After finding a Woolworths back in Albany, purchasing more supplies and having a freshen up in the toilets we cooked our breakfast bacon butties in the car park and planned our first sight.
On the map, just below Albany was a peninsular with some interesting land marks on; The Gap & Natural Bridge and the Blowholes. We decided to check these out first before heading west along the coast to Denmark.
What I may not have mentioned previously is that the weather, so far, had been pretty wet and windy. What we didn’t realise until we left the town was quite how windy it had been and still was in fact. As we entered Torndirrup National Park we began to see the devastation that had been wreaked upon the trees; pretty much every tree had torn limbs, snapped out branches and in some cases had been blown over completely. We began to realise we had been pretty lucky the night before, being parked under trees as we had been.
As we turned down the road to The Gap & Natural Bridge (we didn’t realise this until afterwards as we thought we were on our way to see the Blowholes) the wind began to get stronger and the rain, heavier. We soon realised it would not be safe to continue driving the camper van as the closer we got, the worse the weather got and we didn’t want to risk it getting blown over:
Instead we turned the camper van around and parked up, then bravely donned our wet weather gear before venturing out on foot. I thought I would be nice and protected in my goretex jacket but it was all we could do to open the doors and climb out without the wind ripping them off the van. It was only fifty or so metres to the viewing area but it took everything we had to get there. We couldn’t see where we were going as the lashing water and wind was so fierce we couldn’t look directly ahead. I was nearly lifted clean off the ground at one point and several cars that were driving back stopped, the passengers winding down their windows to check we were ok.
By the time we made it to the viewing deck we realised it wasn’t rain that had soaked us to our skin but sea spray being blown at us from The Gap. We made it to the information board but went no further as it was seriously dangerous and we really couldn’t see a thing so had no way of telling if there was a nasty drop or suchlike.
Various cars were pulling up and one guy wound his window down and started taking pictures of us battling with the elements; something I couldn’t do as my camera was not water proof and would have been ruined before it even found it’s way out of the case. I went over to him and asked him if he might be kind enough to email them to us. After much bellowing he said he would and I did my best to give him my email address, but alas, either he forgot or wrote it down wrong because to date we have not received anything.
Thank you to John and Marcia at aussiecamper.com for the above picture. They were obviously lucky to visit on a calm day.
Once back at the camper we had to take it in turns to have a complete change of clothing. Although mine and Mat’s jackets had kept out torsos dry every other inch of our bodies was soaked through, even our boots were full of water. It was not a pleasant experience and it began to dawn on us that maybe we had been a little fool hardy, not brave, as Mat only had some shorts to change into and Tom’s only jacket was wet through, not to mention our walking boots that would need a good day or two to dry out.
However, instead of letting it get us down we drove onwards to find the Blowholes. The car park for this point of interest was dry but on inspecting the information board we discovered we would need to take a short walk along the coastal path to get to it. It warned of spray and the danger of getting wet in bad weather so having only just got into dry clothes we regrettably decided to give the Blowholes a miss.
After taking a short tour of the rest of the peninsular we continued with our journey and made our way to Denmark, this being the next place on the map that Skippy had recommended to us.