To Esperence and
Return by Falco

A look down through the clouds at the Great Australian Bight

Descent over the clear turquoise water and fantastically sculptured dunes to land at the Nullabor road-house; just a few buildings in flat salt bush country stretching to the horizon, but the best place in the world to watch the Southern Right Whale breed and calve.

The next day we had a quick 4WD drive to the coast to the whale watching area (Aboriginal land with all sorts of restrictions, and no whales at this time of year), then headed off in hazy warmth for the trip to Eucla. Wispy roll clouds over the fantastic cliffs which run for hundreds of miles and mark the southern edge of Australia.

Approaching the Great Australian Bight

Cloud increased, and we had to fly inland then return to the coast near Eucla. Turquoise sea, sandy beaches and enormous dunes. Buzzed the motel for a pick up, and landed on the strip in a sandy depression. The motel proprietor picked us up and gave us her 4WD for the duration of our visit!

We checked into a very comfortable room overlooking sandy, colourful scrub and the dunes, then set off North to explore some limestone caves. These are huge holes in the ground with passages leading off to further subterranean depths. We did a lot of driving over the plains and with torches and Ian in his best trousers, descended to the depths of one of the caves which after a lot of crawling, opened up into a huge cavern.

The cliffs of Dover are white, but these are dirt-colored with miles of tree-less plains behind.

We slept well after a very good meal and a bottle of wine and spent the next day exploring the old telegraph station half buried in sand, the dunes and the beach. The beach is unbelievable. White sand and surf which stretches forever and not a soul to be seen.

We woke to low cloud and a bleak forecast 'though things weren't bad when we set off flying now along the endless beach with white sand, clear green water and the low scrub of the Nullabor to the north. Calm over the water flying in and out of low broken cloud.

Parked at the Nullabor Roadhouse

Then more cliffs with the weather ahead looking gloomy and the sea becoming wilder. Thick cloud and rain developed, and we turned inland, flying low over Caiguna in rain. We flew around a storm and the weather gradually improved. Over scrub-covered plains, vast paddocks and a mass of tiny water-filled salt lakes to green Esperence where we were met by our friends.

We spent the afternoon looking at beaches west of Esperence-I need to mention our beaches again. Really these are fantastic; deep Mediterranean-blue sea, pale blue near the shore, gleaming white surf, yellow sand with huge slabs of granite projecting into the water. Scarcely a person to be seen and the water, up from the Antarctic, absolutely brrr-acing.

The airstrip at the Caiguna Roadhouse -- note the taxiway to the motel



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