Boat Harbour to William Bay
Part One - After receiving news at Peaceful Bay that the Parry Inlet was not passable, my night at Boat Harbour would unfortunately be my last for this trip. Arranging an 11am pickup, I wanted to be up early so I wasn't rushing through the 12km between Boat Harbour and Parry Beach. With the trip cut short it was a bittersweet morning at Boat Harbour. On one hand I would be spending extra time with my family in Funbury (was due to head there for my nephew's birthday after the trip anyway) but it would have been nice to hike through to Denmark as planned. The location of the shelter means you have to wander the few hundred metres down to Boat Harbour itself if you want to take in the sunrise but on this occasion I decided to sleep in and start packing for an earlier than usual departure. My aim was to be out of camp by before 7:30am but I dawdled a fair bit and I eventually left at 7:45am.
With a fair amount of dune walking to do in the 12km, maintaining a 4kmph average with photo breaks was going to be tricky but if it was anything like the section after Middle Quarram from the day before, I think I could easily put the jets on given the same same scenery that the coastal sections can serve up. Leaving camp, I walked down to the official Boat Harbour, passing another toilet block (nice to know you have options if camp is busy) that is there to service the 4x4 campers that visit Boat Harbour. A sheltered cove, Boat Harbour is a really cool place that I wish I had time to explore the previous evening. The granite headland contains some smaller beaches and cool rocky platforms that make it a popular spot for people to visit, hence the 4x4 camping location. Spotting the beach entrance for the first time is pretty cool and you can see your morning ahead of you with the coastal cliffs extending off into the distance. While you do get to see some nice views of the rugged limestone cliffs, the majority of the walking will be done inland so really enjoy the bits close to the coast while they last. The sheltered cove of Boat Harbour is one of those places as you head down to the beach and walk along the bay until you reach the other side. Being a calm morning, the water was like a mirror and it was really peaceful. There were no campers around so I had the whole place to myself and it felt a lot more like a secluded spot than the beaches around the Quarrams on the previous day.
Steve had mentioned on the podcast that the other side of Boat Harbour can be confusing as people like to move the markers to be along the 4x4 track. On my visit they were in the right place and so when I reached the other side of the bay I climbed up onto the path and headed south towards the rocky platforms. Taking in the last views of Boat Harbour, the track then takes you over another small headland and onto a much bigger beach. This one also has 4x4 access (like pretty much every beach on the south coast unfortunately) but once again I was lucky to have it all to myself. I do enjoy a good morning beach walk and in the cool winter air (part one was completed in late August) I settled in for the last of the beach walking for my morning. Keeping an eye out for the beach exit given my issue getting off Back Beach the day before, this one is very easy to spot thanks to the staircase leading up into the dunes. Looking down the coastline to the east before you head inland to the stairs was pretty amazing with the jagged limestone formations being battered by the waves. Contrast that with the gentle looking sands back towards the west and it was quite a spectacle.
Heading up the stairs, they have a very open feel to them compared to the long set from the previous day and it allows you to look back at the views to the west as you get higher. The views are worth stopping for as you begin a sustained climb up to the first of a couple of hills for the morning. This was the most enjoyable of the dune walking for me with the morning light providing a deepness to the colours of the ocean and it was still cool enough that the climbing didn't have you ending like a sweaty, clingy mess. When you reach the top of the first hill there are plenty of great views of the dramatic coastline stretching in either direction but the view I really loved seeing was the one right ahead of you looking to the east. The cliffs here looked fantastic and because of all the little coves, you were never staring at the same feature for the whole time. The views back to the west were pretty cool too and I'm sure if I had a set of binoculars I could have seen the Boat Harbour Campsite and up to the top of Rope Hill.
Still wary of time, I was a bit behind schedule as I traversed the undulating dune system, stopping to photograph anything from wildflowers to the inland lakes of Owingup Nature Reserve to the Southern Ocean extending out to the pale horizon. I ran into a kangaroo friend who didn't mind my presence, enough that it didn't jump off as soon as I arrived but I think that probably had more to do with the hilly escape route than the quality of my immediate company. It posed for a photo before I apologised about having to continue along but I don't think feelings were hurt in the process. Heading downhill, the scenery through here wasn't as impressive as the first few kilometres so I powered on and tried to get ahead on time just in case there was something I really want to stop and look at. While the ocean views were appreciated, there really isn't much along here to make you slow down so it was a bit of a grind for me. I did enjoy photographing the moon as it sat on top of one of the many hills in the area but judging by the number of photos I took along this stretch, there wasn't much of note.