We know we've got a diversion today: there's been quite a bit written in the books -- a lot of soft sand and aching legs. Also another 7km beach walk, with the crossing of Torbay Inlet: which we know had only been opened in the last couple of days. So there are quite a few unknowns today and we're wondering how we'll go.
The Guidebook uses words like "superb", "panoramic vistas", "dramatic views": so we have a high degree of expectation for today It's a short walk today as well, which worked out well because it was a very relaxed start! After breakfast (we are still enjoying the muesli), We wandered up the hill between showers to catch the post-dawn view and try for mobile reception again.
Had the most amazing sleep: right through to 7am (with a pee break at some point). Funny to get up and everyone else is ready to set off!!
Showers came through over breakfast and we rushed out to grab the tent and carry it complete into the shelter: a free standing tent really does have awesome abilities (not the first time we've needed to do this).
This is our last double-hutter today, and one of the biggest days of our walk. Time constraints necessitated trimming a day, and Isabel, our Foundation Helper, first suggestion was to bypass Nullaki (as a mosquito infested stop, anyway). We also have quite a few kilometres in a motor boat today: we set up Mad Fish Charters a month or so before starting the walk, and I'm very pleased too, as the YHA boys were saying that he was not available to take them across. But it's an early start as he's got lots of other work to do after us: which suits us as it's a very long day today – the length of the day tempers the excitement of the boat ride
We'd left batteries charging overnight and the boots stuffed with newspaper, trying to dry them (we were very happy with the results!). I eventually got up about 5am to make sure all the batteries were topped up (including the FUSE battery – which is an extremely handy feature of this gadget).
Not a brilliant sleep, but good enough. P got up early and I got an extra 10-20 minutes which made a big difference. We quickly moved the tent under cover as it wasn't wet and went through packing everything up. The honey butter crumpets were fabulous, P did a brilliant job cooking them perfectly. The new muesli was very tasty, so we're pretty pleased (no soap powder: yeh!!)
We'd decided the night before to get away early again for the run into town (this ensures that the shopping can be done properly, and also enables clothes washing / drying); so we were away at a very early 6am, pretty much in the mists of pre-dawn. The Guidebook has given us quite a few things to look forward to today: Monkey Rock sounds intriguing.
Hopeless sleep for me but P fared better. Snoring firstly in hut (no names) then mice scurrying around and some squeaking plus a little plastic bag rattling. Had been a spot concerned as there is a food bin in the hut but all seemed fine in the morning, despite not using it. some of the scurrying was awfully close to us, but I determined to ignore it. Finally did nod off as snoring abated.
In morning awake just as the grey light of dawn came creeping in, so quickly up and away by 6am. The boys were also up and happening.
We've been wondering, somewhat nervously, about Mazzoletti Beach since first finding it in the Guidebook six months before setting out on the Track (it's described as "challenging at the best of times"); and today we'll walk its 7km length! We also have a wee additional section up to Hillier Trig, and a diversion at the end of the day: not a huge day length wise, but probably quite challenging
Started the day not so early after a pretty good sleep (P put the inner in shelter) So pleased to get back to sleep after a wee. It really poured rain overnight, but not a drop all day since. So thankful!
Sandi has been looking forward to this day, and the canoe crossing since reading through the Guidebook during the planning stage! The Guidebook warns that "this is a long and challenging section that may appear more so in either very warm or stormy weather": I'm not sure I'd call today "stormy", but it was getting close and certainly impacted on the day; not that we knew that at the Caravan Park: we were just looking forward to the canoe crossing and walking through The Showgrounds that follow it.
At 12:15am P woke up and thought it was 3am, but checked and I was relieved as I hadn't got to sleep yet. Thankfully after that I did get off and we slept OK until about 5:30am. Then we got ourselves organised and tent fairly dry, so great after a windy night with many showers. The three boys (Michael, Steven and John) were up and happening too.
Looking at our intended walk today, it really is 'Round the Ragged Rocks' to Peaceful Bay – but the Track does this: it takes us out to special places. Today's special place is Castle Rock, the summit of Point Irwin, which the Guidebook promises will "provide breathtaking views". Today's menu is also extremely odd: a miscalculation a couple of days ago meant that we're a breakfast short, and we have Isobel's chocolate bars extra for morning tea – then we have lunch and dinner at Peaceful Bay Caravan Park. Not one of those meals was planned!!
Woke to the alarm early after a good night's sleep, which made me wonder if the soft sandy ground added to the comfort of the NeoAir Mattresses? Certainly worked!
Much better sleep, though it was pretty humid and we had the sleeping bags open, worked OK too. The campsite for tents was great, just like a maze, the very dense bushes were like a hedge all growing to same height and the tracks just cut into it. Fabulous. Turned out to be quite a lovely sunrise and a half moon still up. We were up and into it. Beef curry OK for breakfast, quite surprising.
The Guidebook says this section is another transition zone: we have very fond memories of previous transitions, so thin we have a lot to look forward to! We have a very short beach walk today, though if it's anything like previous days, the firm sand will make very enjoyable. Sandi is also excited about the possibility of spying some whales from the lookout above Conspicuous Beach (which is where we're planning to have lunch).
Had a lousy sleep with really weird dreams when I did sleep. P also.
Another cold night (I had the flap open this time) – didn't sleep well – or did, but woke often feeling cold.
Finally got up quite early to find all in the hut had had a bad night too with rats everywhere and they'd chewed into Adrian's bum bag (leather), where he had an apple and scroggin. Horrible. Relieved our packs were all right. Most of our food is sealed, but scroggin and muesli not.
The Guidebook warns not to linger too long in the sun, and it really was difficult to tear ourselves away... but we had a short day with the promise of magnificent Jarrah / Marri forest and more of the local Karri / Tingle / Sheoak forests, with a visit to the Valley of the Giants Tree-Top walk (which we're not sure if we'll do again or not).
Today we'll finish the Track's Section 47, which we started yesterday. The Guidebook says to make a prompt start this morning (always get a little nervous with those words as it indicates a more difficult day), but promises some of the "best Karri / Tingle / Sheoak forest in the South-West": so we are very excited about that and can hardly wait. We had a note on our ToDo List for the Walpole area to confirm our crossing with MadFish Charters, which we'd booked a couple of months ago: we'd sent a SMS and are now waiting for a reply (hopefully).
Now today. A good sleep for P and for me, barring a couple of hours in the middle of the night in which I fiddled with a limerick and song for Tracy [a workmate of Sandi's] and sent via SMS! Also thought that number for Claire in phone was wrong and looked at that and it appears to be problem. Bit relieved to have sorted that. Will put down limerick before I forget them...