Trash ‘n’ Treasure. (Jurabi Beach, WA)

After seeing in the new day at Vlamingh Head I headed over the road for a camp brekkie on Jurabi Beach, then stayed for a marathon beachcombing session. I’d forgotten how freeing it is travelling solo!

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I hadn’t seen a beach as good as this since I was a kid, when we camped at The Blowholes or Coral Bay a bit south of here.

Sea urchins!
Sea urchins! Reminded me of long walks with Dad when we’d see these and collect handfuls of cuttlefish bones for our Budgie Overlord back in the early 80’s. No cuttlefish here though.

So much awesome crap; no doubt helped along by the tropical cyclones that blasted through here recently. I’d have loved a souvenir shell or two but it’s all protected reserve; so take only memories, leave only footprints.

You don't realise until you get this close that the sand you think you're walking on is actually billions of tiny fragments of multicoloured shells and corals, with a few bigger, newer ones mixed in.
You don’t realise until you get this close that the sand you think you’re walking on is actually billions of tiny fragments of multicoloured shells and corals, with a few bigger, newer ones mixed in.
A type of cowrie shell. Did you know cowries were used as currency by several ancient civilisations? Neither did I. That makes this beach a mint!
A type of cowrie shell. Did you know cowries were used as currency by several ancient civilisations? Neither did I. That makes this beach a mint!

old coral, Jurabi Beach Ningaloo Reef

Newer, brighter coral and shells amongst older ones which have been bleached white by the sun.
Newer, brighter coral and shells amongst older ones which have been bleached white by the sun.
Hmm not sure what this one is. That hole at the end looks big enough for a poison barb to shoot out and harpoon my finger... cone snail? Best not chance it.
Hmm not sure what this one is. That hole at the end looks big enough for a poison barb to shoot out and harpoon my finger… cone snail? Best not chance it.
This beach even makes litter beautiful; a piece of sea glass. The ONLY piece of actual rubbish I found.
This beach even makes litter beautiful; a piece of sea glass. The ONLY piece of actual rubbish I found.
I'm sure I've seen that pattern of coral somewhere before...
I’m sure I’ve seen that pattern of coral somewhere before…
I wish I had Dad's old shell identification book handy... it looks familiar and I feel I should know it but... I don't.
I wish I had Dad’s old shell identification book handy… it looks familiar and I feel I should know it but… I don’t.
The beach is broken! ...It wasn't me, it was like this when I found it!
The beach is broken! …It wasn’t me, it was like this when I found it!

 

Sand stone? Shell blocks?

I think this is like what the homestead at Nanga Station (south of Carnarvon in Shark Bay) is made of! We stayed there for Christmas once in the mid 80s (before it became a resort) and I still remember those awesome compacted shell walls…

It felt like I was walking along a beach from my childhood, and seeing this stirred even more memories…

A metal hulk lying rusting in the dunes. Probably from the SS Mildura which clipped the North West Reef near Vlamingh Head in 1907, and the catalyst for Vlamingh Head Lighthouse being built. The hull's still out there, visible at low tide - despite being used for bombing practise by the Allies during World War II.
A metal hulk lying rusting in the dunes. Probably from the SS Mildura which clipped the North West Reef near Vlamingh Head in 1907, and the catalyst for Vlamingh Head Lighthouse being built. The hull’s still out there, visible at low tide – despite being used for bombing practise by the Allies during World War II.

This old piece of junk reminded me big time of Carnarvon – especially the beach near our house. We lived at the staff accommodation for Nor West Seafoods, which was originally Nor West Whaling (yes, whaling) which dated back to the 1950s, but whaling at Babbage Island dated back to the turn of the century. Us kids would find all these rusted out iron wrecks scattered throughout the sand dunes around the factory and the prawning jetty (and the One Mile Jetty), so eroded we couldn’t even tell what they used to be. Equipment of some sort, forgotten, and eventually the dunes and grasses took over.

SS Mildura wreckage - chain
I love old shit. And I especially love old shit that looks old, like it’s seen a lot. Which is certainly true of a piece of shipwreck! These chain links were in pretty good nick considering, but the iron still flaked off when I touched it.
Jurabi Beach; a graveyard for both a reef and a wreck.
Jurabi Beach; a graveyard for both a reef and a wreck.

And as it turns out it’s a part-time nursery as well; Ningaloo’s three endangered turtle species all use this beach during their nesting season from November to March. I wasn’t here for that obviously but I still stopped by the Jurabi Turtle Centre on the way back to the car. If you want to come out one night during either nesting or hatching season PLEASE stop by the centre first – it’s an interpretive display built to educate you in turtle etiquette so you won’t disturb them. Things like shining torches around could be enough to prevent the females laying their eggs, and when on average only one in 1,000 hatchlings survives to breeding age, every single egg is precious.

If you like you can also be a part of the Ningaloo Turtle Program and be a volunteer ‘turtle tracker‘! Because there’s a lot of beach to cover on the North West Cape researchers need extra hands to collect data such as locations of nests, successful hatches, and any disturbances. I bet the boys’d love it… next time.

Instagram photo of a heart shaped piece of coral

 

 

– Michelle

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