We made an early start today and took a pre-booked scenic flight with Shark Bay Aviation.  Their “bargain” flight is 40 minutes long and is a really great way to get a different perspective on this vast and largely inaccessible wilderness area.  You get superb views of the huge salt works, lagoons, Dirk Hartog Island, Steep Point (the most Westerly point of mainland Australia), sea clliffs and the wondrous crystal clear blue spectrum of the Indian Ocean.

The road to Exmouth is just too far to tackle all in one go.  Stopping off at Coral Bay still means a six hour slog up Highway 1.  The only way to do this is to make the journey a fun part of the holiday … and … guess what Tim cleverly spotted sitting right by the side of the road, posing for a photo …

Yes – it was an exceptionally well camouflaged thorny devil!  These fearsome looking reptiles are actually quite harmless and only about as long as an adult hand.  Thorny devils dine exclusively on black ants and have the ability to absorb water through their skin like a straw.
We also saw the start of several willy-willies – sand dust storms.  Thankfully, they weren’t big enough to cause us any problem.

On the last part of the road into Coral Bay, we saw man sized termite mounds – there were LOADS of them.

Fascinating Fact:
Termites live in large social colonies comprising kings, queens, workers and soldiers. They are generally large, whitish or brown in colour, soft-bodied, avoid sunlight and build large clay mounds called termitariums that can sometimes also be found on rock faces or engulfing parts of trees and stumps.  As well as hosting their millions of residents, termite mounds are often also inhabited by a variety of other species: geckoes, lizards, pythons, ants and spiders, and even birds, like the kingfishers and other species found nesting in excavated outer walls and crevices in the mounds.  Early pioneers used them as ovens – the aborigines used them to bury their dead – the termites closed the holes left by these activities pretty quickly!

Lowlights:
Crosses on the road marking the sites of fatal accidents.
Several dead roos – roadkill.

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