Wednesday, July 30, 2008

another day in paradise if you don't mind the rain

day 7 - saturday 26th july

out to monkey mia for a second visit because yesterday's ticket is valid for 2 days... ruth really loves watching the dolphins, so it's good for us to come and see them. same sort of show as yesterday with the same group of dolphins (give or take 1 or 2). we watched the first show and then most of the second show before heading off to capture our first 'virtual cache', a photo of the monkey mia resort entrance wall.

we went to peron homestead on the way back to denham. the homestead is right on the edge of the francois peron national park and is used as a base for calm / dec / whatever they call themselves now. met an old bloke out there who lives in denham but does odd jobs out at the homestead. he used to work on the station before it was subsumed by the government for environmental purposes. he reckons the last owner was frank love of loves buses.
the homestead itself is off limits but they have a really nice hot tub running which is fed directly from the artesian basin below the property. magic hot water direct from the ground. the kids loved it (and so did I)...

back in to town to sit around and relax. took the kids down to the town jetty to jig for squid but to know avail. yesterday you could see the squid in the water and there were heaps of them. today - nothing - nada - zilch.....
song for the day: jimmy barnes - working class man

day 8 - sunday 27th july
denham - carnarvon

another day another town... took to the road and headed for a one day stopover in carnarvon before heading off into the bush. nice trip up the highway with not a huge amount of traffic although it did take 40 minutes to get fuel at the overlander cos we had to wait for all the caravans and winnebagoes getting fuel too.

got into carnarvon and discovered that what we thought was a booking wasn't. ended up being squeezed into an unpowered site in the park's overflow section along with a bunch of others who also must have just dropped in. got set up and then off to do a couple of caches. one up at the old satellite tracking station and one out at the one mile jetty. the jetty is now one kilometre then a big hole where there was a fire and then another couple of hundred meters to the end. they still run the coffee pot train out as far as the damaged bit. the satellite tracking station has had a range of different roles but it is most famous as being involved in helping track the lunar landing mission in 1969.

turns out that this weekend is show weekend in carnarvon, so there's heaps of people around and lots going on. 7.30pm ish they had the most bizzare fireworks display i've ever encountered. there was a standard display and then about 15 minutes later there was half a dozen more shots fired and then 5 or 6 minutes later there was a couple more... weird hey!!!

at dinner time i got yakking with a bloke who recognised our car from albany and as we talked we realised that he had been a student at the amity hostel back in the late 80s / early 90s when i worked there as a supervisor. small world.

not much later the rain set in. it was light but constant through the night. the camper leaked a bit but we survived. come morning and we were just getting up and down she comes in buckets. its raining inside almost as much as outside. we packed up in record time and quite obviously weren't in any need of showers that morning.
song for the day: david bowie - space oddity

day 9 - monday 28th july
carnarvon - exmouth

bitter disappointment... the rain in carnarvon has extended inland and whilst only light now, is forecast to get heavier and more persistent. looks like temple gorge and mt augustus are going to be a no go. flipped a coin and decided to skip the inland leg now and maybe come back at some other point in the future (maybe christmas???) to tackle that bit. headed north instead and aimed for exmouth. secured an unpowered site at the exmouth cape holiday park. got here in reasonable time despite the fact that it rained the whole way here. only the last 20 kms or so have been dry. caravan park lady says it hasn't rained here all day. hahahaha - we'll soon change that.

got in and set up, put tarp over camper so there will be no leaks tonight. people all around looking at us wondering what we are doing. we have learned... we are stopped in a new town - it's gonna rain.

settled in, went for a quick drive around town, got dinner organised and then started cards with the kids. not long after, the drizzle started. there's a mad scramble around us as everyone gets there gear undercover. they won't be looking at us so strangely from now on. we've brought the rain 2000 kms with us. we're not letting go now !!!!!!
song for the day: panic at the disco - northern downpour

day 10 - tuesday 29th july

ahhhh yes. rained most of the night and blew a gale for a while and guess what - no leaks. yay!!!!!!

today we went out and visited a whole bunch of places along the ningaloo reef. out as far as yardie creek and then back into exmouth via bloodwood creek, turquoise bay, the jaribi turtle interpretive centre, the exmouth lighthouse, the wreck of the mildura, bungedi beach and then exmouth. did caches at yardie creek, the mildura site and bungedi.

as awesome as the natural wonders are up here, in some ways their beauty is overshadowed by the immenseness of the aerial array at the harold e holt navcommsat. the array (and the complex that goes with it) is huge. while i think that it doesn't detract in any way from the surrounding environment, it does dominate the area.

the cape range divides the exmouth peninsula and as we drove along the ningaloo road it struck me how odd it was that on one side of the rad there were these magnificent mesas and hills and gorges, and on the other side was this reef with turtles and whalesharks. a real juxtaposition of the dry and almost decaying age of the rasnges with the life and new beauty ofg the reef.
the other fascinating feature of the landscape up here is the termite mounds, literally thousands of them. everywhere you look there seems to be more of them. most of them seem to be dormant or dead or something - at least not crawling with termites - so i wonder where the live mounds are?????

film night at the caravan park tonight. they have an outdoor cinema area and an amazing camp kitchen with indoor and outdoor areas, internet access points, seating for 70 or 80 people, microwaves, toasters, kettles, fridges, ovens, the works. blows your mind really.
song for the day: the cat empire - saltwater

