Day 62 – 4 Sept 2012 – still at Geraldton

Well, what a wild night. The wind blew gale force on and off all night. The wind was occasionally so strong it actually rocked the Van. We could hear the wind howling in the large gum trees near us but fortunately our Van was not under a tree so we ‘sort of’ relaxed. It rained on and off too, but all up only 6ml fell. Gosh it was like a mini cyclone. Surprisingly enough we slept okay. By the time the sun rose, the rain had gone, the sky was blue  BUT the wind, although calmer, still blew. So, what can ex-dairyfarmers do in weather such as this – we stayed in bed until 8.30am!

After this late breakfast we decided we would still venture out and fortunately the weather had improved – still windy, but nothing like yesterday’s gales. We chose to go to the local Marine Museum right on the foreshore.

Waves along the foreshore

The drive along the foreshore was lovely and the surf was really up once more. We could see only a few large ships out at seas compared with the number we saw yesterday. It would be lovely to see them come in and load, and we may see if we can do just that if the weather does improve.

The marine museum had a display which Ian and I were very keen to see – the story of the wreck of the Dutch ship, ‘Batavia’ in 1629. We had both read about this many years ago and still remembered many of the facts. For those who don’t know it is a story of shipwreck, bravery, leadership and courage but also of treachery, mutiny and massacre. In the mid 1900’s many of the relics from the wreck have been salvaged and they are now on display. There were cannons, and of course, coins, as well as personall items such as cups, cookware, pipes, nails etc.  They had a half-cross section made up to show how the hull was constructed, and the way the  different decks of the ship were loaded and with what cargo they would have been carried and that was superb.

Portico stones found in Batavia wreck

When the wreckage was being searched, large stones were found which were being used as ballast. This confused the divers as they felt there would have been other ways to provide ballast, such as barrels, storage etc., but they discovered that these stones all fitted into a pattern for the frontpiece for a portico. The actual stones have been erected in this museum. Many years later, a sketch of Djarkarta around the time the Batavia sunk (1629) showed a drawing of a fort being built and there was scaffolding all set up awaiting the building of this portico. Amazing!

We were lucky enough to have a museum guide explain the whole display to us and she did an excellent job.

The Abroholos Islands are just 55kms out of Geraldton – there are over 122 islands in this group but most of them are just below the surface so it is quite a shipwreck coast near here so there were other displays in this museum about the other famous ships which had been wrecked here. There was also a room dedicated the memory of the HMAS Sydney which was sunk out in the Indian Ocean during WWII with the loss of all lives.

The museum also had fantastic displays on the flora and fauna of the local area. Some of the animal displays were actual taxidermied animals and they were very well presented. The one with the kangaroos really demonstrated just how big they can get.Ian was intrigued by the signs under these two kangaroo displays which said ” please do not pat my head as I might go bald”. So thats what happened.

Kangaroo display

I must apologise for the fact that many of my photos show ‘someone’ in them. Because there are so many tourists doing exactly what we are doing it is a little hard to get a photo without someone standing in the way, so I don’t bother to wait for people to move out of the way now if I can’t avoid it.

By the time we left the museum to come back to the Van for lunch the weather had calmed down and it was quite pleasant. Temp around 20C today. After lunch Ian prepared to wash both the car and the caravan – the Caravan Park printout said it can be done. However, when he went to check at the office, they told him they do not allow it any more, so he drove to a local Car Wash washed the Landcruiser there. The Caravan will have to wait. I did a couple of loads of washing and was able to get most of it dry before it began to rain again. I also managed to give the Van a good clean inside. We should be past the red dust for some time now so it was good to get rid of it from the Van.

We did a small grocery shop before tea and were surprised to find the local Coles was closed. We found a small grocery store open until 7.00pm. That’s Western Australia for you – it is only a week ago since W.A. agreed to Sunday shopping. A bit behind the rest of the country that’s for sure.

It has been rather strange to get back into jeans and jumpers – makes us realise just why so many people ‘winter’ in the north of the country.

We will be in Geraldton until Friday morning so will see what other tourist venues we can visit tomorrow and Thursday.

Love to all, Janese and Ian

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One response to “Day 62 – 4 Sept 2012 – still at Geraldton

  1. Think you might have sent the cyclone here.! The wind is just picking up. .. Hang on I think I can smell what you had for tea!
    Interesting about the opening hours , haha and the baldy head! XJ

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