Broome, will we go, or will we cancel

The RAC caravan park in Broome now allows a limited number of people to bring their canine companions. It’s a very popular park, and difficult to get a booking there. Once you have a booking the same dates can be secured for the following year.

We have a booking there this year from 9th August to 1st September. Having moved house less than a week ago, we intended to cancel this years booking, but we wanted to do it close to the time so as to be able to secure the same dates for next year. Our plan instead was to spend a month or so settling into our new home, then do a wildflower trip around our south west in early spring.

However, yesterday Paul mentions he’d still like to go up to Broome for some of the reliable sunshine that attracts us back year after year. It’s been miserably cold down here! Damn, I thought, I had been looking forward to seeing the wild flowers. He asked me to think about it. It didn’t take much thought – I’m always keen on caravan trips. An hour of thinking and the answer was yes, followed by a question, “can we tack the wild flower route onto our homecoming journey”.

Paul was up at the crack of dawn today planning the journey. The plan is to leave Busselton on the 5th August and head up the Great Northern Highway to Broome, three weeks of sun and relaxation, then back down the Great Northern Highway to Cue. One night roadside stops each night all the way. Once we get back to Cue we’ll start spending a few nights in places as we leave the main Highway for the wheatbelt area where the wildflowers should be prolific.

Of course, the way Covid and it’s associated lock downs is spreading around country faster than wild fire, our plans have to be subject to last minute changes or cancellation. But all going well we’ll be almost in Broome a fortnight from now. And what a pleasure that’ll be.

Breaking the rules….

Not Covid rules, we know any Covid rules are in our best interests, so we stick to those like glue. Not that there are any Covid restrictions in WA at the moment. No, the rules we’re breaking are the moving in rules to our new house. We’ve been given the key to the garage and are allowed to move things in there prior to settlement. We’re not supposed to move anything into the house until after settlement though, which is due to take place on Monday morning at 9am. However, the the empty house is open to the garage, and temptation got the better of us.

We’ve hired a truck with a hydrolic lift. and we’re doing the move ourselves. Paul has various, really good trolleys which help with the heavy and bulky items, and he’s really clever at working how to manoeuvre things around so as heavy lifting is minimal.

We had intended to to just fill up the garage, and wait until Monday to move it into the house. But our new Sleeping Duck mattress and base arrived earlier than expected. The base comes boxed and needs to be assembled, and the heavy mattress comes compressed, wrapped and boxed too. The mattress needed to be carefully unwrapped, and would need a day or two to be usable. It was going to be difficult to put the base together in the confines of the garage, and the mattress, at nearly 60kg, once de-compressed, was going to be heavy to move from the garage into our bedroom. All the staff from the lifestyle village had finished for the week-end, and wouldn’t be returning until after settlement on Monday. Sooooo, our bed and mattress is now in its rightful place. It took over an hour to put together, so really good to have that job out of the way.

And once we’d taken that first step, well, as my mum would have said – ‘May as well get hung for a sheep as a lamb’. It’s now Saturday night, and we’ve broken the back of the move. The heavy dining table is in its place, one of the spare beds is in its new room and we’ll get that put together and will make it up tomorrow. Our outdoor setting is in place, as are all of the pot plants. Tomorrow we’ll get most of the clothes hung in the wardrobe, the washing machine and fridge in place and the plumbing connected to both, and we should get lots of boxes unpacked. Monday – moving day, is going to be a breeze! Moving is so easy when you can take your time over several days.

Turn, turn, turn (to everything is a season)

The song Turn, Turn, Turn, written by Pete Seeger and sung by The Byrds became a hit in 1965. However an earlier version was recorded in 1963 by Judy Colin’s, and it is the Judy Colin’s version that I often hear in my head at times like this when I’m wondering if my timing is right.

As I mentioned recently Paul and I will be on the move again soon, in fact, in eight more days we will no longer own our little cottage by the sea. Instead we will have moved approximately 1km up the road, and about 100 metres further away from the sea, into our new home in a retirement village. Here’s a sneak preview of the new building.

