Blog 188 Quobba and the Blowholes 21st October – 1st November 2011

The ride back out from the Exmouth Peninsula was a long one, along the way we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn for the second time which signalled that we had moved down from the tropical north and just in time.


Our immediate destination was Carnarvon which was a fairly big place by outback W.A standards, the ride was fairly uneventful but we didn’t arrive until about 4.30pm due to the late start in Exmouth trying to obtain our underwater photos. Screeching to a halt outside the post office I ran in as we were expecting a parcel from home to be there waiting for us, only it wasn’t there- drat.

When I got back a group of young aboriginal kids exitedly surrounded the bike asking questions and looking at everything. One of them asked what the plastic pot hanging from the roof was, Karen explained it was a donations pot to help keep us going and lo and behold the next minute the young fella reached into his pocket pulled out 50 cents and put it in the pot. Thanks mate

We needed to find a campsite sharpish there were some in town but they were expensive and uninspiring. A few people had recomended Quobba station about 75km out of town right next to the sea. It is a working sheep station with it’s own campsite so we headed there.

During our time out here Karen received some sad news from home her last remaining Grandparent had died. It seemed a fitting place for quiet reflection out in this wild landscape to say goodbye.

On the way were the blowholes natural waterspouts created by the waves blasting into holes in the rocks, the sun was just starting to set and it was wild and beautiful.

Quobba staion was 10k beyond on a good dirt road and we just got there as the sun dropped over the horizon. We rode past salt pans and Lake Mcleod an inland salt lake which mines salt commercially.

Quobba is right on the wild west coast and has an amazing beach covered in washed up coral and oyster shells from nearby ningaloo reef. We got chatting to Rob and Henma some fellow travellers that night and had a great evening.

Red Bluff 60 km further up the dirt road was recommended to explore too, it had a beautiful sandy beach and a not so beautiful sandy track as the pictures will show. Deep sand is a bitch to ride on, there is a picture of the resulting bruise in the batch below. The sea was rough there too, a few brave souls were surfing in it but there were a lot of broken surfboards and bloody noses in evidence among the surfers we met. It was a beautiful spot though.

The sunsets on the west coast were amazing and of course always over the sea.

One of the fishermen gave us this spanish mackerel caught early one morning,       I thought it was an absolute monster but he said nah they get a lot bigger than that. I had to try to remember how to gut and fillet a fish, it worked out okay and was absolutely delicous. The last picture is a fish skull hanging up on one of the sheds, it gives you some idea how big some of the fish are here.

We were just thinking about leaving when we got talking to the owners, they were looking for some help with their upcoming sheep muster and we offered to help for a few days as long as we could stay for free. Stations in Australia are absolutely huge and every so often the animals need to be mustered for their welfare. We were happy to help for a few days  just for the experience and it what an experience it was. They upgraded us to a cabin with a kitchen and it was nice to be able to cook on a stove.

The sheep are mustered over some really wild country using dirt bikes and radio’s controlled by the boss who was overseeing things from the air in an autogiro (which was a fascinating bit of kit in itself)

The riding was full on, no tracks just making your own path. Sometimes pushing through scrub, over sand dunes, through gullies where ever the sheep went you had to follow. Most of it was in deep deep sand too, it was above Karens sand riding level so only I went out on the muster. On the plus side they lent us their two dirt bikes to have a bit of a practice on before we got started so Karen got to have a play off road too at her level.

Once the different mobs of sheep are bought together we drove them down to the yards to be sorted, de horned,  ear tagged and vaccinated. Karen managed to get a few pictures in the yard but out on the bikes things were just too manic to get any pictures sadly. I had a worn out lamb stuffed down the front of my boiler suit on the last drive anyway making reaching anything in my pockets impossible.

After a few days an experienced local stockman turned up looking for work so we moved on but it was a real eye opening experience and we’re glad we got the chance to help. The bike is now sporting some sheep horns for decoration.

The timing was good as that weekend the Gascoyne Dash (a 360km desert race) was on, we had an invite to join some locals too so we rode 300 km inland to go and watch. The last 7km was a mission as it was all…….. you guessed it deep sand. We made it with 2 spills on the way in and fitted the outriggers on the way out.

The Aussies were there in their usual style, utes, swags and esky’s eveywhere (pickup trucks, outdoor sleeping bags and icebox’s- translated)   they don’t go anywhere camping without a supply of cold beer and ice.

It was a great weekend, we had a couple of guys in the team to cheer on (Charlie and Graham) and we got some good pictures. Just finishing the dash is an achievement in itself many don’t. It is a full on flat out desert race against the clock for motocross bikes, quads, buggys and 4×4′s.

Both our riders finished and Charlie did really well, starting 16th from memory he picked up a few places and finished about 14th which was one hell of an achievment considering the front runners are professional riders for factory teams.

Here are some pictures. Charlie is No.227 and Graham is 444

While we were there we met Ben Fogle who is a tv presenter from the UK. He was racing in someone elses car for a challenge series on bbc digital. We had a chat with him and his cameraman after they had finished filming and got a picture together. Ben always comes across as a down to earth nice guy and thats exactly how he is in person.

Heres some other pictures of the weekend. Checkout the roadkill kitchen whose motto was “you kill em we grill em” and “the meats so tender cause we drove over it twice”

Thanks to Malcom and all the crew for a great weekend.

On the way back to Carnarvon we clocked over 100’000 miles (160’000km). So we stopped on the highway to film the speedo returning to 000000. Told you Australia has racked the miles up.  We left on 60’000 miles so have covered 40’000 miles or approx 70’000km so far. We now have a new bike again !

Next up Denham and the dolphins.

  1. #1 by Kev & Karen on December 6, 2011 - 12:13 am

    Hi Julie,
    I’m so pleased your dad made a speedy recovery give him my very best wishes. It was a little different with my grandmum she had alzheimers for over 8 years so we had already lost the person she once was.
    They changed a few bits in Red Dog for the film but yes I did have tear in my eye at the end and I can’t believe Rusty’s 10.
    We’re still having fun but I can’t get my head round this hot Christmas lark!
    Love Karen and Kev xx

  2. #2 by Julie on December 5, 2011 - 10:58 pm

    Dear Karen
    So sorry to hear your news. It must be hard to come to terms with it being so far away. Not the same thing, but we had a scare as my dad had a stroke on Sunday but seems to have made a miraculous recovery in two days!
    We’ve both read Red Dog and really enjoyed it but it is really sad as well. Did you have a little cry at the end of the film? Rusty’s just got a clean bill of health – not bad for 10 years old!
    Have fun.

  3. #3 by Kev & Karen on December 1, 2011 - 8:27 am

    Hi Jane,
    Meeting Ben was indeed a highlight he is as charming, nice and good looking as he comes across on screen, a real genuine guy. The feature on the gas dash comes out on BBC Knowledge in February sometime. Karen xx

  4. #4 by Jane on November 30, 2011 - 10:19 am

    What an exciting and varied time you are having. Sorry about Karen’s sad news but all your families must be very proud of your adventures. Lucky you meeting Ben, almost as exciting as Eddie Irving – Karen will explain!! Keep travelling safe, looking forward to the next chapters. Jane xx

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