Thursday, July 23, 2015

Dampier 12-13 July

We ended up at Dampier more by accident than design, and knowing very little about it. I think I expected into be more of a tourist destination thanks obviously is. 

On the way we stopped at Whim Creek Hotel. For some time we had wondered what the place was that had the distance shown as WC. This is a great pub and in appropriate tradition the WCs are named amusingly, Blokes, Wheelies and Sheila's (yes apostrophe man has been there as well).

Dampier is another port, exporting iron ore, as does Port Hedland. It is also home to the North West Shelf Gas project, which is one of the world's largest producers of natural gas.
A photo of a photo

This group of kayakers were setting off from near the gas terminal for a 5 day trip, in very windy conditions.

The gas project extracts gas from offshore rigs and transports it to Dampier to be refined. The complex is situated on the World Heritage Listed Burrup Peninsula (which I had never heard of). The onshore processing plant is quite large, as the pictures show. The Visitor Centre was very informative.
  Apparently the most recent development in gas production is totally automated, with no personnel offshore, controlled by computers onshore.

 The gas facilities are adjacent to Murujuga National Park which contains over 21 000 Aboriginal petroglyphs, considered the largest of its type in the world. However we didn't know that when we set out, otherwise I wouldn't have worn my thongs. So climbing among rocks became a somewhat limited exercise for me and my exploration of rock art will have to wait for another trip.

Dampier is also home to Red Dog, the Pilbara Wanderer,  a dog who wandered the Pilbara until his death in 1979. He was a local legend and the book written about him has also been made into a movie. His statue is just outside Dampier. We had plans to explore of the area but somehow they didn't happen. It was very windy and not conducive to exploring outside.
Red Dog
Dampier has also given us our first sighting of Sturt's Desert Pea for the trip, growing just outside the caravan park.

One of the surprises of our trip so far has been he amount of evening entertainment in different caravan parks. Lots of retired men seem to have found their guitars and voices and frequently entertain for a gold coin donation.The park usually gives a night of free accommodation. There is a lot of talent out there, singing their way around Australia. The park at Dampier was only small so it was a very sociable night. The following night there was an impromptu performance by the relieving park manager, so we left the small town of Dampier with very favourable impressions.

Campground entertainment

A nice sunset to end the trip
Near Karratha on a salt canal were this snowman and a penguin.

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