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Riccardo A. Andreoli

BLOG

Round the World 2005 - 5

In this part of the blog I'm in Australia

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Australia

Australia - June 10, 2005 - Perth

Now I’m in Western Australia, in Perth.

And, really, I do not know how to say it, but I arrived Sunday night late and in the same night the weather plunged to the very first winter storm, with severe wind alert in all Perth metropolitan area, heavy rains and so on.

Someone in some country with a long standing drought would like to employ me? I can almost guarantee rain in a VERY short period of time.

Anyway, some strolling around Perth I managed.

And I found a marvellous shop, into which you fairly swim against a tide of odours, wafting from open sacks of almost any known essence, dragon, cumin, rosemary, pepper, basil, mixed with aromas from whole buckets of saffron, thyme, cloves, just to mention the more common ones, all around the place.

But, what zartar and sumak are, really escapes me...

My nose kept twitching and pulling me here and there in all the corners. Hard to forget!

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Obviously is not even possible to think about diving here. So I tried to search for some interesting possibilities. And I did found them, in the Australian Territories out in the Indian Ocean: Cocos Islands and Christmas Island.


It could have been wonderful, isn’t it? BUT the scant flies going there were already full booked, without doubt from Perth citizens wanting to escape the incoming winter. The first place I did found was for June the 30th!

So, VERY regrettably, no trip there.

Australia - June 18, 2005 - Exmouth

I'm now in Exmouth, more or less 1300 km from Perth. I've arrived here with a LITTLE Fokker 50 airplane, leaving clouds and cold behind me.

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Exmouth is a newly (from an European point of view) founded city. It dates only from 1967.

It has a tiny centre, with a lovely, tidy central plaza surrounded by shops.

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I don't know what to say ... even the lampposts in Exmouth have a cut-out marlin on them! Propitiatory sign or mockery of fate?

At dawn, the first day after my arrival, I waited for the sun to rise on the very red sand.

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One day I went visiting in the West Coast the Cape Range National Park, and I walked the Mandu Mandu (meaning stone stone in aboriginal language) Gorge.

Dramatic place, with high vertical cliffs of a Martian red stone, I climbed in awe, taking a lot of pictures.

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There was also wildlife around. The usual curious Kangaroo and the wary Emu between them. I also glimpsed a couple of the rare, big,  Australian Bustards (Ardeotis australis), but I was not fast enough to take pictures.

Obviously the weather treated me with ANOTHER rainbow for my WIDE collection in this trip!

Australia - June 19, 2005 - Exmouth

The REAL reason because I'm here is, again, what it's by now my Marlin Quest. In Exmouth every year is kept a Big Game tournament, with a lot of Billfish, Marlin and Sailfish, taken. I'm hoping to find someone taking me out for finding this elusive, enourmous, long-searched-for monster. Oviously, I'm here with my Tuna Gun.

BUT no one, it seems, is really interested in this. Why?

Bacause of my second reason to be here: the Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus). Here in Exmouth, between June and July, there's a seemingly endless procession of them, following the coral spawing season in March and April. It's the only place in the Earth, for what I know, that can guarantee a shark seeing. And the whole town thrives on them. Everywhere there're offers for a whale shark tour. And when I say "everywhere" it's exactly as I say. That placid face with minuscule eyes stares at you in all the supermarkets, in the bakery, in the Internet Points, in almost all the streets of the centre town, from the Ningaloo Nectar bottles of water. Even now, when I'm writing this in my hotel room, stares at me from the guest information sheet hanging from the door.

More, way more than the seals, dolphins and the sperm whales in Kaikoura in New Zealand!


And so one day, finally, after a cancellation due to bad weather, here I am, with my faithfull camera in hand, the fins at my feet, ready to jump in the water to a Whale Shark waiting for me.

The first impression is elemental, it’s huge. It travels with its mouth half opened, the gigantic tail switching slowly in an unstoppable rhythm and, when swims toward you, it gives not away the faintest notion about stopping. Anyway, we all have been warmed about the limit distance set by the Department of Conservation: three meters from the head, four meters from the tail, so I swam under him to take some pictures against the bright surface.

The day is far from perfect. The waves are massive, already a third of the supposed divers are down due to seasickness, hugging themselves in a ball of misery.

The water is NOT what can be defined as clean. A lot of suspension, and that can be expected if you find here a plankton eater, but also a lot of sand.

The dirty water, the vast waves together with the limit distance all calls for bad pictures. And in effect, sadly, at the end of the day, perusing them, I did NOT find a single perfect picture. Some worthy, but I’m far from happy. I start thinking about, perhaps, waiting some days and going again out.

We’ll see.

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Australia - June 20, 2005 - Exmouth

FULL day Safari Tour along Cape Range National Park. Exceptional experience, highly recommended.

Incredible places... and so deeply Australian.

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Australia - June 24, 2005 - Exmouth

The last day in Exmouth I rented a little plane. I was hoping to take some interesting pictures of the Whale Sharks from above but instead for reasons of safety and defense of the sharks you can not get that close. Instead I took beautiful photographs of Ningaloo Reef ... and just tiny distant silhouettes of whale sharks.

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