Hamish and Annie Say:

Dedicate a share of your efforts to the greater good. Do what you can with what you have.

     

      Pam's Journal For July 2008

  Tuesday 1st July 2008
 
  We went to look at the Sun Princess; it was moored at the Port of Broome. It looked huge against the small jetty. Later we enjoyed another very nice Happy Hour with Cindy, David, Margaret and John.  
     
   
  The giant Sun Princess tied up at Broome's little wooden jetty.  
     
  Wednesday 2nd July 2008  
  Lay day. Around 4:00 p.m. we six headed down to Cable Beach to watch the sunset. It was a magnificent sunset with good food, wine and company. What a perfect way to end a perfect day.  
  Thursday 3rd July 2008  
  We had a few things to do in town including my visit to the podiatrist. Hurrah, he seems to have fixed the toe. Later we went out to dinner with Cindy, David, Margaret and John. We first had a drink at ‘The Roey’ where we discovered the answer to our riddle of the 'Immoral Licence' (Tuesday June 24th ). It was an 'Immodest Licence' because the barmaid was wearing nothing else but a bikini top and a mini-skirt. After we had a drink we wandered over to the restaurant for dinner. It was a Thai place and the food was excellent as was the company and wine.  
  Friday 4th July 2008  
  We said our goodbyes to Cindy, David, Margaret and John as they are off to Derby this morning. The rest of the day was a lay day doing what we do best relaxing with a good book and a computer.
 
  Saturday 5th July 2008  
  Today we went to look at the Buddha’s Sanctuary; it was a place for meditation and yoga. A yoga class was in progress and but we didn’t see any meditating. The statue of Buddha was supposedly made of glass but it didn’t look like it.  
     
   
  Buddha in his sanctuary  
     
  As you can see from the photo, Pete Mate wasn’t impressed by Buddha or his sanctuary.  
     
   
     
  After we left there we walked on Cable Beach for the exercise as these days we seem to get very little. Then it was sunset time, it was a beautiful sunset but not the same when you don’t share it with friends.  
  Sunday 6th July 2008  
  We had to move sites this morning as our site was booked out to someone else. What a fiasco this park is. Where we had to move was diagonally back-to-back from where we were. We believe we had to move because the park owners do not know how to use their allocation software and once someone is booked on a site they don’t know how to move them. So we moved and it took us best part of the morning because, as by now you would have realised, we do nothing fast. Once we had set up camp it was back to our usual pursuits of computers and reading. A lovely lady named Olive gave me a trilogy of Nora Roberts and I can’t do a thing until I have read all three. The floor has been dirty for two days, ironing is in a pile, knitting has been abandoned but I have cooked food and poured wine. Life is good.  
  Monday 7th July 2008  
  I’ve finished the Nora Roberts trilogy, the floor is clean and the ironing done. We went into town in the afternoon to do a couple of chores and to take a photo we have been meaning to take for over four weeks. What are we? When arrived at the designated place, both our cameras were back in the caravan. Ah well, there is always tomorrow.
 
  Tuesday 8th July 2008  
  It had to happen, 3 years on the road and I have resisted but this morning I made up for it. I am now officially a member of the Laundry Police. I took washing off the line that had been there for three weeks. So that’s it! The forehead will be stamped L.P. next week and fellow campers had better watch out.  
  Wednesday 9th July 2008  
  We had the bearings on the caravan wheels done today. Pete Mate was going to do them but this mechanic chap staying in the park was only charging $25 per wheel so we thought, why not?

When he had finished we went into town to do a few things. I love wandering around the town soaking up the ambience, all your senses come alive with the sounds, sights and aromas. From town we went to a shopping mall. This particular mall car park backs on to the airport. Now you know why we go there and nine times out of ten I shop and Pete Mate watches the planes. Today the airport firemen put on a show. They displayed how well they could hit plastic barrels with their water cannons. I reckon they had new toys and had to show them off.

Once shopping was done we wandered home to do what we do best, relax.
 
