Thursday, 24 December 2009

Hot water is hot, and cold water is cold

Excepting for two short stints in Tas, Jude and Len have had to add hot water to the showers for the first time in two years.
The cold water here is actually cold. How bizarre.

Traveling south from Coral Bay we swept past the Tropic of Capricorn, where we did not have to change our money or anything. Quite a disappointment, not even a security check. Nothing!

Carnarvon is, well, nice. More nice than Coral Bay we think. Perhaps.
MUCH more nice than Sandfire, which unfortunately did not get wiped off the map by cyclone Lawrence, who was vindictive enough to just miss the roadhouse.
Lawrence has now dumped all its rain on central W.A. and fizzled out, serves him right.

Another two noticeable things that have occurred by being south-ish are;
1. You can brush past palms/bushes/trees and not worry that a whole bunch of miffed green ants will swarm over you and make their bad tempers and displeasure known.
2. Little unexplained sores (probably from bites from nasty insects) heal. Len has had three that refused to get on with the healing process, and now they are healing. Hah!!!

Carnarvon is VERY windy. It has a mile long jetty (1.6k for those imperially challenged).
We walked nearly all of it yesterday. 'Nearly all' because they have a gate across the last little bit and you have to turn back. We enjoyed the walk nether the less. It was so incredibly windy it is a wonder that we did not get blown away.

It also has a pretty big radar dish, which has 85 steps to the top which you can climb and have a look around from. We will do so today, before we head off to Denham, where we will stay for Christmas and Boxing Day.
The dish was (you guessed it) a joint effort by the USA and Oz, they used it to communicate with satellites and it was where the first signals were received from the moon landing in 19 something-or-other.
It is a tourist landmark now, unused and lonely.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Stingrays don't like me

Coral Bay is a nice town.
Expensive, but nice.
Nice people, nice caravan park, nice temperature, nice beaches.

The shallow waters just before dusk had a few small stingrays feeding there.
Len decided to try and step on a tail, just to let them know he wasn't all that happy with the Steve Irwin incident.
It turns out that they can sense when a foot is near their tail, and they can also swim very quickly.
On this occasion it did an U-Turn ('a U-Turn'?) and went straight at Jessie. Although it stopped short of Jessie and resumed feeding she seemed nonplussed at the event and decided the ray was actually chasing her. Len believes that rays actually don't have a malevolent cartilage in their bodies, and that it was a chance direction away from a tail-flattening idiot.

Judith and Len continue the slow recovery from sun burn.
Jude complains when she bends her legs, but is stoic and managing very well, and Len is looking for a bandanna ($9:00 here!!) to wear on the head when next the snorkeling bug hits, which will be early tomorrow morning in fact.

So, the kids are complaining already that it is cold here. It is, must be 28-ish, and a cool sea breeze to boot.
Hope we toughen up to the post-tropical weather sooner than later,
Until next time,

The Windswept Water People

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Exmouth, sunburn, Nemo and 'What's-her-name?'

Exmouth is better than Port Hedland.

It is a small place with not much going for it excepting that it has fab beaches and great snorkelling... oh, and a bloomin' great VLF radio transmitter array.
The Yanks and the Ozzies (surprised?) use it for war purposes, you know, contacting subs and ships to tell them who to blow up etc.
The central tower is the 2nd tallest in the southern hemisphere, it says. It is supposed to be 387m high, and surrounded by 12 other towers as well. It is a bit 'Dr. Who'-ish to look at.
It looks 100m tall when you are close to it, but to be honest, you CAN see it from a very long way away, so I guess 387 is correct. The central tower weighs 800 tonnes alone. I would have guessed 80 at the most.

We taught the kids to snorkel and returned with the same number of children as we set out with, which I guess is a good thing, right.

Nemo and 1000 of his cousins made an appearance at The Oyster Stacks, as did Dory and a whole menagerie of colourful aquatic creatures, a bit like swimming in a very big Melbourne aquarium, but the plants and corals are real not fake as I am told they are in Melb!!
Apart from the astounding beauty of the underwater world I was also taken by the critters nibbling the coral. I thought some of them did it, but everyone was feasting in it today (Well, not me, obviously). They are just water-cows I have decided.

