Friday, September 07, 2007


Art Director and Mayhem, that indefatigable journalistic team (and yes, that is us on the avatar, the profile pic) are back together, this time reporting from the frontier towns of the Gascoyne. Even as we speak, Mz Mayhem is journeying north, trusty Leica in hand, on a caravan safari into the wilds of Shothole Canyon and Turquoise Bay, deep into the unforgiving territory of the North West Cape. There she will hook up with a TV production crew and presenter Tania Kernaghan, the (apparently) well-known country singer, to document the inaugural Warlu Way safari, from Exmouth to Broome. Mayhem will cover the Exmouth component. Exmouth, endearingly referred to by our new flatmate, the blunt, sexist, foulmouthed, crocodilehunteresque freediver Colby, as Sexmouth. But more on Colby and his exploits later...

After returning from a three-month U.S. sojourn, Mayhem has this week taken up her new position as journalist, roving and reporting and apprenticed to the Art Director. Turning up at the paper brandishing a degree in journalism, she has been dropped in at the deep end - quite literally - flung into shark-infested waters off the Blowholes for a Coral Coast Happenings magazine assignment. And she has the scars to prove it, after a brief encounter with razor sharp corals at Point Quobba. But let us begin at the beginning.

Dugites are kind of like venomous snakes. Always willing to go to any lengths for a story, even lengths of deadly dugite, i stop the vehicle on the roadway shortly before we reach our destination at Point Quobba. The road, i notice, is alive with reptilian life forms. A thorny devil is sunning himself in the middle of the road. A dugite is stretched out nearby. Former wildlife rescue volunteer Mayhem springs into action, rescuing the thorny devil, preventing him from becoming lizard jerky on the Blowholes road.

My god, Art Director, isn't he beautiful! she exclaims. Can i keep him? I'll call him Spike.
Umm, i think the Department of Environment and Conservation might have something to say about that. You can't just grab creatures from the wild and keep them. It's like picking wildflowers. Against the law, you know.
You can't pick wildflowers?
Umm, no.
But you can trample all over them, or drive across them in a four-wheel-drive?
Umm, yes, i think that's okay.
And somebody could run over Spike! Look at him, oh, he is so cute! Ouch!

I persuade her to let Spike go, and we walk back down the bitumen to where the dugite lays, stunned, in the middle of the road. I pick it up by the tail. This is the surest way to determine whether a snake is venomous. Non-venomous snakes can't bend around and bite you on the hand. The snake looks a little worse for wear. As Mayhem and i are playing with it, a four-wheel-drive stops and a couple of English tourists jump out to look at the snake.

You should have seen the thorny devil, Mayhem says. He was so cute.
Oh, where is he? asks the female tourist.
Over there, about where you parked your car, i say.
Oh no! Poor Spike! Mayhem says.

We give the venomous snake to the tourists, and press on with our assignment. Coral Coast Happenings want a profile on the tourist destination.

Swimsuit shots, Mayhem. We must have swimsuit shots...

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