‘Only’ is a beguiling word. When someone tells you something is “…only nine kilometres away.” a little voice inside your head goes ‘That doesn’t sound that far.’ And it doesn’t, especially when you’re used to dealing in miles, and you know kilometres always sound like more than they actually are. And when that person seems supremely confident that you could easily cycle there and back in a day, your little voice pipes up once more with ‘What the hell, I’ll give it a go!’
That was how I found myself huffing and puffing down a baked West Australian highway on a bike that had seen better days (and was in dire need of some WD40!) on my way to the Jewel Cave.
Jewel Cave is one of several open to the public in Margaret River, and according to those in the know (ie: my brother and a few random strangers) it’s the best of the lot. That was why I was in Augusta, and the lack of public transport was why I was on the bike.
Actually it wasn’t so bad. The nine kilometres (five miles, in case you were wondering) only took me about half an hour. It was tough going in places, I had to walk up the odd hill here and there, but i made it unscathed and in one (panting) piece.
You can only do the cave as part of a guided tour, and thankfully I got there five minutes before the next one left, so I didn’t have to wait long.
Our guide took us down several flights of stairs to different platforms, each time stopping for us to take photos while he explained a bit about the cave and it’s discovery.
Now this isn’t the first cave I’ve ever been in, but it is the biggest. I mean it was massive! Much bigger than I was expecting anyway. I could just imagine being the guy they dropped down the wee hole at the top to see what was there and coming across this.
No surprise they decided to develop it for public access on the strength of one short exploratory trip. And they did a good job too, with great access and a nice little light show at a few of the rock formations.
I enjoyed the tour, and I got my next headstand shot (plus the cafe at the cave did an excellent roast veg panini) so despite the long pedal I was feeling pretty good about things.
So good in fact that a moment of insanity took me. A quick glance at my map showed an enticing place called ‘Cosy Corner’. Who could resist a visit to somewhere called Cosy Corner? And it was only another nine kilometres further up the road. I mean, when you;ve come that far, what’s another nine kilometres? (It’s five miles, as I’ve mentioned already.)
So off I went to Cosy Corner, along a stretch of road that proved a lot hillier than the last bit. I ended up out of breath and walked a great deal more than I had before, but I was determined to get there. And when I did this is what I found.
Worth the ride? Maybe. Of course what the pictures doesn’t show you is the gale force wind that was blowing off the ocean. I had to brace myself just to get a steady shot! Cosy Corner: a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.
Ironically, the ironically named Foul Cove a bit further back up the road was much nicer. Slightly sheltered, you could actually enjoy the golden sands and crystal clear waters.
I had a nice stroll along the beach, and then I hopped on my bike for the now eighteen kilometre ride back to town. Y’see, you should always remember, that no matter how far you go, you always have to go that far back again. I forgot that, but the ten miles back to Augusta soon reminded me of it.
I didn’t do much the next day, just hung out in Augusta recovering from my ordeal, but the next day I was on my bike again heading off to my next ‘big tree to climb’.
Amusingly, the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse was also ‘only’ nine kilometres away. I took solace in the fact that, being at the end of a jut of land, I couldn’t get it in my head to go further to see what was there. What I didn’t enjoy was the marked increase in hills along the way.
It was an effort, but I made it,once again just in time for the next tour, where I got to enjoy climbing several flights of stairs (oh joy).
Actually it was quite nice up there, and interesting because Cape Leeuwin is where two oceans meet; the Indian and the Southern. If you look in the background of the picture above you can just about see the join. 😉
It was also good because I got to add another headstand shot to the collection.
And that’s it for Augusta. The day after I hopped on the bus and made my way up to Dunsborough where I am now, where I got to add another two headstand shots to the collection, and where I did my first ever non-Sivananda yoga class. But that’s a story for another day, and another post (or two).
For now just enjoy the fact that your not saddle sore and eighteen kilometres away from home. It doesn’t happen to you often, but when it does you do start to wonder what you’re doing? Then you look back at the pictures, and you remember night shifts, and it all starts to make sense again. 🙂