“Walla walla. Walla Lalla!”. That is what it sounds like repeated over and over! But Camel Man is actually shouting “leave the dog alone leave the dog alone!”. The wind, Camel Man’s mosquito net and that fact that he is just about toothless slightly muffles his words!
A truly surreal encounter just happened upon us. How did Camel Man enter the lives of the CAKE09 crew all so suddenly? Let us backtrack!
Casey Smith, Rod Thomas and yours truly are on the second leg of the CAKE09 – Cape Leveque and Karijini Expedition – in Western Australia. We have left Broome early morning, our destination is Karijini with a stopover in the mining town of Marble Bar. Having heard many great things about the landscape on the Boreline Dirt Road we leave the bitumen of the Great Western Highway and cut across to Marble Bar through the Pilbara region outback.
The Boreline dirt road and the Pilbara landscape do not disappoint. Almost instantly we are treated to this view of infinity:
Rather than a thousand of my words this image perfectly describes the gorgeous wide open spaces of the Pilbara region outback. Like the smell of Camel Man it is breathtaking. And then…
“Walla walla!” Like in a Sci-Fi movie we spot an alien incoming vessel, press our faces against the window of our spaceship (Toyota Landcruiser) and exclaim “what IS that?” cracking huge smiles. It’s a camel. It’s a car. It’s a man. It is. Camel Man! Casey halts the Troopie and we jump out, cameras ready. Again; the image tells it better than words. Two camels, a cut up car with a license plate that read SHIT HAPPENS, a dog with some sort of muzzle and … Camel Man!
A toothless fella who appears to have been living this lifestyle for some time, sharing his space with the hundreds of flies buzzing around his mosquito net covered head. He very obviously does not want us touch his dog. No worries. I love dogs more than anything and even I would not really want to touch this poor muzzled mutt. Oh, and in a classic case of not getting the job done I only manage a few frames and no video. Some photographer. It was over too quick and too surreal! We should have reversed and filmed the great Camel Man in his element, the Pilbara Outback. “Walla walla” was quickly adopted by Rod and I still find myself saying “walla lalla” and laughing out loud at the memories of Camel Man and CAKE crew roaming the universe!
Still smiling from our Camel Man encounter we venture further down the Boreline road. A friend had told me this road was home to some incredible landscapes and the Boreline road continues to amaze us. Magnificent cloudscapes, wide open spaces and deep red rocks and dirt road. I am in heaven.
The Boreline is a dirt road but used by the mining companies so it is in great condition and highly recommended. We arrive high on adventures in the outback mining town of Marble Bar around 3pm and start scouting for the caravan park. Should be easy enough to spot. But the adventures of this day are far from over as we somehow simply cannot find the caravan park in this small town! Follow our next adventures in the upcoming part II, CAKE crew look for the caravan park in Marble Bar!
This is told in travel story style as I am practicing this writing style for my upcoming nomadic adventure.
Rod Thomas tells the Camel Man story much funnier than me (with a better shot as well) on his blog. Casey Smith has a great 617 panorama shot of the Pilbara rocks here.
Flemming you will become a camel man soon, roaming through the outback.
Great story, I imagine you will have plenty soon and your fingers will be busy typing.
The cloud in that Pilbara shot really makes it, great work.
Yes I may have a future as a camel man 😀 Into the Wild with my trusty camels.
Glad you like the story and yes, those clouds were out of this world and make the shot. Couldn't have painted the clouds better myself.
"Like the smell of Camel Man it is breathtaking. And then…"
Great story Flemming. You could be a travel writer as the have the words and pics to back you up! Flemming the Camel Man does have a certain ring to it!
Thanks very much David! I think there can be only one Camel Man so I'll have to wait until the reins are passed on so to speak 🙂
very entertaining as well Flem. I read it Rod's blog but it was great to hear again.
very nice images to go with it aswell 🙂
Cheers Stephen, glad you like the text and images. Look forward to writing the Stirling Ranges tale 😀
Great story Bo…and great shots as well!
You do meet some characters up there eh! We come across this couple that have been living up in the Kimberley in this remote area only accessable by boat for years and they rely on stores coming in from passing boats and they trade in booze etc.
They swim in their water tank that is fead from a spring and are just about always boozed!!
It takes all types eh!
Thanks very much Mark ! Heh, like your story too, you do meet some real characters out there! All part of the fun, it is great to see how the outback allows the inner weirdo in some to fully flourish!
i too saw this guy, one night driving from kununurra to broome..! it was about 0300, in the distance i saw what looked like a camel, and a tarago? …. half a tarago, 2 camels and some old bloke armed with a potato on a fork. as i slowed down to ask if he was ok, or just, what the hell are you doing out here? he advances towards me with this potato on a fork. i ask if he’s ok to which he replies @yeah im ok, are you ok? what do ya want? totally intrigued i engage in an awesome conversation about how this was his 4th time aroud the country, 2nd time with 2 camels, before on pushbike. then he gets up me for having an engine and proceeds to tell me how efficient the camels were, dont need water, all that,, and he lives off potatoes he said… hes not registered with any goverment agency.. he says its easier this way, milly and lilly are the names of the camels, he gets police escorts whenever he comes into a town cos the coppers dont like his camels shitiing everywhere.. anyway, when i was leaving i yelled out how much do camels cost, to which he replied with the cheekiest of grins, “if ya can catch em, theyre free!”
i then noticed all around the top end and WA that hes on a lot of corkboards in all the roadhouses… funny old bugger… he sounded eastern european.. classic!
What an awesome story Aaron, thanks for sharing!
the boreline photograph is awesome flemming, the road dissappears into infinity -thats something i've got to learn how to capture
Thanks Chloe. The road disappearing into infinity is enhanced by extreme wide angle – in this case 17mm on a full frame – and shooting from an elevated viewpoint. Here we're on top of a little hill, you could also stand on top of a car.
I like the post Flemming, there are so many 'characters' out there aren't there ! A good read without a doubt and I look forward to part II. 🙂