HELLO + WELCOME to the regular Wrap Up as we drive from Sydney to London, via Africa.
We’ve been on the road for 137 days now, that’s about 19.5 weeks, and we are so relaxed we might just slip into a coma.
Before that happens, it’s Kirsty here with the Wrap Up. Let’s go!
DRIVING AROUND AUSTRALIA
Since the last Wrap Up, about two weeks ago, we have progressed exactly 140kms. This is the slowest we’ve moved since beginning the expedition.
One of the big things we’ve been looking forward to has been the beaches of Western Australia.
Well, we’ve hit them! We had visions of fluorescent blue waters against white sand and the town of Coral Bay delivered it all within 100 metres from our campsite. It was peak season yet we managed to find a relatively private campsite for 5 nights. The chilled out days were spent snorkelling Ningaloo Reef and walking the beach while watching sunsets over the water.
Luckily we found a pub playing the State Of Origin and Gareth, dressed in blue from head to toe, found a loud crew to cheer with.
Lurching out of our chillaxed state we sped out to dive with Whale Sharks and then drove North along the peninsula to Exmouth.
Just before we hit the road we touched base with our mates in Exmouth who we’ve been looking forward to seeing. Both Jules and Marshy were away working on mine sites however had generously left their house key out for us.
The guys got back from work and we have had so much fun! Rocked with laughter and understanding. We’ve missed being around ‘our kinda people’ so much. So a week with them and their friends was just perfect. We rolled out of Exmouth feeling very grateful.
To sum it up succinctly: A small town that offers so much. A bakery that will make you fat. Ninagloo Reef directly off shore. Water clarity that made us feel like we were diving in a pool. Whale sharks. Dolphins. Turtles. Whales. Sunsets. Just awesome.
DIVING WITH WHALE SHARKS
Diving with Whale Sharks is among the absolute best things either of us have ever done. It was amazing.
The day we swam with the biggest fish in the World was the day the waters outside Ningaloo reef decided to splash about. It was ‘Extreme Whale Sharking’ as our guide put it.
A seaplane flew before us to spot the sharks and then as soon as they spotted the graceful giants we sped at full throttle to find them. We sat at the back of the boat and plunged into the wild waves. It was one of the single most exciting moments of my life. At first we thought we might not be able to find them, but then luck turned our way and we swam with them 6 times.
Here’s a note out of my private trip journal about the experience…
“This time the waves are rolling high and long. The plane is overhead circling as we approach. We line up on the back board, we thump across the waves, how we remain on it is a mystery to me. The skipper over head yells ‘Masks On!’, ‘Get in there!’. Our guide Kate says ‘Let’s go!’ and our little team of 6 plunges into the rolling ocean and swim for it. I plunge my eyes under water and begin searching with so much excitement every nerve ending is piquing! As instructed I look towards where Kate is pointing and a mammoth gentle giant appears out from the blue wet haze and glides directly towards me. I pick a side and can’t help but smile and swim my butt off next to the shark. The years of swimming training as a little nip pays off, exhausted yet far too excited I keep swimming. Waves curl up and around us all. We are swimming against the waves. A moments breath to dispel salt water from my snorkel. The longer I swim I notice the sharks shape and unique dotted markings. Underwater Zebra, my mind buzzes. Fish swim under it’s belly and by it’s side. I see it’s eye. It looks back. It is a magical experience made all the more exciting by being so far out in the elements, having just minutes before spotted whales breaching in the not to distant distance.”
Tip: Coral Bay Eco Tours put us up for the day. The day was faultless, grace-full and the crew (particularly the Videograher Prue, who has just bought a yatch with her fiance to travel across the World in, and chicks Rachel and Kate) were very inspiring. We finished off the day jetting back to Coral bay with a champagne in hand. If you are trying to figure out which company to go with, we highly recommend them.
NINGALOO REEF EPICNESS, EXMOUTH
Awesome days were spent with our friends Marshy and Jules. For those following the expedition closely you will notice these names from our very first magazine article in Pat Cal’s. We met these guys about a year and a half ago on the shores of South Australia’s beaches. We are so grateful for these two generous adventurous friends in our lives. They also shared their friends Josh and Neri with us; who we fell in love with!
/// Charter Fishing
Gareth caught his first fish of the trip! Stand up and give this man a round of applause people. Also, I caught my first fish EVER.
/// Snorkelling + Swimming with Turtles
A big moment of the stay for me was when we jumped off the back of Josh and Neri’s boat and a Loggerhead turtle made it’s way over to us. We swam with the guy for about 10 minutes. He was so curious and kept looking at us. At one point he came up for air about 1.2metres away, breaching the water we heard him breath in a big gulp of air ‘Ahhhhhhhhh’.
Afterwards, Neri, who spends her life on the water taking clients out kayaking and snorkelling, said it was the largest turtle she had ever seen out there. Lucky us!
/// Food, Friends and Laughs
To say a bit of a thanks we took Jules and Marsh out to dinner – which turned into THE BEST MEAL of the entire trip! We ate Mushrooms Fries and Jalapeno Poppers for entree and Seafood Gumbo for main. The restaurant was called Whalers, if you go to Exmouth it is a M.U.S.T. We are already contemplating turning the Troopy around just to eat there again!
This was suppose to be our last night, but somehow we all ended up drinking too much delicious wine and sitting around a huge campfire. As Marshy kept saying proudly ‘This is Exmouth, this is why we are here!’
The next day we began packing the car to leave a bit bleary eyed, all the while the effervescent Marshy began cooking up a fishing trip for G, saying ‘You can’t leave on a hangover!’ By the days end we were still in Exmouth, this time dancing around and laughing at the local pub. It was the end of the Whale Season party and the live band was going off!
PUBLISHED: PAT CALLINAN’S 4X4 ADVENTURES
Massive excitement hit this week when we spotted G as a cover girl on Pat Callinan’s 4X4 Magazine. We will be writing with the mag for quite a while, but it still gives us both a massive thrill.
For us, it’s a fulfilling moment in time to have our expedition published. Those familiar with us will know our message is more than 4X4. It’s about living big and meaningfully. To be able to share that message in mainstream media is very exciting.
If you grab yourself a copy you will spot our handiwork in 3 sections.
1// 363 Sand Dunes: A tale of our crossing Googs Track in South Australia
2// How To: Realise Your Dream Of Hitting The Road
3// Product Reviews of garry good gear that’s been proving itself over the past months
If you are in Australia, grab yourself a copy from your local newsagent.
GARRY GOOD GEAR
A few people have asked us about our water set-up in the 4WD. Gareth is a plumber by trade and our set-up has been seamless.
We have a tank and two outlets. One providing filtered water on demand and one providing water direct from tank.
We would love to give a big shout out to the Australian made Long Ranger water tank fitted under the Troopy. It hasn’t missed a beat.
If there is enough interest we will post a video on our set-up including the water configuration. There is such a lack of quality information online that we reckon this might really help people with their plans.
That’s us all wrapped up! Now, we head South.
Got a question? Enjoying the site? Want us to write about something? Just want to say Hi!? Do it all in the comments below.
As always, thanks for supporting this epic expedition, having you share it all makes it so much more richer for us!