  Thursday 10th July 2008  
  We visited the Mango Farm this morning. They make wine, port, jams, chutneys and salad dressings. We found most of them yummy and bought a few products. From there we revisited the fresh fish shop down at the Port as the fish from there was so good Pete Mate wanted more. That in itself should tell you how good it is as Pete Mate is not a lover of fish. We did a couple of errands before heading home.  
  Friday 11th July 2008  
  We enjoyed a lovely long walk on Cable Beach. Cable Beach is supposed to be world famous and I can quite believe it as it is very beautiful. After we left the beach we had to go and fill Billy up which cost an arm and leg. Then it was on to Woolworth’s to stock up on a few things; another arm and a leg. In the afternoon Pete Mate washed the caravan.  
  Saturday 12th July 2008  
  Get ready day for tomorrow we leave glorious Broome for the Sandfire Roadhouse.  
  Sunday 13th July 2008  
  We left Broome a little reluctantly; we didn’t manage to get going until 10:30 a.m. The terrain between Broome and the Sandfire Roadhouse was varied and a little more interesting than our last couple of journeys. We saw open paddocks with cattle grazing, dense bush and plenty of trees. Dotted amongst all this were some beautiful purple flowers and various blossoms on trees. Also there were a few homesteads which we assumed to be cattle stations. One or two of these places have made some of their land available for caravans and from all accounts do a good job. We decided not to visit them as access to the places would be along dirt roads and our (not so) old Jayco falls to pieces on sealed roads so who knows what would happen on dirt roads?

The journey this time was very different as we listened to a 'talking book' that our friends, Cindy and David, gave us. It made the journey fly by and we seemed to arrive at the roadhouse in no time at all.

Once at the roadhouse we paid for a powered site - that was the easy part. We then had to find a site that had power that worked as most of them didn’t. I went around with my hairdryer trying different power sockets without success. Pete Mate then decided to park at the back of some caravans as he had found a point not being used. So we had power and believe it or not we also had water. The most important thing was we had TV as Dr Who was on and I simply cannot miss him. The ablution block, rated on a scale of 1 to 5, came in at -5. No way in the world I am showering in that!
 
  Monday 14th July 2008  
 

We left Sandfire with a sigh of relief, it was one of the worse night’s sleep I had had in a while. Our journey further south gave us pretty much the same terrain as yesterday but now we had a few rocky ridges as well.

We stopped for coffee at the Pardoo Roadhouse and immediately decided we should have stayed there last night. It looked really lovely in the caravan park. The shop and café were well stocked and were enjoying a bustling trade. We looked at the T-shirts and found one for Pete Mate.

We found a T-shirt for Pete Mate . . .

Ironically it was me that was grumpy today and not him. We then continued our journey to Port Hedland. The caravan park there was lovely, green grass, friendly people, decent showers and toilets and a good clean laundry. We set up camp and then I promptly went to sleep only to awake in time for Happy Hour.

 
  Tuesday 15th July 2008  
  We had our first look at Port Hedland and South Hedland and were pleasantly surprised. We imagined some dirty hole of a town but the verges and median strips contain lush green grass, plenty of trees, shrubs and the beautiful colours of the bougainvillea. Yes the town is an industrial town and there aren’t any Cable Beaches tucked away or shopping malls with little cafes and coffee shops but it is part of Australia’s history and at the moment it is playing a big part in the mining boom here. We are really glad we didn’t listen to others and have come to look for ourselves.

After lunch we headed into town and had a look at the port. A ship was loading but I am told it wasn’t a big ship. It looked pretty big to me. We then went to the information centre which was excellent; the lady there gave us maps leaflets and information.

Late afternoon found us at a lookout on top of a bridge waiting for an iron ore train. It is listed as a tourist attraction and the council have even provided a shelter with seats in it for the wait. The council obviously have inside information and know these trains do not run on time. So we waited and waited and then waited some more. A couple who were also waiting gave up. Isn’t it the way of things as soon as they left the train appeared. So Pete Mate took photos and I had the important task of counting and timing them. Enough excitement for one day thank you very much.
 
  Wednesday 16th July 2008  
  We hurried ourselves this morning and managed to leave the caravan by 11:00 a.m. We wanted to see a very large ship at the port, which we did, and little tugs doing what tugs do best. Don’t ask me, it is all blue stuff.

