2. Terracotta Territory

IMAG2621It was with eager anticipation that I peered out the rather dirty window waiting for the first sighting of the Australian coast, our destination and home for the next 5 months. Whilst we had flown over the huge land mass before and I’d even landed at Sydney and Melbourne airports this was very different. This was our destination not just a transitional stopover. The clouds had cleared as we left the storms of Indonesian airspace behind us and the pale edge of the beaches emerged in the distance. These photos show a succession of views as we crossed the coastline about 100 miles north of Perth and travelled south-easterly across the vast expanse of desert which comprises Western Australia.

IMAG2624On approaching the shoreline, the water was so clear you could easily see the underwater channels eroded by the fresh water rushing down into the sands of the sea. What made it quite unusual was that the river beds were completely dry although, presumably, when they are wet they are very very wet and flow with some force. The ground was arid and bare exposing the stunning tones of burnt orange and browns, ochres and rusts.

IMAG2625One photo of this terracotta expanse shows a dry river bed, one road crossing perpendicularly and an isolated dwelling with 4 clearly demarcated fields followed by other pictures taken within minutes showing the landmass seguing into green valleys and river banks meandering through the still burnt orange landscape as it gradually deepens to burnished reds. At times, the flatter areas seem to show a succession of small ridges, from our altitude anyway, exhibiting patterns akin to creases on a pillow case. Other paler, creamy colourings demonstrate water patterns of what were presumably, flooded areas during isolated wet periods. This evidence of water in an apparently arid land were endorsed by the man-made water holes which were clearly visible and seemed remarkably full from our elevated position. The occasional straight lines of intermittent roads and sparse fencing giving clues as to the whereabouts of intrepid man’s presence in this apparently less than welcoming environment.

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