ESPERANCE COAST LINE

It is correctly promoted as one of the west’s most spectacular and picturesque coastlines.

Nearby, and as luck would have it, to the west of the town, is West Beach:

IMG_9045IMG_9043From the Rotary Lookout there are 360 degree views. Frenchman Cap, named by Andrew Forrest in 1870 no doubt after the 1446 m Frenchmans Cap in the Franklin west coast wilderness area of Tasmania; and Cape Le Grande (see Observatory Point for nomenclature history) are the stand outs.

 

Twilight Bay was the most beautiful of the western beaches. Shallow and crystal clear, it was largely surrounded by giant boulders, replete with youths a frolicking. The Great Whites don’t come in to the semi-enclosed area apparently, because they can just wait outside for carefree youths to plummet from the boulders.

The redoubtable french explorers, Antoine D’Entrecausteaux (sailing the Recherche) and Huon de Kermadec (sailing the Esperance – yes you know what is coming) sheltered leeward of this Island, which they named, in a storm on 12 December 1792. They were on their way back after naming half of south eastern Tasmania, so what better to do whilst leewarding out the storm, than to name everything they could see here. The ship’s botanist (guess what his name was) wanted to call the bay La Baie LeGrande, but D’Entrecausteaux thought that an inappropriate play on female and male forms of “the”, so he called it Esperance, after his beloved ship. Lt Cretin (yes he was on board) didn’t really understand Antoine’s objection, but was happy when the big rocky thing they observed got named after LeGrande.

IMG_9069Not sure if they named the reef out in mid-water cunningly designed to take out the unwary.

IMG_9068Matthew Flinders, and his cat, were mightily peeved at all the french names and he did his best to anglicise those he understood. Espairauhnce might as well be Esprance, he hoped.

It is a very rugged coastline,  again featuring the metamorphic gneiss formed on the collision of the Antarctic and Australian plates a few years ago. I have tried to capture the power of the swirling ocean.

Michael Monaghan

4 April 2018

 

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