A Grey Day At Pink Lake

Mon. 20th May 2019

Fishermen's Memorial ObeliskWe now understand the price to be paid for the stunning sunset last night – today has dawned cold and grey and wet. I thought we left the UK to get away from this weather! It doesn’t really make any difference for us today, as we’re going to be spending most of it driving some 440km up the coast to the town of Kalbarri. However, the change from yesterday in both the colour of the sky and the temperature is a bit of a shock. As for this wet stuff that’s falling from the sky!!

As usual, Janet has the day’s route planned and has even factored in a stop so she won’t miss her coffee fix (more likely to avoid earache from her husband moaning about his coffee fix)! We somehow miss the statue of the giant lobster on the road in to Dongarra / Port Denison but we do find the fishermen’s memorial lookout and obelisk which is actually more our cup of tea (well coffee) with a great view over the enclosed harbour.

View from the lookout at the Fishermen's MemorialLooking up the path to the Dome of Souls at the HMAS Sydney memorialFundamental needs met, we crack on heading for lunch in Geraldton (or ‘Gero’) as the locals seem to refer to it. We’d been told by a couple of people that the memorial to the HMAS Sydney II was worth visiting and it absolutely was. The background is that, in 1941 the Australian light cruiser Sydney II was sunk during a battle with the German ship Kormoran. There were no survivors from the 645 man complement of the Sydney (though a few German sailors from the Kormoran were rescued). Whilst the battle was some 800km out in the Indian Ocean, flashes from the explosions could be seen in Geraldton.

Final seagull flying over the Pool of RemembranceThe memorial to the Sydney was opened in 2001, 60 years to the day of its sinking. And what a well thought out memorial too – comprising a wall of remembrance, the ‘Dome of Souls’ depicted as a flock of seagulls flying over a ships propeller (which serves as an altar in the middle of a ‘Lest We Forget’ inscription on the floor). The Eternal Flame hanging in the dome, is a pair of ships running lights lit in red and green. Nearby are a stele (column) representing the prow of the Sydney and a bronze statue of a waiting woman. After the wreck was found in 2008 (i.e. 7 years later) a Pool of Remembrance was added with a 645th and final seagull flying over the inscription of the location of the wreck. Altogether very poignant and very well done.

Definitely pink but not helped by the colour of the sky!Our last bit of sightseeing en-route is at Pink Lake. The weather is so poor that we almost don’t bother but a) its not very far off our road and b) we are suckers for pink lakes. Pink on grey does not have the same impact as pink against a shining blue sky and so we clearly were not seeing it in its best light. I’m really not sure what to make of it – the water level was low and it was a bit of a swampy mess in places. Also, someone had helpfully placed a ‘Pink Lake’ sign in the middle of the lake at one point. On the other hand, it was distinctly pink unlike the (no longer) Pink Lake in Esperance. Anyway, it was a chance for some fresh air and to stretch our legs.

Why is this place called Gecko Lodge?When we get to Kalbarri, it seems that we brought the grey skies and rain with us. Not only have we had intermittent rain all day, but Paul, our host at Gecko Lodge, says that the weather has been good most of the day and has only just closed in. Fortunately, the forecast tomorrow is good – just as well as we have a lot to pack in in our two full days here – luxury, we get 3 nights before we have to repack our backpacks! Kalbarri turns out to be a larger town than Cervantes (not that that is saying much) to the extent that there are more restaurants in town than we have nights to eat in them.

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