About half way up the Peninsula is Baird Bay, a very sleepy hamlet of no shops, and just a few holiday houses. We’d booked ahead for our swim with Sea Lions and Dolphins, otherwise we would probably have cruised straight past. On the way to Baird Bay is Elliston. I couldn’t ‘not’ stop at a town named in our honour. This sleepy little town of 330 was simply delightful. They boast excellent views over towering limestone cliffs, a fabulous park which entertained the boys, and a town hall with wonderful founding period murals painted on every wall (including the best decorated public dunny I’ve ever seen).
After lunch we headed North, stopping at Murphy’s Haystacks. These iconic gnarly inselberg rocks are reputedly 1.5 Billion years old, and well worth the visit (they reminded me of The Remarkable Rocks on Kangaroo Island). I was keen to come back for some twilight photography, but the 54 km return trip on dirt, and the ever-present threat of an altercation with a wayward Skippy, put me off.
After arriving and setting up, we chatted to some Grey Nomads who migrate here every year for a week’s fishing. They told us to drive down the beach and visit another unusual beach composed entirely of coarse silica – indeed it was.
The next morning we packed up and got ready for the Baird Bay Eco Ocean Experience. We coughed up $450, donned our wet suits and jumped in their boat for the 15 minute ride to a local Sea Lion colony. The tour owners have been doing this since 1992, and know each Sea Lion by name. After an hour in the water Kris and I were shivering, even though my watch reported 19.7 C (I must be going soft). Kris was shivering so much she was spilling her Milo (I had to explain to some American tourists what Milo was – I should’ve said ‘croc poison mate’. More for me, yay!).
The operators really looked after everyone, including the boys, making sure they had plenty of opportunity to see these incredibly agile and inquisitive creatures. Once we were all bustled back into the boat, we went out of the lee of the island into the channel to swim with a mummy dolphin and her calf. All in all a great experience.
Once we’d packed up and left the coast, the temperature climbed from 26 to 43, not a good sign as we were headed for a free camp (aka; no air con!).