Day 63-70 Esperance
Trip Start Dec 01, 2008
91Trip End Nov 08, 2009
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Where I stayed
Seafront Caravan Park
The weather had improved significantly our last day at Lucky Bay- the surrounds went from sensational to sublime. It was extremely difficult to leave, but knowing we were coming back with Mum and Dad made it bearable.
Having walked up Frenchman's Peak that morning, the plan was to complete the pack up and arrive at Seafront Caravan Park in Esperance to have lunch. Upon returning to the campsite at Lucky Bay we ran into Margaret & Frank ("have- a -chats") from Farm Beach & Streaky Bay as they pulled in looking for a site; Frank was in a Kangaroos polo-shirt! We caught up with their news and finally left at 2pm... much later than anticipated.
We happily settled into a large grassed corner site with views of Esperance Bay
A pontoon beside the un-named jetty in the middle of town with a twirly slide was our next encounter in Esperance. We spent some time swimming here even though the water quality in the early part of the week was below par from the recent downpours (120mm in one day). Most of the rivers content and storm water had spewed out into the bay, suffice to say it was brown and there was litter and seaweed in abundance, not an ideal choice to swim in, but the kids were desperate to slide in off the pontoon.
I shuffled us out of this swimming area as soon as I could on that first day and we drove out along the tourist loop west of town. It was here that we all realised why Esperance has its reputation as a beach paradise. The numerous coves and beaches on the coastline facing the Southern Ocean were spectacular. Our favourite, Twilight beach or "Hi light" beach as the kids mistook it for, was where the kids boogie boarded, surfed and swam safely
We also spent two full mornings cleaning the van and car as we had accumulated quite a lot of dirt and dust in the preceding weeks. B.N even splashed out on a Dust Buster to help keep the van clean and to save money shelling out $3 a go at a Car wash place. Our microwave, which had blown up at Ceduna, was finally replaced here so we were back to functioning as normal and very clean.
My next indulgence was "Coffee Cat" a mobile coffee van parked beside the Tanker jetty. It became one of our two favourite haunts during this week - it was also where you can find Sammy Sea Lion and his mate swimming, eating and slothing around beneath the fish cleaning area. Occasionally one of them would lie on the sand in the seaweed having a nap and we would sit and watch them whilst enjoying a great coffee sitting in groovy red plastic layback chairs supplied by the coffee van.
Our other favourite coffee haunt was Taylor Street Café at the other end of town beside the Yacht Club. With water views and enough areas on different levels around the café/restaurant to move depending on the weather, it was really impressive
The weather early in the week was quite hot, so afternoons were spent at Twilight beach. Maegan was standing at will on her surfboard after several sessions here. It began to get cooler by Wednesday afternoon and conditions were choppy on the ocean beaches. The water in Esperance Bay was slowly clearing and we starting swimming back at the pontoon with the slide.
Mum and Dad were due in late Thursday - a 7hr drive from Perth would see them check in at the caravan park in a site beside us at dinner time. Greg and I wanted to ensure we had food ready for them to relax over dinner and breakfast the next day before worrying about filling their fridge and cupboards. The kids were asking us the time every 15mins and finally decided to sit at the playground beside the entrance to welcome them 2hrs before they were due! Mum said Dad drove like a madman eager to see the kids, only stopping briefly for fuel and a toilet stop. Maegan and Max had been checking out rigs like they thought Nanny and Poppy would be driving, they hoped there would be a bed for them to take turns to have sleep-over's in
The "backpacker" Mum and Dad pulled up in was almost the length of a 22 seater bus, but there was only one bed. The kids were disappointed they wouldn't be able to have sleep-over's, but ditched us as soon as they woke every morning for cuddles with nanny and poppy. Mum still on Melb time woke extremely early the next day was desperate for her morning cup of tea. Dad couldn't rouse us on the first morning so started making heaps of noise out front til we got the hint. Mum was finally put out of her misery with a shot of caffeine, having been awake for nearly 2 hrs!
Friday night we took M&D to the Esperance Races. Greg was keen to catch up with Phil, the bloke from the Tavern at Grass Patch. It was a small meet, only 5 races, lucky as both Greg and Dad lost money on every race. Max was the only winner picking a horse in the last called Master Rex; it won and paid $10.80!
It was raining Saturday morning, the perfect time for another game of mini golf. This time it was the girls (Nanny & Maegan) v the boys (Poppy & Max). Greg and I kept score, ensuring either wasn't embarrassed by losing to the kids - Greg still gun shy from Coffin Bay
That night we headed back to the Gibson Soak Hotel for dinner. The outdoor area out back was lovely with a large grassed area and orchards. Greg insisted the children find him some lemons and pears without picking them off the trees. We left with my handbag pretty full! The kids started running races again and another boy joined in. This provided much hilarity as Max was super competitive and they started making obstacle courses and handicapped the races because their friend was a few years older and was kicking their butts!
The Gibson Soak is a ripper of a hotel. The meals were expensive but large and extremely impressive. Foolishly Dad and I ordered lamb shanks and to see the look on our faces when they brought them out in individual cast iron cookers straight off the fire would have been priceless
As we chatted about "The Soak", wondering about its history and why it had been named so, the lady sitting beside us chimed in with some answers. Turns out after 20 or so minutes of chatting she was the owner. The place was on the market and as we were singing its praises she decided to give us the full spiel. Once she found out we were from Melbourne she became curious of our actual address. Apparently she had had an offer from a couple who were yet to view the property and she made it clear to us she was not happy with their price. I believe she initially thought it was us who had made the offer and were dining clandestine to check it out. The hotel, its general store beside it, a large land parcel and a small motel are on offer for $900K.
Greg and I thought it a bargain for such a great place and called Max and Stella Robertson on our way home that night, telling them we had a proposition for them to go half's with us and offered them a "sea change" - wishful thinking!
We leave for Lucky Bay on Sunday but not before fielding many calls as early as 6am our time (8am Melb time) from friends and family who were worried to read that Greg had been electrocuted in the Sunday Herald Sun!