Hamish and Annie Say:

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow.
Don't walk behind me, I may not lead.
Just walk beside me and be my friend.

     

      Pam's Journal For October 2008

     
  Dear readers of Pam's Journal, next time you log in, try clicking on Pam's picture at the top of our home page. It will take you straight to her current page. Also, if you are at the top of a page - as you are now - you can go one page back by clicking on Hamish (above left) or one page forward by clicking on Annie (above right). The navigation links at the bottom of the page are still as before.  
     
  Wednesday 1st October 2008  
  Another lazy day in beautiful Exmouth.  
  Thursday 2nd October 2008  
  We walked into town, the short walk today. I had a bit of a tussle in the Post Office because they overcharged me a couple of days ago. They were willing to give me a refund, they just couldn’t get the computer to agree. Eventually they bypassed the computer, opened the till and gave me the money. This is called progress.

After our usual coffees we walked home with a very nice Norwegian girl who was walking our way. We left her at the Thirsty Camel as we wanted to buy some wine to take home but somehow managed to find ourselves in the bar instead. We stayed, had a few drinks, and met some really nice people. Pete Mate was in top form asking the barmaid to marry him which she promptly accepted. We ordered a pizza which was very nice but it has put paid to any weight loss this week.
 
  Friday 3rd October 2008  
  We walked the beach to the Marina, which was a very pleasant walk. We had our usual coffees. We have found since we have given up caffeine at home we really enjoy our coffees when out. It really gives us a lift and we walk home with a spring in our step. I walked the usual path home but Pete Mate walked further up the beach and extended his walk. Once home we found the park busier than it has been for a couple of weeks. We had a whole section to ourselves for a while but are now surrounded by people mainly in tents. Yes, folks, it's the dreaded SCHOOL HOLIDAYS :-(  
  Saturday 4th October 2008  
  Everywhere you look there are children, the place is over run with the little darlings. We went into town to do the shopping and they are there too. Such joy. Apart from shopping we didn’t do very much. Pete Mate has found a book in the library about the Krait so as soon as we were home again his nose was in that.  
  Sunday 5th October 2008  
  We walked the beach to the Marina for lunch, this is becoming a habit. I enjoyed last week’s lunch so much I ordered the same again. Alas as ‘they’ say you should never go back, it certainly wasn’t up to last week’s standard. Maybe a different chef. The wine was good as was the coffees after our meal. We walked back along the beach, a very pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  
  Monday 6th October 2008  
  The park is still pretty full so I was lucky to get a washing machine right away. Usually when the place is busy you have to go into waiting mode. We had a walk along the beach into town so Pete Mate could take his library book back. We had a coffee then walked home. Well . . . we got home eventually after a couple of hours in the pub. We met some more really nice people so it was so hard to leave. Plus Pete Mate’s favourite barmaid was there. Once home I cooked the last of our Exmouth fish 'caught' by us at the fish shop.  
  Tuesday 7th October 2008  
  The only excitement today was we heard and saw the emergency vehicles racing to a destination south of the town. Nothing happens in Exmouth, there's very little crime, so it was unusual to see this. It wasn’t until we received a phone call from friends in Victoria we found out that a Qantas Airbus 330 had had an emergency landing at Learmonth airport and people were hurt. We were just hoping no one was seriously hurt because, as previously mentioned in this journal, the medical service here is appalling.  
  Wednesday 8th October 2008  
  Overnight we were treated to a thunderstorm and awoke to pouring rain. I did think about the unfortunate campers in their tents as I turned over in my warm, dry, snug bed. By lunchtime the rain seemed to have ceased so we set off for our walk, we hadn’t gone far when we felt raindrops on our heads. We decide to continue and by the time we had reached the beach the sprinkle of rain had stopped. We walked over to the Marina for a daily shot of caffeine and then walked home again. We had just reached the caravan park when God turned on his sprinkler again - very good timing. Later the heavy rain returned plus the thunder and lightning.  
  Thursday 9th October 2008  
  We awoke to an overcast sky and pouring rain. It rained on and off all morning, especially when I was walking to the bookshop. The shop was closed so I got wet for nothing. In the afternoon we went into town by car and did a few errands before returning home. No coffees today. Once home Pete Mate decided to wash the caravan and someone dobbed him in for using the hose. The little man from the office came along and told him to stop using the hose but he could use a bucket, so he ended up using more water.  
  Friday 10th October 2008  
  The sun has returned so it was a major washing day. Once all that was done we again went to the bookshop; this time it was open but the man looking after the place didn’t know how to give credits for books returned. Ho hum. We had quite a bit of shopping to do at various places around town. We have been told to stock up before travelling to Coral Bay as the shop there is small and expensive. We had a sandwich and a coffee at our favourite little café then it was home again to unpack everything and cryovac the meat. In the evening we walked over to the pub for Happy Hour and a pizza. A busy but pleasant day.  
  Saturday 11th October 2008  
  We spent the morning cleaning and packing everything away. Pete Mate even used the hose again on the matting. Naughty, naughty! Once everything was done we walked along the beach to the Marina for lunch. We enjoyed a leisurely lunch with some very good wine followed by two excellent coffees. We will miss Marika’s coffee-making skills. We walked back along the beach, stopping to chat to people along the way. As Pete Mate has covered the pink gull story I won’t repeat it here but I do think it is time for us to leave Exmouth because now the locals think we are completely crazy.  
  Sunday 12th October 2008  
  We left Exmouth around 10.45 a.m. We were in no hurry as we didn’t have far to go and we were waiting for the strong headwind to abate. On the way out we had a few stops so that Pete Mate could take photos of the stricken Qantas plane.

