THE OUTBACK AND SO FORTH – Monday, 5 March

We’ve come to Monkey Mia to see dolphins and they don’t disappoint. Three feedings a day are orchestrated at the resort’s beach. We go to 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 a good vantage point, perching on the pier. 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 progeny 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. Following an encounter with the breakfast buffet, following repacking, and following an emu with attention deficit in the parking lot, we get the fuck outta there.

Alice drives. She returns us to Overlanders Roadhouse, where we indulge in a meat pie lunch (probably the last) while watching a dysfunctional French family run amok, then we turn north. These French parents are probably headed to the dolphin feeding, but 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 allows 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 drink. 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 glow. We stroll the esplanade, stopping to exchange bright words with a teenage couple drying off after a dip in the harbor.

 

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