We have a friend that often says that people leave it to late to downsize and move into a home that will see them into their twilight years. When we bought our little coastal cottage we thought we had bought ourselves a house that would see us well into our old age. As it turns out though the cottage takes up more of our time than we had anticipated, and it’s become clear to us that when one of us leaves the other behind (and let’s face it, that will almost certainly happen one day), this little cottage is going to be too much work for one of us to maintain alone. The market is currently good, and we stumbled upon a house in a retirement village that is plenty big enough for two people and a dog, but not to big for one person on their own. The village has a lot of things going on to interest the two of us at our current stage in life, namely bowls, heated swimming pool and a well equipped gym. But it’s what it has on offer for us in years to come that causes me to think that one day we’ll be thankful we took the plunge at a time in our lives when we were still young enough to both cope with the move, and to adapt to retirement village life.

A little bit more about my current theme song, Turn, Turn, Turn (to everything there is a season). Although Pete Seeger is credited with the lyrics, most of the words actually come form the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes (3, 1 – 8). Very little change was made to to the biblical scriptures apart from adding Turn, Turn, Turn, and repeating the words of the chorus.

Here are the lyrics:

Chorus

To everything, (turn, turn, turn),
there is a season, (turn, turn, turn),
and a time to every purpose, under heaven.

A time to be born, a time to die.
A time to plant, a time to reap.
A time to kill, a time to heal.
A time to laugh, a time to weep.

Chorus

A time to build up, a time to break down.
A time to dance, a time to mourn.
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together.

Chorus

A time to love, a time to hate.
A time for war, a time for peace.
A time you may embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.

Chorus

A time to gain, a time to lose.
A time to rend, a time to sew,
A time for love, a time for hate.
A time for peace, – I swear it’s not to late!

Is our time right, is this the right season in our life to move? We’re both only 66, are we moving to early? Who knows, no-one knows what’s around the corner for any of us. We know we haven’t left this move to late, but are we moving to early? Time will tell. But for now i’d better go and pack another box…..

It’s time to say good-bye to our little coastal cottage

We’ve loved renovating our little coastal cottage. But anyone who knows us well won’t be surprised to hear that it’s time to move on. Crazy, I know. After all that work……yes it would have been nice to enjoy the fruits of our labour for a few years yet – but the time feels right to be selling now. The markets good, and we’re finding that even though the house and garden aren’t big, it’s big enough to be a commitment that interferes with extended caravan trips. That definitely wasn’t in the plan when we made the decision to give up the life we were living as full time Grey Nomads.

We chose our agent and had an appraisal on our house prior to leaving for our Exmouth trip, and we had a look at a house in a Lifestyle village that appealed to us. With a favourable appraisal coming back, and finding the Lifestyle village, and the house available there to our liking, the decision to market our little cottage on our return was easy. We scheduled the house photography for the Tuesday after our return – which gave us two days to whip the house and garden into shape. Arrangements where made to store the caravan elsewhere whilst marketing the house, the idea being to show off the available parking for visitors. Arriving home around lunch time on Sunday, we emptied what needed to be emptied from the caravan, gave it quick clean, and quickly went through the house and cupboards removing and stowing in the caravan as much as we could so as to give the house as much of an airy, uncluttered appearance as possible. The next morning we delivered the caravan into storage.

Monday and Tuesday morning we busied ourselves moving a few bigger pieces of unnecessary furniture into the shed, dressing the beds nicely with pillows, cushions and throws, arranging potted plants both outside and in, and sorting fresh flowers into vases. The deep clean, and big garden tidy could wait until after the photographs. The photographer arrived, and expressed delight at our presentation saying it made his job much easier. We were very much impressed with the results he produced. Here are a few of the photos that went on the net.

