Yesterday / today was my 50th birthday (depending what time zone you are in). Half a century can you believe. I can't.
As I've reached my half century I have of course had the opportunity to pause and reflect.
There have been some amazing moments, there have been some amazingly bad moments and there have been more than their fair share of mediocre ones.
To mark the occasion of what I hoped would be the start of more amazing moments we have headed north. If we are friends on facebook, or instagram you will have spotted the odd pic or two, but with all the will in the world, you can never experience this place through the lens of my camera or anyones other than your own...
I must be honest though, this weekend I've experienced many things that I cannot capture on camera.
Whales breaching several nautical miles out into the Indian Ocean. Believe me when I tell you, you cannot mistake a whale "splotting" on an otherwise calm ocean. The first couple of times I saw it happen I wasn't sure, but once you knew where to look and what to look for... see, that's a fluke. No - really, a whale's tail is called a fluke.
We've seen mountain goats and heard their "chatter" as they scrambled through the Kalbarri National Gorges, Eagles soaring on the thermals, hawks greeting us as we visited an old settlement, perched as they were on the wooden shingles of the old store. Nesting time makes for unwelcome visitors - even those without ladders and cranes to reach them.
Then Mike nearly stood on a startled a goanna - a metre and a half from forked tongue to tail tip, s/he moved fast for a waddling gait (that's the lizard by the way not Mike) but we do have at least part of a pic as s/he burrowed under a bush to avoid being stomped on.
Nor can you experience through a camera lens, the heat, the noise or the flys who seemed to enjoy our company as we travelled up and down the gorge paths, or the taste and feel of salt soaked skin covered in sun screen, and with all due respect to my own writing, I can't truly describe it either.
One of the members of our party went for a walk across to the coastal path after lunch, on her return I asked and how was your walk?
Literal yes, but does it do the experience justice?
Of all the adjectives there are I cannot pick one word to describe the experience, but mind-blowing is pretty close.
You don't have to come to Kalbarri to experience mind blowing of course, you can be anywhere as long as you open your mind to the possibiliites.
As I start my new year I am of course hoping for many great new experiences and achievements, and I hope we can share some together.