Camping in a COVID-19 era

Jansz Beach – on one of the first windy days we had during our most recent camping trip in our home state of Western Australia, just about every beach along the western coastline of Cape Range National Park was “blown out”, except for this delightful beach. What an awesome day.

When the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic hit our shores in Western Australia in March this year, we soon realised just how “small” our world is. Not only did we gain a better appreciation of how something that starts on the other side of the world can have a huge impact on us. But it’s also more evident how having to reduce contact with people, aka social distancing, can shrink our world.

In terms of the immediate effect it had on our little family, we had to substantially change plans for Lily’s 10th birthday party in late March. Instead of a sizeable indoor lazer-tag party, we had to change it to a very low-key outdoor water-gun party at the local school oval. Luckily it was a warm day. Later that same day, additional social distancing rules came into effect which meant even tighter restrictions. So in retrospect we were very lucky to be able to have the “plan b” birthday party.
As the months went by, Western Australia ended up enjoying very few restrictions while many parts of Australia and the rest of the world were hit hard by the pandemic.
With a hard border lockdown across our WA border, we can enjoy everything that our amazing State has to offer – for now (and we’re holding our collective breaths, hoping we don’t have any outbreaks). And it turns out that this forced “inward gaze” has made us all realise just how much WA has to offer!

A popular way to discover WA has been through camping trips and us Sandgropers have taken up this travelling option like it’s a sport. Our most recent camping trip was to the Ningaloo Coast which is a World Heritage Site. It contains the Ningaloo Reef along a 260km stretch, making it Australia’s largest fringing coral reef and the only large reef located so close to land.
All we had to do was swim a few strokes out and we were surrounded by beautiful corals and their tenants – fish, fish, glorious fish!
We initially had some very windy days, which forced us to relocate from Yardie Station, near the Cape Rane into the RAC Exmouth caravan park. Once the wind settled, we had some amazing snorkeling days at Turquoise Bay and Oyster Stacks. Lily was very happy to have a nice thick wetsuit, as was I, so we could stay in the water a bit longer (the water can be a bit cold at this time of year).

On our last night we did a sunset cruise that was absolutely stunning. The water was dead calm, which meant the whales were a bit sleepy and didn’t make much of an appearance for us. But despite that, it was glorious to just be out on the calm water and spot turtles, dolphins, some distant whale tails and even a swordfish that we caught dozing on the water’s surface.
It’s an amazing part of the world and I feel blessed that we have this in our extended “backyard”.
I can’t wait to return next year, and hopefully we can have a swim with the whale sharks.

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