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Exit turtle-haven Hedland: en route to Kalbarri

Flatback turtle @ Cemetery Beach, Port Hedland

Day 40:

The first week of the New Year has been a good week for us. Despite there not being many new articles posted on The Inland Sea, we have had a highly productive week.

We are currently heading for Kalbarri. In the last week, we have shot a story on Flatback turtles on Cemetery Beach in Port Hedland. We got in touch with the lovely Kelly Howlett who is the chair person of the Care for Hedland Environmental Group, who are monitoring the flatback turtle activities on the beaches of Hedland.

Sadly, we did not have much time to spend in Port Hedland, as we have several engagements awaiting us further down the west coast. But, I would very much like to go back there and get a better feel of the place. The town seems like it’s under the reign of BHP Billiton, and the economy is thriving from a larger-than-life iron ore, and other minerals, industry. The town centre is surrounded by tall, impressive-looking machinery and 7kms long trains roll in and out all day and all night. The port is full of giant ships, and every time one of these oversized cargo boats leave the shore, the Company reaps a profit of $30 we were told. The resource in highest demand in Port Hedland, it seems, is people.

The town itself is over 100 years old, but still there are only about 17,000 residents there, and despite the mind-blowing economy the town definitely lacks a lot of infrastructure. It seems like a nice and friendly community tho. Because of the booming industry, the area pays some of the highest wages in the country and Port Hedland has become one of the most expensive places to live in the whole of Australia. We were told that renting a three bedroom house in Port Hedland, you’re looking at about a grand per week. That makes Melbourne rent seem almost reasonable. (But don’t tell your real estate agent I said that!)

After two days of filming turtles on Cemetery Beach, we had to run to the car Monday morning and head for Carnarvon. It was an 880km drive in the hottest weather we’ve had so far. The inland in the top end of WA is by far the harshest climate Australia has presented to us. The mercury hit 47 degrees in Minilya, our last stop before Carnarvon. It was so hot that the petrol pumps had to be cooled down with a splashing from the garden hose before we could fill up. 
Stepping out of the car in Carnarvon after a good ten hours inside of the Green Onion was a pleasant experience. The temperature had dropped at least ten degrees and the pool at the local Big4 caravan park was more refreshingly cool than most other pools we’ve dipped our sticky selves in for a long time.

As we are now heading for Kalbarri, the car is full of working excitement. Eirik is as steady as Neal Cassady behind the wheel, Ben is editing like a champion and Dida is looking like she has overcome the verging heat stroke that almost got the best of her yesterday. The heat, as I described before, is no laughing matter, even when you take all possible precautions.

We have arranged three new communities to go and visit in the next week. These are the Hutt River Province, Geraldton Urban Ecovillage project, and SomerVille Ecovillage in Chidlow. Then we head for Perth, where we’re hoping to visit Pinakarri – we are awaiting reply to our email from them. After that, it is time for Eirik to depart the Green Onion and the team to go back Norway. But, there are much work between now and then, and we’re all very revved up for it.

Now that we’re back near the more populated areas of WA, I’m hoping we can update the website more often, as we have a truckload of goodies to bring you. So, stay tuned, and please get in touch!

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