swans floated gracefully on the river, spending more time with their rear
ends in the air than their heads as they fed below the surface.
We walked across
the road bridge to look down along the River and to snap a few pictures
of them...only to be surprised by the silhouette of a metre and half long
fish, resembling a shark, lurking beneath the water. We can only speculate
as to its species!
An early start the next morning,
Monday, saw us cruising into Port Hedland.
BHP Iron Ore's rail hub, port
and ship loading facilities are located in Port Hedland to service its
Pilbara mining operations at Tom Price, Paraburdoo and Newman.
Port Hedland is also home to
one of the world's largest solar salt production operations, Cargill Salt.
The area is an ideal location
for salt production because it has low rainfall, high evaporation and
large areas of low lying, impervious flat land...ideal for the concentration
of brine and the production of salt.
Cargill Salt produces about
3 million tonnes of Dampier Salt per annum.
As luck would have it, we arrived in town at about
9:30 am to find just about everything closed and locked up...for Port
Hedland Cup race meeting, of all things.
Australia may write off half a day or so for Melbourne
Cup...but good old Port Hedland takes the cake...it closes shop for the
Our once over of the town confirmed that it's certainly
no 'Club Med' ...not by a long shot...everything in sight was covered
in or stained red by iron oxide...presumedly from BHP's iron ore loading
facility which is located on the doorstep of the CBD...and the place had
a drab, lifeless feel to it...accentuated, I'm sure, by the absence of
commerce on the day we visited.
...Victor you're a very unattractive place !!
We weren't doing cartwheels about the prospect of
overnighting there and made a quick decision to push on to Marble Bar