The three bathrooms

Wednesday was spent giving the house and windows a thorough clean, and the garden a quick weed and tidy. The photos went on the net on Wednesday afternoon. By Thursday morning the agent had two interested parties, and by Friday morning, less than 48 hours from the house being listed for market we had found our buyer.

I’d like to make a special mention here of our real agent who handled the sale. Our agent, Chris Rigoll, from Busselton Agency, has been outstanding throughout the process. We’ve bought and sold more than our fair share of real estate in our lifetime, and we’ve had good (and some not so good) selling agents over the years. One agent in Perth, David Brewer, who handled a number of sales for us was in our humble opinion, ‘a bloody good agent’, in fact, we thought he couldn’t be bettered. After Chris Rigoll’s positive enthusiasm for getting the job done, his rapid success, and his attention to detail even after the contract was signed, I think David Brewer may just have lost his place in our hearts as the ‘top agent’. Both agents worked hard for us, the seller (nothing makes me madder than an agent who forgets from whom he/she gets payment, the seller.) On this occasion though, Chris has continued to work on our behalf long after the contract was signed. He’s been present for all home inspections too, (follow up from clients, pest, and building inspections), and that’s a first for us. The inspections never bothered us in the past, but after going through the horrendous experience of all of the post contract inspections in the UK when selling Paul’s dad’s house, it was really comforting to have an agent present who had our interests at heart for these inspections. So a big, big thank you to Chris.

All of the necessary inspections have now successfully been completed, and settlement is scheduled for 19 July. On to the next stage of our lives, living in a lifestyle village. I wonder how that’ll turn out…..

Snorkelling with the Manta Rays

Seeing as we are in Coral Bay this May, our shared birth month, we decided that snorkelling with Manta Rays would be cool gift to each other for an experience to celebrate. We arrived at the Coral Bay Eco Tour office on the morning of our tour at 7.50am as advised where we were provided with our fins, and the usual pre-adventure tour paper work to complete. A brief introduction to the day was given and we were on our way.

A short bus trip took us around to the jetty to board the boat. Once on board we were provided with fins, snorkels and an optional summer wet suits. The water at this time of year in Coral Bay is very pleasant so the wet suits weren’t needed for warmth, but as there was still a few Red Bell Jelly Fish around, and after Paul’s awful experience with them last week, we welcomed the protection the wet suits would provide.

Our boat for the day

We were divided into three groups of ten, with a guide for each group. First stop was a pretty part of the coral reef including a shark cleaning station. If you don’t know what a shark cleaning station is, it’s a natural phenomenon, a place where special cleaner fish await their big clients. Sharks, and other big fish arrive, and go into a sedative state while the cleaners do a thorough job of cleaning any parasites out from their gills and mouth. When we snorkelled across the station there were two rather large sharks, I think they were reef sharks, lazing on the bottom as myriads of little fish busied themselves cleaning them up. Hundreds more cleaning fish hovered nearby announcing their presence to any more big fish in need of a clean. Was it scary – well just a little. Definitely fascinating!

Fortunately this wasn’t the day we went. I think I would have been just a bit more than a little frightened to be swimming with this crowd.

A cup of hot coffee or tea awaited our return to the boat with banana loaf and biscuits. Snorkelling can use quite a lot of energy so the snack was welcomed to keep us all refuelled.

A spotter plane goes up at 11am to seek out the Manta Rays and radio their location to the boat skippers. We still had time to spare, so our skipper took us to another great little piece of the reef. On each of these reef snorkel stops we could take our time getting back on board, but we were told that when we started with the Manta Rays, we needed to keep fins, masks etc on when exiting the water, and we needed to be quick. Mmmm, I wasn’t sure how I’d go with that. Fearing I’d be to slow at exiting the water I opted out of the second reef swim. If I was to slow on the first dip in with the Mantas – well at least I’d have seen them once.