Judith has discovered that snorkeling involves lying face down in the water.
This leaves the back of the legs exposed for some time to the sun.
Now, the sun here is not the same sun we had in Darwin. No, really.
The Darwin sun, let's call it 'Dun', is generally hot but kind enough to not burn you.
The Exmouth sun, let's call this one 'Xun', is not so benelovent.
Jude's legs will need a few coats of Aloe Vera spray tonight and tomorrow and are developing a nice, but unhealthy, glow.
Sam is so tired all he can do is play PS, Jessie is sitting drying her head by letting a towel impersonate an Arabic person on her head, and Len has again realised that the smart thing to do was sunscreen the back of the legs before you burn, but forgot that he has little hair to protect his only functioning area, his head. Aloe Vera has been applied to the slightly hairy scalp.

Tomorrow we head to Coral Bay, which is supposed to be even better snorkeling than Exmouth.

Now... how do we snorkel in long pants and tops?
Until next time,

The Lobster Bake Clan.

Another day (again).... another 784ks

How many Ks can you do in this place and not go too far??

Answer: A blinkin' lot!

We went to Karratha today and decided that 2 days in Exmouth would be better than one, so we traveled on... all day actually.

It was so hot that the air-con heated up again and we had to turn it off.
Sam displayed a nice collection of sweat in his belly button, Jessie had sore eyes from sweat and Jude and I looked like salamis curing in the mid-day sun.
We opened the windows and were very cool as the sweat began to chill and evaporate.
Then we were VERY hot once that finished.
Driving into Exmouth was great, nice little place from what limited sunlight we have used to see it with so far. It is actually cool (well, probably high 20s, but that is cool, right?).

Tomorrow we sleep in, and then we teach the others to snorkel and have a look at one of the famous reefs, Ningaloo. It should be great tomorrow providing no-one drowns.

So, we are all very tired but we traveled well.
I hate to think how much diesel we used today, it was so hot the car ran right to the top of acceptable range and we had head winds as well, I am sure we did 100k less than usual for the same amount of fuel. Will check tomorrow.
We did not have anything stolen last night, except that the cover for the rear wheel is missing, either 'borrowed' or flew off during the drive today, unsure.
I did not take a pic of the disabled toilet, as I went in the monster that lurks under the leaf litter (real leaf litter) tried to swallow the camera and I could hear murmurings that were a tad unsettling from the brown stained hand-basin, so I retreated. Sorry Dear Reader.

Now, to try out the showers in Exmouth!
Happy Holidays.

The traveling Wilbury-Clarks

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Another Day, another... well 640kms

This is such a big place.

I mean, if you need a bit of flat land that no-one seems to want to do anything on, then have I got a deal for you.

500 kms today was all flat country. Nothing there except a few cows that didn't have the sense to go on walkabout until they found either water or something to eat, or both.

Then there's the heat.
Mind you, I guess 40 plus in the shade is ok, for some.
I love our air con, did I mention that before??

We were chased out of the tropics by the cyclone, it stayed just north of us.
Sam had his last Water Boy engagement with the Tiwi Bombers, who look set to be in the finals.

We went to Looma and spent a night there with the Shorts, that was great. There is 20k of gravel road into Looma, it was excellent, just graded for us, how kind.
The next day we went to Broome, and it hasn't stop raining at Looma since. Hee heee.

Two nights in Broome, even though they said they would have to evacuate us for the cyclone. It slowed down so we stayed and had a rest.

Today we drove the 600++ ks from Broome to Port Hedland. Very long day and Len's posterior is getting tired of the seat. He lays on the couch a bit now, to relieve the pain.