We arrived in Coral Bay mid afternoon and set up camp. We discovered we cannot drink the water or connect it to our hot water system as it is poor quality bore water and would corrode everything. Pity they didn’t tell us that when we booked, we would have filled both our water tanks before leaving Exmouth. As it is we only have one full. There is a rainwater tap where we can fill containers so it just means a little inconvenience for a week.

The views from our caravan are of beautiful Coral Bay, the colour of the ocean is an incredible blue, against the white sand; it is stunning. The park itself is clean and well maintained with lots of green grass everywhere. We decide to go for a walk and found ourselves in the pub for ‘one drink’. We should have known better. We got chatting to people so one drink became two and then three and we ended up staying for dinner. This pub is even closer than the one at Exmouth so we are going to have to have some discipline here.
 
  Monday 13th October 2008  
  We now have a blockage in the water system. Pete Mate spent all day sorting it out changing things over, wedging himself into small spaces and crawling under the caravan. You know, a typical fun day.

Now, me, myself, personally, I was extremely busy sitting outside the ‘van with my feet up reading a book. Once that was finished I went for a walk to check out the town. A walk up the main street to the end of town took five minutes, I checked out the shops; a supermarket, bakery, newsagent/post office agency, adventure tours, and a gift shop. I had a wander around checking out the prices. At least the information we were given about the prices here wasn’t wrong, it is very expensive. Thank goodness we stocked up.

I then had a walk along the beach, there were lots of people sunbaking or swimming. From one end of the beach I noticed a lookout so I made my way there. Once at the top - which wasn’t a huge climb - you could see the whole of Coral Bay, because it isn’t that big. I then made my way home to find Pete Mate still working on the blessed water problem. Eventually he had it solved and normality was restored.
 
  Tuesday 14th October 2008  
  Another relaxing day in paradise.  
  Wednesday 15th October 2008  
  We wandered over to the information centre which was manned by a very nice young lady. We gathered the information we needed and then proceeded to the café for a coffee. Very sad, not a patch on Exmouth so we won’t be repeating that exercise.

After lunch we walked up to the lookout for a photography session, we then walked down to the beach and watched with interest the glass bottom boat returning from its afternoon cruise. The crew were two young ladies wearing very short shorts, so watching the boat dock was ‘really’ interesting for Pete Mate. They weren’t terrible good at the docking bit so it made interesting watching. We then wanted to know the time as we had heard the fish feeding was at 3.30 p.m. and as neither of were wearing watches I suggested to Pete Mate that he asked one of the young ladies. His reply beggars belief; he said he wasn’t comfortable approaching a young lady he didn’t know. Has he had a bang on the head or turned over a new leaf? I do believe he was joking, but even so I asked and found out not only was it half an hour to fish feeding but you had to go on the boat for it. So we went to the pub, had a drink and bought some very expensive wine to take back to the caravan. The choice was this one or nothing. We should have stocked up in Exmouth!
 
  Thursday 16th October 2008  
  In the morning I did some hand washing which involved walking to and from the fresh water tap to fill up our containers. Now, before I did this I should have read what Pete Mate had written about me collecting water. Is the age of chivalry dead or is he just a lazy bones? He doesn’t know how close he was to collecting all the water; he wanted to buy a large container of water and then keep refilling it, I decided it was a waste of money and said we could manage. If he had bought the container he would have been on full time water duty as I wouldn’t have been able to carry it. Be very thankful Pete Mate!

