Join us as we head north along the Western Australia coast, stopping in at interesting ports along the way and finally arriving in Geraldton, making final preparation for crossing of the Indian Ocean.Read More
The swell was up, but it was sunny and the wind was southerly. We thought we might leave, but then we saw huge combers breaking over the sea wall quite regularly. We walked up the hill to get a better view of the marina entrance … oh, man, it didn't look good at all. Breakers were making their way around and over the reefs and pounding the breakwater and shore. We watched as several large waves broke at the harbor entrance.
We decided to ask a local crayfisherman and get his take on the situation. The cray boats go out everyday, no matter what the weather. The Alba Marina III had just come in. We asked the captain for his recommendation and I quote … “You'd be fucking crazy to go out in that today. I haven't seen it this bad in two years. We had to go five miles south to find a clear way in through the reefs.” He further explained that if we could do 24 knots like he does, there would be no problem since we could outrun the waves. 24 knots … not in our wildest dreams. However, we'd be running into them and not surfing down them and getting turned around, knocked beam-to the wave and broached seemed a real possibility.
The forecast shows similar swells for the next couple of days and northerly winds, perhaps settling down over the weekend. We may be here for a few more days. Get used to it. Patience and prudence are a big part of the cruising life. We'll figure out how to make lemons into lemonade in the next few days … I've got plenty of sugar aboard.
When we decided to stop at Two Rocks, I googled the little town to see a map and determine what there might be of interest to check out. As I mentioned earlier, there's not much here, but I did happen to see a giant Neptune statue in the area and I started wondering what it might be and where. When we climbed the hill to the IGA, we were surprised to see what was waiting for us.
Just south of shopping center, we could see the giant Neptune on top of a nearby hill. On our way to get a closer look, there stood a grouping of limestone sculptures of very large “celebrity heads”. There were no plaques to tell us who the celebrity heads belonged to nor was any other information provided. They kind of looked familiar. Perhaps if we were Aussies, we'd know, but we were in the dark. We found out later that the heads were rescued from the abandoned Atlantis Marine Park just up the road and laid here to rest in their own little paddock.
As we wandered about looking at the heads, we saw another group of sculptures entitled the Waugal Monoliths. A plaque indicated that these were interpretations of the Aboriginal Dreamtime. The work, by American sculptor, Mark LeBuse, was commissioned in 1976 to celebrate Western Australia's 150th anniversary. Waugals, legendary serpent-like creatures with supernatural powers, lived deep within the Yanchep waters for thousands of years and are prominently featured in mythical rites and regarded with fear and awe by the local natives.
Waugals are associated with water, lakes and rivers and their slithering actions are believed to have caused the creation of many geographical features in the area. Aboriginal folklore handed down for generations tells how the waugal dragged its victims down into the depths of the lake to imprison them there forever. This Waugal was carved from wood and he lorded above all the other creatures.
We checked out each sculpture … fourteen in all. Some were whimsical like Quork the frog and there was a koala mother and joey, and a rather buxom Aboriginal woman, but others had frightening, pained looks on their faces … depicting birth and death or perhaps the fear of getting dragged down to the depths of the lake. All looked decidedly a bit worse for the wear.
On to Neptune! From his vantage point on top of the hill, he can oversee the port, but why is he there? In 1981, the Atlantis Marine Park was built as a theme park in Two Rocks. It closed in 1990 due to financial difficulties and has since been abandoned and vandalized. There's quite a bit of graffiti on old Neptune. The deserted park is fenced off with “No Entry” signs, but a well-worn path to Neptune's throne at the top of the hill was very obvious.
Against David's advice, I scooted through a hole in the wire fencing. I immediately became caught in the fencing when I saw a huge, occupied spiderweb only a nose length's away and then a bobtail skink slinked out of the bush. Needless to say, after an adrenaline moment of untangling myself, I was happy to take photos from afar. Further down the road, we saw remnants of dolphin sculptures. These pix, too, could be, and were, taken from outside the fence.
As we walked back down the hill onto Neptune Cafe's veranda, we saw another Neptune sculpture in their garden, in keeping with the cafe's theme. Even here in little Two Rocks, there is a plethora of public art. You just need to look for it.