it’s always ourselves we find in the sea

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Roughseas via her Everypic blog recently posted re Islay which she notes is one of the most beautiful places she’s ever visited (yes, it is worthy of the rap) and a couple of the photos intriguingly reminded me of the beaches north of Broome WA, Australia. Thinking maybe I was hallucinating and in need of a holiday, preferably back there, I consulted with the G.O. who concurred there was an interesting similarity in some of the photos and landscape.

As well as being one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited, this stretch of coast is also similar to the Islay post yet again, although we don’t have the photos, in that the northern beaches of Broome are a popular location for casual campers, and we envied a couple who were set in front of their caravan with books and cool drinks.

I commented on the Islay post “No matter how lost I am I can always find myself on a beach.” Beaches have been salve for my soul and joy for my spirit ever since I was a little kid tagging along with my Dad while he fished. At various life crossroads I’ve spent many hours walking off my troubles barefoot along the sand. I’ve wandered beaches in good times too; the day trip to Columb Point was one of those for the G.O. and me.

We’d been in Broome for a few days and done as many of the town sights as we could, so decided to go on an adventure that wasn’t strictly allowable for our hire car but we exercised our own judgment on the matter and set off with a mud map from our B&B host:

Head north out of Broome on to Broome Road, turn left onto Beagle Bay-Broome Road, turn right onto Manari Road. Follow Manari Road for about 40 or so kms.

In total the drive is about 70 kms north from Broome. We drove it in a little red Daihatsu Terios AWD. I would recommend a 4WD but all was well. All three of us returned intact, safe and in time, at least for the G.O. and I, to watch another sunset over Cable Beach while sipping glasses of wine.

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“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.”
“maggie and millie and molly and may”
E.E. Cummings (American poet 1894-1962)

spirit of place

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Whenever I find myself waxing lyrical about a place, exhorting a [poor unfortunate] listener to “even if you’ve only got 5 days”, it’s to “go to Broome”.

What’s so odd about this? I am country girl from the Hunter Valley, NSW (known for agriculture, coal mining, vineyards, horses) an eastern Australia state, and Broome on the coast in the Kimberly region of north Western Australia is as far away as it gets in this country. It’s famous for pearls, crocs, camels on the beach & dinosaur footprints.

And, when I say Broome, I don’t mean the resort rich Cable Beach, where the camels are, I mean old Broome, which quite surprisingly retains much of the character of its origins.

How the G.O. & I came to be in Broome is covered in other posts. Getting there is this story. It was the middle of a cold wet winter in Sydney. The rest of my family were braving floodwaters to travel to the annual June long weekend get together at Hawks Nest. At Sydney airport the G.O. & I couldn’t see our plane out the window through the rain.

My frequent flyer points afforded us modest business class seats which only just assuaged the discomfort of my companion who being 6’3″ and not a good flyer counted every minute of the 5 hour flight while mentally caressing the packet of cigarettes in his carry on.

In the late afternoon approaching dusk, after flying over much spectacular desert, the pilot announced our approach and we caught our first glimpse of Broome’s primary colour topography. Time stopped. For a long second I was displaced. I was flying home? And, I felt that way, the entire week of our stay.

Later, astrology provided a clue. Astrodienst’s Travel page, my birth details and a lined map of Australia gave up this:

“Venus/IC Line
More beneficial on the western side of the line.
Along this line, you will find ideal places for relaxation, peace and quiet. Creative people can retreat from the hectic pace of everyday life and find a new creativity within themselves. If you are looking for a place to retire in, then a closer look at these places could well be worth your while. You are surrounded by familiar things, trusted people, and enjoy the pleasantness of an environment, which constantly soothes your senses. Terms such as homeliness, home and security gain a deeper meaning…”

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“Spirit of place! It is for this we travel, to surprise its subtlety; and where it is a strong and dominant angel, that place, seen once, abides entire in the memory with all its own accidents, its habits, its breath, its name.” Alice Meynell

a prison by any other name

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I was taken prisoner by sleep deprivation last night. Today, Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues reels endlessly through my head accompanied by echoes of the acoustic instrument of torture that deprived us of the few train free hours we are ordinarily blessed with each night. The diesel motor locomotive monster scoured the rail tracks in a huge & impressive display of sparks and not so impressive display of noise… at 3am, 20 metres from our window.

 “…I hear the train a comin’
it’s rolling round the bend
and I ain’t seen the sunshine since I don’t know when,
I’m stuck in Folsom prison, and time keeps draggin’ on…”

The song brought to mind Derby, Western Australia. Why, you ask? Because of the Prison Boab tree on the outskirts. Derby is a 220km, 3 hours drive east from Broome over raw flat landscape, and mostly straight road.

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Prison Boab near Derby
The hollow tree trunk has a circumference of over 14 metres and the door is a metre wide and two metres high. It was used as a “prison cell” in the 1890s by the local police to lock up Aboriginal prisoners over night, on their way to Derby for sentencing.

Gorgeous One, Happy Valentine’s Day

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I dream of a wider world: deserts, beaches, rivers, red dirt, rocks, trees, grass and sky. I dream of feeling the heat and the rain. I dream of smelling sunshine, damp earth and campfires. I dream of you holding my hand in these places. We’re not quite there yet but at least you’re holding my hand. ♥

in search of dinosaur footprints

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Once I found out there are dinosaur footprints at Broome, Western Australia, that was it, it was high up on my bucket list to see them.

As is my way,  I didn’t worry too much about the details but when the G.O. & I had the opportunity to plan a trip, it was #1 destination. When we got there, there were the details: the dinosaur footprints believed to be from the Cretaceous Age approximately 130 million years ago are only visible at very low tides and they are 30 m (98 ft) out to sea, so you have to scramble down the rocks on the edge of the ocean at Gantheaume Point and search for them. It did make an adventure and I had a few bruises on my butt, as well as the photo’s for trophies.

“A beginning is only the start of a journey to another beginning.”

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June 2007, with the excuse to celebrate the G.O’s birthday, was the beginning. Although we’d been friends forever and together for a couple of years, we’d been too busy sorting our lives out to do such crazy things as road trips but courtesy of a huge amount of frequent flyer points I’d accrued over the course of a work project, we had the means to fly to the Kimberley region of Western Australia, then on to Darwin, NT, Australia using both places as bases for exploring. Hallelujah, we had a whole 2 weeks, which turned out to be about 10 weeks less than the amount of time we needed to sanely do the trip.