Friday, July 25, 2008

around the state in eighty days....

days 2 - 6

kalbarri / denham / monkey mia

day 2 - perth - kalbarri

long day in the saddle - 8 hrs or thereabouts. traffic getting out of perth was ok. found the ford at regan's ford. lots of water in the moore river.

saw an old t-model / austin / old small skinny car with a camper on top. funny thing to look at. the camper was 3 ft wider than the car.

blown over trees at greenough, two big trucks with big metal things on them. thought we were gonna get stuck behind the trucks but they turned off at port denison.

took coastal scenic route to kalbarri from geraldton via horrocks beach.

setting up camp we broke the zipper that joins the annexe to the camper. no zipper, no annexe. brought wrong cord for the electric light. forgot to bring mantles for the gas light... had tea in the open by torchlight. staying at anchorage cp. early night. nice quiet night's sleep ahhhhhhh.

song for the day: i can see clearly now / the rain has gone / bright shiny day / blue sky.....

day 3 - kalbarri

spent the morning looking around kalbarri. got new light and some more mantles for the gas light. did geocache at red bluff.

had an early lunch and headed out to lynton to the old convict depot where the convicts were held pending work at port gregory or on the lead mines. there is a pensioner guard's hut as part of the complex. interesting cos one of my great great great rellies was a pensioner guard. did geocache at lynton.

back in to kalbarri from lynton and stopped at a whole bunch of lookouts on the way. amazing awesome sights to behold. contrasting colours and savage cliff lines juxtaposed with tranquil seas. natural bridge, castle cove, grandstand, shellhouse, eagle gorge and red bluff. highlight waould have been the walk out to the top of red bluff. way up high with views to everywhere. astonishing.

song for the day: this is the sea by the waterboys. once you were tethered now you are free that was the river this is the sea...

red bluff

sunset over kalbarri

day 4 - kalbarri

went into town to see the pelican feeding. got there a bit early so bought coffee. nice coffee but jolly expensive. pelicans aren't really my thing but the lady doing the presentation was funny and it was interesting watching people's reactions as the fed the birds. liam and ciaran both had a go.

straight after pelican feeding we headed out to the gorges north of kalbarri. more 'a' words. we went to the ross graham and hawks head lookouts forst. funnily enough we saw a magnificant hawk out there. firstly flying around and then sitting quietly in a tree surveying its kingdom.
back towards kalbarri to nature's window. lots of people but still an amazing place with amazing views. the kids were suitably impressed.

then on to z bend. ruth and ciaran did the short walk to the lookout which they said had the best views so far. liam and i did the longer walk down to the river to do a geocache. the climb down and back up again took about an hour and we spent about that long clambering over the rocks, crossing the river and climbing up the other side to get the cache and then back again. our first 4/4 cache and well worth the effort. the path down to the river goes through chasms and old waterfalls and trees growing out of the rock walls of the gorge. not too many complaints from my old body and liam did really well

bit cloudy and very windy tonight but nothing too serious so far.

song for the day: take me to the river - which was the title on a sign we saw at z bend.

pelican feeding

natural window

day 5 - kalbarri - denham

5 hours solid rain last night.... despite the many hours spent sealing the canvas on the camper before we left, after an hour or so the water started coming in. we didn't need to evacuate to the car or anything but everything got very damp and we didn't get much sleep.

packed up early "ish" and headed for denham. stopped at nerren nerren to do a geocache and then continued on past billabong to the overlander and then stopped for lunch between hamelin and nanga on the road out to denham.

arrived in denham around 2pm and organised to stay in a bungalow rather than the camper so we can dry everything out properly. ok ok i admit i'm a sook but hey its my holiday.

song for the day: from the 'beaches' soundtrack - i think its going to rain today

day 6 - monkey mia

off early this morning to get out to monkey mia for the 8am feeding show. very overcast this morning but no rain. extraordinary light filtering through the clouds as we headed over.

the first feeding session there were only two dolphins in close and there was only a moderate sized crowd. very informative talk about the dolphins and their lives. the scientists are doing some very interesting work and have developed what is almost a genealogy for the group of dolphins that come in to the beach on a regular basis. ciaran and liam got to feed the dolphin, but ciaran was the one who actually put the fish out.

the second session had about 8 dolphins turn up, and the crowd was still quite small which was good. the dolphins are quite noisy, squeaking and squawking and making little farting noises. the ladies all oohed and ahhed when the dolphin near me was doing its farting thing. if it had been me making the noise i would have got slap on the head... where's the justice.

wandered back to denham via the little lagoon and have spent the rest of the day kicking back and relaxing.

song for the day: an obscure title from manfred mann's earth band - singing the dolphins through (great southern tafe readers - ask jim b.)

ummmm.... dolphins
morning sun
kids feeding dolphins
aristocat boat

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Day 1

July 20th 2008

Off from the rain and cold and storms in Albany and on our way to the wild uncharted north. Day 1 - 400kms - Albany to Perth to visit my mum and dad and spend the night before we head off to the warmth tomorrow.

Monday, July 14, 2008

long service leave is coming....

Sunday the 20th July - 3 months long service leave happens - photos, stories, places, people, play...

Updates as often as internet happens.