Day 14 - Minilya to Coral Bay 98km

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What a great day it was today! I finished full time work and today is my first day working part time, so it was a perfect day for a ride into one of the most picturesque places on the west coast of Australia.

We were all up early for breakfast (great feed) at the Roadhouse. The staff were great and offered fantastic service, but the washing facilities (bathroom amenities) were limited. Having already experienced one night camping, we adapted and counted our blessings that there was running water, flushable loos and hot showers!

We were all on the road early knowing it was a short day (relatively speaking) and with the wind unusually behind us, it took no time at all to get to morning tea at the Lyndon River rest area. Along the way the landscape was scattered with fascinating ant hill formations. There was even one that had “MAZ” written on it, which our Maz found very amusing. Some spotted a goanna that had come off second best by a passing vehicle; it was huge! After morning tea and with a rest day looming tomorrow, spirits were high and the transition out of the rest area was smooth and orderly.

A short 13km ride down the road had us gathering at the Tropic of Capricorn sign for group and individual photos. This is the southern-most latitude that the sun can be directly overhead. The northern equivalent is the Tropic of Cancer.

This left us with a 53km ride into Coral Bay, which involved a bit of climbing, but glimpses of the rich blue ocean could be seen along the way, slowly drawing us in. On arrival at Coral Bay we discovered Lesa had made a solo effort to be first in to the Fins Cafe. A great lunch of fish, chips and salad was provided prior to reaching our accommodation. Most of us could not resist the milkshakes and ice-creams on offer. Food has become one of the focal points of this trip, that’s for certain!

After an afternoon that involved swimming, beach combing, checking out the shops and taking care of laundry, everyone settled into happy hour on their back porches and enjoyed a little banter (and crisps) while the sun went down. Before we knew it the 6pm briefing for our rest day took place and the team from START Foundation shared some stories of the grant recipients they have supported so they can participate in the sports they love.

Dinner was outstanding at Bill’s Cafe. I could not resist ordering the Big Al Burger in honour of my long time mate and cycling buddy on this trip, Alasdair. I was not disappointed! Stacked almost a foot high and surrounded by chips, I am certainly ready for our rest day where we head out on a boat to the reef to see the whale sharks, turtles and various other marine life that populate the magnificently pristine blue water.

Richard Cooke