One of things we enjoy doing in a new port is learning and identifying things that differentiate it from all the rest. It might be the way the Esperance foreshore is lined with Norfolk pines or the way the town embraces these beautiful trees and makes them the centerpiece of the town center with benches that wrap around the huge trunks.
There's a lot of history here in which Esperance folks obviously take pride. There's the Mackenzie waterfront garden we've spoken of, and various ocean and historical sculptures and artifacts displayed along the foreshore.
They've even embedded historical markers and brass castings of marine life into their sidewalks.
The shire's first school, a small, but handsome stone building, is now the RSL (The Returned and Services League... like the VFW organization in the US) headquarters in town.
There's a tribute to Sammy the Seal and great views at the end of the historic tanker jetty, we're told. However, nearly the whole foreshore is currently cordoned off for construction, including the jetty access, and we never got to see Sammy. And that “boutique aquarium” that Lonely Planet described has been gone for a couple of years … probably taking the “pink” from Pink Lake with it.
There's a park near the museum with a lotus pond and an interesting sculpture. Pleasant, circuitous paved walks take you through a thick copse of gum trees, alive with bird song.
Also near the museum is a huge propeller from one of the first wind turbines erected in the area as a research facility near Salmon Beach. There's an overlook platform you can climb up to give you a first hand idea of how huge the props are, not to mention a good view of the harbor.
This area is known for its wildflowers in Spring, but since it's autumn, there's not much in bloom. I spotted a yellow daisy-like flower that at long range I passed off as a dandelion, then did a second take when I saw it up close growing along the side of the road near the beach. Subsequently, I saw it growing everywhere. I couldn't identify it, but a local fellow has a great blogsite on Esperance flora and fauna and when I contacted him with the pic, William Archer answered immediately. My mystery flower is a South African weed, gazania linearis, known popularly as a treasure flower. Weed or no, it was a bit of bright color along the roadside.
Here's a bit of Esperance trivia for you … In January 2007, the national media claimed that Esperance experienced "the perfect storm" with wind gusts of up to 110 km/h (70 mph/hurricane force) which brought 155mm (6”) of rain in a 24-hour period, causing significant flooding (and the loss of the pink from Pink Lake). It wreaked havoc in the area, destroying homes, boats, livestock and part of the bridge which connects Esperance with Perth. We read the article and hoped there was no “perfection” around while we visited.
And I leave you with this trivia tidbit ...Beatles guitarist, George Harrision, used to visit Condinup, a farming region near Esperance. Makes you want to say ... wow!
There's more … when NASA's Skylab fell from the sky in 1979 in a blaze of glory, big chunks of it landed here in Esperance … we're heading to the museum tomorrow to check it out. Come on along!