Final days on the Atlantic Coast of Morocco-Volubilis Moulay Bousselham and Asilah

From Fez to the Atlantic Coast one passes Volubilis, the ruins of a Roman city close to Meknes. The site is most recognised for its intact mosaic floors.

Volubilis was basically deserted when Fez became the centre of power in Morocco.

The northern part of Morocco between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean is rich fertile farming land.

Moulay Bousselham is a small fishing town on the Atantic coast with a large inland lake which is a major site for endemic and migratory birds.

The ocean here is quite wild and the beach strewn with rubbish so the estuary is the towns main attraction. As well as the fishing boats and market.

And it’s at the fish market that you may find a guide to take you bird watching. Or more accurately he will find you as you stop at the gates of the camping ground that has closed down.

But the Moulay Bousselham estuary is a fantastic site for bird watching and a 3 hour boat tour with Khalil is great. You see;

Greater Flamingos

Spoonbills

Egrets

And an array of gulls, terns, storks, cranes and plovers.

The Atlantic here is wild a steep shore and cross currents from the tidal river making it treacherous.

The estuary provides a safe place to swim after unfortunately picking a path through the litter.

It is such a beautiful beach such a shame the litter is so overwhelming.

Asilah is another beach town a couple of hours north of Moulay Bousselham along the coast. It’s also only a short ride from Tanger and the last night in Morocco was spent there.

The Medina, built within the old Portugese fort is mainly residential with a strong art presence. It was in Spanish control into the 1970s and still retains a strong Spanish influence.

I think I can leave my tales of Morocco here. What an amazing journey saw so much but I feel I missed so much more.

There was Belgian couple at the Hotel in Rissani. They had travelled to Morocco 9 time 7 on a motorbike. Mmm so Im thinking a second trip will not be too indulgent!!!

Setubal and Coimbra – Smaller cities in Portugal worth a visit

Setubal is a small waterside city just south of Lisbon where the Rio Sado meets the Ocean

Across the estuary is the is the holiday area of Troia. Coming up from the south it’s a beautiful ride along the Peninsula with a car ferry trip to Setubal.

The estuary is a major sanctuary for birdlife as well as contributing to Portugal’s self sufficiency in rice.

It’s was a beautiful dawn to watch birds in the morning.

And go for a ride along the coast in the afternoon.

Have a bit of a swim and a beer at the MotoCultureClub bar.

It’s a picturesque ride through the mountains from Setubal to Coimbra. Especially once you get free of the traffic around Lisbon.

Coimbra is a university one of the oldest in the world. Perched in the mountains inland between Lisbon and Porto.

The university sits up on the high point of the city being seen and seeing!

Climbing the steep steps and alley ways is good training for the steep cliffs of Porto or an Alpine hike depending on what your plans are!

Every night Fado plays in a little Bar at the base of the old town.

Hear the Fado as you walk the alley ways of Coimbra.

The old historic buildings of the university reflect the opulence of the time. Especially the old library.

These are two contrasting small cities in Portugal I’d recommend.

Kalbarri and its National Park

The town of Kalbarri sits at the point where the Murchison River meets the sea.

The Kabarri National Park has two parts to it. The area around the Murchison River Gorge and the Coastal cliffs.

I spent most of my time at the Gorge so let me start there.

The Skywalk over the gorge is definitely a highlight of the Kalbarri National Park.

The views from the Skywalk are definitely spectacular and this is by far the most accessible part of the Gorge.

Not too far from the Skywalk is Natures Window, a remarkable rock formation on a ledge overlooking the Gorge.

Of course such a rock formation invites a photo in the window !

Further on from.the Natures Window there was another lookout that looked out over the Murchison River.

Beautiful views but even better there was a steep track down into the Gorge.

The track down followed the path of a pretty much dry waterfall and was quite steep.and narrow in places.

It was beautiful down in the Gore, the river water flowing and cool and yes I did go for a swim but I will spare your dear readers an inwater selfie for now!

That night back in Kalbarri I found out that there was better access to the river further inland. That was the next days hike.

At the point the Gorge was less steep and lower but the rock formation amazingly coloured and carved by the river, which has beaches and broad deep swimming holes.

And yes how could I not resist a swim.

Hiking a little further up the river I came upon a family of black swans.

Mother, father and 5 little cygnets not long out of the nest by the size of them.

The black swan is the symbol of Western Australia and a definite sign that I was now in the more temperate parts of Australia as the Swan lives in the cooler southern parts of the continent.

Murchison Gorge was another of the amazing rivers that flow through the arid parts of Australia.

A reminder that water is life. Water is our most precious resource.

Wildlife interaction on Australia’s North West Coast – 2 Shark Bay

It was the May eclipse of the moon that I was on the eastern most point point of Australia and Shark Bay is at the western extreme.

And Denham is the most westerly township in Australia. Steep Point is the the western most point but very difficult to access.

The east and west extremities of Australia are like chalk and cheese. While Cape Byron in the east sits amongst moist rain forest covered mountains but in the west at Shark Bay its where the desert meets the sea.

So desert means lack of water and sparse population.

I wonder if fewer people means more wildlife.

The pelicans,

The turtles,

The old man Emu caring for his chicks.

And the beautiful wild dolphins at Monkey Mia that interact with such trust with visitors to their world.

The beaches in this special place are stunning and unique.

To create this national park now world heritage area. The Western Australian Government bought back a number of farming leases.

Sheep had been grazed on the fragile lands.

At the old Peron Station the remains of the old shearing shed still remain.

It was a bit of a trek to get to the old station along a sandy trail

But made all worthwhile by the the thermal spring hot tub at the old station.

So what else could I do.

Running south across the Wide open spaces of Western Australia

Departing Broome my next major destination was Coral Bay and the beautiful Ningaloo Reef. A distance of nearly 1,400km

Western Australia is a vast State covering around 1/3 of the Australian Continent.

In the north towns and settlements are few and far between and the roads long and straight.

Mining is prevalent in this part of Australia and relics of mining are many.

This part of Australia has had significant land returned to aboriginal control under Native Title which commenced in Australia in 1993.

Native Title aims to give back to Australian Aborigines land where there has been continuous connection since colonisation.

When I rode through Roebourne 43 years ago it was a town one didn’t stop in. It was the wild west rough and dangerous.

The Victoria Hotel was a bloodhouse that you entered at great risk. Now it’s a beautiful art gallery.

That I would recommend any and everyone to stop at.

The importance and connection to country that aboriginal people have can not be underestimated or understood by us from a colonial heritage.

At the Welcome Lookout overlooking there are silhouettes of aboriginal men from the local tribes looking out on country. Emblematic of the connection.

The indiginous culture has reclaimed and so has the name Leramugadu.

From Leramugadu I headed to the coast to Point Samson and the Indian Ocean.

The coastal land offering some wonderful views and a taste of the wildflowers to come now spring is emerging.

And the lovely coastal birds

But my aim was Coral Bay and the amazing Ningaloo Reef and Marine Sanctuary.

Have had a first little swim on the edge of the reef and look forward to exploring more.

I’m here for a few days and will explore and share some more of this remote and beautiful place.