Saturday, 23 July 2016

Half-lap Day 82: House Creek -> Exmouth

It rained a little overnight, our first rain since Batchelor. In the morning there wasn’t much dampness anywhere – the rain always sounds heavier in the tent than it actually is. While we had breakfast and started to get organised to move on, the rain came and went, never very heavy and it didn’t really slow us down. We did quite an efficient pack up, and were able to get the tent down in between showers, at a point where it felt quite dry. We chatted to our friends as we packed and it was quite a pleasant way to get ready. I went for a bit of a walk around the campsite. The kids played and had a lovely morning, and we were all ready to go by 9.30.

We’d decided to head all the way to Exmouth, I wanted power and phone signal and a couple of days to get ready to go to Cape Range National Park, our friends were going to Emu Creek Station. We said goodbye – then saw them again 60km later at Nanaturra roadhouse. We hung around there for a while, getting fuel and then looking at the souvenirs and the maps of Western Australia with distances from here to all the major towns – over 2000 to Kununurra, it’s amazing the distances we’ve travelled on this trip. Millie and Caitlin both bought a sour roller thing, which wasn’t too expensive. Tony was eyeing off the home made sausage rolls – we decided to get a couple and some chips, as the kids had been a bit restless in the car this morning and we still had a long drive – a nice hot lunch might cheer everyone up. This is the first time we’ve bought lunch on the trip and we quite enjoyed it.

We said goodbye to our friends again and also saw the couple that we’d seen at the Handrail Pool a few days ago (they had stayed at the same place we had overnight, Tony had seen them there). While we were eating a truck with a horse float came in to get fuel, Caitlin enjoyed having a long good look at the horses (who were not happy to be in the float).

We drove on from there and the landscape became flatter – there were still hills but not as big or as rocky, much more sandy now. The trees were stunted, we discussed how it looked as if they needed to work very hard to live in this area. It looked more like desert than we have seen for a while, and it was marked as desert on the map. Not much grass or spinifex here, and the trees were all dark. There were a lot of roadworks along the highway and we were stopped at stop signs for quite a while, several times. It made the journey take longer, although we were listening to Harry Potter, book 6, so that helped pass the time.

Driving north once we got to the cape where Exmouth is we saw a RAAF base (we didn’t know there was one here) and remnants of WWII history, a couple of bunkers and some memorials. Until recently I had no idea that the Japanese bombed anywhere other than Darwin, and I was surprised to learn they’d come as far south as Exmouth. Suddenly we saw the Exmouth gulf on our left – it was a cloudy day and the water was a deep grey and very choppy. Always exciting to see sea water though.

We decided to stay the Big 4 –it’s forecast to rain over the next couple of days and we wanted to be somewhere with lots of shelter and options for places to spend our time. Everywhere here was quite expensive so we figured we might as well go to the best set up caravan park. We got to our site and then it started raining quite hard, so we waited a little while before we set up. We talked to a couple who are about to head towards Karajini, and were able to give them some useful information about where to stay and ideas about what to do there.

The kids explored the park, and once the rain eased we put the tent up, and added the annex straight away. I went and found a quiet place to talk to a friend from home and it was nice to relax and catch up a bit on home news after 2 weeks without much contact at all. The kids roamed around – I’d found a very cute puppy and they went to play with it, and explored the park some more. After my phone call I helped Tony set a few more things up then went to have a hot shower – great to get all that red dirt off and really enjoy the hot water after nearly a week without a shower. There had been no hot water earlier in the day due to problems with the park’s gas supply – I was so glad they had sorted it out by the time I was ready for a shower.

We had leftovers for tea and Tony watched the Collingwood game on his phone. I took the girls for a shower (which took ages, Millie took a long while to get organised both before and after her shower) and then we were all ready for bed. LiAM had spent a lot of the afternoon playing with magnetic shapes and then Millie played with them for a while as well. As I was about to head to bed I noticed that the tent was leaking a bit – a seam near the middle pole had ripped a bit where part of the supporting fabric had pulled out, and water was slowly dripping into the tent – it had been raining steadily for a couple of hours now.

We tried several things to stop the flow of water, and ended up changing the height of some of the poles so that the water wasn’t pooling in this spot, gaffer taping over the worst of the area, then putting a cloth through the hole (where the annex pole comes in) in the side of the tent to direct the water outside. This seemed to work well enough for now and we’ll have to figure out something more permanent later.

Tony made me a hot chocolate, which I managed to spill as I was getting in to bed. I’ve been feeling a sore throat and stuffy head coming on (all the kids have had a bit of that this week too) and combined with the dripping tent and the spilt hot chocolate I was quite upset for a minute… Then I recovered and read Inheritance for a while until everyone was asleep.

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