100 days under canvas – part 4, sketches

  

  
We are now in wildflower country proper, having left the wild and windy coast behind. The next post will be the flowers, but this one is catching up with some of the sketches that have been gradually filling my sketchbooks. The drawings above are of collected objects from Cape Leveque and Middle Lagoon – broken and whole shells (some inexplicably shaped), a fishbone, some petrified coral and the little plugs from shell openings. 

    
Cockroach bush (senna notabilis). Very common, and I think the explanation of the name is obvious!

  

  
Shells and a small pea-like flower from Osprey Bay in the Cape Range National Park, which lies along the coast off Ningaloo Reef. Beautiful coastline and a magical place for snorkelling – we saw a great range of corals, mostly sand coloured but a few brilliant reds, purples and greens not to mention the fish. Incredible colours and quite unafraid of large interlopers. 

    
It must have been high season for these butterflies. There were masses of them at Coral Bay, many on the grilles of cars, but also scattered in corners of buildings and just on the ground. A few were still complete, but many were damaged. Nevertheless they still have a dignity and beauty in death. I loved the abstract shapes they make, and will explore them further when I get home. 

    
More broken shells – they have an endless fascination for me. These were from a station stay on a wild but very beautiful stretch of coast at the end of Ningaloo Reef. When the tide was out we could walk on the reef and watch hermit crabs hurry around, look in deep clear pools that were created by gaps in the reef and see urchins, bright corals, fish and anemones that were all invisible under crashing surf when the tide was in. 

    
There are so many unusual plants here, but the green birdflower has to be one of the oddest. Each flower is distinctly a bird in flight, head out, wings up. Humour in nature!

    
This is a native hibiscus – some are pink, some blue, this one was a delicate mauve. I have also seen yellow, but with a flower head that hangs down, and a different leaf. 

    
Just to finish, a pic of me at one of our bush camps putting the finishing touches to my Sturt Desert Pea drawing!

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100 days under canvas – part 3. From Broome to Tom Price

  
When last I wrote, I was in Broome and the picture above is one of the iconic sights that every visitor has to see, a string of camels walking slowly along Cable Beach at sunset. I have to say I was very happy to watch, riding camels is not something I aspire to. 

From Broome it was back to the red dirt roads, up the Dampier peninsula to Cape Leveque. Kooljaman is perched on the tip, with beaches on either side. To the west, no  swimming in the deep blue water, but you can walk along the white sand, with red cliffs at your side. The eastern beach is for swimming, clear pale blue water, white sand and sharp black rocks made from coral. We lay back in the water and floated blissfully. 

   
 
Above, some unexpectedly large traffic on the road in, and sun setting in the west. We also encountered wild donkeys on the road. 

   
 
From Kooljaman we only drove a short way down the road to Middle Lagoon. We had heard it was beautiful so went to have a look, ending up staying three nights. The picture above shows the view from our camper trailer. From there, a brief visit to Broome for supplies, another beachside camp at Barn Hill, then Indee Station, a quirky farm stay, very welcoming people. There was ‘happy hour’ in the homestead, bring your own drinks, nibbles supplied, which was a great opportunity to chat to other travellers. And there were Sturts Desert Peas growing around the farmyard. 

    
 
The next day took us to Tom Price, a small mining town, but the journey there was spectacularly beautiful. Wildflowers were out in force, purple mulla mulla, yellow sennas, eremophylas in pink, purple and white, and so many more. 

   
    
   
The road took us round the northern side of the Karajini National Park, one of our favourite places that we decided not to visit this time. The scenery was stunning, rolling , rugged hills, folded and uplifted, intensely coloured, red rocks, green spinifex and the colours from the wildflowers. 

   
    
   

    
 
This is where I will stop for now. The next post will be about snorkelling on Ningaloo Reef.