Today after completing their northing the expedition reached the 22nd Latitude. This has been an amazing feat of Navigation using only two primitive GPS receivers and a suitcase full of maps to assist their travels. The weather has changed and instead of cold and rain the expedition now has to endure heat and bush flies. This morning scientific measurements have been taken to ascertain that the water temperature is 23.4C with the temperature in the sun reaching 30C. It was agreed that at these temperatures bathing in the seawater should be safe so all members splashed about. However despite scouring the seashore no edible food was found. It was therefore necessary for the expedition to revert to emergency rations of T-bone steak with potatoes cooked in the jackets in the camp fire. Once again this poor diet and constant travelling under such trying conditions is taking its toll. Yesterday morning Expedition Scribe Hills was seen to emerge from his humble caravan rubbing his eyes. After scratching his behind he was heard to mutter the immortal words “ where the feck are we”. (Taken from the journal of expedition leader The Reverend Mayhem Drink a’Lot)
Left Quobba Station Wednesday, without any further rain. Along the Quobba road, which follows the cliff edge we kept seeing balloons to seaward of the cliffs. We then realised we were seeing Western Australian balloon fishing. Because the predominant wind is offshore fisherman use helium filled balloons to take their bait or lure out to deep water. Some very big fish including pelagics are caught this way.
It was only about 250 kilometres to our next destination at Warroora Station. Warroora has about 50 kilometres of magnificent coast line and there are sandy tracks to camp areas all along this coast, with the exception of one site these are all four wheel drive access with no facilities. 14 mile camp has toilets, a caretaker and apparently wall to wall caravans and motor homes needless to say we haven’t been there. Arriving at the station homestead we asked if there was any space at the Stevens Camp, it being school holidays. I thought we would camp at Stevens as when we had been here before it had been a good camp, well protected from the normal windy conditions. You can also fish and swim at Stevens. In some areas under the reef management plan no fishing is allowed. The guy at the homestead seemed a bit vague about who was camped where when we asked about camp sites, something about “no one ever tells him anything” so we unhitched the van and went to have a look. Plenty of sites. Didn’t have any trouble getting the van in (have to get out yet!) but you certainly wouldn’t have wanted to bring a large van in here.
It’s glorious here, if a bit windy. Just over the sand hills from our camp is this beach that stretches as far as the eye can see both north and south. Several hundred metres offshore is the reef. We haven’t been snorkelling yet as the water is quiet choppy. A result of the swell breaking over the reef and the prevailing wind that has been blowing constantly since we arrived. School holidays end this weekend and most campers have now left.
Yesterday we all went for a long walk on the beach and collected shells. Then it was time to see if we could break the drought and catch some fish. A miracle then occurred ( probably not according to church standards but certainly by mine) we caught fish, four Long Toms to be exact.
Vicki gutted and cut them in half length wise. We then put them straight onto a hot plate over the wood fire. They didn’t require much cooking, very sweet but a fair number of small bones. You could eat them like eating corn on the cob.
“They who must be obeyed” have been suggesting an alternative return route. Originally it was planned to head SE at Exmouth to Meekatharra then take the Gunbarrel Highway, a little used track to Uluru. However “they who must be obeyed” have suggested that perhaps we should follow the coast up as far as Broome then head inland and via the Buntine H’way to Alice Springs. Now it is a brave person who ignores a suggestion from “they who must be obeyed” so maybe the Gunbarrel will have to wait for another year. Anyway a final verdict is yet to be delivered.
This morning at sunrise I took some photos from the top of the sand hill that separates us from the beach. It was a bit cold so it was back to bed to warm up before a birthday breakfast of bacon, eggs and raison toast. Life is hard!
Following a leisurely breakfast a swim and a fish was in order. After a couple of hours I returned to camp and left the die hard fisho’s at it. Around 2:00PM they returned with smiles all over their faces as protruding from the fishing bag was the tail of a large Golden Trevally. Apparently Vicki had caught it but she had trouble landing it so Bob had to assist in the landing. A pretty good fish and we will eat well tonight. She had also caught another two Long Toms. One had got off the hook and as she picked it up by the tail it whipped round and bit her on the arm. They have small but very sharp teeth so she got a bit of a surprise. A couple of skin punctures but no real damage done though.
Stevens Camp, Warroora Station, 150 kilometres south of Exmouth – 22 July 2011