Stuck in Derby

As per our plans we arrived in Derby, topped up our fuel then headed up the Gibb River Road. However after only 80 kilometres it became obvious that we had an engine overheating problem when the vehicle was at slow speed or idling. It really wasn’t prudent to proceed any further so we turned around and backtracked to Derby. Booked into the caravan park and asked the manager who we should see about the problem. He recommended Colin the local Repco franchisee who was also his fishing mate. It didn’t take Colin long to diagnose the problem as being a fluid leak from the viscous coupling on the fan that was causing the fan to slow under load. Whilst the car was drivable it was certainly not sensible to head up the Gibb River Road with this issue so Colin ordered a new unit. Unfortunately on the Nissan Navara  you have to replace the casting that also holds the water pump so it is a fairly expensive replacement.

Now Derby is a nice town, it still has something of the frontier feel about it and it is certainly not overrun by tourists but what to do until Monday when the part should arrive? The only place to swim is in the town swimming pool because Derby is in King Sound, a huge shallow sound bordered by mangroves and mud banks. With the biggest tides in the world the water is always churned to a thick brown colour and salt water crocodiles are plentiful, so definitely no swimming in the ocean!

Boab trees in Derby

Boabs in the main street

The township of Derby is basically on a peninsula surrounded on three sides by mud flats which are covered by water at high tide. A road has been made over the mud flats to enable access to the jetty. There are most facilities here including a Woolworths and IGA supermarket. Shopping is very spread out and you need to drive between the different destinations.

Derby is know for boab trees and they line the streets, in fact the main street is very wide with boabs growing down the centre. The most famous of these trees is the boab prison tree just out of town. In the very early days of European settlement in this area this tree was used as a temporary goal as it is huge and hollow. This tree is believed to be about 1,500 years old.

A meal at the Derby wharf

Eating at the wharf

The Derby wharf sees very little commercial use and is open to the public, unlike most wharfs which are now closed because of “security”. It is U shaped and you can even drive around it. At low tide it is a long long way down to the water. Lots of people fishing from it but haven’t seen anyone catch anything yet. The locals even catch mud crabs from it, well so I’m told. There is a restaurant at the start of the wharf that looks out over the wharf and sound, terrific position but Vicki and I had a seafood basket there on Friday night and the meal was barely edible.

Well the part for the vehicle arrived this morning and it is the wrong part. Colin was furious and he has had the supplier air freight a replacement at their expense, this should arrive tomorrow afternoon.

Luckily the local Animal Welfare Group has a second hand bookshop which is well stocked and reasonably priced so we have plenty to read.

Derby boab prison tree

Boab Prison Tree

Derby – Monday 3 October 2011


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2 Responses to Stuck in Derby

  1. Shane & Anita says:

    Those trees are very familiar to us. Here in Angola they are prevalent. We notice you have the pic of the prison tree. There are many “boababs” – the English name in Angola – which house small shops. These shops mostly sell oil and car freshener hanging-things, or incredibly skimpy bikinis.

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