Mandurah, March 2023

This blog post is the first that includes our baby granddaughter “Evie”. Of course that’s not her real name, but as she was born on New Years Eve, it seems like the ideal name to give her for use in these pages. I also call her “mini Moo”. Anyway, it was lovely to spend a weekend with The Drummer, The Piper, their respective partners and Evie in a canal-side home in Mandurah, when Evie was 10 weeks old. Jimbaran and I were very fortunate to have the highest bid in a secret auction at a quiz night last August, for a 3 night stay at the property. As we knew it would be great in Spring or Autumn, and with Evie on the way, we booked up for March and patiently awaited Evie’s birth day and then the weekend. Thankfully both arrived safely.

We arranged to travel down after work on Friday and for most us to leave late on Sunday, leaving the new family to enjoy a quiet night alone. As we were all away, we needed to plan for the family pooch to have a holiday of his own, so he went to stay with a family just around the corner from the canal house, who we found through Mad Paws. Based on the photos we received, it is safe to say he had a great, if tiring time.

Anyway, we all arrived at the house as planned on Friday and were delighted with what we found. The house is small, single storey, with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, right on the main canal. It’s size and location were perfect for us, and we quickly made it “home”, especially when we were delighted by some passing dolphins almost straight away! As the family all arrived, we settled in for a night of pass-the-baby, fish and chips, sitting watching the world go by, fishing (The Piper) and generally being a family.

Saturday morning dawned very warm and sunny, enjoyed for a short while on the canal-side patio. The dolphins graced us with their presence early in the day, a good sign for a great day. After breaky we headed out to explore Amaze Miniature World, while The Piper stayed home to sleep and his GF, The WAFLer, went to coach footy. We had a very lovely time wandering the miniatures, getting lost and then finding ourselves in the maze, putting our way around the mini golf course and enjoy the café delights. Evie will definitely have to go back when she is a big girl.

Home for lunch, and then we decided to have a bit of a paddle. The house has a couple of kayaks so we popped them in the water and paddled our way down and around Raggamuffin Point and back to home. Goodness me, some of those canal houses are palatial, with fabulous amenities and all the toys. A few are for sale, but with things the way they are with interest rates, I wonder who could afford them or the repayments. There is a lot of money on these canals. We also saw a little kingfisher and a few other birds, but no dolphins this time. The kayaks turned out to be a little leaky, so we headed back to the fisho on the wharf, for a graceful dismount.

After a couple of canal-side beverages we all wandered over to the city for dinner at The Bridge Bar and Restaurant, where Evie was the star of the show. The pizzas and parmi went down very well, along with a bottle of Rose, before a very nice walk home. For some reason, we ended up watching Grease, with some of the younger generation seeing it for the first time! What have they been doing with their lives?
Sunday proved to be as lovely a day as Saturday and our plan was to see the Giants of Mandurah and have a swim. But first The Piper indulged in fresh blue swimmer crab, caught from the house’s jetty in a crab pot, while the rest of us wolfed down bacon and eggs, as though we haven’t eaten a month.
Finding the Giants is a quest, treasure hunt style, with the first one almost gifted to the Seekers. At each Giant there is a symbol, and the symbols go together as a code to reveal the location of Giant 5, Giant 6 is in Perth. “There are six old hidden giants in the bush and on the bay, and each of their voices is crucial for the harmony to play, they used to sing the song together – the old hidden giants, but one got lost, then six turned five and now the song is silent, so go find those hidden giants, and help restore the order, ’cause a giant needs its company, like fire needs its water. There’s one in Perth, four in Mandurah, and one hidden far apart”. There is a creation story that Seekers can listen to as the quest unfolds.
Unfortunately someone decided to vandalise one of the 4 Giants in Mandurah, burning it to the ground! So, our quest was shortened somewhat. We planned to see 2 of the remaining 3, and off we set. The first was easily achievable, sitting atop the sand dunes behind the beach not far from the canal house. It has an amazing view of the ocean, with its hands held aloft. This Giant is called Santi Ikto. Santi Ikto, like it’s buddies, is made of recycled wood, in this case most of it looks like pallets. Despite the macro nature of the material, the detail is fabulous. Santi Ikto is larger than life but life-like, likable and engaging. I am so glad we found him and keenly we set up to find the next one.

It’s not possible to walk between them, so back the car we went and made our way south where we were thrilled to find Seba. This Giant is also fortunate to have a wonderful water view, complete with dolphins! After a short walk to get to Seba we spent a while admiring it, also made of pallet, with exceptional detail. We were graced by the presence of dolphins herding fish and thrilled to have them hunt just in front of us. Eventually we left Seba to keep a watchful eye, and we headed off for a swim.

By the time we were ready to dip our toes in the water, the wind had whipped up and we decided instead to try to find the third Giant. This one required a bit more exploration, so we decided to take along the electric scooters. Once we were in the vicinity it became apparent the crowds would be thinner here. Indeed we had much of the walk to ourselves and eventually found Little Lui. This is by far my favourite Giant so far, which despite its size, is well hidden until you are almost upon it! This one is even more life-like and likeable than the others, and I found myself talking to it! The mozzies were pretty vicious but it didn’t stop us from spending some time enjoying Little Lui. As we left I wished it a safe stay and we agreed to come back to this part of the world in springtime to explore some more.

It’s a great shame that Giant number 3, Vivi Cirkelstone, was damaged, but I get the feeling it may rise from the ashes, based on the “site closed until further notice” advisement in the Travellers Companion. Fortunately, the Visitors Information Centre shares the it’s symbol with Seekers, so the code can be cracked and the 5th Giant found. We will need to do that at another time, hopefully soon, but meantime we need to find the Giant of Subiaco …
So it turned out that undertaking the quest to find the Giants can easily consume a day. The rest of this trip to the canal house was spent enjoying each others company on the patio, fishing and not catching the BIG one, tidying up and packing the cars, collecting the family pooch from his holiday, and eventually driving home to Perth. We all agreed that a couple of days and nights spent in a canal house in Mandurah is very good for us and that we should do it again year. We are already planning to take Evie on the pirate ship, bring our own seaworthy kayaks, hire a tinny, and bring real fishing gear! Maybe that big one won’t get away next time …

Post script (Sunday 19th March 2023).

We found the 6th Giant in Subiaco (and a lovely cafe serving all day breakfast, and a patisserie for take away bagels). I really like this one, reclining on it’s right arm, shading it’s face with it’s left arm. Again, it’s a very human-like pose, creating a human-like sculpture.

Now all we need is to find time to go down and look for the 5th one, and hope they rebuild the 3rd one.

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