A Manta Ray had been spotted, we were off. The first group of ten entered the water, then it was our turn. We sat on the rear tail board of the boat awaiting the call from the skipper, “go” she says (yes we had a female skipper), and without thought, into the water we slid, and we were off. Having done the Whale sharks years ago, I expected the same sort of speed would be needed to keep up. However, the Manta Ray hung around underneath us, just gracefully going about his business and doing what Manta Rays do. The photographer with our tour would kick himself down, down, down, beneath the Ray and snap photos of us all snorkelling above. Oh to have such power, I can barely kick myself two metres under the water! Occasionally the Ray would roll onto his back in the water to take a look at us, usually with a succession of big, slow, graceful complete rolls in the water, only metres away from us. To get a full view of that big white underside – amazing!

Our guide gave us the signal to group together in the water to await pick up. The third group were dropped in, then the boat circled to pick us up. I managed to scramble back on board relatively quickly, not with the grace of our well practiced guides, more like the humph of a beached whale, but with enough speed not to be to embarrassed to go again. We had four amazing, magical dips in with the Manta Ray.

Back on board, wet suits and flippers off, and a welcome lunch of a chicken and salad roll, and some fresh fruit. Then a meander back into port slowing to watch Dugongs and turtles on the way. The dugongs were distant, and I can’t honestly say I saw them, but some on board managed to pick them out as they rose to the surface to breath above the dark sea grass. Apparently tiger sharks are common to see too, but none this day.

For our return trip we went upstairs in the warm sunshine. The water was clear, the sky blue, and the sun warm. We’re not usually ones to take ‘selfies’, but on this occasion a photo as a reminder of this memorable day seemed appropriate. The trip, the crew, the skipper, the Manta Rays and Ningaloo coral reef with all the gorgeous reef fish to look at – what a day, what a pleasure!

More photos from Yardie Creek

Paul was mortified at my selection of photos from Yardie Creek in my last blog post. I admit, I had tried to change them, but it became a bit of a battle between me and FRED (frikken rediculous electronic device). FRED clearly had the upper hand, so rather than getting my knickers in a twist, I conceded defeat and left the photos as they were.

Here are some better ones.

A tranquil creek at the base of towering cliffs
Paul, very colour co-ordinates with his kayak
My kayak is the better of the two, but a bit harder on the eye. It’d stand out though ever a search party is needed.
Tree roots making their way down the sheer rock face – how do they do that!
The creek isn’t that long, but there’s some inviting bends that enticed us as far as we could go

There’s lots of wild life to see if you take it slowly, Ospreys, and sea birds, reptiles, and quite a few Rock Wallabies. The Rock Wallabies blend in well to the cliffs making them hard to spot. Once spotted, they’re even more difficult to photograph as they blend right in to their surroundings. They’re awesome little creatures, and the mind boggles as to their agility. We spotted some in places I wouldn’t have credited a mountain goat with being able to reach.

It was very gentle paddling up the creek, and going slow, and quietly is highly recommended in order to spot the wildlife. At times we would just drift with the very slow current. There is a tour boat to take visitors up the creek, but we preferred our gentle kayak trip. Compared to our bracing, and foolhardy kayak trip out on Osprey Bay the day before, this trip was a gentle, relaxing, pleasure!


6 nights at Cape Range

The stark and striking contrast of the rugged, arid Cape Range alongside the sparkling white beaches, the clear, turquoise waters with the most spectacular underwater scenery of Ningaloo Reef – this is Cape Range National Park, the focal point of this trip.

There are several campsites in the National Park, none have water, electricity, or phone/internet cover. All are beautiful. Mostly when we travel we have Mr Tilly with us, and as dogs aren’t allowed in Australia’s National parks, it’s not a place we can visit very often. However as we had a house sitter booked for Mr Tilly for the month of May this year, we took advantage of the dog free time to camp in the National park and to do some kayaking and snorkelling along the magnificent Ningaloo Coral Reef. For this trip we chose Osprey camp ground, approximately 80 kms from Exmouth.

