31 exmouth (11)Recently Shani and I travelled up to Exmouth to create a sculpture for the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Exmouth Shire. The day before we left we got a call from Jaci (our host) telling us not to worry about the cyclone.

Cyclone. Cyclone? What cyclone?

Apparently there was a cyclone building off the coast which might hit Exmouth on the day the sculpture was due to be finished. “Don’t worry,” said Jaci, “I’ll make sure you’re not in danger.”

We flew up to Exmouth on a beautiful, calm clear day and on arrival found that everyone there seemed to be pretty nonchalant about the cyclone. In fact the “What will be, will be” sentiment seemed to extend through the whole population and to pretty much every topic.

Q: “What do you think will happen with the cyclone?”
A: “Ah dunno. See what happens.”

Q: “Do you think people will still come to the celebration?”
A: “Yeah. No, maybe. Whatever.”

Q: “Which IGA is best?” (yup two IGAs in Exmouth – owned by the same people!
A: “Don’t know really, it kind of depends”

I guess when you live on cyclone alley you just get to realise that any plans you make are, after all, just plans.

30 exmouth (4)As it turned out this particular cyclone was a non-starter for Exmouth. The weather stayed hot, only mildly windy and there was only a sprinkle of rain the whole time we were there. The best thing about the impending cyclone was that it meant the site for the sculpture was changed from the beach to under a shady tree in a central park between the pool and water park.

And thank God for that. With the temp reaching the high 40s I think we had the coolest spot in town. It was certainly much cooler there than in the house where we were staying. Also moving the sculpture to a central location meant we got lots of passing trade for Shani’s ‘How To’ workshops – at least 30 kids each day learn the basics of sand sculpture.

The sculpture itself was made from pindan, the Pilbara sand. It was the first time I’ve worked with it, in fact it is the first time I’ve seen anyone work with it. It held together better than I was expecting but had a lot of rocks in it. They were always placed exactly where I was doing some fine details. I really liked the way that the colour of the sculpture reflected the colour of the landscape up there – and the colour of most of my work clothes now!

The sculpture, was a sort of of montage of all things iconically Exmouth -turtles, lighthouse, beer, fishing etc. It attracted lots of attention and was really well received.

31 exmouth (4)On the last day of carving Shani got all the kids (and a few adults) to make little light houses and then just as it got dark adorned each one with a tea light candle. It was a great way to tie the little windmills into the large sculpture and display the locals’ efforts.

I think the highlight of the trip for me was working with the amazing red pindan and the lovely helpful and welcoming people we met up there. Especially Brooke, an 11 year old local girl who gave me lessons on turtle anatomy and helped carving some of the details on the sculpted turtle.

I am planning to get up there again soon …

But you know – “what will be will be”