We were over the northwest end near Shark Bay and the view was amazing to say the least. Apparently there are native peoples here, as I suspected, and although very pale skinned for this warm climate they seem to deal with the heat well. Soon after landing we were greeted by these strange, almost British looking natives and they immediatley wanted to see the amazing trinkets inside my backpack. After deciding I could leave without actually trading with me, which was strange, I was allowed to pack my stuff back up and carry on. Maybe someone else will want my beads and bits of tin and copper I thought. We were through what must be the traditional searching of the bags and into Australia. A man named Leslie met us in the main lobby and we were soon amazed to see that these people had somehow aquired cars! My theory is that some natives got caught out to sea on a very huge raft and were carried near a civilized country where they stole some cars and were accidently carried out to sea again and back home. The simplist answer is usually the most correct I always say. After buying some food off some locals we carried on to Leslie's house. He served us some traditional australian drink which was much like our own beer but with more flavor. Our first evening here was very layed back and basically we just had a visit and went to bed. The next day we got up and milled around for a while before deciding to go do something. I said to Kyle "Lets go buy a car" and he said "hahahahhaha" So I said "no really" to which Leslie said "my dad might ahve one". I'm still amazed how many cars these people aquired on their rafts. Anyone long story short we were on our way to Leslies parents house which is two hours from Leslies (which isn't actually in their home village of Perth but about 45 minutes away from it). I decided to try my hand at driving on the wrong side of the road with a car that is completely backwards inside and it went surprisingly well. Not near as stressful as I thought it would be.. Leslie drove the bulk of the way though and we were soon surrounded by locusts, not because god hates leslies driving but because they are quite bad this year. There's thousands and thousands of them south of Perth and the parrots and some other creepy grey and pink birds were all over the road eating their fill. Our first stop on the 2.5 hour drive to leslies parents was to take a picture of a dead animal he called a kangaroo.
I would have preferred the name Hoppy Hop Face but he insisted I called them Kangaroos. Kinda disappointing that the first Hoppy Hop Face I see is covered in flys and rotting in the 30 degree heat, but i was still happy. Leslies parents house is in a small town called...i cant remember what its called but its small and nice with well taken care of but very old buildings. We had a great dinner there and then it was time for me to load my good mule Kyle into the passenger seat )which is on the left and get into the right side to drive. The car we had aquired was built in the year 1979 and has a 4 speed manual transmission. Its pretty well the best car ever. The drive home was uneventful except for a near miss with a suicidal kanga...hoppy hop face. The following day was also pretty layed back but we made a trip to an amusement park/waterpark that I assume the locals use to worship their strange gods and to obtain bad hotdog like food. After 2 hours there we went to the beach and I set foot in the Indian Ocean for the first time. Very Nice. The water is rediculously warm but since we know nothing at all about the ocean and leslie never goes there we were actually kinda creeped out to out very deep. We would have to explore this further.
Yesterday is when things got pretty exciting, Leslie had to work so Kyle and I went for a drive into Fremantle.
Fremantle is almost part of Perth but the locals wont admit it. Everything there smells of the ocean and is very freakin expensive. Mostly we were looking for a bneach to swim at but we also found some delicious fish and chips. We found a beach and i figured we shoulkd go get some snorkeling gear and after a quick drive around fremantle and 120 dollars worth of beads and bits of tin given to a trader we were equipped with snorkel gear...I was also eyeing up a pear gun (you dont need a license to spear fish) but I will wait on that.
After about three hours of swimming and chasing crabs and whatnot at the swimming beach I asked a local for a good place to spear fish and he gave us good directions to part of the swan river which runs right through the middle of perth. We took off for it and found the spot he had mentioned as though we had been there a million times. Actually what happened was we were driving along and I spotted some guys getting snorkel gear ready and so i cranked the car into a parking lot and we went over to see what they were doing. Jackpot. Even Leslie and his cousins didn't know about this spot and there was basically unlimited mussels to grab. The locals looked pretty confused that two Canadian guys knew about this little secret as well. I tied a mesh bag to my belt and dove in only to come face to face with two 10 inch jellyfish. I looked at them. They wiggled at me. I stuck my head above the water and hollered "do I have to worry about these jellyfish?" to the locals who were there. "haha nope!" was their reply. So we swam around for about 20 minutes gathering mussels carefully since we didnt have gloves and all the while I was carelessly pushing jellyfish out of my way. Once we had grabbed what I thought was enough mussels we climbed out and I asked "so is there anything else I'm ignorant of and we should be careful of in this water?" to which the locals replied "yeah just the jellyfish". I blinked and said "wha?" to which he replied, " well the big ones, sometimes the little ones sting but mostly just the big ones". Already I can see Aussies are kings of understatement. That night we cooked up the mussels in an amzing sauce which leslies cousin Chris's mom told us about...1 bottle of white wine, a bunch of ketchup????, chopped onions garlic salt and pepper amd some chili powder. The ketchup (which they just call sauce) was pretty weird I though but the sauce was amazing and the mussels are definetly going to bring us back to that spot again and again.
My next mission is to lay claim to this landmass for Alberta, and King Ralph. (I hear rumours he has been ousted and contemplate returning to kill the usurper)
As our research vessel, the Airship Singapore Airlines, approached Australia I didnt know what to expect at all, even though I've been looking at pictures and reading up on the area for a couple years now. As we first caught site of the west coast of australia I was pretty blown away though.