August 2010

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

  • The beach at One Arm Point
    Yet another month in paradise has come and gone. I know I continue to harp on about how lovely this place is, but the cold hard fact of the matter is that this really is paradise. Now while saying that I think we will be ready to move on again by the time we leave on the 20th September. That will be a 3 month stint this year and one month last year, which has given us ample time to have a good poke around. We had planned to be gone from here a little earlier than the 20th Sept but Chris has been busy working 4 days a week at the local school and they want her to stay on another week longer than we had planned. That means Chris will be working and I will have the week off to do a bit of fishing and a bit of last minute packing. More of that next month. While it is paradise here, immensely beautiful, unbelievably safe for the kids and a great social life for all, these places do have a finite life. Admittedly if we had a nice big fishing boat and I didn't have to do call, you could perhaps do it for a year, but I think that would pull you up. Any longer than that and I think you would seriously start to loose touch with reality and with the real world. Maybe that's not a bad thing though!!!!!! In saying that I am not sure we have really been a part of the real world for the past 3 years??

    We have had a very busy month. It has been more crazy than normal. I thought there was nothing to do when you were stuck in the middle of nowhere!! We seem to be out more nights a week than we are at home lately. These remote places seem to be 'all or nothing'. With a bit of luck our next spot will be more nothing so we can catch up with all that other stuff before we head East for our 3-4 months of continued recreating.

    The seeding process The seeding process The seeding process The seeding process
                                                    The seeding process

    The Seeding Shed The Seeding Shed The Seeding Shed TamworthThe Seeding Shed
                                                       The Seeding Shed

    We began the month with a very special trip to Cygnet Bay pearl farm to do a private tour of the seeding shed. Through my work I met a guy named Billy who has on and off worked at Cygnet Bay pearls most of his life. He now comes back to Australia each year at seeding time for a few months then back OS with his wife, riding their motorbikes around a different country each year. Fascinating bloke to chat to. Boy has he had himself in some unpleasant situations(!!) over the years. We were chatting about life one day and he offered us a tour of the seeding shed. Now this may not sound that special, but believe me it is. The seeding is the most important and the most delicate of the entire pearling process and is all a bit of a secret. They generally don't let people into the shed, mainly because it is disruptive, especially to the seeders who need to concentrate and I think they like to keep their secret techniques a bit hush, hush. It was amazing as we watched Billy make the incision into the pearl's gonad and remove a pearl that has been growing for two years.

    The relaxation Tanks The Pearls extracted during our visit
                     The Relaxation Tanks and the pearls extracted during our visit

    If you are interested in the process click on this link (Creating a Cultured Pearl- From mother Nature to you) and have a look at the presentation Alex did for a school assignment. We think he has done a great job. (Well of course we would!!!) and you will have a much better understanding of the pearling process for your trouble. We ended up spending most of the day at the farm after a bite to eat at the cafe and a chat to a few tourists.

    The next day the boys and myself had a full day out fishing with Al. We first met Al and Ruth at Kalumburu last year. He is a good friend with our old mate from Kalumburu, Barry. Al and Ruth usually spend a few months at Koolijman each year and we knew they were heading this way and actually caught up with them when we camped at Koolijman for Chris's birthday. They are a really nice couple who pretty much live for fishing. At least once a week they come into One Arm Point (OAP) and drop off a huge bag of fish for us. A few weeks ago we were over at some friends' place for a fire, drinks and a barbecue when one of the locals (aboriginal) dropped in and said 'Is Brett here?' and handed over a huge bag of fish. He added, 'Some bloke at Koolijman asked me to give you this'. I assume it was Al who sent it, but we ate it anyway.

    We had a great day out fishing, catching about 10 with 5 keepers. While I was out having fun there was unfortunately a very nasty roll-over just a few kms up the road with 4 people in the car. My services were very much needed but my offsider and the staff from a nearby clinic had to manage without me. Sometimes it is nice to be non-contactable. By the time I got back from fishing, the drama was all over.

    The next day it was off to work to catch my breath. As I was walking home I passed one of the teachers with a green Woolies shopping bag full of something that was leaking out of the bag and onto the ground. 'Hey Brett, do you like oysters?' Now there is a dumb question if ever I've heard one. 'My oath Richard', was the very quick reply. He stops and loads me up with about 10 huge oyster shells that he had just collected off the rocks. Afternoon tea, One Arm Point style, oysters natural!!!

    Crabs for dinner All cooked and ready to eat Crabs for dinner
                                                                          Crabs for dinner

    Now I understand you are going to find this a little difficult to believe, but again this a true story. 6-00pm sitting down with a belly full of oysters and there is a knock on the door. Standing there is one of the teacher's sons with a plastic bag with four big mud crabs. 'Dad thought you might like these'. Am I dreaming? They had been put on ice so had gone off to sleep. Chris thought they were dead so gets them out of the bag, lines them up on the kitchen bench and starts taking the obligatory 20 photos. This process was taking a while (has to be just right you know), when she let out a terrible yell. I ran in to find the crabs all awakening and trying desperately to get off the bench and back to the ocean. The look on Chris's face was priceless. I should have got a photo of the facial expressions. It was back into the freezer for the boys and then into the pot. Crabs are great, but boy is it messy work!

    Drinks overlooking Cygnet Bay Drinks overlooking Cygnet Bay Drinks overlooking Cygnet Bay Drinks overlooking Cygnet Bay
                                                 Drinks overlooking Cygnet Bay

    Next, a few days later we were back to Cygnet Bay pearl farm to have sunset drinks on the new deck that has just been built overlooking the bay. Craig and Kelli live on the farm, with Craig being the builder there and their eldest son Andrew is in Harry's class at school. It was a lovely evening, a few beers, champagne, good company and a sensational view. We will definitely be doing that again before we leave the Peninsular.