We then had to race over to the bridge again as a train was coming in full of ore. We were there in plenty of time but as per yesterday the train was very late. Today’s viewing had attracted a smallish crowd; some of those didn’t wait too long after the appointed time. I could observe the comings and goings from the comfort of Billy whilst doing a crossword. I knew from experience I was in for the long haul as my lovely husband would not leave until he had seen a train carrying ore. As time advanced so did the need for a loo and some lunch but as a true wife of an ardent train buff I made the grade and waited.

Pete Mate eventually came back to the car and we were just about to leave when a train came the other way, more delays for my bladder and stomach. At least when this happens at an airport there is food and toilets.

We finally made it home and after lunch we again went into town. We booked some tours at the information centre, exchanged some books at the second hand book shop and went to another lookout. This time we saw the beach and plenty of water. There was a long line of ships waiting to come into the port to be loaded. Pete Mate, who had bought a new tripod to replace to one that got broken in Broome, tried it out and does seem very pleased with it. Additionally we think he got a bargain and that always makes one feel good.
 
  Thursday 17th July 2008  
 

What an enjoyable day. Pete Mate left early - well early for us - to do a BHP Billiton tour. I stayed at home and enjoyed the peace and quiet. He came back at 11:30 a.m. to collect me and our lunch as we were off to do the harbour cruise. We raced into town only to find the group we were to join had already left the information centre and were walking down to the jetty. So we walked very fast, I DO NOT do 'fast' very well and was not amused. As it turned out we were not the last on board and had to wait for another couple, who incidentally were our neighbours from the caravan park.

We had a lovely hour and a half cruise around the harbour looking at the huge ships and learning about the port and the town. Once we disembarked Pete Mate wanted to wait to see another ship come in. I wanted to go and view an art gallery, so we were both happy to do our own thing. I enjoyed the gallery; a lot of the paintings depicted this area. There was a wall hanging made of different types of material portraying the migrant women of the Pilbara. (We have left the Kimberley region and are now in the Pilbara.) It was incredible and I thought of taking a photo but as it was so big I couldn’t have done it justice.

Outside the gallery were a few sculptures. One puzzled me no end it looked like a Hill's Hoist (an Aussie brand of rotary clothes line) wrapped around a wooden pillar. Another was about the jarrah trees of the south west. The one I liked the best was of a man and woman made of metal.

 
     
   
                Left: A couple made of metal.                             Right: A Hill's Hoist wrapped around a post.  
     
  When we were first at the information centre I picked up a leaflet called "The Cultural and Heritage Trail". I found a few of these heritage places as we walked around the town but most of them were ‘the site of’ so there wasn’t anything to see. What I did enjoy were the little pockets of green lawns and pretty gardens and tables and chairs, tucked away all over the town in the most unexpected places. To me the council have gone to a lot of trouble to blend tourism into the industrial environment. Lets face it, Port Hedland is not Cairns or Emu Park but it is every bit a part of Australia as the Great Barrier Reef.

On the way home we had a look at Pretty Pool which is a beauty spot used by the locals for swimming and fishing. We weren’t overly impressed so we made our way home.
 
MM Friday 18th July 2008  
  The area adjacent to the caravan park is a housing estate with walk/cycle paths all the way around it. So for the last couple of mornings I have been doing an early morning walk. Then I decided it was time to venture further so I walked to Woolworth’s to do the shopping. It took me an hour and by the time I got there I was convinced it was a stupid idea. I did the shopping and Pete Mate collected me; I was so glad to see Billy turn that corner. We then filled up with fuel ready for the journey on Sunday. This is the first time we've paid over $200 for a tank of fuel. If you are asking, "How much longer can these two afford to keep travelling?" you're not on your own!  
  Saturday 19th July 2008  
  Every morning when I walk down to the toilet block just before sunrise I see the ocean and a pinkish sky framed by palm trees. It would make a lovely photo so I tried but the photo didn’t do it justice. It is a lovely way for the morning to greet you on waking.  
     
   
  "Good morning, World."  
     
