No matter where you are the weekends are the best, no work and no thoughts of the next job just a chance to explore. The long road north is over and it has been a huge adventure. I have loved every minute of this journey and have learnt so much. The little things that many families take for granted are major things for many in the North. The scenery along the Western Australia coast is stunning. A visit to the pinnacle desert makes you wonder as to what the earth was like in years gone by. How did these magnificent structures come about. The limestone structures emerge out of the sandy desert like soldiers standing on duty guarding some unknown treasure.
Today was about checking out the history of the Fremantle port. Just wandering around looking at the old buildings and the history that it holds. For 3 hours I just wandered the streets and lane ways, from the small intimate coffee shops to the bustling markets with all sorts of crafts and foods for sale. I had all sorts of people trying to sell me scarves, jewelry and food that I didn’t recognize. My purchases consisted of some relaxation tea and I couldn’t walk past the caramel fudge.
After wandering it was time to head for prison. The old Fremantle prison has a whole lot of history and many stories to tell. So a quick duck into the gift shop and I booked myself in on the tunnels tour. Yep that’s right don’t do the normal thing lets see what there is underneath this amazing structure. After watching the video on the history of the tunnels and the safety video it was time to don the stylish paper overalls and, gumboots and safety harness, crash hat and life jacket. Yep if you fall in the water the life jacket inflates just in case you forget to stand up.
Thirteen people on the tour a lucky number, I was the odd man out travelling on my own so my ladder and boat buddy was the tour guide Matt. A joke was made 13 go in but only 12 return, hmmmm, who do we leave behind. As we descended down the ladder I remembered how hard it is to climb in gumboots, we made it safely down the 20 meters. The temperature in the tunnels was not as expected a consistent temperature of 20 degrees all year round. In the winter the dry tunnels have up to 30 cms of water which makes the walking even more interesting. You need to walk hunched over and thankful for the helmets as there is always a bump or two on the head, you can look up the bore holes and see the light at the end and check out the rusty old pumps that used to distribute the fresh water to the surface. At one point we were all gathered on a small pier and were checking out how the light reflected off the water in the dark and made the tunnel look dry and twice the size. Next thing you know a huge splash the lady right behind me fell off the pier. That’s not in the tour guide, we flicked our lights back on and helped her out, yes those self inflating life vests really do work when you hit the water. She emptied her gumboots and after the initial shock had a laugh and we continued on. The next part f the tour was done in boats, coasting along the tunnels and watching the ripples of the water combined with light dance on the ceilings. Even though we were 20 meters down you could still hear the faint noise of the road traffic above. In parts you could see the roots of the trees as they went in search of water, on the ends of the roots were droplets of condensation that keep the trees alive.
A truly amazing tour with much history revealed. Once e climbed back up the ladder a few photos were taken in the pump house including the wall of graffiti which was created my the inmates, after all this was a working prison up until October 1991.
My next stop after leaving the prison was monument hill. High on a hill over looking the habour is a beautiful war memorial paying tribute to or fallen heroes afew quick snap and the back to my lovely accommodation at Natalies Airbnb in Scarborough.
Tomorrow begins my last week before heading home. Busselton, Margaret River and several other locations to finish off my amazing journey, Friday will be both a happy and sad day. Happy to be heading home and sad that the journey is coming to an end.