Sunday, October 8, 2017


We couldn’t leave as early as we would have liked this morning as I had to wait until 8am to have my final set of blood tests done.   Steve and I took off around 7.30am to  go and fuel up before heading to the hospital to have my blood tests done.  

We were the second to arrive and so after a wait of about 15 minutes, I was taken in.  The pathologist told me that I would need to hang around in Carnarvon until I got the results, which would be ready in an hour.  

Back to the caravan park we went and proceeded to get hitched ready to leave.  I didn’t expect any real surprises as the doctor was pretty happy with what he had seen the previous afternoon otherwise I wouldn’t have been let home.  

By 10am we still hadn’t heard from the hospital, so I rang them.  The nurse told me that the tests were back but the doctor hadn’t come in yet today.  If I wanted to get the results, I could come in and wait in emergency to see another doctor to get them, although she hinted to me that they all looked normal.  

We were due out of the park now, so sitting in emergency for half the day didn’t really appeal to me at all, so we continued on our way.  

Our first stop of the day was at Gladstone Lookout, a viewing point between Carnarvon and the Overlander roadhouse, just off the main highway. 

 We had been driving through very desolate country even though we were quite close to the coast, and from this viewing point up on a ridge you could see the water in the distance and a vista that looked reminiscent of the Arizona Desert - as Ian put it, this must be where they filmed the moon landings! We stopped for quite a while to take in the gorgeous views.

We got to the Overlander Roadhouse, and thought we should ring through to Denham and book a site in one of the caravan parks.

 There are three parks in Denham and every one of them were booked out for the night so plan B had to be put in place and that was us staying at Hamelin Pool for the night and checking out the Stromatolites. 

 We re rang  the Dolphin Caravan Park to see if we could book in for two nights for Thursday and Friday and he had vacancies so we booked sites for the three of us for the following day. 

Hamelin Pool Caravan Park

One of the coquina bricks from the shell quarry nearby.  Lots of buildings here are made from these bricks.
Memorabilia from the Overland Telegraph Museum days
Pool area at the Caravan Park
Pool at the Caravan Park.
They even at resident chooks at the Caravan Park
They use the coquina bricks here to repair the current buildings here. 
Steve's fascination with unusual taps
The amenities block at the caravan park is made of the coquina shell bricks.
Hamelin Pool Caravan Park

The Hamelin Pool Caravan Park is set on the site of the old Overland Telegraph relay station and was once part of a larger pastoral holding. It is well located for our purposes, being only a 400 metre walk away from the world famous stromatolites.  Although the park is pretty old, in fact there is not much there at all, and after our lovely stay at Carnarvon, it really was a big step back.  We had power but no water, and it cost us $30 a night.  At least the showers were nice and hot.  

The lady who runs the caravan park also seemed rather frazzled when we booked in, but at least we had sites where we could remain hitched.  The good thing about staying at this caravan park was that the Stromatolites were only 400 metres down on the beach, so after getting set up and having a cuppa we took off on a walk down through the shell quarry to walk along the beach to the board walk to walk out and see the stromatolites.  They were quite fascinating.  It was hard to believe that they were living things as they looked very much like rocks out in the ocean.  

Stomatolites are the oldest and largest living fossils on Earth. The marine stromatolites found in Hamelin Pool are considered to be the best examples found in the world. They are mats of symbiotic bacteria and algae which grow successfully here because the seawater is twice as saline as usual seawater, with the result they have few predators. Some of these bacteria and algae excrete oxygen and were instrumental - three and a half billion years ago - in creating the oxygenated atmosphere that we have today. The salinity is due to a bar across the entrance to the bay restricting out flow of water, and also due to rapid evaporation from shallow water. They grow at 0.3mm per year and some here are up to a metre high. Fascinating stuff!

The beach here was covered in these little shells
It was an interesting way to spend an afternoon.  I must admit,  I was just as fascinated by the shell quarry and the large deposits of  coquina (which is what the bricks are made from) This shell stone quarry which supplied blocks used for building materials around this area (at least in the past it was). The tiny shells which can be up to 10 metres deep bond together under pressure to form quite hard rock called coquina.
Kathy reading about the Stromatolithes
Out on the board walk checking out the stromatolithes

Steve joining us on the boardwalk

There is a wooden jetty and walkway built out over the stromatolites, so that people don't trample them but can get a good view. We were rather surprised to see small fish swimming in the salty rock pools and they've obviously found a way to adapt. On top of that there were cormorants feasting on fish in the water just offshore from the jetty. Also there were lots of Chinese tourists staying at the caravan park to see this amazing geological and biological feature, but dressed for the city rather than the bush! Some were wearing stockings and high heels and lurex dresses with lots of bling. We felt seriously under-dressed in our shorts and thongs.
 There is a lot of history in this part of shark bay.  We even saw a plague with details about the old wool shed that was built here for storing the wool whilst they waited for ships to take it out to the harbour.  All very interesting.
Wind blown tree

Unfortunately, we missed our opportunity to go and have a look through the Old overland telegraph office as it was closed until 3pm the following afternoon and we would be gone by then.  I can’t imagine that it would be too different from the one we had seen in Alice Springs through.

The weather has turned quite cold, and as there are six of us, we have to eat outdoors.  Kathy made a big pot of pumpkin soup for dinner for us all and with the cold weather; I must say it went down well.  These nights we are not spending too much time outdoors chatting once dinner is over.  We are all keen to go back in doors to the warmth of our vans.  

Tomorrow we hit the road again…


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