All of the camp sites are located close to the water, but Osprey is perhaps the closest. The upside of being almost camped at the waters edge is spectacular views, the downside is there’s no barrier between your campsite and the winds that this piece of coastline are infamous for, and those winds sure can blow. We arrived with our caravan water tanks full, and several jerry cans of water to top up our supply as needed. We were looking forward to nine days of off grid camping at the waters edge, nine beautiful sun rises to see over the ranges, and nine glorious sunsets to watch over the ocean at each days end. Then after the sun sets, balmy evenings to sit under the night sky watching the stars appear in the Milky Way above us. And lots of snorkelling along Ningaloo Coral reef in the daylight hours in between.

Just before the sun popped up over the range

The first two days were beautiful, a little windy, but nothing worrying. However, the winds had brought thousands of big, reddish brown jellyfish into shore. We were hot after first setting up camp, and believing these big jellyfish didn’t sting, we navigated through them and out to an area beyond where the thick of them seemed to be to enjoy a nice cooling dip. We were wrong about them stinging though, as Paul did get a small sting – nothing worrying or too troublesome though (that was to come later). We met the camp host in the evening who gave us the run down on the good places to snorkel, including two buoys anchored about a kilometre offshore for kayaks to tie up to. The buoys enable swimmers to disembark and snorkel a particularly pretty part of the Coral Reef. He assured us the Jellyfish would disappear over the next few days.

The second day we paddled out to the buoys but as the water was a little choppy we decided to leave the offshore snorkelling for another day. The snorkelling was still good in close to shore, and the jellyfish were definitely thinning out considerably. We saw some beautiful fish, and a few turtles too. On one occasion a very large turtle swam right beneath us. We followed him for quite some distance marvelling at how he wasn’t bothered by us swimming along above him as he gently went about his business. Apologies, we forgot the go-pro, so no underwater pics to show you.

The third day started out really windy and the water had a lot of chop on it. However the tides were right for us to paddle out to the buoys, snorkel for about an hour, with an anticipated return to shore made easier by the incoming tide to help us along, at least that was the plan. The wind on the previous two days had also been blowing mid morning, but dropped to a gentle breeze before midday. We were expecting similar conditions that day, and the wind was going to be behind us to help us on our outward paddle. Mmmm!! That didn’t go to plan. We set off, and in minutes the wind had taken us half way out to the buoys. The water was getting more choppy, and the winds were gathering in strength and showing no signs of calming down. We decided to turn back. It took us more than 1/2 hour of hard paddling to return to shore. I needed to rest, but any let up on paddling and the wind would have had me back out to sea in no time. I kept paddling. The camp host had seen us struggling to return and was at the shore to see we made it in safely and to help us when we came in to beach. Phew, we made it. Note to oneself, respect the ocean next time! That had been foolhardy and darned right dangerous.

That day the wind blew all day without let up, and more of the same was expected for the next day, a good opportunity to take the kayaks down to Yardey Creek for some safe, peaceful paddling.

What a contrast to the previous day. Tranquil, peaceful, and easy paddling too.

By our fifth day I’d started to think that nine nights off grid was perhaps a little to ambitious. I posed the question of an earlier departure to Paul, and he agreed. We booked into a caravan park at Exmouth for the following three nights, and decided to enjoy our last day snorkelling at a place called The Oyster Stacks. You can only snorkel this particular piece of rugged reef on a high tide. We arrived with plenty of time, and spoke to someone just leaving, “it’s a bit rough to get in, a bit choppy, a few jellyfish still around, and visibility not perfect”, she said. But she assured us there was plenty to see, and it was worth the effort. So in we went.