Port Hedland is forgettable.
Sandfire is even more so.
We stopped there (200k before Port Hedland) and took a look and got into the car and drove on, even though we wanted to have a break. Driving all your life was better than spending some/any time in Sandfire.
We are going to start a list, like Top Gear's fastest track time board.
We will put our least favorite places on the bottom, and the best on the top.
Sandfire will be on the bottom.

Mind you, we are in a caravan park that is cheap in South Port Hedland.
We have progressively found out why it is cheap.

Things get stolen in the night here and cars get broken into.
The showers have panels hanging off the walls, and the disabled toilet is well..... disabled. Not to mention that it is VERY unclean and covered in litter and filth.
I should take a pic tomorrow and publish it. I am sure you will enjoy.
Len has covered all the car windows to stop people seeing in, and parked it nose first under our outside light so one can see down both sides of the car. That should help, as well as the fact that it was pension day today, so the local indig mob should have grog and money of their own at the moment. How sad. They bring such shame to themselves.

We will try to sleep tonight with one ear alert (Australia needs more Lerts, you should become a Lert).

Tomorrow we travel only 265k to Karratha, one night and then on to Exmouth and Coral Bay. They are both at Ningaloo reef, which they say is better than the Great Barrie Reef and you can snorkel in waist deep water and be staggered.
They should be excellent and we will do some snorkeling/drowning there. We have bought a cheap disposable waterproof camera to get some wet pics. It is a film camera so we can't publish them as until we settle in Leongatha.
So, until the next time, happy trails (or is that 'happy trials'??).

The Clark Mob - Leighland Brothers

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Fitzroy and Looma

Yesterday we got to Fitzroy crossing. Took 7 hours and LOTS of diesel, which is rather expensive here!

It is very hot, but thankfully it is also dry.

I am amazed at the Indig communities that you come across in the bush. Lots of them.
It is so hot and I wonder how they can just be there all the time.... amazing.

We are off to Geikie Gourge, near Fitzroy, then to Looma for one night where we will visit with our friends Jamie and Natasha Short whom Len visited a few years back for a mission trip.

So, a hot day today.
Very thankful for the air con in the caravan I can tell you.

Sunday, 13 December 2009


we did it, took all day from 8 am 'til 6:30 pm, but we are in Kunnunurra, will be off to Ftzroy Crossing tomorow, another 8 hours and then we can step it back a bit, thankfully.

Our caravan is leaking, the door is sagging and I have broken other stuff, great start!!

Huge rains in Darwin, 100ks of wet then it was dry, which was great as I wanted to temporarily fix one of the leaks (we have 3), but ran into major rain again 40 Ks from the caravan park :-(

Will try to dry the area and tape it for now.

Didn't kill anyone or any animals (apart from a very nice but slow moving butterfly).
Saw a feral donkey again, just like last trip, and lots of roaming cattle that we always hope will not suddenly run across the road. Had to nearly stop for a mentally challenged calf though. I think he will not be long for this world, road trains take several hundreds of kilometers to stop, being 20 kilometers long themselves. I think those measurements are close, perhaps a little large.

So here I go, fixing the world with one strip of tape at a time.


Au Revouir N.T.

We head off tomorrow early, it has been amazing here, and the farewells from schools were just unbelievable. So much support and kindness it is astounding. My Tiwi brother, Bernard rang to say goodbye today, breaks my heart.

We have had the experience of a lifetime but it has come to an end, and the new chapter begins.

It has been quite wet here, heaps of tropical rain for 24 hours and a very low pressure system just off the coast tryimg to become a cyclone.
The caravan has sprung leaks for no reason, and the door is drooping, so I am a little concerned.

I hope the van lasts until we get back home at least, I will need to remove a whole side section and rebuild the collapsing door section some time.
Water was coming through a light fitting, and we have just discovered a new leak into a power point. Might be interesting in the next few days!!

We will do 8-10 hours tomorrow, and the same the next day. Meet some friends in Looma and then on to Broome, where we will have a rest day and then off to Pt Headland, a long and boring drive we believe.
We will keep this updated so you know where we are.
Bless you all,
Bye NT (sob, sob, sob).