Wonder Of The World: Bunda Cliffs
October 14. Welcome swallows slide, dive, slip, soar, rip the wind, over and down the 100 metre height of the Bunda Cliffs, singular feature of the Great Australian Bight. They welcome us to one of our most spectacular bush camps.
We are 20 metres from the lip of the 200 kilometer long cliffs. They are probably the most spectacular sea cliffs in the world. The water is aquamarine, crashes on gray and bone verticality. The swallows explode skyward, then slash by the tent door, intent on some bug or other, and cast a shadow streak on the pale blue nylon ceiling of our home. They are so lovely and fast and skillful, they make me laugh.
A wave booms on the cliff face below 300 feet below, and I can feel it through the earth. After sunset, a huge orange harvest moon rises in the east tracing the lip of the cliffs in its ascent; black streaks of clouds cut the face of the Man-in-the-Moon, the warm light lays hard on the scrub and soft on the sea foam below.
Leaving a most spectacular bush camp, complete with rumbling bed and booming sound effects.
October 15. Nullarbor Roadhouse. This is the middle I reckon. Here there are few trees, little above waist high. It has been good to be on the edge of the Nullarbor plain today at least and I wonder how long it will last, the true null-arbor (without trees). Tonight’s full moonrise was very very strange. The moon was oval, not round, and it rose on a perfect line of black across the absolute flatness of the Nullarbor. There was no reflection, as over the sea, and black clouds scribed a line above it also; two parallel lines squishing the orange orb.
In the roadhouse we listened to new age romantic music with our evening tea. We got misty eyed and held hands. How embarrassing. You’d think we’d be sick of one another by now, together 24 hours a day, sharing in a difficult strenuous undertaking. I can’t imagine either of us without the other. Claire wouldn’t let me get near the Bunda Cliffs edge yesterday. Maybe she was remembering the Kiwi who was “taken” recently by a shark at Cactus beach near here while surfing. He was on his honeymoon and his wife was watching. She is in hospital.
October 16 Yalata Roadhouse. A bus load of 13 and 14 year olds stopped at this Aboriginal roadhouse for a comfort stop. They are on a very long drive to take part in the Para-Olympics in Sydney. They gathered around Zippy as we arrived, asking 12 year old questions about tires worn out, how much Zippy cost, the usual. What struck me was how close they wanted to be, not just to Zippy, but to us. There was lots of touching. At first it made me feel uneasy, but the feeling soon left with their obvious enthusiasm for us, for what we were doing. One boy kept stroking my arm, and wanted to feel my quads. There was nothing strange or threatening about it, just a very open curiosity about me and my body. It was all done with a big curious smile and happy eyes. In don’t think In will ever forget how it felt for him to twirl the soft gray hair on my neck between his small fingers. I wonder if this sense of wonder, and desire for closeness is not one more difference between these races that makes white people uncomfortable around Aboriginals? At least in the young, it was endearing.