I was headed to a town close to Lake Thetis, some 200 km north of Perth. I had researched it and was keen to visit. It is famous for the living marine stromatolites, considered to be ‘living fossils’, some thousands of years old. It is off the beaten track and the first time I visited, I stayed in the car park and was not game enough to walk around on my own in isolation. The next day curiosity got the better of me. I ventured out and started to walk down the path. A few hundred metres down and edge of the Lake is a viewing deck and I was enjoying the moment alone when I saw four men walking towards me. I had no way to avoid them. It is one path way in and out. As they approached in high viz clothing I realised they were probably interested in what was out there, like me. But I was still uneasy, with the isolation of the place making me jumpy. Like me they stood around taking pictures. I waited for them to move on. I watched them until they disappeared towards the car park before walking to my car. When I got there I realised they were sitting in their van. The first thought I had was “They should have left by now. Why are they waiting!”
I had to walk past their van to my car. It’s funny how a white van can conjur up the worst case scenario. I felt a frisson of anxiety creep in. A tiny rivulet of perspiration trickled down my back. I hoped I looked like I walked with confidence, and got into my car. The men then backed out their van but not before giving me a smile and wave. In that moment I realised they may have been concerned for me, and waited until I returned to the safety of my car.
I’ve returned many times to Lake Thetis. I love the place. The special ecology makes it almost sacred. I’ve enjoyed many a quiet moment here. I love the sound of my hollow footsteps as I walk down the ‘gang plank’ to the viewing area.The stromatolites look like giant cow pats. I come here for the bird life too.On one trip the white faced heron was my muse.Such elegance!And simple lines!And in the distance, the large cormorant seemed almost fluffy, in comparison.
It has been a few years since that incident. The kindness of those strangers I remember well. After all my travel experiences, I know traveling alone is generally pretty safe.
I’m not risk taking as such but the thrill of photographing something new can sometimes lead me astray! So I continue to rely on the kindness of strangers and bring photographs home to share with you.
Until next time
a dawn bird