Yes, it was a bit choppy, in fact, quite a bit choppy. It was a little difficult to get in, and Indeed there were still a few jelly fish around. The visibility wasn’t the greatest, but yes there was still a lot to see. We were enjoying it as much as the conditions would allow, and were managing to avoid the jelly fish, that is, until Paul didn’t! He was a few metres away when I heard him calling me. Expecting him to point out something gorgeous I made my way over to him. “ I’ve been stung, I’m going in” he says. So we cut our snorkel short and headed in. Remember I said it was a little difficult to get in, well that was easy compared to getting out. Paul managed alright, but I couldn’t find my feet at all. The waves would crash me into the rocky shoreline, and just as quickly they’d drag me out again. Between a helpful bystander and Paul, and with a few minor grazes I finally managed to get to safe ground. Then I saw Paul’s back!!

He was in agony.

He had been successfully avoiding the jellyfish, but these ones caught him by surprise. We think the swell must have picked up a couple and dumped them hard onto his back, and foolishly, neither of us had worn our rash vests that day. I drove us back to camp, and we spent the rest of the day with him lying across the bed while I rotated face clothes soaked in near boiling water, wrung out and placed over the stings. Apparently he felt no pain at all as long as the face cloth stayed hot. As soon as it started to cool the agony returned. Several hours of hot compresses, several Panadol, and some powerful night time anti-histamines that treat allergic reactions to bites and stings, and he was out to it. He slept from 7pm to 7am the next day. When he awoke the pain had almost completely gone, as had one of the stings. The other sting has left an almost pain free birthmark like impression on his back, but I’m sure that will completely fade in time.

This is all that remains – miraculous

The next day we headed to Exmouth, where we’re about to spend our third night before heading to Coral Bay. I won’t tell you the type of wave we gave to the Oyster Stacks on our way passed as we were leaving the range. Another note to oneself, ‘don’t snorkel if the conditions aren’t right – give the ocean and everything in it the respect it deserves, and wear a rash vest”.

In summary – Osprey Bay is a stunning place to camp, but for us nine nights was a bit ambitious. Six was good, but remembering it’s approximately 160km round trip to Exmouth to pick up additional water, I think four nights is probably about perfect. It can blow a gale there, and when it does, the ocean needs to be respected. When the ocean”s calm the snorkelling and kayaking is fabulous, and when it isn’t calm, there’s always Yardie Creek. It’s definitely worth fitting into any dog free trip up the west coast of Australia. Perhaps for us, this will be our last opportunity as we expect Mr Tilly will be with us for the rest of kayaking/snorkelling years. For this trip the snorkelling was great, kayaking up Yardie Creek relaxing and peaceful, but I think those Jellyfish stings are going to be the memory that overshadows all the other good things from our Cape Range part of this trip. Next is Coral Bay, one of my favourite places in the whole world. I’m looking forward to that.

Red Bluff

It was Paul’s milestone birthday, a good opportunity to pack a picnic lunch and go exploring. Approximately 70 kms north of Carnarvon there’s a spectacular piece of coastline with small holes in the rocky shore through which the water from the crashing waves is forced upwards. The place is aptly named, The Blowholes. Whilst the Blowholes are exhilarating to watch, it’s the rugged coastline to which the waves crash, and then wash back into the sea that I love best.

We first visited this amazing geographical feature nearly 20 years ago. A photo of the rugged coastline was used as a screensaver on our home computer for several years after. I can see our latest photo of the same shoreline will possibly end up as another screen saver, or be elevated to a framed picture for our coastal cottage wall.

Nearby is the popular campground of Quobba. We stayed there many years ago. It lacks facilities such as power and water, and a chemical toilet is needed to camp there. The location is stunning, so it draws a hoard of campers – and in our opinion, there should be caps on the amount of people allowed there at any one time. If there’s 3 metres between campers, someone will squeeze themselves in, far to many people to cope with inadequate hygiene conditions. We tried it once, but we wouldn’t stay there again.

