Finally Paul and I have taken some time to throw a line in. The first time, two days ago, was on our own beach – no luck. The second time was at a small jetty nearby at the local boat launching ramp. A bit of mixed luck here, we caught a few tiddlers, enough to cause a small adrenalin rush as we wound the hooked fish in, but none big enough to keep. Back they went to live another day. Plenty of bites with our bait easily taken too many times. So, not lucky for us, but the lucky fish had a great feed at our expense.
Late yesterday we drove the seven kilometres into town to walked the length of Busselton’s iconic jetty. We tend to stick mainly to our end of Geographe bay leaving the town area near the jetty for the tourists. However, as the jetty is a huge draw for fisher people, we decided to check it out for a place to drop a line from, some time in the future.
The heritage listed jetty is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Western Australia. Construction of the original structure began in 1865, with extensions taking place over the following 90 years to eventually create a jetty 1.8kms in length. However the port officially closed in 1973 and along with the port closing, so did the jetty.
The jetty, already in a state of disrepair was further decimated when Cyclone Alby tore through the South West in April of 1978.
Between 1987 and 2003 a community organisation, the Busselton Jetty Environment and Conservation Association banded together and raised sufficient funds to replace 50% of the jetty structure, establish a train service along it’s length, and construct the iconic underwater observatory. By 2011 with additional funding contributed by the WA State government, a $27 million refurbishment was completed.
Today, the Busselton Jetty at 1.8 kilometres long stands as a monument to the spirit and dedication of the Busselton Community. Its the longest wooden piled jetty in the southern hemisphere with a small train running throughout the day to transport tourist and locals alike, backwards and forward along it’s length. 1.7kms from the start is the most wonderful underwater observatory constructed 8 metres below the waters service. From the observatory visitors are lucky enough to view what’s described as Australia’s greatest artificial reef supporting more than 300 marine species. I have been down into the Observatory a few years now since, and it’s on my list for a repeat visit soon, so watch this space for photos….
But I digress, back to the fishing story. As we wandered the length of the jetty, fisher people were finding their spot from which to throw a line as the daylight faded. We walked for much of the way with a local fisherman, Bill. We were very envious, and complimentary of his home made fishing trolley built on the frame of a three wheeled child’s pushchair, the type used by joggers. I could see Paul going into mental overdrive taking in the details so as he could source a used similar pushchair to convert for himself. Then as luck would have it, Bill said he had a second such trolley at home, already converted, but with flat tyres. We could have it for $20, the cost of the wood he used for the conversion.
So, today Paul went and picked it up. It gets heavy lugging all the gear to the beach, and not only that, there’s always something forgotten. With the trolley having a space for everything, a lot of fishing gear will remain stored there, minimising the chance of something being forgotten. The tyres have been pumped up, and look to be just fine. What a find. Meeting Bill, who will be 80 tomorrow, what a pleasure!