In the very beginning when we were charting our itinerary, we decided to road trip down the West coast of Australia instead of the East because we dreamed it would be more of an adventure. Less built up, more rugged, less touristy, more natural. 80 Mile Beach, the second WA beach we've camped at so far is most certainly that. A 10 kilometer drive down a corrugated red dirt track and there is nothing but a caravan park and beach at the end.
The caravan park is low key and friendly. It feels old school even though much of it has been rebuilt since a cyclone came through and destroyed it in 2009.
Some people come to 80 Mile Beach for a holiday and don't leave. Many people come for seven or eight months of every year, every year.
Without the distractions of Internet and phone coverage and with a looooong stretch of gorgeous but shark infested beach, there is not much more to do than fish. And collect shells, walk on the beach and read and fish some more.
We are not fishing people. Farmer Bren kitted himself up with a rod and some stuff before we got there, but other than that all the different hooks and sinkers and knots and tidal information is a bit of a mystery to us.
According to local lore, us blow ins with no experience and brand new rods should have caught a meter long King Salmon. But we didn't. Actually, we didn't catch anything but a small non-descript fish we used as bait.
But don't worry, we didn't go hungry, we were given lots of fish to eat by friendly neighbours.
But all the catching and gutting and filleting was a bit confronting for a vegetarian of 20 years. I know that if you are going to eat fish, which I have chosen to, then this is the fish to eat. A couple of hours out of the ocean, caught locally off a rod, one at a time, by someone fishing it as a hobby to catch enough for a meal or two.
But still, the blood and guts, the smell, the sound of the flesh being ripped off the skeleton and those eyes that seem to follow you around the fish cleaning area. Ugh! (sorry!)
It would probably have been exciting to have reeled in a great big fish or two, but it's probably more ethical to cook up and eat some one else's excess.
I have hundreds of photos and stories in my journal from 80 Mile Beach. I loved it there. I think if it weren't for the sand flies and the need for groceries, I could have easily got stuck there for a while longer.
Happy travels you guys. x