Our final morning in Broome was spent at Sarah and Peter’s lovely guesthouse cleaning and packing our things in to the car. We had a lovely coffee with Sarah in the main house before heading off and chatted about our plans and her work around Broome. She very generously gifted us some frozen fish (Spanish Flag she called it, a type of reef fish) to cook up for dinner that evening, and a packed of frozen mango from last season, which didn’t last us long at all as it was delicious and we can’t say no to mango. We had a few stops planned for the drive west to Port Hedland but we managed to miss a couple (Eco Beach was definitely not signposted as we thought..) – however we made it to 80 Mile Beach and had a refreshing yet sandy and windy swim along the huge expanse of beach that rolled out in front and behind us.
We did some more shell collecting and marvelled at how white and bleached everything was along the shoreline. Back on the road again and after a while, the industrial monstrosity of Port Hedland loomed up over the horizon.
It was as we expected – vast and concreted and functional – and we gawked at a Rio Tinto salt mine that had a never-ending pile of salt towering many stories high just off the highway. There were coal-covered workers walking back from their shifts and we felt very out of place not having a white ute with a fluro band and flags on it. Serious mining territory up here. The sun was setting pretty quickly so we turned in to camp at a little fishing spot at the mouth of the inlet and managed to get a fire going despite the wind and humidity in an enclave of rocks just above the waterline.
The fish was cooking away on the coals and we watched hundreds and hundreds of hermit crabs scuttling around us en masse with varying sizes and questionable shell choices. Some were stubbornly struggling with their huge cone shaped houses whilst others had opted for a more sensible shape and size. The fish was delicious and we managed to get through 2 of them between us which was awesome. The trains and mining machinery droned on in the distance and as it got dark the sky lit up with the lights from all the industrial area around us from the mines to the port.