Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Lancelin, Cervantes, and Pinnacles Desert

Our second day of the trip was the one Greg was looking forward to the most- driving North to the Pinnacles Desert with a few stops along the way. First up- Lancelin. It's an incredibly small town about an hour's drive north of Perth. Why stop there? Because right outside of town stretches some enormous white sand dunes that are just spectacular. So much so in fact that they invented a new recreational pastime to take advantage of them- sandboarding! The sand is just impossibly white.

What is sandboarding you ask? It's like surfing, just on sand and downhill. You pretty much just stop by any gas station in town, rent a couple of boards, and head out to the dunes. There really isn't any guidance so when we arrived there were about a dozen people kind of standing on top of the dunes trying to figure out how it works. It works like this- find the steepest hill possible, otherwise you kind of just sink down, and stay on for as long as you can. Here's Greg, shredding it up.


The dunes are everywhere in this part of Australia, and they just pop up in random places. Here's one on the side of the road, rising out of a sea of green shrubbery.

Our second stop was in the town of Cervantes, on the coast, specifically the Lobster Shack. It's a major lobster fishing company in Western Australia, fishing and shipping to the world the famed Western Australia Rock Lobster. We took a tour of the facility, and they explained how they process the lobsters. They have long tanks that they move them through and break them into categories A-H depending on size, with H being the largest. Different countries and cultures prefer different size lobsters. Japan likes the smaller A lobsters, while Dubai wants H lobsters- the bigger the better. They ship the lobsters alive in boxes filled with pine chips, apparently something about the wood chip helps keep the lobsters cool and damp. Before anyone gets too upset about the live shipping, just know that all their processing and shipping methods are certified as humane, which is a huge source of pride for the company.

The main draw of the Lobster Shack though is their lunch truck. Lobster for lunch? Don't mind if we do! Greg went for the lobster sandwich. This is slightly more difficult with a baby strapped to you. Amazingly, nothing too messy was dropped on her head. This time.

Laurel opted for the half grilled lobster. Solid play.

That is an insanely huge lobster, probably measuring about 1.7 Imogens. I would not want to run into that thing out in the ocean. It's like a giant water spider, and that is not cool.

Awwwwww! Baby lobster!

Such a great lunch, and a great way to spend a couple hours. We totally recommend making a stop here if you are ever in the area.

Finally it was time for the main event- the Pinnacles Desert! The Pinnacles is about a four square kilometer desert covered with limestone rocks poking out of the sand. They range in size but the biggest ones can be over four meters. It's a really odd, but incredible sight.

Maybe the weirdest thing is just how abrupt the whole landscape is. It's not as apparent in this picture, but looking out, just past the desert is another large, white sand dune, and just after that is the ocean. It doesn't seem like all of these things should be right next to each other.

Imogen LOVED the Pinnacles. She actually stopped eating to look out the window and check them out. In the Otey/Jackson household, this is the ultimate expression of interest. She couldn't get enough of them. We now call her Pinnacle Peanut.

They aren't entirely sure how these pinnacles formed the way they did, and there are several theories. Our favorite one is that thousands of years ago, a wildfire tore through the area, before being covered over by earth and sand. So what we are seeing are actually ancient, fossilized trees.

It's a landscape unlike any other. Greg was not disappointed.

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