August 2009

  • Cover Page
  • Map of Trip-2006.
  • Map of Trip-2008.
  • Map of Trip-2009.
  • Map of Trip-2010.

  • As I said at the end of the July update it was good to get back to Kalumburu after the adventure of the Gibb. We were only back 3 weeks and again had to shift house and move next door. This moving from house to house is starting to wear a little thin let me tell you. It is not so much the moving, because that really doesn't take that long when you live out of boxes. On the other hand the cleaning up,  mowing the yard and cleaning the house to better than it was when we shifted in is what takes the time. Oh well. No point complaining as that goes with the territory up here. 

    So far our plans for the remainder of the year have not changed and we leave here at the end of September, back along the Gibb (5th trip) to Broome where we will have nearly a week off in a nice new hospital unit on the beach before heading up to Cape Leveque and One Arm Point for a month. Then it will be home to Qld for Christmas taking the most direct route, which of course is via Melbourne.

    Working on the Camper Trailer
    August has been a fairly quiet month, catching up on a few jobs around the house and doing a bit of preventative maintenance on the camper trailer. Yes, I realise this should have been done prior to our  recent trip, but better late than never. At least we can now be confident that the trailer will cause us no grief for at least another 12 months. One of the nice things about a small close knit community is that you have access to everything that the town has to offer. There is a bit of a boys' club happening with the other white fellas which I hate to say is rather nice. I decided that it would be best to replace both the springs on the camper, because my theory was that if one spring had snapped, the other may at some stage. Again I rang the spring manufacturer in Brisbane and had them send me out two new springs for the job. They were freighted to Kununurra and then our favourite small airline, Alligator brought them out for us. Off to the local Corporation workshop on a Saturday morning and up on the hoist goes the camper. Springs out, axle dropped and brand new springs in their place. Bearings removed and replaced with nice new ones made the job complete. I did most of the work with Barry and Mal sitting by giving no end of advice.

    It is amazing how much fun repairing something  can actually be when you have all the right equipment. The trailer up at a comfortable working height on the hoist, not laying in the long grass getting attacked by ants. I will very seriously consider buying a good second hand hoist sometime down the track. The job complete and then it was time for the car to go up on the hoist for a check over and a grease. The temporary repair on the chassis is looking good and  am sure will get us to Melbourne for the real repair to take place. I went over the car from front to back and tightened nuts and bolts, repaired a bit of broken wiring  and basically checked it over as much as we could.
    Next on the important events for the month was the school sports day. This was held  at the 'Grotto' which is the small oval opposite the clinic. It was a full day of sports and other fun activities, including community versus the teachers at tug of war and running races. It was a really well run day with Alex and Harry participating  in big mobs of events. Unfortunately being white and trying to run against these black bullets is a bit demoralizing, but they tried. These local kids really are fast with the white fellas being at the rear of the pack. It wasn't all speed though with lots of fun ball games as well, with all the kids really getting into the spirit of the day. And boy, do they know how to cheer! A great day was had by all, concluding with a sausage sizzle. Chris managed to score it as a work day which was great as she would have been there all day anyway. Might as well get paid if you can. While on the subject of  school, Chris has weazled her way into a great come and go as you please job at the mighty Kalumburu Remote Area School. They think she is the best (as we all do) and she can pick and choose when to work. Lately she has been working more than I think she should as the boys still need to do their Distance Ed school work. She seems to think its easier to go to school than to stay home and teach the boys. Must say the extra bit of money is nice as we will be having close to 4 months off over summer this year. Oh, what a life!

    The Kids The Team Tug o war

    Alex and Harry are enjoying their time at school although they don't actually learn much except the need for self-defence. The local kids are pretty harsh on each other and on occasions try it on the boys. They both handle it well, Alex thumps them and they mumble about how strong he is, and Harry, well I am not sure what he does but does seem to put  them in their place. "I bash you", "I bop you", "I break your face", "I make you cry" are just some of the local kid's favourite lines. Mind you, ten minutes later they tell Chris "Alex my best friend!" They really are a classic! What a great education for our boys. If they are fronted by bullies at mainstream school down the track, they will just laugh and walk off. These local kids are the ultimate, believe me. In saying that 99% of their time is problem free and they enjoy playing with the local kids. Being the only school age white kids they have become quite the heroes, with Alex being dubbed 'Alex the Lion' and Harry is 'Harry Potter'. There is something really nice about walking around town and having the kids call out to Chris and the boys.

