The Wind Coast
Right from the beginning, when I left Karratha, I had to struggle with headwinds. A storm from the Antarctic caused strong winds and fairly fresh temperatures throughout Australia. For the first time since my departure in Alice Springs I was really glad to have a warm sleeping bag with me.
Slowly, the traffic was steadily increasing. Especially because of the many mines here in the area and on the other hand through the tourism. Nevertheless, I was able to admire the beautiful landscape of the Pilbara region from the saddle.
The region's industry is dominated by mining and the oil industry. The Pilbara has the world's largest deposits of iron ore. One day before I reached the Nanutarra Roadhouse, I suddenly had a severe toothache.
At the Roadhouse, I put in a rest day and luckily met a couple there, who gave me some smart analgesics so I could do the route to Coral Bay.
Shortly before, at the Bullara Station, I met Michael. In 2016 we cycled together through Sudan https://cycoholic.org/en/trips/three-continents/sudan. He lives as a journalist in Sydney and has decided to accompany me to Perth by bike.
There was no dentist in Coral Bay. Only a Nursing Post. The nurse there discovered that a broken tooth had become inflamed bacterial and recommended me to take antibiotics, so I would safely make the 240km route to Carnarvon to the nearest dentist.
So we could go snorkeling in the Ningaloo reef for a while. Ningaloo Reef is a 250 km long coral reef on the west coast of Australia and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The entire reef is part of the "Ningaloo Marine Park" and home to around 220 coral species.
With a strong headwind we reached the Tropic of Capricorn on the first day. I've already crossed this tropic three times by bike (1 time in Namibia and 2 times in Australia).
Together we had a big advantage: we could alternate regularly, so that one of us cycled in the slipstream. This helped enormously.
On the second day we had a great surprise when suddenly Margrit and Rolf stopped. I met them for the first time in Broome. By coincidence we arrived at Coral Bay at the same time, where they invited us to eat fish.
The two are traveling with their Landrover Defender here in Australia and have already made some trips with the vehicle https://www.landy-2-xplore.com/. They gave us chilled Coca Cola and a bar of chocolate. A dream for every cyclist.
After 3 days we reached Carnarvon. Michael writes a few articles on the West Coast on behalf of WA Tourism and had to travel to Geraldton for a few days of research. I was once again invited by Margrit and Rolf to eat spaghetti. Thank you very much for your hospitality.
The next day I was finally able to go to the dentist. After an X-ray, the case was clear: A root canal treatment with temporary filling was on the program to obtain the broken tooth. The procedure lasted almost 2 hours.
With this filling, I should now be able to reach Perth. A big thank you to Doctor Anshika Nigam and her team for the great work.
A little bit I used the remaining time to discover Carnarvon. Among other things, I visited the Space Museum. The satellite observation station "The Big Dish" was built in 1964 and used in the Gemini and in the Apollo program.
The station also played an important role in the Apollo 11 mission. Due to Carnarvon's unique geographical location, it was used to uplink the Translivar Injection (TLI) command to the Apollo spaceship and was the primary link for the final hours of reentry to Earth. The former site of NASA was closed in 1974.
Again it continued for me after a few days of rest with a strong headwind. Michael traveled by bus from Geraldton to the Wooramel Station to meet me there. There, Rachel, the owner, showed us the surroundings and invited us to dinner.
Due to the long-lasting drought many stations had to drastically reduce their livestock here in the outback. The Wooramel Station had 65,000 sheeps at peak times and none at the moment.
We cycled further south along the North West Coastal Highway. Although it is not that hot anymore, the flies are still annoying. So we started every day at 6:00 in the morning.
Slowly the area became ever greener. Shortly before the Billabong Roadhouse a spoke broke on Michael's front wheel. I always carry an Emergency spoke of Kevlar thread with me and put it in his front wheel.
Optimistic, we headed for the 140km section between the Billabong Roadhouse and the small town of Binnu. Exactly 11km from the finish, at the turnoff to the Kalbarri National Park broke a second spoke.
Since Michael has no spare spokes for his wheels, the only option left for him was hitchhiking to Carnarvon to the next bike shop. He showed me what a real Australian does when he has a problem.
First he goes to a pub and drinks a beer. He did so and actually found someone to take him to Geraldton. I was greeted by several rainstorms during the last 100km. I was impressed by the huge green fields, which appeared more and more on the roadside.
In Northampton I was able to move into a room in the old convent and spend the night protected from the storm. The arrival in Geraldton was another milestone for me.
Now it’s only 420km to Perth and the distances between the villages are getting smaller and smaller. So we finally do not have to carry endless quantities of water and food anymore.
A few days we will recover here before heading south. The last big stage to the capital of Western Australia.