  We spent most of the day getting ready to leave tomorrow. Around 5.30pm we went to the beach, as did half the caravan park, to wait for the moon to rise. We had seen the 'Staircase to the Moon' in Broome but as it was happening again here we thought we would have another look. It was just as cold as Broome but the Staircase was better. Pete Mate took lots of photos but wasn’t happy with any of them. Once the moon was well and truly up we made our way back up a steep sand dune back to the caravan. Sand dunes are much easier going down than up, someone had kindly built steps but they were covered in sand so a waste of time.  
  Sunday 20th July 2008  
 

It is so cold; I think it is time the winter woollies came out and the heater. We left Port Hedland around 9:00 a.m. We enjoyed our time there and were glad we didn’t listen to what other people had told us.

The countryside between Port Hedland and Auski Roadhouse started off very flat but soon we were into hilly, mountainous country. Everywhere was green with lots of trees and shrubs that were a contrast to the red colour of the earth.

We arrived at the roadhouse for an overnight stay and set up camp. Then we discovered we didn’t have any TV coverage so out came the satellite dish. Pete Mate struggled for ages and ages, moving it from place to place. It was so cold as well; I had to wear my jacket. Eventually he got a sort of signal but the ABC wasn’t playing so he was about to give up when we realised it might just be the aerial connection. It was and like magic we had the ABC. Pete Mate was out there for over an hour but he persisted and I was thinking what a lovely man to do all this, just so I could watch Dr Who. Then I realised Foyle’s War was on and he is secretly in love with Sam, the girl in it.

The Auski Roadhouse Caravan Park and facilities are 100% better than those at the Sandfire Roadhouse so our stay here won’t be a hardship.

 
  Monday 21st July 2008  
  We left Auski around 10:00 a.m. after a surprisingly good night’s sleep, as the roadhouse is positioned on the main road. The journey was again made more pleasant by listening to a talking book. The scenery was as picturesque as yesterday and very similar with the green mountainous slopes dotted with the dark red of the earth. We also saw lots of yellow blossoms and the purple wild flowers again. We were now in the the Hamersley Ranges and actually found a camp site at the base of a mountain. We 'book marked' it for later.

We arrived in Newman around 2:30 p.m. and set up camp. First we had to select our own site but to know where power was proved a little difficult, however a nice young man came and helped me out. Once we were all set up we went into town for look around and visited the information centre. We weren’t overly impressed with the town. To be fair to Newman, it is just a mining town without much thought to tourism. We found the lookout and will have to return with a camera. We then had a drive out of town and had a look at the Capricorn Roadhouse and the Airport. All familiar places to Peter when he used to fly into Newman for work.

It is so cold here (3° C. at night) that the heater is now out from under the bed and the Ransons have now officially started winter. The sudden temperature drop is partly due to the altitude and partly to the strong southerly wind we've had over the last few days.
 
  Tuesday 22nd July 2008  
  It was a lot quieter here than we thought it would be and we both had a good night’s sleep.
Pete Mate went to do a mine tour this morning. After my morning walk I caught up with some letter writing. The rest of the day was taken up with reading, knitting and computer playing.
 
  Wednesday 23rd July 2008  
  I take back what I said yesterday, it was a noisy night so we didn’t have such a good sleep. One particular chap, who seemed to arrive yesterday, decided to chat to someone outside our caravan very loudly in the dead of night. And there were vehicles coming and going – what joy! !

We went into town to do some shopping and one of the purchases I made was a cask of wine.
"Are you leaving town?" I was asked.
"Yes, tomorrow" I replied, puzzled.
"What time?"
"Well we have to vacate the caravan park before 10 o'clock." More puzzled.
"Oh, that's all right then, because we don't open until ten so I can sell it to you."
Another of those stupid restrictions. I say stupid because a mob of Aborigines, the very people the rule is intended to help, were outside the shop, drunk, loud and very aggressive towards each other. The closeness and the shouting made me feel very intimidated and that hasn’t happened before, apart from when we first set off in 2004 and didn’t realise what they were all about.
 
  Thursday 24th July 2008  
  We left Newman before 10:00 a.m. which was fortunate otherwise we would have had to take the wine back! The journey through to Tom Price was through mountainous country and again was very prettily decorated with the few wild flowers already out. We arrived in Tom Price around 2:30 p.m. and set up camp. As we do, we then went into town to check out what is what and to pay a visit to the information centre.

