The strong wind of yesterday was still blowing when we went to bed and continued on through the night. However, when we woke around 7.00am the wind had died down completely, but the sun was not shining – it was raining.
We were not going to let a little bit of rain stop us so after breakfast we drove around the town to have a look at the suburbs. This town is right on the waterfront, so of course there were the beautiful mansions with a view to die for. The rest of the town is lovely and tidy and we were quite impressed. Again – new subdivisions opening up everywhere. Where are all these people coming from to live in these new houses????
The rain was easing off around 10.15am, and we had planned to visit the local museum which was supposed to be marked with a ‘V’ on the local tourist guide map and was to open between 10.30am and 4.30pm but we could not see it on the map so drove to the Information Centre. “Ah”, said the girl behind the counter, “They made a couple of mistakes. It is coded ‘CC’ on the map and only opens between 1.30pm and 4.30pm.” We cannot believe the amount of spelling, grammar and descriptive mistakes these very well printed, glossy tourist brochures and information plaques have in them. I could get a full time job just correcting them!!
Anyway, the rain had stopped so we decided it was time for our daily walk so we walked a couple of kilometres to the nearby jetty and then walked the 800m or so of the jetty. There was a small island out to sea and some rain was falling on just half of it so I couldn’t resist taking a photo.
There was a seal lying down on the beach just at the start of the jetty. It didn’t seem to worry about some young foreign tourists who were standing beside it. We presume it is well used to being photographed. There were a few people fishing off the jetty. It started to rain again as we headed back to the car so we got a little bit wet because it was quite a distance. We then decided to drive to the wind turbine display just out of the town – back along the Great Ocean Drive which we did yesterday, but from the opposite direction so we pulled in at a couple of the parking spots to have another look. Even with the cloudy skies and the occasional shower of rain these beaches and ocean views were absolutely STUNNING. You really have to see them to believe the beauty of the different shades of blue. There were a couple of stalwarts out surfing. We hoped we might see a whale but unfortunately we did not. They have been sighted in the ocean near Esperance over the past week or so, but not today.
We then drove up to the wind turbine display area. Turbines have been in use in this area since 1987,(the first wind farm in Australia) the first 3 turbines were decommissioned in 1993 upon the installation of 9 newer turbines and further 6 newer and more powerful turbines were installed in 2003. All up the turbines provide 20% of Esperance’s power needs and work in parallel with a gas turbine power station which is privately owned and operated. In 2010 one of the blades of a turbine was struck by lightning and caught fire. There were photos of this at the museum. Very dramatic! We could not get over the size of these turbines. The earlier ones were 31.5 metres high and the later versions were 46 metres high. The blades on the earlier ones are 13.5 metres long and the newer blades are 22 metres long. If you look really closely at the photo of the turbine you will see some people at the base – this is one of the smaller ones! All up there are 15 turbines in this area. They do make a noise and we can sort of understand why some people do not approve of them, but here on a coast which is so windy, and here in a town which has always had to generate its own power, it makes a lot of sense.
We drove back to the Van for lunch and then at 2pm I had my hair cut. She did a good job. Meanwhile, Ian just browsed around the shops a bit. We then went to the local museum. There was quite a display of memorabilia of whaling and sealing off this coast as well as lots of information on the agriculture development of this area. There were the usual old restored machinery and of course lots of household goods from a bygone era. Well, not so bygone – it is a sign of getting old isn’t it when some of the things on display you can remember as a child! Out the front of this museum was a Sunshine Mackay bale loader of the 1950’s. Ian’s uncle Elvin once had one of these and it was falling from one like this on Elvin’s farm when Ian was 14 that he broke his arm, and also his sister Jeannine lost the tip of her index finger whilst hooking up the loader to a hay trailer, so he wanted a photo of it ‘for old time’s sake’.
While I was getting my hair cut the hairdresser asked where we were going next and I mentioned Kalgoorlie. Just as well I did – seems there is a large race meeting which goes for over a week and it is all booked out until next week at least. We do not intend to hang around for that so Kalgoorlie will have to go on to our ‘bucket list’ for another trip. So we now have to re-appraise our trip and decide where to for tomorrow.