EIGHTY MILE BEACH
After a nerve wrecking trip out of Pardoo Station I hit Pardoo roadhouse and start questioning the staff about the road into Eighty Mile Beach – ‘ohhhh nooooooo’ another dirt road in, only this time nine kilometres. Still shaking from my trip out, I start to question whether or not I could do another 18km of dirt road, inclusive of soft sand, ‘but im booked in for a week, shall I, shan’t I’ – oh what the hell, I’m game. Yes the road in was quite daunting, however I still hear the wise words of Ronnie Jelsma saying, ‘eyes up, don’t lose sight of your line, and power on when start to wobble’. “God I have never been so focused with a line of sight in all my life”, hunched down, feet sturdy on my footboards ready to jump off at any sign of ‘going down’ – no way am I going down hahaha!!!! “yeahhhh, I made it”.
Another piece of paradise in the middle of nowhere, this place ‘goes off’. Brilliantly set out, cared for, clean, tidy and full of local residents that spend 6 months of the year here escaping the wintry weather down south. Twenty-eight – thirty degree days up here is awesome. These lovely older people stay warm all year round and have a lifestyle that’s very sociable, as this is a little community of adopted ‘family’ (that’s what they call each other). Fishing is abundant here with the very tasty Blue Threadfin being an all-time favorite along with small reef shark.
Four wheel drivers, don’t go too far out as this very low laying, clay ridden beach waters are renowned for getting you bogged in ‘the sinking sand – or clay in this instance’. No good for swimming as there are deadly stingers, sea snakes – of which I rescued one, a meter and a half long mind you (wheres a camera when you need one), and also very venomous but a very grateful big mutha for being rescued.
Settling in, meeting my neighbours as they come and go, I get into a morning routine of up at 5.30am, head on down with my lap top to the café where I have light, and table and chairs. Perched up on the balcony overlooking the park and ocean, “ahhh, peace and quiet until 8am”. Doors open and coffee time. I receive a message from Pete (groundsman and security guy at Coral Bay Caravan Park). “Jules, I’ve just met an amazing lady who is also heading up to Darwin on her motorbike. She’s travelling through several countries. Can I give her your number?”. “No problem Pete, I look forward to meeting her”. Elisa Wirkala a young 34 year old woman from the USA rocks up a day later on her DR650 off road beast of a thing, with a 30ltr tank, this girl was not messing around. She pulled up as I was sitting at the café, and I greeted her with a big hug.
Elisa stayed two nights, giving her the time to also sit and catch up on much needed ‘lap top’ time as she said she was way behind in her blogging and photo uploads for an online female riding bike “Women ADV Riders” magazine which she supports and she assists with editing. Many coffee’s and scones later saw Elisa wizz off to hit the ‘Gibb River’ – solo, a very brave woman indeed. You can follow Elisa’s journey on Facbook as “Travelbugblues”.
Eighty Mile Beach an oasis on the coast between Karratha and Derby (1000km stretch), so who would have thought that I would be making a guest appearance to a large group of Rotary International members, all passing through on their ‘Tag – a- long’ tour. Some from QLD, New Zealand, Tasmania and Perth. What a great night with my public speaking skills improving all the time. Thanks Rotary E Club (QLD) for being great listeners and passing me on some new contacts.
Met some quirky characters who have been coming for 40+ years making the place even more unique. With an outdoor market two days a week, inclusive of Eighty Mile’s very own karaoke lady entertaining the crowd with her ‘old time tunes’. Its another little world here at Eighy Mile, a unique community introducing a whole new concept of the four wheeler ‘quad bike’. Kitted out like road trains some of them (see photos), carrying everything from deck chairs to esky’s, fishing equipment, sun shades – you name it, they have go it – all for the purpose of spending a whole day on the beach fishing.
Met the lovely Randall two days before riding out. Turned out Randall was on 4months leave and was from Perth heading all the way around to QLD. We became besties for the next couple of weeks with Randall riding out with me keeping a close eye on the sandy track, settling my nerves somewhat. I watched very closely up front with my Hawke Eye, to avoided any tricky spots he came across. Woo hoo! Thank fook for that, I made it and swore I would not go down a sandy track ever again with my little Ella.
Sandfire roadhouse – We pulled up with generator/battery problems again (I will master it one day), so I had to put the battery on charge for a couple of hours. Somewhat glad to ome to a standstill as the wind was extremely strong. So what does any hard arse biking enthusiast do when at a standstill? Buy some beers, went halves in a packet of smokes (ewwww! And Randall doesn’t even smoke) then bought a deck of cards where we sat, drank and smoked while playing Eucka, an old time favourite card game we both used to play in our teens.
We got going after two hours, tightened the generator chain again and set off hoping with the intention to reach Goldwing roadside rest area, unfortunately never made it to Goldwing. After about 20 minutes of Ella putting on an amazing firework display, back firing and shooting out flames (according of Randall), we did however make it to Stanley roadside rest area, about 80km short of our destination when Ella totally died 100meters from the Stanley turn off. Thank god Randall was there to help me push Ella in the dark on the highway to our rest point which was full of about 20 campers.
A very memorable night – a highlight of my trip which any outdoor adventurer would relate to and why we continue to do such crazy things. So here we are attempting to continue on with our game of Eucka (beer and smoke in hand), weighing the cards down to the table as we were perched under an open rotunda in 44 knot winds. Randall battling with the wind to put up his tent under the rotunda, and myself “well”, I saw the bull ants all over the floor and decided a bed on the two foot wide bench was suffice. So here I was in strong winds snug in my sleeping back made of silk ??, with a hairpin roll over space from one side to the other, wondering If I would end up on the floor. I lay there, listening, and thinking about the crazy events that unfolded making this adventure so exciting. I close my eyes feeling alive and grateful for the experience which left a smile from ear to ear.
Thank you Eighty Mile Beach/Sandfire and Randall for a fantastic experience.