Hello everyone! I’m in Northcliffe, back on the Bibby after my week’s “holiday” walking the Cape to Cape. I probably haven’t explained that properly. So for the non-western-Australians among you, there is a jutty-outy-bit of land that stretches into the Indian Ocean – it’s northern tip being Cape Naturaliste and its southern tip carel where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean…magical point that still just looks like blue on blue…being Cape Leuwin.
I love both of these names so much and at each of the capes is a tall lighthouse because it is quite a treacherous piece of coast. The Cape to Cape walk spans the two along this 135km stretch of land and includes a diversity of terrain: from limestone cliff-top walking with rocks worn to jagged shards; to tumbling rosy granite boulders fringed with lichen; to beach walking on the purest white sand which is sometimes flat and hard (hiker’s dream) and sometimes steep and soft (hiker’s nightmare); to the uppy-downy of dune walking through the beautiful patchwork of vegetation; even to half a day inland under the most westerly stand of Karri trees.
I wish I could open your eyes to the colours we saw, even of just the ocean and the sky. A moving geography of blue and grey, turquoise and greens matted with seaweed, charcoal shot with silver, a hundred shades of white. I feel strange urges to shake people and point and say do you realise that’s what you look like on the inside!
Highlights were watching dolphins leaping in the surf, swimming in Hamelin bay in water so pure it was almost invisible, a magical landscape of granite cliffs, white-bleached trees, wildflowers and orange and yellow lichen at Willyabrup, and the tunnels, like cubbyholes under a woven lattice of branches. Lowlights were accidentally pitching the tent in the dark on a patch of Double-Gees, the cruelest Western Australian prickle; and…well, I can’t think of another one.
You know how moods come and go and the inner weather passes through its seasons…? Well, when I close my eyes and call these wild vistas back to my mind’s eye, even the foulest weather can be made peace with. It belongs here along with the sublime cloudless dawn and the salty kiss of dusk. All of it together makes this coastline what it is. Oh to be on that bleak headland with the wild wind and thrashing swell, to look with firm eyes and say this is where I stand.
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And now, as I said, I’m in Northcliffe, and walking south today after doing a few errands. This stretch to Walpole is the most remote of the whole track, and has two, no, three of my most favourite places of the track: The Pinegroup Plains, Nuyts Wilderness and little Long Point. No, four! There’s Mandalay Beack too, where a Norwegion ship was wrecked on a sandbar and everyone jumped out and waded in (happy shipwreck story!). Yesterday was the first Sunday in Advent, the season leading up to Christmas, and I went to church here, where amazingly I had also been four years ago to the same day! (Same Sunday, that is). I was invited to dinner at Naomi and Warrick’s house along with Emily and Bec, and we read stories and played with their three kids, and ate a yummy dinner, played Uno and then more food and Scattegories with adults.
Hoorah! Blessed be! Love, Wildgoose.