We left Monkey Mia under bruised skies and were dodging rain showers for the best part of our journey out to Wooramel Station.
I grossly underestimated how quickly (or not) one shower at Eagle Bluff lookout would pass and stood stubbornly in the rain getting soaked through. Hugh was hysterical with fear about the rain which added to the frustration of having to dash back to the car every time the sky closed over. Despite the setbacks, the view and wildlife spotting were still fabulous. We also stopped at Sorka's Point where there were dozens of little sharks in the water and turtles. Both stops were a reminder of just how much life is in those waters and we left with the feeling of wanting more. Another couple of days spotting marine life would have been nice, especially if it meant adding the elusive dugong to our list. We had the opportunity to stay at Gladstone Bay, a beach camp on the reserve which is a hot spot for dugongs, but the windy weather drove us on.
In the hot dry wind we stopped in to see the stromatolites at Hamelin Pool only to walk out there and find it closed. The board walk had been partially destroyed in a cyclone. Our disapoinment was managed by the fact we'd already seen stromatolites at Lake Thetis; and after sharks, turtles and dolphins, semi-submerged rocky lumps were probably not going to blow us away.
Finally saying goodbye to Shark Bay we moved off the coast and onto the river bank camp of Wooramel Station. The dry Wooramel riverbed is a wide sandy expanse, flanked by giant white-trunked shady gums, making for a lovely camp. The air is filled with the cry of corellas, gallahs and the occasional brown falcon and the charmingly lackadaisical whistle of the pied butcherbird. I am definitely more at home in this arid inland environment than Matthias who is driven to despair by the flies (they were shocking). But the thermal baths, a Wooramel drawcard, won Matthias over. After the kids were in bed we put a baby monitor on in the trailer and snuck out for a devine star-lit hot tub, which we had all to ourselves.
The baths were thoroughly enjoyed by the kids. Again we had them all to ourselves and swam for almost two hours in the morning. We had a long lazy lunch then more swimming in the afternoon.
With all that swimming we hadn't taken any time to explore anything else on offer at Wooramel, but I insisted on taking a short walk down the riverbed as the sun was setting on our second evening. The twitcher in me was ecstatic when I spotted a pair of tawny frogmouths in an awesome gum tree that Hugh and I were exploring. I've never spotted them myself and I was happy as a lark.
Claire had woken with a funny tummy the night before but was her chirpy self during the day. It wasn't until that second night that we were really in for it; a drama that will carry across a couple of chapters.