Sucking on a fag,, the gap toothed trucker said, “You need an engine in that thing.” As I wheeled up to the door of the Nullarbor Roadhouse Cafe for breakfast.
“I am the engine”, I said tapping my tummy “and just about to fuel up.”
And so the great Australian raisin toast survey of 2014 continues: Pleasant, but nothing to write home about, which reminded me to get off another post card to mum.
“We can post it”, says the waitress, “but not until Saturday, when the postman comes. Is that ok?
“Sure” I say “thanks.”
Another glorious clear sky day with a cross / tail wind. My plan was to wild camp tonight half way between Nullarbor and Nundroo Roadhouses, visiting the whale viewing centre at the Head of the Bight along the way. It’s 12 kms off the highway but evidently one of the worlds premier whale watching locations.
I’m not sure what to expect. I pay my $15.00- Proceeds go to the Yalata Aboriginal Community. Asking the cashier if there’s a chance I might see some Whales, she laughs and says , “You will be falling over them, we counted 126 out there this morning. Just follow the boardwalk.” Along this point of the Nullarbor, at ‘The Head of the Bight’, the high cliffs and deep sheltered water provide ideal conditions for whales that have come up from the Antarctic to feed, rest up and give birth. Staying in the vicinity for months at a time. I was absolutely gobsmacked! Whales were indeed everywhere. The boardwalk took me almost down to the waters edge. I could hear and see the whales blowing air/ water spouts, slapping the water, breaching, diving and doing all that whale type activity. I saw Southern right whales, but apparently humpbacks were there also. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen! Its a pity I only had my iPhone camera. Still I was mesmerised and it was easily the best $15.00 I have ever spent. A truly world class wildlife experience.
John and Anna, cyclists who had passed this way, whom I meant at Fraser Range, told me of a Stone Cottage you could free camp at not far from here. I found the quaint cottage, but it was way to early in the day to think about setting up camp. I pushed on in a headwind back to the highway.
As the day heated up my objective was to pump out a further 70 kms and reach the last free water tank on the Nullarbor then set up camp nearby for the night. Along the way I meant John, who having cycled around Australia himself, always stops for cyclists: “Can I offer you extra food or water? How about a couple of apples?”
“Yes please” I said. We chatted for a bit about bikes and John was good enough to take my photo.
Further along the road the hills return as the once flat treeless plain of the Nullabor becomes forested once more. A car slows, the passenger asks if I’m OK for water? The kindness of strangers: “Thanks for offering brother, but I’m fine.” He waves, calls good luck and disappears down the road.
Taking a little used dirt track off road for a kilometer or so I find a lovely place to wild camp after a beautiful day on the Nullarbor, it looks like another great night for stargazing!
Nundroo Roadhouse Tomorrow.