On the way back we had a drive up Mount Nameless. The road was not the best dirt road we had been on and sometimes it felt like we were very near the edge. Once on the top I still wasn’t happy but was impressed by the views. (I did get out of the car but only when I had put my jacket on). We watched the sun go down and then made our way down the mountain as the light was fading. Not the best experience I had had today.
 
  Friday 25th July 2008  
  We went to look at Kings Lake as we had been told it was the local beauty spot and we would see plenty of birds. It must have been the birds’ day off and we didn’t think it was particularly special so we headed for the town lookout, following the map. The map wasn’t correct, it had roads that didn’t existed so we stopped and asked a nice young lady the way. She was Portuguese and we did have a slight language problem but in the end she understood what we wanted and directed us to the lookout. She then proceeded to tell us of another lookout up a mountain but she couldn’t remember the name of it. It amused us greatly as the mountain is, of course, Mount Nameless.

We found our way to the town lookout which indeed did give wonderful views. We met a really nice couple who were staying in the caravan park and were doing the same tour as us tomorrow but with a different tour company. From the lookout we went to the library to find out about Thomas Moore Price, the chap the town was named after. This information obtained we made our way home for a nice relaxing drink.
 
  Saturday 26th July 2008  
  We had another marvellous day in this great land of ours. We had to be ready and standing at reception at 7:30 a.m. We were collected along with 17 other people by our tour guide for the day, for we were off to Karijini National Park. We had heard great things about this park and weren’t disappointed. We had to walk down numerous steps to access some of the gorges. The steps were mainly stone cut out of the terrain we were walking on. Some were deeper than others so it was a little difficult in places for me with short legs. All the effort of the walks was worth it as the scenery was spectacular, especially Fern Pool, the last place on our itinerary Some of the women swam in the pool and it did look very inviting but was also cold. Our tour guide, Barry, looked after us all really well, not hurrying us at all and made sure we all had a memorable day.  
  Sunday 27th July 2008  
  We went into town for milk and bread. We bought some wine, lots of it as there aren’t any restrictions here. In fact when I asked, the assistant had to ask me what a restriction is. Tom Price has a native population but maybe they don’t drink! On our arrival home we found a leaking caravan and poor old Pete Mate had to practically get inside the cupboard to find it. We have a sick water heater that needs new parts. Here’s hoping Tom Price has them.  
  Monday 28th July 2008  
  We went into town to the hardware shop without any luck, but we did find a plumbing supplies place and they reckon they will get the parts for us. Thank goodness. The whole park is now without water, not anything to do with us. Apparently they are upgrading something.  
  Tuesday 29th July 2008  
  Pete Mate washed Billy and then went into town to collect the parts we need for the water heater. Alas, he returned empty handed, the parts are still in Karratha. He then attempted to fix the leak so at least we can have water in the caravan. So far so good.  
     
   
  It takes one to know one.  
     
  In the afternoon we were visited by a flock of very tame galahs. Cupboard love isn't in it! Hold a slice of bread and they're all over you. When it's gone, so are they. The caption under the picture was written by Pete Mate, by the way.  
  Wednesday 30th July 2008.  
  We awoke to rain and had to rush outside to put everything away. Again we ventured into town for the parts we needed and again they weren’t there. Pete Mate went back at 4:00 p.m. to try one last time and was successful. During the day we packed everything away because tomorrow we want to get an early start, for the journey is a long one.  
  Thursday 31st July 2008.  
 

It rained throughout the night so we awoke to a sopping wet morning. We were on the road by 7:15 a.m. which is pretty damn good for us. We travelled through the same mountainous country as previously, though it gradually reduced to rocky outcrops before becoming very flat. There are more wildflowers out now and the yellow blossom on the wattle trees is everywhere. We arrived at Onslow around 3:30 p.m. and our first impression was not a joyful one. The caravan park is not the best we have stayed in, the town didn’t look crash hot and the weather was miserable. I am sure when the sun shines everything will look so much better.

Phew, that's another month flown by. Please click "Forward a Page" below to continue in August.