You’re old and sad if you remember that classic (?) song from old Marty Rhone. Anyway everyone seemed to like Denham well enough. It took ages to get there from Kalbarri as we had to go east then north for ages until we got to the turn off. It was still over a hundred kilometres to the town. The water is beautiful and blue and there is sand and tiny shells everywhere. The red dirt is starting to show up too.
It was a great fishing spot. I got a squid the first night and used it for bait early the next day and got a few tarwine and a mulloway that was about 54 cm. I have always wanted to catch one of these and was told that people catch them off the jetty but though oh yeah sure. The morning before we left I went down early again and got nothing for ages but as soon as the sun came up… bang – bagged another one that was even bigger. They taste so good!
The first day we went to the museum, because I wanted to know what they were going to say about my old Dutch mate Dirk Hartog. For the uninitiated he is famous for being one of the very first Europeans to run into Australia on his way to Batavia. He caught the roaring forties across the Indian ocean and was late with his left turn and ran into the coast at Shark Bay here in subtropical WA. Hence this land was first called New Holland when they turned up. Anyway he turns up in 1616 (that is a long long time ago) and gets to Dirk Hartog Island (ironic?). So he gets there takes a look around and see this low scrubby bushes in red dirt and feels a bit thirsty. No water. Bugger this he thinks (except with a Dutch accent so it sounds more like Boogher dzis) and he comes up with this idea. Why don’t I scratch up a plate, nail it to a post and leave it on this island. Nobody will see it for ages because you need a barge and a four wheel drive to get here and they won’t be invented for a long long time yet. So that’s exactly what he did. Maybe they should have named it ‘Dirk Hartog’s Plate He Couldn’t Be Bothered Washing Up Island.’ Anyway he got home eventually and told everyone about this crappy, waterless, uninviting place he ran into and left a plate on. Was it a good plate? They probably asked him, Why did you waste a good plate? Plates don’t grow on trees you know, his mum probably told him. Well I called it New Holland. Sheesh! they would’ve said, no trees, no water, no shops, no pubs and you go give it our name! What were you thinking? Anyway if he had have made it sound better we’d all be talking double Dutch, wearing those funny, conical hats with the big buckles and eating rollmops. The museum had a replica of his plate (unhappy face) because the original went back to the Nether regions when one of his mates found it years later. They had an old post there too, but I’m sure that wasn’t his either. Apparently the WA government has chucked two jarrah posts in the same sort of spot to show where he put the original. It also had a replica plate with an English translation of the words. I expected it to say something like ‘Don’t bother with this place it sucks. There was nothing here so I left. It’s called New Holland by the way, so if you’re a local you’re now Dutch. thanks for nuttin’ yours sincerely – DIRK. But instead it was his name and his ship’s name and a date. So it was like an early form of graffiti tag, just no spray cans were used. I was fascinated by Dirk’s story when I first learned it at school and am glad I got to clear it up. Surely someone will make a movie based on it soon. Then a sequel. Then a remake ten years down the track.
We went to a big outdoor aquarium to check out some sharks and such. It was very interesting.
We checked out the dolphins at Monkey Mia. It is a place that is in danger of being loved to death. The whole area is blocked off and you have to drive through the only entrance gate and pay to go there. All the dolphins are wild but they obviously know what is expected of them. Its amazing to see them up close. The most amazing part was after the performance was over I got to see one them chase a big mullet up against the beach. It was definitely worth braving the crowds for.
On the way back from Monkey Mia we actually did our first ever bit of four wheel driving as a family. We took a sandy track from the old Cape Peron homestead to a place called big pool. We got some snorkelling gear while we were in Bunbury, so we started to get a little practise in. Both the kids are getting better at it.
On the way out of Denham we went to see some more stromatalites at Hamelin Pool.