Another point of interest on his page was our decision not to go on the boat cruise. I left it to him to make the decision, which as we know, was not to do it. Boy was I glad! I have had enough of boats and after having two nightmares about drowning I really didn’t want to go. I did suggest that he perhaps went on his own but he declined saying he wouldn’t enjoy himself on his own and would rather spend the time with me at the caravan. His brownie points are overflowing. I would like to know where he can buy 17 casks of drinkable wine for $260.

In the afternoon we walked into town to try out the coffees. Not only did we find coffee but we also found donuts. Very yummy. To remove them from our hips we decided a walk along the beach was in order, that was until we got sand blasted as the wind was quite gusty. It wasn’t enjoyable so we turned back towards home as it was time for Happy Hour.
 
  Friday 17th October 2008  
  The sites all around were vacant by 10.00 a.m. An hour later they were all full again. It is such a surprise to us that this place is so busy as really the season is just about finished. We had a walk along the beach but it was hard going for me as the sand is soft. We revisited the bakery for a coffee and donut and decided it was a good thing we are leaving on Sunday; we are already shaped like donuts.

I walked back to the caravan whilst Pete Mate walked up to the lookout to take another photo. Later we decided we would like to stay another week so Pete Mate walked up to the office but it had closed for the day. We will try again in the morning but we feel we have probably left it too late to extend.
 
  Saturday 18th October 2008  
  We managed to get an extra two nights here so now we leave on Tuesday. It is quite hot and a little muggy so we had the air conditioner on. Mind shattering news, I know. You think nothing of it until water starts to leak inside the caravan, then it is a drama believe me. Pete Mate had to take the thing to pieces, stuff and muck everywhere. He cleaned every thing and put it all back and it does seem to be working okay at the moment. We think a pipe is partially block but it is near impossible to access it. By the time all that was done it was time for Happy Hour.  
  Sunday 19th October 2008  
  Another relaxing day in paradise. Late afternoon we went down to the beach to check out the fish feeding. When we got there you had to wade out a little way to where it was all happening. Pete Mate went and I stood on sandal guard duty. By all accounts it was pretty ordinary, so we went to the pub. We had a drink and then bought some more very expensive wine to take back to the caravan.  
  Monday 20th October 2008  
  We cleaned and packed everything away for tomorrow we leave beautiful Coral Bay for Carnarvon.  
  Tuesday 21st October 2008  
  We left Coral Bay around 9.30am and had a good run through to Carnarvon. The scenery wasn’t too interesting, a lot of scrub and not many wild flowers but plenty of road kill. We arrived at the caravan park and were allowed to choose our site so we opted for one near all the amenities, which will be bliss as just lately we seem to have been a distance away from everything. We set up camp and switched on the air conditioner and the rest you will know from the web page. It was pretty awful for Pete Mate up on the roof in the heat, but he managed to fix the damn thing and we were blessed with cool air. By the time he finished it was well past Happy Hour time so he was grateful for a cold wine as we didn’t have any beer. He did mention it was a T/A’s job to go and get some but I clocked off for the day.  
  Wednesday 22nd October 2008  
  I had a mammoth washing session, I took control of the laundry as at that point no one else was using it. Once my four washing machine loads were on the line it was time for a coffee. It was now becoming quite warm so we switched on the air conditioner and after a few minutes of being undecided whether it was working or not, Pete Mate declared it was broken. He details on the web page what was wrong and he felt really bad that he had caused it. Hey, these things happen. Now the hard part trying to find someone to come and fix it. I am now in love with three men other than Pete Mate. The organiser and the two that came to fix it. So with all this drama we haven’t really seen much of Carnarvon yet though we did visit the information centre and did some shopping.  
  Thursday 23rd October 2008  
  In the morning Pete Mate went off to pay our newest friend for the air conditioner repairs. I stayed home and ironed, what a really boring job it is, it should be banned by all people as I am sure the iron leaves carbon footprints. In the afternoon we walked into town and had a good look around. We walked down to the water and over a footbridge to the restored tram line. A restored tram will eventually run on the line taking people to the Heritage Precinct. We walked back watching the children totally ignoring the sign instructing them not to jump off the bridge. They looked and sounded like they were having a lot of fun. We then went in search of a coffee and found a reasonable coffee shop that made a good coffee but not up to Exmouth’s standards. After coffee we ambled home as happy Hour was fast approaching.  
     
   
  Looking back towards Carnarvon town from the footbridge.  
     
  Friday 24th October 2008  
  We organised ourselves early this morning and were in the car by 9:40 a.m. We wanted to partake in the plantation tour at Bumbacks and it started at 10:00 a.m. We were there on time but our tour guide was late as she was delayed at a school assembly. I am glad she got her priorities right. It was a really interesting tour and we were given the condensed version of how grapes, seedless water melons, mangos and bananas are grown by the Bumback family. Pete Mate and I were totally unaware of how the banana is formed from the flower.  
     