    Harry's class Harry's class Parade

    After the fun of sports day was the 101st celebration of the Kalumburu Mission. It was also in the 'Grotto' just after sunset and consisted of an outdoor church service and a few catholic bits and pieces that I really didn't understand. (Apparently quite a few kids were 'confirmed??' as part of the whole proceedings as well.) There was a couple of locals playing guitar and some fairly woeful singing. It was actually a pleasant way to spend a balmy evening, laying on the picnic rug with a hundred kids running around, dogs everywhere, people yelling and screaming and a church service taking place at the same time. Its like a Monty Python movie, and you're in it. The only way you could appreciate how chaotic these events are, is to have lived in a community and experienced it first hand. But like I said, noisy, chaotic and seemingly disorganised, but what an experience. These memories will stay with us forever.

    Outdoor service Outdoor service Outdoor service

    Probably the only other thing worthy of a mention was our recent fishing trip out at Honeymoon Bay. It was a classic example of  'what goes around, comes around'. Not long after we first arrived in Kalumburu, on one of my weekends on call the phone rang and Barry (my old white mate out here) was in a bit of a flap as his mate who runs a fishing camp up the Drysdale River was bringing a boat load of guys across from the camp to Honeymoon Beach, and they needed to get into Kalumburu (about 20 kms) to catch a chartered flight back to Darwin. There was about 6 of them and they clearly were not going to fit in Barry's two door ute. He asked if I could run out and get them. No worries, as I had the Ambulance and we could chuck them all in the back. Besides an early Sunday drive out to the beach would be lovely. These guys thought it was just great cruising back to town in the Ambulance and said it really topped off a great holiday.

    The Kimberley Coast Line The Kimberley Coast Line The Kimberley Coast Line
    The ones that didn't get away!! The ones that didn't get away!! The ones that didn't get away!! The ones that didn't get away!!

    Well, it would seem that Don, the owner of the camp had not forgotten the little favour and offered to take us out for the day. He came over from the camp especially to get us, and then took us to a few secret fishing spots. The coastline around here is spectacular, and the fishing exceptional. Within 5 seconds of dropping the lines into the water, bang they hit and it did not stop. If you didn't have a hit within a minute you assumed you had lost your bait. Harry caught his first fish and we all managed to pull in quite a number each. In fact we ended up with14 large Fingermarks - or golden snapper for those over East.. It then started to go a little pear shaped when the sharks moved in and continued to steal the fish off our hooks. We managed to catch at least 6 sharks and then had to move on. The number of sharks was amazing. We had a great time and ended up with enough fish to top up the freezer. Thanks Don, oh and you Barry.

    The day out fishing The day out fishing The day out fishing The day out fishing The day out fishing The day out fishing

    Then there was my birthday. It was a reasonably significant one and I could not think of a nicer place to spend it. It was a low key event with Barry and Sandy (my work colleague) coming over for a few drinks after work. After they left we had a lovely family dinner with a beautiful cake that the boys made and decorated. Believe it or not I am really not into the big party thing, so being way out here was rather fortunate. I had a big 40th, that will do me for a lifetime. So turning 50 (yes, I know I do not look anywhere near that old!!) brings some responsibilities. We had a really nice old locum Doctor come out a few weeks back for the day. It was rather quiet as far as patients go, so I thought it time for the old 'finger up the date' prostate check. It was to say the least, somewhat uncomfortable but a relief to hear 'your prostate is in lovely condition'. Thank goodness for that, I just can't wait for the next 12 months to roll around. Next it was a blood test to check my Cholesterol. While the results were in the normal range, I thought they could be a bit better. That was the catalyst for the fitness program. I now walk/run 5.5 kms, 5 days a week and then come home to a punishing regime of situps and other things that someone of my age shouldn't be doing. I take 8 fish oil tablets a day and eat Flora Proactive margarine. I have in one month dropped a few kilos, have my belt in one hole and have reduced my cholesterol by point 3. I am happy with my latest results and am actually enjoying the exercise. I will again repeat my pathology just before we leave One Arm Point to see what I can get it down to. God, what other mid life crisis will I have. A 20 year old girlfriend I hope !!!!!!!!   (Just for the record the ol' girl's cholesterol was far better than mine, so of course that's added incentive!!.....As she comments, she has been exercising and looking after herself on a regular basis, not just a flash in the pan like me! Huh!)

    The 'Big One' Exercising

    So that is it for August. September will be busy with both the boy's birthdays and us packing ready for the next move. We have now been in Kalumburu since the beginning of May and we have spread out somewhat. I certainly hope it all fits back in the boxes. We have already sent a few boxes back home to try and lighten the load a little.

    Until next month.

    Take care and be kind to each other.

    "People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do....."