Day 17 & 18: Margaret River

Thursday, December 19/13. This morning we packed up again and headed south direction Margaret River, where we will spend the next two nights. It’s only about 45 km, so we took our time. At Gracetown we parked the car and walked part of the Cape to Cape track south. Shortly after heading off, we ran into a woman from England, Jean, and got chatting. Like us, she’s visiting and walking stretches of the Cape to Cape trail while her husband is off scubadiving. She’s an avid walker and it turns out she did the Coast to Coast track in England last year, around the same time we did; she had started it around the time we finished it. A small world.

Early-afternoon we arrived in Margaret River, had dinner at the pub, got some groceries and headed to the camp ground where. Got camp set up and enjoyed a lazy afternoon with some writing and blogging. Walked into town for some wine and a few more goodies–they have a Woolworth and they currently have the Ferrero chocolates on sales for less than half price, so I had to resupply my stash. We dined at the campground on pasta and spinach salad. Not bad.

Friday, December 20/13: We left camp around 9 a.m. and drove to Cape Leeuwin, the most south-westerly point of Australia; the point where the Indian Ocean and Southern Ocean meet. On the way down we stopped in Augusta for a coffee and muffin, then carried on to the cape.

Cape Leeuwin is a beautiful and interesting spot with an old and still operational lighthouse. It was windy–averaging 25 knots (approx. 50 km) per hour winds–with occassional gusts. Everybody braced themselves as they toured the grounds. Ahead of me was a young woman with her two daughters, about 1 and 3 years old. The youngest had only recently started to walk it seemed. It was touching to see her struggle, but she didn’t let the wind stop her. With joy and determination, she wobbled along, pausing a second after each step to steady herself.

We walked to the furthest point of Cape Leeuwin to see where the two oceans meet. It felt magical to stand at this definitive point on the globe: the powerful oceans; the rugged land, the strong wind. It makes you realize how vast and powerful nature is and how small we are; yet we are part of this powerful system. It made me feel powerful and insignificant at the same time; a strange, almost zen-like feeling.

At the lighthouse, we ran into Jean again, the English woman we had met walking yesterday, this time accompanied by her husband. We had a short chat and they mentioned they were going to visit the Jewel Cave, one of many large caves in the area, because it had been highly recommended to them. Roy and I had considered visiting a cave, so we decided to follow suit.

Being somewhat claustrophobic, I’m not a big fan of ‘caving’, but Jewel Cave was amazing. And it is big–the main space is about 40 meters high. It is full of stalactites, helictites, stalagmites, cave coral and a now dry underground lake. It is hard to believe it is real when we experience so much simulated nature.