Week 11 10/10/06 through 16/10/06

Day 71 Tuesday 10 October 2006

Rest day called again today. Even though we have a very exposed campsite, the gentle sea breeze throughout the day has meant temperatures have remain very pleasant. So there has been nothing else to do other than sit, read, swim and eat. And of course take pictures of sunsets!

Day 72 Wednesday 11 October 2006

The batteries on the fridge were a little low this morning so we decided to move on today. While we were making a decision on which way to head we took a detour further up the coast to see James Price Point. (the next point up) To our surprise the road kept going a lot further than we expected and we drove along cliffs of rich red sands which are touched by the daily high tides of turquoise waters. Eventually we turned back when the road came to a deep creek crossing. We ended up camping only a few kms from our previous night on a rich red soil above the high tide mark.

While Steve was relaxing with a beer for the day, Alison experimented with the time exposure on her camera and produced the far right picture. Would you believe she did not use a camera flash on this photo?

Day 73 Thursday 12 October 2006

The agenda today was to proceed up the Dampier Peninsular to One Arm Point and then start working our way back down again. We expected the road to be a difficult one to drive and the first part was rough, corrugated and sandy. The second part of the road, to our surprise, had been recently tarred in sections, or was close to being tarred and therefore had been freshly prepared. This signalled to us that this area would not be so very isolated much longer, sadly.

First stop was Cape Leveque. This is an up-market camping ground and resort, with an airstrip and a light house. What more could you ask for. It appeared to us both, that this area of the coast was very similar to where we had just been staying, so with our thirst for a new experience, we continued on to One Arm Point, an aboriginal community further around the point.  To our surprise the track took us to a point where we could see and experience the huge tidal surge which this area is famous for. (the best known example is the Horizontal Falls.) The speed that the current moved at was amazing and Steve took some great photographs that really captured it. You could make out the white water caused by the current flowing around small rock islands in its way. These rock islands stood defiantly and showed the high water mark of tides past with their dark edges. Alison's eye was caught by the distinctive amenities block with sharks on the walls and the aboriginal alternatives to English.

After an hour watching the currents and a power boat fighting its way across the channel we headed for Lombadina. This promised one of the best beaches in the area, a gift shop with aboriginal art and an unusual church. The swimming was great and the sands were crystal white - wow! The catholic church was built in 1934 from local timbers (paperbarks and mangroves) and had a thatched roof.

Day 74 Friday 13 October 2006

Last night we stayed in a camping ground called Middle Lagoon. The amenities were clean, the night was quiet and the view of Indian Ocean was excellent.  If you're up this way, and looking for a more remote camping experience, forget Cape Leveque and head here (unless you want to feel like you're in the middle of a caravan park!)

As we left Middle Lagoon we noticed a small community called Milargoon, which had a craft store. The little craft shop was full of beautiful artwork done by Corrina and her husband. The kids were just fantastic and even brought up from the house a wonderful picture of the Beagle Bay Church that Corrina had just finished. We have never felt as warmly welcome as we were made here. As we left we were given a beautifully painted crab shell which we wrapped carefully and secured to our cargo barrier. It will certainly remind us of a lovely family who enriched our day so much.

A short drive later we arrived at Beagle Bay Community Office to arrange access to the local area and church. Once again we were warmly greeted at the office by a big smile and were given a quick briefing on the area. We arrived at a white church further into the community which was truly beyond our expectations. The Palatine monks and local aboriginals built the Sacred Heart Church in 1918, which is famous for its beautiful alter, made up of local shells. The church is still in use today.

 Last stop of the day was Broome where we would get ready to launch ourselves off on to the next leg of our journey.   

Day 75 Saturday 14 October 2006

Rest day declared today - well actually more like an admin day, washing etc. Alison has been working on a DVD format of the trip which is starting to take shape.

Mid afternoon we bumped into Carolyn, Phil, Eamon, Tamsin and Patrick at the pub in town and caught up on how they were going. Turns out they have not been north yet so we had a lot of information to share. As the afternoon moved on, we all headed to Cable Beach for a swim. Made for a very pleasant time!

We decided that it was too late to go shopping so we headed off to the local Irish Pub for a quiet dinner. The food was excellent and tasty!

Day 76 Sunday 15 October 2006

Rest day No 2 - We met Stefan and Andrea, newlyweds from Switzerland on their honeymoon. We swapped our experiences on the road. Then that night we had Michael and Caroline from Adelaide over for a great evening of swapping stories and adventures. They haven't been on the road that long, and theirs will certainly be a much shorter trip than ours. But it will still be a wonderful experience for them. (thanks for the beer guys!!) It is certainly amazing the variety of interesting people you meet on the road and how they enrich our lives. We all take in the same sights, but gather our own individual experiences.

OK Warning... technical stuff ahead!

1. On our drive back from the cape earlier this week, we were alarmed to see the oil pressure in our engine reach never before seen lows. The oil had just completed 5,000km, so should have been in fair condition still even if it now required changing. After talking to some mechanics we decided to use a 20W60 grade oil (thicker and heavier duty) instead of our usual 20W40 grade. Since the change the oil pressure has increased approximately 1kg/cm and is now siting in the range of 1.5 to 4 kg/cm. Will be using the thicker grade diesel oil from now on. This information is probably more relevant to those owners of "vintage" 4WDs like ours, although the label on the back of the oil container mentioned that it was recommended for vehicles under "extreme heat and operating conditions"

2. The clutch has been giving us trouble since the gear box was changed a few years ago. It just feels like there should be an extra inch of travel in the pedal! Many people have attempted to fix the problem (including ABS) and have blamed both the master and slave cylinders or claimed there was air in the system. A few weeks ago the problem deteriorated again so in a fit of desperation we final decided the problem must be in the booster controller and did some reading in the service manual we carry. We found there is an adjustment which can be made to the small piston in this unit which takes approx 5 minutes to do. It seems to have fixed the problem - the clutch has not felt this good in a long time.

Day 77 Monday 16 October 2006

Well the day had finally arrived to leave Broome - time is starting to get away from us again. The first planned stop of the day was Barn Hill which is located about 140km south of Broome on the coast. There is a caravan park there and  it provides partly shaded sites. It is a short stroll from the beach with views of the ocean. The coastline was different again from  our experience of the Broome region and we soaked it up while we had a 2 hour walk along it. Most definitely worth a stop over if you're in that part of your drive along this region.

As it was early we decided to chance Port Smith for our over night stay. Unfortunately, even though Port Smith has a pretty lagoon, you can not access the beach there. As we are not fishing people it was not to our liking so we decided to bush camp it further down the road. Before we left, a friendly mud crab (we think?) decided to stop us in our tracks so to speak. It didn't matter which way we approach it, it stood defiantly with its claw raised in protest. I guess we should have eaten it?


Stay tuned as the adventure continues......