Letho's Blog

Israelite Bay, Cape Arid and Cape Le Grand NP

by on Apr.16, 2011, under Traveling Australia

April 16, 2011

We reunited with Sebastian and his team at the Balladonia Roadhouse. From there we decided to take a detour to Israelite Bay, a remote spot only accessible via 4WD tracks. We were warned several times about other vehicles that were bogged down just days before and had to be recovered. Which costs a fortune, at least 400$. But fearless and brave as usual we drove right into our own demise. ๐Ÿ˜‰

A lot of 4WD track

A lot of 4WD track

Just to get to Israelite Bay we had to complete 130 km of rough track straight south of Balladonia: corrugated dirt roads, rocky sections, big holes and wheel ruttings. Once arrived, we would have to go another 180 km west to get to Esperance, the first and most Eastern civilized outpost in South-Western Australia.

On the way we passed Mount Peak which provided for a nice view while our cars and bones where shaken and crushed to little pieces.

Mount Peak on the way to Israelite Bay

Mount Peak on the way to Israelite Bay

Here’s a nice clip showing our ride when we finally reached softer sand which made it much more comfortable:

After some more shaking we finally got very close to Israelite Bay, reaching dry beaches near the coastline. Look what driving here feels like:

This clip was taken only minutes before disaster struck. We entered another section that looked not as dry as before when we suddenly realized that we were already driving on deep and wet mud. With a roaring engine we made our way through with our LandCruiser and reached the harder ground. Luckily we had precautiously engaged our 4-wheel-drive.

However .. our companion was not that lucky. For whatever reason (he said something about fuel efficiency) he had turned off his 4WD as soon as we had reached the beach section. As his car was fully loaded with altogether 6 (in words: six) passengers and with only 2WD, what happened now was inevitable…

The Nissan Patrol was bogged down. Badly. Not too bad at first. But our attempts to push it out only made it worse, resulting in the car being so deep in the mud that the floorline was touching the ground. Now that’s generally a really bad thing – the car couldn’t get anywhere by itself, it was extremely hard to pull it out and you have to do a lot of digging to get the car to a higher level. We were anxious not to get the LandCruiser into the mud as well – with no car left it would have been impossible to get help or even get out of this place at all!

The rest of the day was spent with digging (guess who had a shovel on board? :)), building a useless tow rope out of lashing straps that snapped immediately and ruining our metal winch (guess who had that on board? :)). The Patrol was just too badly stuck, even our metal winch with a solid steel rope simply snapped at the first attempt.

Therefore we had no other choice than to spend the night at this place and resume work the next morning.

April 17, 2011

The next day someone must have heard our prayers. It was not too long until another car arrived, stopped and was glad to help us out. A LandCruiser, of course. What did you expect? ๐Ÿ˜‰

And it got even better, another car came by, stopped and had even more equipment on board that we had failed to bring with us, e.g. good snatches. The plan was to create a convoi with 2 cars pulling together. See how it went:

Now that’s funny, eh? The helping car got bogged down itself. It was successfully recovered by the fourth car that had come into play. Afterwards, we gave it a few more tries:

So far no luck. The 2 cars left and went on to Israelite Bay, but left their equipment for us behind. Aside from that we learned that the bay was just 3-4 km’s away. We had been almost there …

After a couple of hours of more digging, deflating our tyres to what felt like no air left in them and building a suitable ramp another car came by, this time from Israelite Bay heading out. They stopped as well, but ignored our warning gestures not to drive onto the muddy beach section.

Guess what happened:

More help .. no, wait .. now they're bogged down as well!

More help .. no, wait .. now they're bogged down as well!

Isn’t that too funny? Guess who pulled them out? Right, we did it with our LandCruiser. ๐Ÿ™‚

As soon as they had returned to safe ground without overturning (that almost happened, or at least everyone who had watched thought so) we made new plans. The twoย  friendly Aussie retirees had a metal winch on board, so why not winch it out?

Ah well. Obviously the winch hasn’t been in use very often. Otherwise the broken bolt could have been detected earlier… once again we tied everything together somehow in a crazy manner, even the robust 10 meter snatches that already got ripped by us before, the 20 meter steel rope from the winch, another 10 meter snatch, and put our LandCruiser in front with another snatch. And tried again:

We did it! After 20 hours, a lot of digging, lots of equipment and a couple hundred horsepowers we pulled the goddamn Nissan out of the dirt! Imagine how happy we were … after all we thanked our rescuers and continued to Israelite Bay.

We found our former road angels, returned the equipment, inflated our tyres again and then .. no comment. Looking while driving backwards would have helped. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The only sign in a 50km radius - and what does he do just after being recovered? :)

The only sign in a 50km radius - and what does he do just after being recovered? ๐Ÿ™‚

We took a swim at Israelite Bay to wash away the crusts of dry mud and even saw a ray swimming along. After that we had no intention to stay any longer, but instead made our way out of this place – still a looooong way to go to Esperance.

We separated from the Nissan team near Cape Arid and searched our spot for the night which was Thomas Fishery Bay. After searching for some time we came to a steep rocky slope that did not look easy in the dark, but we made it down there very carefully and found the campsite.

April 18, 2011

After waking up we realized how close the Pacific actually was to our campsite – probably 20 meters?

We hurried out since the sky was cloudy. If the rocky slope from the night before would become wet, we would not make it out anymore.

We arrived when it was still perfectly dry, and it was not a big issue, actually. Things look worse at night. ๐Ÿ˜‰

That’s how the ride went:

After that we drove to Esperance, met the Nissan team again and decided to go into the Cape Le Grand National Park the next day. Therefore we made our way into Lucky Bay, a camping site in the park and stayed there for the night.

April 19, 2011

The weather had cleared to a blue sky and a warm sun greeted us. Let me just quickly anticipate that this day would be a remarkable one, in an unbelievably awesome place. We had heard attributes like „breathtaking“ every now and then for a lot of attractions in this country. This time it really was.

We started our day at Rossiter Bay:

The white sand, the turquoise to blue ocean and the blue sky made up for an incredible combination.

On our way back we had a good overview over Lucky Bay where had just stayed for the night:

Panorama view of Lucky Bay

Panorama view of Lucky Bay

This alone should make it clear how special this place is, don’t you think? Next was Thistle Cove. I’ll save my breath and just let the pictures speak for themselves:

This clip gives you a good overall impression as well:

The combination of granite, blue sea and the rough Pacific are really – this time – breathtaking.

Also breathtaking was the climb up Frenchmans Peak that we were about to absolve. The view from down below is already oh so promising:

The view from the top of this peak was just .. stunning. Look at it yourself:

Oh, and there’s a magnificent panorama, if you still don’t believe me. ๐Ÿ™‚

Panoramic view from Frenchmans Peak

Panoramic view from Frenchmans Peak

Exhausted, but happy we made lunch at Hellfire Bay. There we also jumped into the water. A pristine beach made of powdery fine silicate sand, so fine that it makes squeaking sounds if you pull your foot over it. Incoming waves that sometimes just smack you right in the guts. What more can a place for a swim offer?

What a day. Back in Esperance both our teams drove together on the Great Ocean Drive, a nice scenic drive along the coast which is full of amazing rock formations and beaches. What a splendid landscape!

We finally separated as we intended to go up to Norseman and Kalgoorlie. After a few hours driving we found a good spot for the night and concluded an eventful and awesome day with some awesome burgers at the Dundas Rocks.

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