|Nullarbor||September 15 - 16 2018|
|About 10 days ago our route came from Ooldea, from the
left. We head straight on to Watson.
Our very educational field trip has ended.
|Very different. We are obviously on flat (almost) plain. The old sealed road is in much better condition than north of the junction.|
|Just like Ooldea, there is mobile internet. Communications extend the length of the Trans Australia Railway.|
|There are just foundations left of the buildings that used
to be at Watson. A passing point on the otherwise single line railway.
Having crossed the line we look north. The Ooldea Ranges are visible on the horizon, to the right of the far crossing sign. They are not particularly high, but stand out on an otherwise seemingly featureless landscape.
|Part of the longest straight stretch of railway in the
world. About 500 km.
On the right hand, passing, track there is rail from 1913. Re-laid on concrete sleepers and welded. The left hand, main, track has rail made in 1963 and 1969.
The ballast for the right hand track seems to have come from a quarry visible on the right.
The red vegetation that has spread along the side of the line arrived in Australia with the camels.
A vast plain of limestone.
Nullarbor, from the latin which translates as No Trees.
The very low vegetation changes continually.
The plain is also not quite flat. Long, almost imperceptable, undulations are sometimes 8-10m high.
|The track winds its way south west across the plain. There
is no apparent reason its not straight like the railway, but that's the way
Rounded limestone protrudes into the track, but otherwise sandy.
There's a strong, cold, southerly, wind blowing. The result of a high pressure system moving east along the coast.
|We are stopped for a short pause. We see no sign of
reptiles but are certain they are there.
|The Nullarbor is a strange place to me. Aparently endless, with nothing to break the view to the horizon, there is something strangely attractive. A nothing that constantly changes.|
|With limestone comes sinkholes, blowholes and caves.
This small sinkhole is our first glimpse of what may lie underground.
Home to an upset kestrel. There's a lack of nesting sites and perches.
|Looking for more sinkholes like the last one we are delighted by something larger.|
|We don't know if the egg is viable.
Its more spherical than egg shaped.
|The sinkholes near the track are becoming obvious to us.|
|And eventually a cave. Disappointment Cave.
There is little difference between a sinkhole and a cave. Apart from its possible for humans to climb, or crawl, into caves.
Crossing the Nullarbor on the Eyre Highway in 1978 I was aware of numerous caves but our map, and probably vehicle, were inadequate. We lacked information.
|Limestone can also mean fossils. The outline of a shell. The shell is long gone.|
|The cave is home to swifts.
The Nullarbor is arid, with little rainfall. The limestone has been eroded by water in the long ago past.
Its fine-grained and varies in colour, when broken, from white to grey.
|We think kestrel's eggs as we see a kestrel close by that doesn't fly far. We'll try to avoid disturbing it further.|
|Its cold, draughty, and uncomfortable. We point the
vehicles with doors away from the wind and venture outside only to take
pictures as the sun sets.
Our other traveling companions from the field trip have swags, a small tent, and no firewood, so decide to continue south. Time to separate and go our different ways.
The weather forecast suggests tomorrow will be calm.
|There's more life on the plain than I suspected. The cave
is a bit of a magnet.
But I'll have to revert to the bird book to decide if its a sparrow or something more obscure.
|Early morning. Still cold, but no wind. A quick walk around to enjoy the sunrise.|
|There's a pair of kestrels. They flew off as soon as I
opened the door of the truck.
I'll have to try stealth tactics .......
|I'm trying in vain to figure out why an almost flat, treeless, plain holds such an attraction.|
|The early morning provided a different view of the Kestrel
There were six that we saw. Having fun testing their wings with no wind.
|We have planned a short trip into the cave.
However, cut short (we didn't get into the cave) by a "have you heard from.....?" phone call.
It seems our leader from the field trip had missed last nights scheduled safety communication.
We traced tyre marks as far as Number Six Bore. Reported, and followed them south.
Just the direction we expected from discussion when the party separated.
|In soft sand the tyre marks were very obvious.|
|At the dog fence we could trace tyre marks heading east. As
|At the junction with the Old Eyre Highway we could still
see tyre marks following the dog fence.
But panic over. Contact has been made.
|So we continued east on the Old Eyre Highway until we met the new one.|
|Passing Yalata Community from where we had gained permission to pass through Yalata lands.|
|The old highway was a bit rough.
The new seemed like a billiard table.
|A Shingle Back on the road.
We have seen several. This is the first we have managed to stop in time to take a pic.
|Its on the road down to Fowlers Bay Conservation Park.|
|We are camped at Mexican Hat Beach.
We'll stay here a few days to recover. We are feeling a bit travel weary.
We are having thoughts of "home".
We also have phone and internet to catch up a bit.
|Mexican Hat Beach||September 17 - 20 2018|