THE OUTBACK AND SO FORTH – Monday, 5 March

We’ve come this far to see the damn dolphins and they better not disappoint. Every day, three feedings convene on Monkey Maya’s beach. We attend the earliest one, because we have another long day’s journey ahead of us. A crowd lines up along the shore while a dolphin wrangler with mic stands knee-deep in the water. Ali and I nab an excellent vantage point, perching on the pier above the expectant dolphineers. Sure enough, the matriarch of the pod shows up at the appointed hour. She has an angry-looking gash on her head, possibly from a tiger shark. One by one, her young ones appear. Volunteers from the crowd get picked to feed the animals. It’s really quite sweet, except for the climax when parents step forward to feed their babies to the sea creatures. It only looks that way, for many of the moms and dads of infants are holding their nodding progeny facing outward toward the deep as if assuming discernment and curiosity in four-month olds or perhaps they are offering babykins as a snack to the ravening sea creatures. Following an encounter with the breakfast buffet, following repacking, and following the distraction of an emu with attention deficit in the parking lot, we get the fuck outta there.

Alice drives. She guides us to Overlanders Roadhouse, where we indulge in a meat pie lunch (probably our last) while observing a dysfunctional French family run amok, then we turn north. These French parents are probably headed to the afternoon dolphin feeding, however, they give added dimension to the word blasé, perhaps in anticipation to offering les enfants to the water-breathing mammals.

We roll into Carnarvon late in the afternoon, too late to pay a visit to the Space Museum, so we settle into our new digs, a two-bedroom metal cabin at the Outback Oasis Caravan Park. Ali conks out which encourages me to amble to the supermarket for a four-pac of Bundaberg ginger beer (the best beverage in this quadrant of the known universe). I write and sip. And, yeah, it must be time for dinner. Our choices are limited. As the sun sets, a bank of clouds puts on a technicolor display which bathes the town in infinite benignity. We stroll the esplanade, stopping to exchange bright words with a sleek teenage couple drying off after a dip in the harbor.

 

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