Tony and I were up early, getting things out of the car and figuring out what we’d need for the day without the car there. He put his bike on the back of the car and drove it to the mechanic’s. The kids and I played with the puppies and played on iPads and did some puzzles, had some breakfast and hung around the tent. Tony rode his bike back to camp after dropping the car off.
Later in the morning the girls came over to play so all the kids wandered around chatting and looking for animals and looking at the fish. The girls left in the late morning and everyone was sad to see them go. Tony and I started packing up so that we could leave as soon as the car was fixed, he’d said it would only take a couple of hours. Tony rode his bike back over to the mechanics but it wasn’t ready yet so we hung around the tent some more, played games and chatted, talked to a few friends on the phone. We were reluctant to pack everything up in case the car wasn’t ready in time, so it was a long, slow, hot, uncertain afternoon.
At 3pm we decided it was too late to pack up and go now even if we did get the car back, and it did feel better to know what we were doing. I paid for another night and throughout the afternoon we got the beds back out and set things up again. Tony rang and they said the car was ready, he rode into town to something and got another puncture so walked out to the mechanic, who said the car was all fixed. Tony drove back in to town to get his bike and buy food for dinner, then back to camp, and the engine was overheating again. I rang the mechanic and he said to bring it straight back – by the time Tony got there it had cooled down and they couldn’t reproduce the problem – he drove back to the tent and it was heating up again.
We were both feeling extremely frustrated and everyone was hot. Caitlin had been really keen to go to the hot springs, so I said I’d take her and see how the car went. We drove for a while with no problem, then I turned the air con up and the heat started to rise. I turned it off and it didn’t go back down! We drove to the hot springs and had a really quick dip – basically just in and out. There were other people swimming, not very many, and the signs were still saying do not enter the water because of crocodile sightings. The water was very clear and we checked it carefully before we went in, and we’d been told that the sulphur in the springs usually keeps them away, but any more than a minute in the water felt too risky and scary. A quick dip was enough to feel refreshed anyway. We walked along the springs, they are quite pretty, then back to the car. I drove home via the low-level bridge, and the temperature kept going up. I stopped a few times, let it cool down a bit, then kept going. I drove past the mechanic and the shed was still open with lights on so went in and called out but no one answered so we went back home.