   
  Each time a purple petal rolls back there's a bunch of bananas waiting to develop.  
     
  The green fingers are the bananas forming, fascinating. Our tour guide was extremely well informed and presented everything in an easy to understand manner. We were shocked to find out how much paperwork and auditing is involved just to get the fruit to market. Once the tour was over we were invited into the shop to buy home made pickles and other condiments plus ice-creams. Who can resist? Not us, that’s for sure. We enjoyed mango ice-cream and bought some mango and chilli relish.

Next on the itinerary was the OTC Dish. This was a communication satellite dish which was opened in 1966. It is from here that Australia received its first satellite television broadcast. The station was closed in 1987 after assisting in tracking Halley’s Comet.

Now it was time for lunch so we meandered down the hillside to the River Gums Café where we were told we could enjoy lunch whilst overlooking the river. That was true but we didn’t see any water. To be fair it was a very nice lunch and excellent coffee. Once replenished we ventured on to the Heritage Precinct. The Precinct incorporated the Lighthouse Keeper's Cottage, the Lighthouse, a Railway Station Museum which also had displays pertaining to HMS Sydney and sheep shearing.

The Coffee Pot train was sitting idle so we paid our fee and it cranked up to take us and a couple of volunteer workers for a ride along the One Mile Jetty.
 
     
   
  The Coffee Pot, powered by an air cooled VW engine.  
     
  Sadly, for the time being it is no longer a mile but more like a kilometre because early one morning some little darlings set fire to part of it. It must have been heart breaking for these volunteers as they had worked so hard restoring the old jetty. One of the volunteers told me that it was already costing Carnarvon thousands of dollars, regardless of repair costs, as the regular tourists who like to fish from the jetty had stayed away this year.

We then saw a big hammerhead shark swimming around the jetty and it was really quite thrilling to see it so close but feel very safe. The volunteers were so excited as in all the years they had been fishing off the jetty they hadn’t ever seen one. And we were there!

All too soon it was time to return down the jetty. Once we had disembarked from the Coffee Pot train we had a wander around the railway museum but it wasn’t overly interesting so we made our way back to the car. We had a couple more places to visit but decided to leave those for another day as the sky looked very much like a storm was brewing.
 
  Saturday 25th October 2008
 
  Lay day.  
  Sunday 26th October 2008  
  Daylight saving kicked in today, not that it worried us too much as we just get up when we wake up. In fact we thought it was a very good thing as Happy Hour will start an hour earlier today. We didn’t do too much again, I had a walk into town and then read a book. Pete Mate was busily working on the website.  
  Monday 27th October 2008  
  Today we finished the other tourist ‘must dos’ as per our brochure from the information centre. HMAS Sydney II Memorial Avenue was first on our list. It had quite an impact on us and until we saw so many trees with plaques I don’t think we realised how many men died. Next we visited the small boat harbour which was just as described, a small harbour with some small boats; nothing really to hold our interest. We visited town beach then found a coffee shop before heading home.  
  Tuesday 28th October 2008  
  Lay Day.
 
  Wednesday 29th October 2008  
  Walked into town for the exercise and I needed to go to the Post Office. We had a wander around and then found a different coffee shop where the coffee wasn’t too bad.  
  Thursday 30th October 2008  
  I spent the morning washing, ironing and cleaning. I occasionally have these energy surges. In the afternoon we were just heading off for a walk when we were told about the parade in town at 5.00pm. We wandered into town checked out some shops I wanted to see and had a coffee. There was still half an hour to wait. Pete Mate walked home with the shopping and collected his camera whilst I did some more browsing. The bikes, quad bikes and cars started to arrive at the checkpoint ready for the parade. This parade was to publicise the Gascoyne Dash which is a 300km race through the outback from Gascoyne Junction to Rocky Pool just outside Carnarvon. It starts tomorrow. It was quite interesting, the whole thing was over in fifteen minutes and that was it, we all went home. Maybe the party happens at the end.  
  Friday 31st October 2008  
  The day started with mystery and intrigue. I was coming back from the shower when I spied our neighbour getting out of a police van. Over breakfast we imagined all sorts of skulduggery. As nothing stays secret for long in a caravan park, we discovered he had had two bicycles stolen during the night, as did some other people around the park.

We packed a picnic lunch and headed north of the town to the Blowholes and the HMS Sydney II memorial cairn. It was a blustery day and the blowholes were performing well. From the blowholes we drove up to the lighthouse where the views were spectacular. After looking at the memorial cairn we decide to make our way home.