need, after about 400m there they are, little boy and girl wandering nonchalantly along the track. “You guys need to come back to camp, Mum and Dad are worried” I say. They follow me but at a distance and slowly, no doubt wary of the unfamiliar man “Just stay on the track” I say, and start legging it back, a quick couple of looks back to make sure they are scarpering off somewhere else. I get back just as Mum and Dad are piling into the Prado “I’ve found them” I call out. Dad is out the car in a flash, built for comfort not speed, nevertheless we bound back down the 4×4 track. He explains he came down here but not far, understandable, the main danger is down on the rocks up from the beach. I explain, that I feel bad as maybe I should have done more when I saw them this morning. Anyway… “should be just over this ridge” I say, and thankfully there they are. Quick shake of hands and I leave him with his family and reassure the Mum further back up the track that Dad is now with them. Painful start to the day for those guys, bloody glad it all turned out just fine.

As it happens, weather forecast for anywhere inland was brutal, everything over 40 degrees and some days over 45. So we beach bum for another day. More alien shit.



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