About 60 kms north of Quobba point is another camp site popular with the surfing fraternity, Red Bluff. We’d never ventured up the rugged road to Red Bluff before. We had time, so we set off. We weren’t checking out the place for a possible future camping spot, as we were sure what we’d likely find when we arrived, a place that would make Quobba seem pristine and clean in comparison. We hoped to find a nice spot to sit and eat our picnic lunch, and hopefully there’d be some surfers, most likely with heads full of dredlocks, riding the waves to watch while we dined.

The road there was rough and we probably should have have let our tires down to make the ride a bit softer. Never mind, no harm came of it. I could sense Paul thinking that an opportunity to check out Red Bluff wasn’t going to be worth the bone shaking journey. I jollied him along by promising I’d buy him a nice cup of coffee when we got there. He took me seriously, “is there a cafe there”? he asked hopefully. Better to let him down now I thought, “don’t be stupid”, I laughingly replied. We continued on.

It took nearly an hour to get there. A sign advised all visitors must check in at the office. Paul waited in the car while I checked us in as day visitors. “Do you have a dog with you?”, she asked. Mr Tilly’s safely at home this trip with our house sitter, so, “no” we don’t have a dog with us. A few of the attractions were pointed out to me, most of which were beyond the point where dogs are allowed. The safest place on the beach for swimming, the location of the composting toilets, and – drumroll please……

Really! “Do they sell coffee”? I asked hopefully.

Wow! Indeed they do. Check out the menu:

We ordered our coffee, and explained we hadn’t anticipated a shop would be on site, would it be ok for us to eat our picnic lunch with our coffee? Absolutely. So we sat ourselves down at what must be the most amazing view from a cafe in the middle of nowhere that we’ve ever encountered.

Not only is there a small general store/cafe at Red Bluff, but the camping is spacious, and the place is immaculately clean. There’s no water or power for the campers, and there’s only drop, composting toilets – very clean. It is gorgeous, and not at all like crowded Quobba, and not a dredlock in sight. But wait there’s more, much more…..

There’s glamping tents, and these apparently do have water, and power. There’s several dotted around, including these ones on a hill overlooking the ocean.

And if that isn’t enough luxury in the middle of nowhere, there’s even a Day Spa, truly! After a hard few hours of surfing apparently an hour long ‘ surf recovery massage’ for $85 is just the thing. Or perhaps a 2.5 hour body exfoliation, full body massage, facial, & shower for $250 would appeal if time permits. The surfing fraternity has certainly changed in the 25plus years since our son, at the time sporting a good head of dredlocks, lived for the waves.

Mind you I think I’d need one of those massages after just the walk there and back to the surf break. We walked to the end of the beach where the safest place for a dip was pointed out to be. Above us we could see keen surfers eagerly navigating the track out to the surfing point. We could see the surfers on the cliff in the far distance waiting to take their turn on the waves, and we could see surfers riding the waves. They looked like dots in the distance. If you look closely at the point in the photo below you’ll see the surfers gathered. The are surfers on the waves below but I think you’ll have to take my word for that, they’re to distant for my I-phone camera to pick up.

The water gets deep very close to shore, as can be seen by the depth of blue in the photos. Apparently soon whales will be frolicking in close to shore as they head down to Antartica for the winter. What a delight it’d be to see them.

The safe spot for taking a dip was protected by a stretch of reef close to shore. It wasn’t deep enough for a swim, but the powerful waves still made for an exhilarating dip. Sitting in the water as the powerful waves hurtling towards shore before having their momentum halted by the reef, and then washing over me was great fun. The water was pleasantly warm, and some of the waves arrived to provide me with just a gentle wash. Other waves arrived with the power of an agitator washing machine, throwing me around in water not more than 1/2 metre deep. Thank goodness for the reef, there’s no way I would have braved those waves without it.

