Pilbara - Burrup Peninsula and Cleaverville June 5 - 8 2018
  Up at the crack of dawn.

A stop at a lookout near Mt Herbert.

To watch the sunrise.

  Yup. It rose.

The landscape slowly illuminated.

  We continued south a bit, retracing our steps so we could take the road to Dampier.

Across the Chichester Range plateau.

  We head north, alongside the Tom Price - Dampier railway.
  We do like curves.

Not many trains today.

  The first iron ore was carried on the Cliffs Robe River Iron Associates railway from Panawonica to Cape Lambert in 1972.

The bridge carries that line over the Tom Price to Dampier line opened by Hamersley Iron in 1966.

Rio Tinto owned Hamersley Iron and now also owns Robe River Iron. The rail operations are now combined as one operation. Though whether there's much interchange of rolling stock between I have no idea.

This is the only crossing point.

  There's a train in there somewhere.
  The locomotives are GE Dash 9-44CW.

A 1993 design. 4,400 hp (3281 kW). Diesel electric.

The roof of our truck has 1.2 kW or solar panels.

If I had 8,200 trucks, lots of sunshine directly overhead, and a big electric motor,  I could play tug of war with the three locos.

  Yara is an international fertiliser company. A liquid ammonia plant next to an ammonium nitrate plant.

Not just fertiliser, its also the stuff that makes the bang in the iron ore mines.

It was the logo that caught my attention. Norsk Hydro was formed in Norway in 1905.

Yara International was demerged in 2004.

Looks like they still use the original logo that Norsk Hydro also use.

AdBlue (sythetic urea in demineralised water to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel engines) is a Yara product.

  The Burrup Peninsula has Murujuga National Park and an extensive (estimates up to one million individual pieces) collection of Aboriginal petroglyphs.

Deep Gorge is accessible to us. We struggled to find out if it was still accessible before we arrived. Someone even thought a boardwalk had been built.

We are beside the sea.


  We've seen footprints previously. Not this many on the same rock. These seem organised.
  The rock is similar to that which we saw along the southern edge of the Chichester Range. Very broken. We think basalt.

We can imagine this as a kangaroo.

  But this is much more recognisable.

Different artists at different times?

Both in outline.

  Looking closely, as we got our eye in, we are not sure what is in the centre.
  Apparently turtle egg rock art.

We gleaned that bit of information from a 2014 Parks and Wildlife pamphlet which somehow forgets to mention Deep Gorge.

  We've met concentric circles previously. These aren't quite circles.
  Our imaginations fail us.

Filled in, not just outlines.

  A kangaroo. In a slightly different pose.
  The gorge is more sort of long than deep. With several branches.

There's the same sort of "cemented" rock in the bottom of the waterways as we saw near the pools at Millstream. We assume dolomite.

  Our instant recognition function assumes "cormorant" drying its wings.

Filled in.

  Definitely beside the seaside.

Filled in.

  Lost again.
  We've seen a few shells scattered around. This is lots.

Not enough to be a midden, but then again, perhaps .......

  Most of the art is more faint than we have seen in other places. Often difficult for us to see. Our first question becomes "is that one?" rather than "what is that?".

We've missed the halfway between outline and filled in that we saw in some other places. We thought this may have been half-filled. We can't be certain.

There was a notice at the car park asking that we not photograph art depicting human figures. Unlike other sites we found few that instantly conjured up the thought "human".

  We've reached the sea.

Hearson Cove.

Fortunately the tide is in. We go for a paddle. Then have lunch.

The tide goes out a long way.

The beach is made of broken shells.

  Back through Dampier to Karratha, the pools of Dampier Salt.
  Diesel, water (from the Karratha Info Centre - $1 for 50 litres), food shop, then east along the North West Coastal Highway.
  A not very good pic of a not very obvious dolomite outcrop (have you noticed that anything otherwise unknown has become dolomite?).

Just before we turned on to the road to Cleaverville.

To camp.

The forecast is for rain, the gravel road will be closed if there is lots, so we pay for two nights. $15 per site per night. About the same as the National Park $7 per person per night (concession rate).

  It rained.


More than 100mm in a couple of days.

So we get to stay a couple of extra nights.

  It didn't rain continuously.

Which allowed me to walk up the hill behind the camp.

Burrup Peninsula in the distance. About 20km away.

The storms forecast missed us.


And rare, in our experience, they are still alive rather than in someone's stomach.

The dark rock is a conglomerate that's deeply eroded.

  The camp from the west.

The tides are neap (not spring). Only a couple of meters rise and fall.

  We amused ourselves looking at what was washed up on the beach.

Reminiscent of Indiana Jones' crystal skull .....

Sadly, the minute midges, that can crawl effortlessly through the fly-screens, bite.

In particular they bite me.

And the bites itch.

Too late, insect spray and repellant and soov help a only bit.

In moving to the coast the temperatures are a little higher, and the humidity has risen from about zero to more than 90% when raining.

  The birds were generally too fast for us.

Apart from this half of a pair of robins that kept returning to see how we were.

  The bird book doesn't tell us about crabs.

About 50mm across the carapace.

Lots in the rock pools when we found enough patience to stand still and watch.

  Slowly the clouds cleared from the west.

Then formed again.

But finally looked like clearing properly.

  There's an octopus in the middle of the pic.

That stripey brown thing.

I was fascinated watching it flow across the bottom of the rock pool.

The first octopus I've seen not in an aquarium. The first I've seen moving.

Apparently they make good bait for fishing ..... but first one has to catch it, and the thought of octopus arms engulfing my hand was a bit unfamiliar.

Some things aren't meant to happen.

  There are three crabs in the pic.

The little one on the right tried to escape into the hole in the middle when it saw me.

The bigger crab that occupied the hole got a bit cranky. The little one backed off and waved its claws above its head.

Stalemate. But they were occupied enough to ignore me.

The even smaller crab at bottom left carried on browsing.

  A bit of a challenge.

Like nothing we've seen previously. Particularly the beak.

Its on the same page in the bird book as an Australian Bustard.

A Beach Stone-Curlew.

One of only a few birds that nest on beaches, we only saw one, not its better half. It was as if we disturbed it when we appeared on the beach and it flew to the waters' edge.


  We finally resolved the problem we had with the size of black-faced cuckoo-shrikes.

This is a black-faced woodswallow.

We promise not to confuse them in future ...... !

Pilbara - Cossack June 9 2018

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