Cape Naturaliste, 2008

Red-tailed Tropicbird

Near its tip the Cape boasts a small breeding colony of red-tailed tropicbirds, at Sugarloaf Rock. It was early December so they should at least have been on eggs and certainly loafing around, if not sugaring, that coast. I regained the northbound Caves Road, or Tourist Route 250, and continued to ignore every cave and tourist attraction along it.

As vengeance my turning-off point bore a sign on its gate to the effect that the entrance road was closed. Not the gate; just the road. I could have driven in.

I did the English thing, parked the car – the distance to the end didn’t look too great – and walked, only for a couple of cars to swish by me. Local knowledge at work, I supposed, but some mending-like activity was in progress at road’s end. Here was a car park with more than just the two cars in it.

Humpback Whale

I could have felt a fool until one of the menders came across to warn me to move my car because they were closing the gate. Vindication filled me instead. That was to be the last of my smug satisfaction: not a single tropicbird, red-tailed or otherwise, loafed or sugared my disappointment pill. A disappointment all the more bitter for the dearth of wildlife, apart from a few gulls and one probable humpback whale heading north. It was the wrong direction; perhaps it had given up too.

I backtracked to Dunsborough for breakfast, having been awake too early for Prevelly’s café, and found fruity pancakes. The day began to look up: finding enough fruit and fibre for my early, or any, meal was proving difficult. I didn’t want to slip into fry-ups every morning, much as I like them. On the trip’s second leg, from Adelaide to Cairns, the better supermarkets would stock flapjack-like oat bars, which promised a travelling breakfast of some low-GI fibre, at a sugar cost doubtless.

Dunsborough was all about surfing, or other ways of consuming the sea, and only its supermarket was of any further interest to me. Busselton looked more promising and I moved on.

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