Stingray Encounters

We woke up at 5.30 am on the first day of our camping holiday in Margaret River.  Black out blinds in the tent weren’t an option so we couldn’t trick Oshi into sleeping longer.  He started grumbling and wiggling at first light, patting the sides of his pop up cot to be let out.  After a little snooze session, Dan reached in and hauled him out for a cuddle but it wasn’t long before Osh began whimpering for food.  I hastily threw on some clothes,  as Dan tried to entertain bub but his hunger cries grew louder and louder. I scrambled out the tent on a quest to find Oshi’s porridge and milk. We tried to be more organised for the rest of the holiday by having everything to hand in the morning. Somehow, we always ended up forgetting something like the bowl, spoon or milk. By the final morning we had perfected the art of the morning feeding routine.

However, whilst rummaging through the car on that first morning – rip – my pyjama trousers decided to give up the ghost. Great.  I had only bought one pair of trousers for the evenings – my only other choice was wearing leggings, which were too short and thin so mosquitoes chips bite through them.  For the duration of our stay I took to wearing leggings with the ripped PJ’s over the top.  When I went to public areas, I either tied a hoodie around my waist or scooted along holding the rip together probably looking desperate for the toilet!

After that saga, the porridge was located, made and eaten.  The milk was found, poured and drank.  Baby sorted.  Now it was time for the adults to have breakfast.  Cereal anyone? Pro-camper Dan, whose duties had included the packing of kitchen utensils, had neglected to bring spoons.  To be honest, it wasn’t as bad as the time we rocked up to a Dorset campsite one evening without our tent pegs!  We ate our cereal with a fork.

Then it was time to kick back and relax with our morning coffee. Not a chance with Oshi around – at home we feel more at ease because we’re used to the environment.  Being out in the unknown, however, made us extra cautious.  It seemed Oshi was uninterested in staying within the perimeter of the blanket I had brought along.  Instead, he wanted to crawl around the trees and bushes.  As we tried to barricade him in using toys,  chairs and our legs, I started to regret not bringing his playpen along but there were limits as to what we could fit in the car!

Alas, our attempts to confine him were in vain; within seconds Osh had launched himself over the hurdles and covered himself in dirt and sand.  Sand – *shudders* – I soon learned why it’s every parent’s nemesis.  It wasn’t just the beach we had to contend with but also the sand on our pitch -well the entire campsite really. was a sandy campsite.

It’s bad enough as an adult when you make active attempts to avoid getting sand everywhere but when you have a little one in tow you have no chance of keeping things clean.  We made a conscious effort to keep sand out of the sleeping quarters. Suncream – * shudders* – you can’t step outside here without a slathering of factor 50+  – is a sand magnet.  You can imagine the state we were in and how messy the tent and car was by the end of the five days!

But it didn’t really matter.  You see, we had chosen to stay at Hamelin Bay for one reason; the pristine white sandy beach at the end of the site is renowned for its stingray visitors.  The area is a ray sanctuary zone and they are usually found gliding gracefully along the shoreline in search of food.

We were lucky enough to watch and interact with these gentle giant black shadows of the Indian Ocean on a daily basis.  Once they noticed we were there they swam right up to us and either bumped into our legs or swam over our feet.  The beach was pretty empty most of the time so we were able to have our own special moment with the stingrays.  We thought about snorkelling with them but we weren’t that brave!

Anyway, we didn’t care about the early morning wake ups and the sand…these majestic creatures more than made up for it!

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