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Sunset at Cape Keraudren. Use Google Earth to have a look at this part of the world! Despite the lack of fish, too much wind and the swarms of sandflies we enjoyed our stay here. We could once again cook over a wood fire. The sandflies on this coast are really bad. I don’t think there is any place on my arms or legs that hasn’t been bitten.

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We would like to come back here with a small off road caravan so that the wind would not present a problem, and with a boat. I have been thinking about different kinds of boats and these are my thoughts:

  • Cannot tow a boat as we already tow a camper;
  • Do not want a boat on top of the camper that needs to be unloaded before you can make camp;
  • Do not want a boat on top of the roof rack;
  • Do not want an inflatable boat – too heavy and cumbersome and crocs can eat them.

So the only thing that I can come up with is a porta-bote. These look like they may be okay so I will do a bit of investigation.

About 150 kilometres south west of the Cape is Port Headland and we were lucky enough to see one of the huge ore carriers entering the loading facility. She was escorted by 5 tugs and when you see the narrow navigation channel and the limited room the pilot has to turn her you can understand why.

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Didn’t stay long in Port Headland but went another 200 kilometres south west to Roebourne. Stayed overnight at the caravan park there which like most caravan parks on this coast is fairly empty due to people moving south to escape the heat. The occupants seemed to be either permanents or fishermen. PA110055 We met a couple in the park whom we had also seen at the Cape. He was a long time resident of the Pilbara and was part of a team that build work camps. You see these camps all over the region, this photo is of a fairly small camp. Built to house a fly in fly out work force the camps are erected where required and then dismantled when no longer required. This couple knew the Pilbara really well so that have given us a lot of good information.

The next morning we visited Cossack and Port Sampson. Cossack used to be the pearling capital of this coast but silting of the harbour, the decline in close in pearl shell and finally a cyclone that wrecked the place resulted in the abandonment of PA110062the town.

The town is now a heritage site and no camping is allowed. A lot of the original buildings have been restored and we spent several hours exploring the town and foreshore. If only we had had a boat!  Have a look on Google Earth.

We then went to Point Sampson. This seemed to be a bit of an upmarket area with a couple of caravan parks and was very windy. The harbour was interesting though.

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As you can see the launching ramp is protected by large rock groynes. The photo was taken at low water. Part of the wharf area was being used to store large mooring anchors, chains and buoys.  These are probably for use at the Cape Lambert iron ore loading facility that is close by. There were five ore carriers anchored in the bay waiting their turn at the loader.

After looking around here we headed for Karratha. Whilst in the Karratha visitor centre we heard several young people, obviously not Australian, ask for directions to Marree Pool. We had heard about this spot as a great free overnight camp however the visitor centre was telling people overnight camping was no longer allowed and the ranger would move them on. When we inquired about this she told us that at one stage up to 40 campervans a night where camping there and leaving rubbish all over the place so the council had amended the regulations.  This is becoming all too common. There are an incredibly large number of so called “backpacker” tourists in this part of the world. There are several companies that specialise in renting low cost campervans to these tourists and some areas such as Broome and Darwin have a significant problem with them camping in beach side car parks and residential streets. These campervans normally have no toilet or washing facilities. Whilst councils are trying to regulate such camping they do not want to be seen as unfriendly to backpacker tourists as a large number of resorts, shops, pubs etc depend on them for staff.

For us it means that free camping areas on or near the coast are almost a thing of the past and we are forced into caravan parks.

From Karratha we went about 20 kilometres to Dampier to try and find a camp (caravan park) for the night.

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