Friday, April 20, 2012

Jetty at Lancelin

We left the south of Perth quite late in the day once we had collected the
caravan from having the chassis raised. Of course we struck Perth peak hour
traffic, but it was a Monday so wasn't too bad and nothing like Melbourne or
Auckland. The road north look us along a couple of freeways and then we
took the new Indian Ocean Drive. This is a reasonably new road which was
opened in September 2010 linking Perth and the coastal townships to Dongara
and north to Geraldton. We particularly chose this road as we want to take
the coastal route as much as possible, but also we had been told about the
amazing sand dunes and wanted to see them. We had even made sure that we
purchased a sand flag (they know how to charge for these things - $110) so
we didn't have to use our high viz vest again.

We stopped the first night at a roadside bay. This bay is obviously quite a
popular stopping point as there were already about five other groups of
campers when we arrived. Now that the caravan has been raised we were
confident to pull into one of the tracks leading out the back of the bay and
had a lovely area all to ourselves and no road noise. We often find these
spots and think about staying on longer than one night but there is always
the unknown which may be better so we headed north next morning. Our plan
was to stop at Lancelin which was about fifty kilometres away. This area is
a small fishing town about 100 kilometres north of Perth and is a very
popular holiday spot with snorkelling, scuba dividing, surfing and wave
sailing. Apparently there are fourteen shipwrecks near the coastline making
it very popular for diving. Certainly says something about the rugged
coast. We had particularly chosen to visit as the town borders endless sand
dunes which from a distance looked like snow covered hills. I am sure our
young grandsons would have loved to have had the opportunity to have their
motorbikes there to play - not saying that their mother and father wouldn't
have enjoyed it as well.

A section of the sand dunes are open for the public to sand board, ride four
wheelers (which we saw quite a few including one with dad driving, mum
behind and three kids on the back holding on tight), motor bikes and 4wd.
The dunes were quite high and it was a hard walk up in the soft sand for a
family who were riding sand boards but they looked as though they were
enjoying themselves. We followed the tracks along and tried a few of the
dunes. The sand was particularly soft and we were conscious that we were on
our own if we got stuck (and there were signs everywhere giving mobile
numbers for the purpose of recovery and we didn't want to have to do that)
so we didn't attempt to go too far. We enjoyed what we did but would have
loved to have tagged along with others to really experience them.

The jetty was a very busy place with boats returning with their catch of
lobster. We overheard one local guy telling someone that there is a load of
lobster out there and in six pots approximately one hundred kilograms of
lobster are caught and the current price is between $34 and $38 a kilogram.
We watched one boat unloading and there were at least twenty crates of live
lobster unloaded. These go to the processing plant, where they are
processed along a conveyor belt which apparently takes the blood temperature
down to the point where they can be freighted partly comatose. They are
packed into barrels or crates in damp sawdust and the majority of the
lobster are exported to China where they are sold as live lobster. It was
really interesting to see part of this process and to see the large number
of fishing boats coming and going in the bay. The lobster season runs from
November to June so it makes you wonder how long the huge supply of lobster
will last.

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