Our expectations of Red Bluff were so wrong. The place is gorgeous, and I’d love to camp there. Unfortunately though, it’s rare for us not have Mr Tilly with us, and the point at which dogs aren’t allowed to venture passed has the best of what Red Bluff has to offer. We’re so pleased we’ve seen it though, and we’ve now been told about a place a little further along the rough road that sounds even more inviting, Gnaraloo. We’ve looked it up, and next time we’re passing this way with Mr Tills, I think we’ll be letting our tires down on the caravan and Prado, and heading up the track for a week or three at Gnaraloo. I’ll look forward to telling you about sometime. In the meantime, if you’re heading up the WA coast, and you don’t have a dog on board, bypass Quobba and head up to Red Bluff. You’ll be pleased you did.

A picture paints a thousand words

As any of my loyal followers will know, I’m not good with technology. When it’s going ok, I’m easy to live with, when it mucks up, I’m like a bear with a sore head.

For months now I’ve been ‘languishing’, I’ve had little motivation to blog, as have a few other bloggers I’m sure since this pandemic changed our world. The rare times when motivation did prompt me to attempt a blog post I ended up almost tearing my hair out in frustration as my WordPress site thwarted me at every attempt. I just couldn’t return to any drafts, only the title was saving, but no content. I felt defeated. My state of ‘languish’ would turn to anger, and then I would feel myself starting to spiral into feelings of hopelessness. I knew if I continued on I’d risk becoming truly depressed. Knowing I’m technologically inadequate, I’d think to myself, ‘what right have you to be part of this blogging world when you don’t know the first thing about the technology that runs it’. I was feeling like a fraud.

This week I felt a rare touch of motivation. I tried again. The same thing happened. I went from frustration to anger to despair many times through an afternoon of trying to get something that would save, anything at all that I could publish. Eventually I did manage to get something to save. I don’t know how. I didn’t proof read, or try to fix anything. It wasn’t formatted as I would have liked, but the words and pictures had stayed on screen. I published.

I tried again a day later. No such luck. Again nothing would save. I contacted the ‘happiness gurus’ from WordPress. My so called ‘happiness guru’ had me going down the path of browser problems. This story could turn into a book if I related all the details of our typed conversation, so I won’t detail the conversation or the links he forwarded to me. I was spiralling down, down, down as I attempted make any sense of what I was being told to do. My head was full of white noise.

Finally someone at the other end (I’ve been through a few ‘happiness gurus’ in the past few days) suggested we revert to email and I send some screen shots. Turns out this person actually deserves the title of ‘guru’, perhaps even ‘happiness guru’. I sent several screen shots, and the person receiving them actually looked at them. Turns out it was nothing at all to do with my browser. The screenshots gave her something to work with. A picture definitely paints a thousand words.

This is what was found:

M.H (Automattic) May 6, 2021, 16:07 UTC Hi Chris,Thank you for the screenshots. I see that you are starting in the WP Admin dashboard of your site: https://hassanipremiumsitetest.wordpress.com/wp-admin/ and not in the default dashboard: https://wordpress.com/home/lifeofrileyow.com. It’s ok to continue using the WP Admin dashboard as long as it’s available, but some features may not work as expected as they get replaced by more modern alternatives.The “Draft” dashboard widget that you are using creates content as if it was created with the Classic Editor (now deprecated). And you are viewing the content of the draft usingthe default Block Editor. 
But, as you figured out, these blocks can be fixed by converting them to “Classic Blocks”. From there you can convert them to regular blocks by clicking “Convert to blocks”. As demonstrated below:

A bit more detail was added, but then the gem came, the lightbulb piece of advice!


🔍 Please note that another quick way to start creating content is to click the “Write” button in the top right corner of your WordPress.com dashboard:https://woothemes.zendesk.com/attachments/token/p7TmGXU1kUYNxLBFXjUptXXU5/?name=GpXxSPbZl1.png

And presto! It works.

I have saved this post many times in draft form, and returned to it. I can’t tell you how good it feels to actually see content saved instead of just the title. If elation is the opposite of despair, then my mind set is definitely the opposite of what has been of late when attempting a blog post. Any formatting errors or spelling, or grammatical errors are definitely attributable to the writer this time. And that is most definitely my pleasure!