Exploring the coast


The Duyfken replica, Fremantle 23 January 2016, exactly 500 years on from Dirk Hartog’s visit. The building to the left is the Little Creatures brewery and restaurant. Beautiful beer, one of the world’s best in my opinion.

I spent yesterday exploring the coast from Scarborough to Mandurah with cousin Tom. Being a Queenslander, he doesn’t know much about this foreign country of Western Australia, where he’s visiting on special passport-free dispensation, ‘cos he’s my cuz. 😉

The aim was to start by showing him Fremantle, where the above photo was taken. This is the replica, built in Fremantle, of the sailing ship Duyfken, which was a Dutch ship trying to find a passage to Jakarta in the Spice Islands (Indonesia). They got a little off course and landed on an island off the coast of WA, where Captain Dirk hopped off his ship, flattened out a pewter plate dated January 1616, nailed it to a wooden post and buggered off to parts north, thereby denying himself claiming the whole continent of Australia. Silly Dutchman. As they say, we might have all been speaking Dutch if he’d been a bit more persistent. As it is, we have a whole population of politicians, business and finance people speaking double-Dutch, so all was not lost.DirkHartog

Same for the Frenchies. They explored all along the south coast but didn’t bother going ashore to find a Macdonalds, so we’re left with Cape Freycinet and the Recherche Archipelago, but soggy croissants and no Foreign Legion to banish Liberal politicians and other bad boys to. But I digress.

Amazingly, my cuz didn’t know much about Fremantle at all, which was lucky because I was able to bullshit as much as I needed to. Luckily it’s hardly changed from when I was last there about 15 years ago. I don’t get out much any more.

From there we headed through the maze of development of units and apartments along the South Beach and Coogee coast. It is packed with small houses, not really in keeping with the local style, but … I got thoroughly lost at times, it’s such a labyrinth.

Then it was down through Kwinana to Rockingham where I attempted to show him where Dad bought his first house after the divorce. I couldn’t find it – I suspect it’s been bulldozed and rebuilt. So we went off along the beachfront, which does look very nice these days. Many, many boats are moored there, bobbing in the waves – it’s very colourful.


Point Peron: I used to swim here often, snorkelling and fishing, but I was scared of that rock shelf. It dropped away and I was convinced there were sea monsters there if I went over it. (Polarising filter used here to make the water transparent.)

Then I took him down to Point Peron where I spent many happy hours as a kid in 1959 – 61, riding my gold painted bike with the white mudguards. Boy I have some good memories. Sea cadets at Palm Beach. Great fun.


Tom, looking very like a less well groomed Ross



I used to snorkel around here, too.


It was a beautiful day and Tom was quite impressed, especially with the clarity of the water. You can actually see schools of fish from the shore.

From there we followed the coast around thru Safety Bay, Shoalwater Bay to Penguin Island where the sand bar was clearly visible.

Then it was across to the Mandurah Road to Mandurah itslef where I wasted a bit of time finding Haruko’s beach townhouses. I got there eventually. A gate was open and a bloke walked through from the beach. Some maintenance seems to have been done. I wonder what the status is now. Does Yoshiko still own them? I wish I knew.

From there we drove along the Mandurah main street looking for some lunch and immediately got a parking space in front of a Malaysian-Chinese restaurant. We both felt like it, and when we sat down we both immediately wanted Fried Kway Teow. There you go, we are related and we like the same things. In fact, it was delicious!! Just the right amount of chili, just the right taste. We both wolfed it down, it was so good. $10.95 sitting at a table.

We had a coffee and cake too (at another place) and by that time both of us were too weary to do much more, so it was hit-the-road back to Scarborough, to Tom’s parked hire car.


In fact I had had another very bad night on Friday/Saturday with only about three hours sleep, so I was tired. I had another night of uncontrollable shivering – fever, I assume, and didn’t get to sleep until about 3.30am. Yet I awoke at 6.45am feeling fine. I think I have a UTI, but it’s strange that it only shows this fever every few days. I have an antibiotic in the fridge. I think it might be time to start the course as this has been going on for a week.


Tom made a good point – I’m too far out. I’m too isolated because it’s too far for friends to come. No-one visits me any more, almost no-one. I’ve actually come to love this house and I really like the area, but bloody hell, I’m lonely out here.

So the question is, move back closer to the city, or lease on a yearly basis in Bali? To move back closer to the city means a retirement village, because that’s all I could afford. That’s attractive, for the same reasons I thought I was going to go to St Ive’s Whitfords in 2012, but how to avoid the claws of these predatory companies, bent on extracting every last dollar they can from elderly, vulnerable people.

But living in Bali is very doable. I would not sell here, nor would I rent this house out. I would always want a place to come back to when I needed it, and I couldn’t bear the thought of some strangers being in the house. Nor would I want all the hassles of being a landlord, and the Centrelink implications.

I’ll have to get some advice on this.


I’ve had an email this morning from the woman I met at the Kuta hotel just before Christmas. That’s very nice – I was just thinking of her a few days ago and didn’t really expect to hear. This is the woman with the heart problems and the ex-US Navy husband, and the daughter married to a Balinese chef.

They went to Lovina just after Xmas and she says they’ve come back to Oz (Melbourne) with pneumonia and bronchitis. I don’t think they can blame Lovina.

I mentioned a few days ago about being sensitive to my being bare chested (all my life). It reminds me that in the restaurant at the hotel in Kuta, my US Navy friend just suddenly whipped his T-shirt off at the table and went bare chested. That’s what I wish I could do. I think it’s time I was less self conscious.

It would help if I were less fat, of course, and although I’ve regained 1.5Kg out of the 3.9Kg I lost last weekend, I’m trending down again.


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