Is it a bird? Is it a plane?? No, it’s Super Capes! (kind of a weird tenuous Superman reference).
Mr Darren Capewell to be exact, and he goes straight into my Heroes of Western Australia list (alongside such luminaries as Brian Lee from my heady mud crabbing days and Rod Evans, whom I met in the Kimberley where he was walking the unforgiving 660km Gibb River Road).
Seeing as it was just Super Capes and I on his Indigenous overnight bush culture/history/kayak tour, does that make me his Lois Lane?? Oh Lord, please no!!!
Bogged in your car on a dirt track because you thought it was 4WD? Well don’t fret, Super Capes is here to tow you out. (I KNEW they’d be British!)
Fancy cooking some oysters for tea over a beach BBQ? Fear not! Super Capes is here with his Hammer of Truth and Screwdriver of Justice to bash them off some rocks in the Indian Ocean for you!
Ever wondered how World Heritage status in Australia is granted? It’s over to you Super Capes….. “To be World Heritage Listed you need to tick at least one of four boxes, and Shark Bay is only one of 16 sites worldwide that satisfy all four criteria” (natural beauty, biological diversity, ecological processes and Earth’s history).
Shark Bay lies on the extreme Western coast of Australia and is approximately 800km north of Perth. It boasts 10% of the world dugong population, and is home to dolphins, whales, manta rays, turtles, sharks, fish species and rare marsupial.
I got such a feeling of…I don’t know…real SATISFACTION as I stood on the rocks with my hand fishing line stretched out into the Indian Ocean. I’m going to catch ONE fish and that’s going to be my dinner. And I did! The first fish I’ve ever caught was a Blue Bone (and that’s a good eating fish).
But the highlight was definitely the fresh oysters we chiselled from the rocks with the ocean crashing around us. Whilst Capes was smashing them off I was doing my bit holding the yellow bucket to carry them to shore. But it was only when the Screwdriver of Justice slipped agonisingly out of Capes’ usually so secure grip and toward a premature watery grave that I realised why I was there that day.
I wanted Capes to like me. I wanted to be a hero. I wanted to save the day. I wanted oysters for tea.
Without a thought for my own safety I clambered off the slippery rock I was perched on and into the ocean. With the water just above waist height and moderately cold, I closed my eyes and thought about oysters for supper. I said one last prayer for my family then heroically plunged my right arm towards the sea bed.
Taste Master no more, I’ve ascended to Taste Martyr.
As I gasped for air my right hand searched blindly in the murky depths. No dice this time. I stood up and looked straight at Capes, I couldn’t let this man down.
I could see it in his eyes, “That’s my favourite screwdriver that is.”
I HAD to find it. Deep breath and down we go again. Left, right my hand went, left, right. Water was now up to my arm pit and my shirt was quite sodden. I grazed my elbow, not too badly but still, then BINGO!
As I raised my injured arm aloft with the rescued screwdriver glistening in the beautiful afternoon sunlight, I think I saw tears gathering in Capes’ eyes. Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t, but I’m sure he’s eternally grateful.
My actions had transcended the need for words. We both knew what had happened that afternoon will go down in Shark Bay folklore.
“Thanks Brutha,” said Capes as I handed him the dripping wet, but still completely functional screwdriver.
No Capes, thank you.
Tips and Tricks
Getting to Monkey Mia
- Skippers Aviation operates flights to Monkey Mia.
Where I stayed
- Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort and overnight on Wula Guda Nyinda overnight kayak & snorkel 4wd tour.
My expert local guide
- Capes, of course. Capes plays a significant role in the development of Indigenous Tourism in Western Australia and is a current board member with the Western Australian Indigenous Tourism Operators Council (WAITOC).
My insider tips
- Self- drive is a great way to explore the Shark Bay region and there are lots of camping spots in Francois Peron National Park.