    It was then time to move house again. It has only been our third move since being here, with one more still to go. It really isn't that bad but the cleaning part is a bit painful. Don't get me wrong, we are not complaining, it's just a part of our chosen lifestyle.

    The next major event was my birthday. Another cruisy day at work and then a few drinks after work with Dean (my work colleague). After a few beers his phone rings and he is having this excited conversation about a croc on our swimming beach. Like I am going to fall for this!!!. Quick, we have to go and see it!!!. You do not get to my age without being able to see through a corny stunt like this, believe me.  So off we go and there set up under one of the Baali's (timber shade structures covered with palm leaves that are peppered along our beach) is almost everyone we know in OAP. We had a great night and it was nice that everyone made an effort. These are those special times that I will remember forever (or as long as my memory holds out). It's these friendships that start to make you wonder if you should stay a bit longer. The problem is we have felt like this about nearly every place we have lived. Imagine what we would have missed out on had we stayed put at the first place we had gone to. It doesn't bear thinking about, so I guess we will move on again. Anyway back to my birthday. We didn't get home until about 8-30pm, hadn't had dinner (we should have just had a sausage sizzle at the beach as well as all the nibbles) and hadn't done the presents, not to mention the cake. So things were a bit arse about, but who cares. I scored some great presents one of which was a weather station. It consists of an indoor display and the outside unit that monitors wind speed, rainfall and barometric pressure. They talk to each other via a wireless connection that has a range of 50 metres. I did really well in the gift department but I won't bore you with all the finer details.

    The Birthday Bash The Birthday Bash The Birthday Bash The Birthday Bash
                                               My Birthday Bash- One Arm Point Style

    As I said earlier Chris has been working at the local school doing 4 days a week. I will never understand women. I say to her, just do 1-2 days a week. Anymore and it is too hard with the boys' school work and I have to spend every lunchtime doing the dishes! So she tells the school she will do 4 days a week and then complains she doesn't have enough time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Polished Pearl Shell Polished Trocas Shells Dugong bone jewellery
        Some of Alex's work - (1) Polished Pearl Shell  (2) Polished Trochus Shell  (3) Dugong Bone

    The extra money is nice, and she loves getting out doing her thing. Once again the school thinks she is the best thing ever and have already offered her a job for next year (and next term). Harry loves going to school and Alex seems to be doing fine sitting at home plodding through his work. Alex goes to school for the lessons he wants to attend, sports and technology which has included learning to polish Trochus and pearl shells. They also cut and polish Dugong bones and make them into jewelery that they either bring home or sell to the tourists. It is a really good school with great kids, excellent attendance and very well managed behaviour management. Chris thinks it's the best remote school she has worked at yet. Harry can't wait to get there each morning, dressed and ready to leave at 07-15. Considering school doesn't start until 07-50, he's as keen as.

    The next weekend came about all too fast and it was to be a big one. We had arranged a camping trip out to Sunday Island with Dave and Tamar (& kids) and Craig from Cygnet who has just bought a new boat. Friday afternoon we went off cutting some firewood for the weekend and then sat around for a few hours drinking everything that we could find in Dave's cupboard.

    Heading Off Camping on Sunday Island Camping on Sunday Island Camping on Sunday IslandCamping on Sunday Island Camping on Sunday Island Camping on Sunday Island Camping on Sunday Island
                                                  Camping on Sunday Island

    Next morning bright and early with the boat packed it was off to the boat ramp and then two trips across to the island which was about a 20 minute boat trip away. Back in the 60's there was a mission on the island complete with shop, airstrip and little boat harbour. There is very little left now to show for all that history but there was a lovely beach complete with a Baali for us to camp around. After we set up the camp we headed out for a few hours fishing. While we didn't make a huge killing we did have fun, as we always do. It is hard to describe what the waterways are like around here. There are what seems to be endless islands all very close to each other. Regardless of the weather you can always find shelter in the lee of an island, settle back and throw in a line. The most amazing thing with this area is the size of the tides. The tides are up to 11 metres (similar to Derby) and the speed at which the water travels through here has to be seen to be believed. So you combine a current flowing at 15 knots with whirlpools big enough to consume a small boat, it surely gives you a lot to look at.
    After fishing we got the fire going and cooked up a huge dinner followed by a few drinks and a few yarns. The sandflies were glad to have us on their beach and made the most of our visit. Luckily they all went off to bed fairly early and left us in peace. We have been carting this 6 man tent around now for 3 years and this was the first time we have even slept in the thing. It was actually very roomy and we all fitted in with ease. (Thanks Coombes!)

    Oh Bugger Closer Gone
                             High and Dry, a slight miscalculation- Going, Going, Gone.

    Sunday morning we woke, realising you should not attempt to make mathematical tidal calculations after a few drinks. The boats were very, very high and dry with the tide being dead low. Bugger! Our plans for an early morning fish - gone. Instead we sat around waiting for the tide to make its way back up to us. We did knock a few hours off the wait by pushing the boats as far down to the water as we could manage. Unfortunately by the time we were again afloat it was time to load up and make our way back to the mainland. We had a great weekend, and by the time the boat was unpacked and cleaned we were tired and in need of a good shower.

    That is pretty much it for August. September will again be busy with the boys' birthdays and us again moving house. This time we will be moving into a teacher's house for a week before moving to our next spot, slightly closer to the East coast. More of that next month.

    Until then.

    Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance?