When we planned this trip, we had visions of driving through Spring-time in the West, with the predicted sunny skies and temperatures in the twenties. So far, that vision remains unrealised, and we have staggered from storm to storm as the locals apologise for the unseasonable weather. It’s still been stunning country, just not the walking and swimming weather we thought we would get!

Our last night in Margaret River was spent listening to the rain lashing down and 60 knot winds howling through the area. We didn’t hear any trees come down, and that gave us a false sense of security, because the moment we got out of town we were dodging debris blown down from the trees and no less than five trees across the road in the first 150 kilometres. Paula had bravely decided to do the first stint as the road looked a bit better on the map, but she copped what could only be described as the dangerous bit, as the tail of the gale buffeted the car and various large chunks of timber crashed down.

At one stage we thought we were going to be held up for a couple of hours as a tree had fallen right across the road, but there were busy grey nomads at work dragging enough of the tree away so that half the lane was free. All sorted after ten minutes. Then we travelled two hundred metres down the road and discovered why there was not much in the way of traffic coming the other direction – and even larger tree had snapped off four metres above ground leve and bridged right across the road. Nothing for it but to drive under the trunk, but that stranded the motor homers with us, so I hope the local SES got to them. Nothing but a major clean-up crew was going to shift that trunk.

Most of the rest of the four-hour trip was rain and wind until we got to Denmark, which is 45 minutes from Albany and has all the food and wine in the region. We raced into IGA, grabbed some provisions, and shot out the door so we could listen to the AFL Grand Final. This was not going to be our weekend for footie, as the Swans lost, The Wobblies failed to kick themselves to a win in Pretoria and Cronulla won the League. Brendan’s most despised part of Sydney holding the trophy? Give me strength.

Tucked up in our very nice holiday apartment under West Cape Howe, all seemed set for a relaxing afternoon, but our adventures weren’t over. We then had an 18 hour blackout as the storm came back for seconds – but we did better than ALbany, who had to put up with nearly 36 hours. The winds were ferocious and, once the power was back on at 7 on Saturday morning, we found out how strong when we dared to drive along the ocean side and saw the Southern Ocean in complete random chaos along the cliffs.

So that was it: no walks as the rain kept coming back for random showers and the wind nearly lifted Paula off her feet. My camera was soaked as we tried to get some sense of what the sea was doing, and even Albany looked a bit blown inside out. Tomorrow for the ANZAC Memorial – I keep trying to picture that convoy of troops in the Sound in 1915, so entirely remote from the rest of Australia. Even today, we feel a long way from home.