Road covered today.I slept wonderfully. However, the warm and windless night resulted in thick dew all over the tent. I have to wrap it wet, and after that my hands are all covered in red sand. Still, I'm quite happy and excited. Even despite these little shortcomings and occasional panic attacks, it's still very beautiful around, and my journey is going exactly as planned.
You can even spot a mining site far ahead, if you try.
The distant lakes.As I go downhill, I see a peculiar black bug under my feet: half a finger long, it has bright orange zigzags all over his back. Unfortunately, before I can take a picture, the bug promptly takes cover inside a dry hummock, so I have to leave without any graphical evidence. What a diva!
One of the dry lakes.The further down south, the more noticeable the civilization becomes. More and more farms and pastures, sometimes intermingled with sandy woodlands. Dry and bare bushes look hostile and mysterious.
A tiny bit of post-apocalypse in the landscape.By the time I arrive to Esperance, the civilization is established firmly all around. I fill the fuel tank and take a short drive across the city towards the bay. The town is bustling with activity, even the ships in the harbour look very busy and serious.
The coastline of Esperance.About 40 km east of Esperance there is a well-known national park called Cape Le Grand. A fair bit of French names around the area (hi, marshal Murat!), with D'Entrecasteaux being perhaps the most tongue-twisting. There is another sight on the road to the park: a life-size replica of Stonehenge, built by some industrious farmer on his property. I toy with the idea of stopping here and taking a closer look; but once I see that the Stonehenge is covered with thick plywood boards from the road, so as to protect it from the prying eyes of non-paying tourists, I scoff at such obvious demonstration of greed and pass it by.
Cape Le Grand.And here's the park at last. Looks very scenic, indeed: green grass and bushland, plenty of vegetation, velvety hills on the horizon. I drive past the hills and arrive to the Lucky Bay. It is covered with perfectly white sand, dried seaweed, and swarms of tourists. Probably fifty or sixty of them are occupying the beach along with their cars, not paying any attention to the fact that it's Wednesday and a middle of the working week. Almost a dozen of them crowd the teenage kangaroo who decided to visit the beach as well.
An unlikely beachcomber.The marsupial eats its seaweed calmly, not paying attention to the noisy photographers – like George Clooney in McDonalds. Finally I get my chance to take the picture of the animal away from the crowds and drive off towards another beach, on the other side of the cape. It is also quite beautiful, even though just as crowded.
Another lucky shot with no people in it.Having had my share of beaches, I drive back towards Esperance. Among the hills nearby there is one that is especially prominent: it's called Frenchman's Peak (Frenchmen again!) and looks like a gigantic hat. According to the signs, the hat is very much climbable, but I have no time at this stage. One hasty snapshot from the window of my car is enough.
Frenchman's Hat, I mean Peak.As I get back to Esperance, I notice another highway that leads in the same direction that I'm going to, which is called Great Ocean Drive: a sibling of the Great Ocean Road? Might as well take a closer look. The drive is indeed very picturesque, zigzagging along the coastline. Some bends are so sharp that I can only see the surrounding beauty with a corner of my eye.
Cool-looking rocks along the coastline.
Esperance itself is still visible far behind.Somewhere along the road there is a so-called Pink Lake that I wanted to take a look at as well. Unfortunately, the timing is bad: the sun is straight in front of me, and the resulting glare gives me no possibility at all to see the aforementioned pinkness. Oh well. Got to move further, then: to the Fitzgerald River National Park.
It's gloomy in the evening on the beach.The campground looks very nice. The spots are quite level, separated by vegetation, and there's a few more private spots with narrow winding paths leading to them. I'm not seduced: too far away from the car, and there's not too many neighbours anyway. Despite the fact that I swore not to sleep near the sea ever again, the wind doesn't seem to be too horrible, so I hope to have a good sleep anyway. We'll see.
Wet patches on the tent are still there since morning.