Shark Bay is best known for Monkey Mia, the touristy destination where you can, for a fee, feed a dolphin. We skipped this, avoiding the crowds and headed to see the stromatolites, staying a night at the classic Hamelin Station:
We headed to Hamelin Pool. At first glance, these large dark clumps are rather underwhelming, BUT, this picture (sans R) is what life on earth may well have looked like 3.5 billion years ago.
These organisms, or something very similar, is what the first life on earth was like. They can, and do, live in extreme conditions–very salty water and temperatures up to 50 degrees C.
After visiting the stromatolites we drove to the stunning, remote, 4 wheel-drive-only Francios Peron National Park, where red cliffs meet the bright blue sea.
This was our, ahem, Lee’s first time driving on soft sand, let alone with a trailer. And it was SOFT. Once we entered the park and reduced our tyre pressure, we had to drive another 25 kms to our campsite. We started off strong. A father emu and seven chicks crossed the road in front of us. We drove on. And then we hit some soft sand. Bogged. Lee swore. I said, usefully, “It’s OK, honey.” We got out into the hot sun, shovelled sand, took the Max Trax off the roof and let out some more air from the tyres.
Lee gunned it out of there. I ran after with the Max Trax, which we kept handy in the back seat. We drove on for several kms . . .
And got bogged again. The French backpacker in front of us, driving the other direcion, was also bogged. We all got out in the heat, dug out tyres, let out more pressure, everyone pushed, and after five goes, we were out!
From then on, we followed a friend’s advice, “Drive it like you stole it,” and flew through the sand all the way to the campsite. Beauty.