Day 50

Today we were in Geraldton, about a hundred miles north of Perth, whose main industries are wheat-handling and fishing. Our excursion took us 2 hours north to Kalbarri National Park, home to coastal landscapes, gorges, and formations carved by the Murchison River. Our first stop was Hawk’s Head Gorge, named for a rock- looking like a hawk’s head. The river is currently about 5 feet deep, but can get to be over 20 feet in the rainy season. It has even overflowed and flooded farms several times in the last hundred years. While we were photographing this area, we spotted two kangaroos below, near a bush. We also got to see two black swans on the river. These are somewhat rare.

The town of Kalbarri was our next stop. We had time to walk around this cute town before eating our picnic lunch of quiche, cole slaw and salad at the beach. We continued to Coastal Gorges Red Bluff, for a view of the ocean, beach, and sea cliffs, all the while listening to commentary and local color from our guide who has lived here for over 40 years. He knew all about the farms, farmers, miners, and other businesses in the area. We made another stop at Castle Cove and the Natural Bridge, both dramatic coastal limestone formations. We walked 800 meters to the bridge and then back up the hill. Some of the older folks chose not to venture that far and remained at the much closer Castle Cove.

The road back to town passed by the Pink Lakes, created by the largest beta carotene producer in the southern hemisphere. Without bright sunshine, the lakes did not look very pink to me. Our final stop was a World War II memorial to the 659 men who perished when the HMAS Sydney II was sunk in 1941. It is in a lovely spot on the highest hill and consists of a replica of the ship’s bow and a domed sculpture consisting of 659 eagles. I thought of this as their version of the Arizona Memorial, a very solemn place.

We returned after 3:30, but in time for trivia- a second place finish today. At 6 o’clock we had our neighborhood block party, where everyone gathers in their hallways, has a glass of wine, and gets to know one another. We have new neighbors next door and across the hall, Rod and Karen and Ron and Sue. We introduced them to other world cruisers on our deck. The party lasted for about a half hour and then folks began going to dinner. We have this block party every segment when a new group of passengers comes aboard. It’s a great ice breaker.

Tonight’s show was a repeat of one of the major shows, Tuxedo. The numbers were mostly from the 50’s and 60’s, with some Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin favorites. The cast performed renditions of “Route 66,” “Hey, Big Spender,” “That’s Life,” and others. I still found it enjoyable.

Tomorrow is a sea day on our way to Exmouth, our last Australian port. Then we are sailing the Indian Ocean, a first for us.

Yours in travel,

Pat & Mac