Saturday 6th January – The Longest Jetty

We both had a rough-ish night even though the wind had died down, expected since it was our first night in new digs. I was up at 7:30am to a bright sun and a light breeze. Sheldan showed no sign of rising so I went off for a run to get myself nice and warm before jumping in the lake for a shower. I ran along the banks of the lake to find a half dozen more campers all spread out along the sand. I got a wave from some of the early risers. Back at camp, Sheldan was just up and I collected my shower stuff and wandered down to the water. The water was cold, but tolerable and soon I felt fresh and clean.

Sheldan went off running when I got back to the car and I made myself some breakfast and listened to a podcast trying to soak up as much of the early morning sun as possible. When Shelly got back, he declared he’d do the shower thing as well. After only saying yesterday that he would never go skinny dipping, he said he was gonna do it. Two days with me and he’d already changed his tune, he had a proper shower in the lake.

Breakfast and coffee done, we packed down camp just as the wind started picking up again and made our way out of the forest. Sheldan got us out onto the highway and we made our way over to Busselton via the back roads. A quick stop in Gnomesville on the way but Sheldan wasn’t too impressed, instead the thousand pairs of eyes were creepy to him.

We drove through forest and farmland until we hit the ocean and the bustling Busselton. We went into a carpark with the priority of finding a shady spot and we nailed it finding a secluded spot under a tree in a quickly filling carpark.

I’d warned Sheldan that we’d be swimming out to the Busselton jetty to avoid paying a fee to walk onto it so we didn’t carry anything, only what we could swim with. The water in the bay was a beautiful turquoise and shallow for dozens of meters. It was a popular Saturday swim spot with tourists and locals everywhere enjoying the sun and sand. WE were straight into the water which was colder than the lake had been, but it was a necessary swim! We waded about twenty meters, then swam the remaining 50 to reach the first pontoon with a ladder off the jetty. In doing so, we bypassed the huts at the beginning of the jetty where normal people are forced to pay $4 for the privilege of getting onto the jetty.

We climbed onto the jetty via a ladder and felt the chill of a light wind. Up some stairs and we joined the rest of the suckers walking the jetty. Just as we started walking, a lady told us that since we were already wet we should go back into the water to retrieve the $5 note that was floating not far from the jetty. I laughed and told her that sounds like a scam but sure enough, a few meters down, there was a British family huddled by the side of the jetty looking at the pink shining note floating on top of the water. The eldest girl in the family, probably about 12, said she was going to jump in to get it but when she chickened out, I handed Sheldan my sunnies and shoes, climbed over the railing and jumped in. Much to everyone’s surprise, the note was real! I swam back around to a pontoon and got back onto the jetty. I handed the note to Sheldan and he gave the money to the British girl. The family were very thankful and we were incredulous that not only had we snuck onto the jetty for nothing, we’d earned money!

We wandered down to the end of the jetty, making a few friends along the way chatting to a couple travelling from Darwin who’d been to a Big Bash cricket game. Having walked the 1.8km to the end of the structure, we looked over the railing then turned around to come back. We avoided the tourist train a couple of times and walked all the way back to the bay instead of having a second swim since the wind had picked up again.

We showered ourselves off and walked back to the car. Sheldan wanted to eat everything in the fridge but I managed to dissuade him until we did some shopping. We got out of our bathers and drove down the main strip looking for a supermarket. After parking and doing what felt like a couple of laps around the town of Busselton, we found a couple of shops and got everything we needed, including a case of German beer for only $40!

We unloaded everything into the car then drove around to the opposite side of the street where we could be in the shade and right next to a park bench. Sheldan got onto making lunch while I repacked the back of the car. It was Sheldan’s first experience feeling like a bum, sitting out in the park drinking beer and pulling apart a hot chicken. We got stares but we embraced them. We did a bit of planning for the afternoon then got going again.

At Cape Naturaliste, we were disappointed to find that you had to pay for everything, including just seeing the outside of the lighthouse. Not interested in being scammed, we settled for a walk around the lighthouse compound to the Whale Watching station.

No whales, but the ocean was pretty and the coastal bushes were a nice contrast against the walkway and the blue waters. I stood at the lookout for a while watching a small boat battle the choppy water then we walked back the way we had come. Not really that impressed by Cape Naturaliste. Their target market were obviously the winery-goers that didn’t mind paying $5 just for the opportunity to buy a coffee in the café at the lighthouse.

Our next stop was Wyadup Rocks. This is a place Vanessa had mentioned to us while she’d been looking for impressive things to see and do along the Cape.

Now we really got the wind. It was almost pushing us over as we walked down the rocky outcrop to the water. The rock formations were beautiful with rough surfaces, pockets and curves surrounding the crevices that had been formed by the violent ocean waves.

The valleys in the rocks formed natural pools of water, fed by waves crashing over the higher rocks. Sheldan and I climbed all over, all the way out to the ocean and to the highest point.

We shared the place with a few other tourists, some of them occupied with getting a cool profile picture in the freezing water.

We threw our jackets back in the car and head off to find camp. Since there were no official options on the WikiCamps or CamperMate apps I’d downloaded, I looked to the trusty map for some green splotches that denoted forest. After a few adventures down dirt roads, we found ourselves skirting the border of the Yelverton National Park somewhere off Blythe Road. We had beautiful Aussie bush on our left and a farmer’s property on our right. There weren’t many clearings, but after a few solid kilometers we decided on a spot that had a view of the farmer’s dam and flat enough ground for our tent. Best thing, it wasn’t windy. We were erring on the side of illegal since it was national park, but our ignorance told us we hadn’t seen any signs telling us not to camp.

As we set up camp we got stuck into the beers and carried on drinking them as we played a few rounds of Rummyking. The drinking continued as I cooked burgers (Dan-style) for dinner and ate them as it got dark. After doing dishes, we downed more beers and talked amongst the sounds of the forest. When it got too cold, we retreated to the tent and had some pillow talk before sleep which didn’t take long to come in our inebriated state.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *