Albany – Esperance

Perfect smugglers cove? Actually once a whaling beach.

Perfect smugglers cove?
Actually once a whaling beach.

After a very substantial breakfast of fresh fruit & honey yogurt and scrambled egg and bacon American style (i.e., served on slabs of ‘ciabata’), I loaded Camel and we started out for Frenchman’s Bay.

On the restaurant wall was a series of photos taken during 1914 when around twenty Australian and New Zealand warships were assembled in the protected waters of Frenchman’s Bay. What a fine sight! This requires research at a later date. Vaguely shaped like a horseshoe with a relatively narrow opening, Frenchman’s Bay would have been an ideal harbour in which to summon the collective might of Commonwealth navies. Albany must have been a bustling town at that time, its economy driven by the sea on one side and the forests and farms on the other. Today mining can be added to the mix.

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I was  sorry to leave Albany, and with each passing day I realise  that a motorhome is the way to go. Without a bottomless bank balance it is not possible to stay as long as I would wish in all the places that fascinate me. Best Westerns and dongas are fine, but at what cost…?

Renewable energy source.

Renewable energy source.

With 500kms ahead of me, I drove up to the wind farm. I understand that a minimum wind of 7kts is sufficient for them to generate – and 80% of Albany’s power is provided by this wind farm – but what happens when there is no wind? And what happens when these monster whiners (and they do whine) have to be shut down because the wind is too strong? Then I did a round of coves, beaches, bays and promontories.

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If I were to write about pirates this would be the part of Australia I’d choose to set my stories against. As estate agents say, “Location, location, location.” It’s hardly a surprise that this coast is littered with shipwrecks. What harrowing experiences sailors – and passengers – must have had in the days of sailing ships.

I question the reason for Britain’s colonisation of Australia. Why didn’t the French or the Dutch do it first? With so much evidence of the presence of these other Europeans, why was it left to the British? Perhaps the Dutch were kept busy in Asia, the French in the Pacific…?

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When we finally got on the road to Esperance it was lunch time. Camel soon got into her stride and loped along at a comfortable 110km/hr, at 8.2 litres/100 kms. She can do better but at $1.79/lt for 91 octane, the diet has been lean. Sometimes I give her a richer diet of 95 octane, on which the mileage is 7.6 or thereabouts, dependant upon the terrain.

We ran out of timber country and into grazing and cropping country as the afternoon wore on. The sun shone upwards for much of the journey, with canola/rape from horizon to horizon, interspersed with Angus and Hereford cattle, bright, white sheep and deer. Ah, venison. If only…

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