Exmouth Again – Surf, Funerals, Knobs

On Monday morning we left our camp base in Exmouth town and headed for Cape Range National park where we stayed for 3 nights. 
We were glad to leave Broome after too many noisy nights and increasing boredom. There is only so much to do… So after the stops in Port Smith and a return visit to Robe River, we drove thru to Exmouth and back to the central caravan park where we managed to get the last site going. We scored 5 nights on that site but then had to move sites for the final two nights. Who would have thought Exmouth would be so busy out of school holidays?… Turns out there are grey nomads who simply make this ‘home’ for months… Both big caravan parks in town were fully booked but there was space in the Lighthouse park – one we had been to before and didn’t like.
My first job in Exmouth was to remove the rear wheel, dismantle the Poly air suspension and locate the leak. After plunging the airbag in a bucket I discovered the leak wasn’t in the bag itself (a good thing) but was at the point of connection. So I trimmed the hose, reconnected, tightened up the cable tie and all was good. A simple fix and very happy at that.
That same afternoon Sam and I took off to look for surf while the girls set up house. Sadly there were only messy onshore waves so we drove home again hoping for better the next day. It’s a 40 k round trip from the town to the surf break and I knew it wasn’t going to be breaking, but some days you just run on hope.
The next 5 days however, turned on some beautiful waves, from the tiny and barely ridable to the headhigh and invigorating. The crowds were down and Sam finally managed to get beyond riding water water to actually riding waves and it was fun to share some waves with him each day.
The high point came on Sunday afternoon when we lobbed in around 11.30 just before high tide. The surf was small but we paddled out anyway as we’ve noticed the conditions can shift pretty quickly in Exmouth. As we surfed a crowd was gathering on the beach so I asked a local what was going on. It turned out there was a funeral at 1pm for a local bloke who had died of cancer recently.
As word got around the water slowly emptied and people left, but Sam and I stayed. By 12.30 the water was empty and the beach was packed with 300-400 people.  The funeral began at 1 and we had heard there was going to be a ‘paddle out’ afterwards so we figured we would just surf thru until then unless someone called us out.
While the surf wasn’t big, the chances of ever finding empty, quality waves in warm water on a Sunday afternoon are pretty much non-existent so we just surfed until we dropped and then paddled in – only to see my car parked 3 deep in the carpark and with no way out…
It didn’t seem cool to mingle in the funeral and try to find out who was ‘driving the Triton and the Hyundai’, so we just went back and sat on the beach and became part of the event. We watched about a hundred locals do a paddle out, and then have a fun surf for an hour or so, before the crowd began to thin, the tears eased off and we were able to locate a driver to help us get out.
Empty and perfect
10 minutes later…
We had enjoyed some great waves – alone – because the sheer volume of cars blocking the carpark meant that not only where we blocked in – but every other surfer was either at the funeral or blocked out. A rare father son moment – both beautiful and memorable.
We shifted campsites at our caravan park that day and set up home again on site 111. All was looking good until the ‘boys’ arrived behind us and then at 9pm the family with young kids pitched up and set up their tent. The boys were your average Aussie blokes on a fishing trip, but lacking any sense of social etiquette. We listened to their choice in music played loudly across the campsite so the peace that was there was shattered. Fortunately they dialled it down around 8.30 as they went to bed and got set for a big day of fishing.
We listened to the family next to us reading bedside stories in the tent at 9pm and all sounded very cute. However at 6am the sound was less cute as the kids were up and chatting away at the top of their voices. The parents seemed oblivious to the fact that a tent is not sound protection of any form, so at 6.15 while it was still dark I loudly announced the time to them hoping it might make them aware that others weren’t enjoying their children as much as they were. This had no effect and we all woke to the gradually increasing cacophony of 4 small children. At 7 they left the tent to play outside, running and screaming. At that time I moved into Phys Ed teacher mode and barked out loudly ‘It’s 7 o’clock people – tone it down!’ That did the trick… Instant silence and a decision by the parents to hit the pool… That’s the way – why teach your kids to be quiet and respect others when you can simply divert them and let them be noisy next to some one else?…
Seriously – I like kids – I have kids – but if you take your kids camping then do the right thing and consider those around you who may not have planned on waking to the sound of their voices.
They came back from the pool at 8 and packed up their tent. God had smiled on us and they were moving to another site as they only had a one night booking on this one. Or maybe I scared them off…maybe a bit of both.
Their place was taken by some grey nomads and you might think you’d be fairly safe from noise with the older crew but not so. At 10.30 that night I left the caravan yet again to go and tell a noisy group of nomads to dial it down and ‘stop being so bloody noisy’. A bit stronger than my usual polite request, but let’s just say this request fitted this scenario. Raucous laughter and booming voices late in the evening aren’t cool – and they knew it…
I have lost count of the number of times I have had to front people about noise on this trip. I don’t go looking for it, but now I’m beyond rolling over and putting up with it. It seems consideration for others is a rare commodity these days and it really makes camping unenjoyable.
From rowdy neighbours to people with clattering generators and local parties until the early hours, we have really experienced it this time around and it’s made me consider giving camping away unless we can do it off peak in remote areas. It takes the fun out of it when every few nights you have to look someone in the eye and effectively tell them they are being a selfish knob.
So we moved to North Kurrajong in Cape Range National park for our final few days in Exmouth. We booked a ‘no generator’ campground as the last thing we want in a remote area is a chorus of hacking old motors running in the background as we try to quietly chill and escape the world.
And the good news is that it was everything we had hoped with warm friendly neighbours, silent starry evenings and a beautiful beach on our doorstep.



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