Leaving the beautiful island of Bali we looked forward to a three and half hour flight to Perth and soon were airborne and heading due south. The longitudes of Bali and Perth are almost the same, 115° 14’ East for Bali and 115° 42’ East for Perth, with latitudes 24° apart, a distance of approximately 1,448 nautical miles or about 1,665 statute miles.
During the original organisation of this epic voyage to Australia, the travel agent found all hotels in Perth were fully booked. The Commonwealth Conference was taking place with the Queen visiting on our second day. He had booked us into an apartment fondly named ‘Seashells’ at Mandurah, about an hour’s drive from Perth.
Mandurah has become, within little more than ten years, the second biggest city in Western Australia. Built on the Swan Coastal Plain which contains the Swan River, it was originally an isolated holiday community on the Peel Inlet. It has a Mediterranean climate and proved it when we were there, with brilliant blue skies and temperatures in the mid thirties. Our five day stopover in Bali had been a wonderful idea, ensuring we were acclimatised and well tanned for the Australian sun.
Our apartment was on the sixth floor with a large balcony overlooking a lagoon with apartment blocks, trees and shopping areas around its shore and, whilst exploring the town, we soon found that water played a significant part in the life of Mandurah.
The very friendly staff at the information centre told us of a cruise sailing later in the day which would give us a flavour of Mandurah. A walking tour was also recommended which was to start in half an hour from the centre. We stayed in the air-conditioned comfort of the centre until the tour took us out into the heat again, armed with the obligatory bottles of water, wide brimmed hats and, of course, cameras.
The tour took our small group to all the places of interest, including the original bridge that had spanned the inlet for a hundred years and we watched as a dolphin made a leisurely passage under the bridge.
Later, the cruise took us through canals where boats of all shapes and sizes were berthed alongside wonderful glass fronted, exotically gardened houses and out almost to the sea, where mangrove swamps covered the shore line which developers had not yet touched. A wonderful war memorial made from white pillars of varying heights graced parkland. Apparently, the pillars are sized so that on Anzac Day, 25th April, the sun rises at the eastern end of the memorial, traverses over the pillars and sets on the western end.
The next day we decided to visit Fremantle and found that, as the Queen was in town, all public transport for the day was free, an unexpected bonus. Fremantle was one of the ‘must see’ places for me as I had been there many times in my sea-going career.
by Terry Took © 2014
Terry Took was born in Yorkshire but has lived in Tynemouth for over 50 years. He spent 45 years in the Merchant Navy which included 27 years as North Sea Pilot. He then spent five years as a lecturer at the Marine Department of South Tyneside College.
He is now an Elder Brother in Trinity House and Marine Director.
If you have any comments or would like to contact Terry then please e-mail him at email@example.com.