July 2009

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

  • Welcome to July. Sorry that the June update was nearly a month late being uploaded, but by the time you have read this month's news you will understand why. The beginning of July had us pack up, load the camper and do the 2 day sprint across the Gibb River Road to Broome. Our good friends, the Joiners from Bundaberg were flying across to spend a month traveling with us across the Gibb and surrounding area. They had hired a Nissan Patrol and a camper trailer that would be waiting in Broome for them on their arrival.

    This trip had been arranged late last year when we had no idea where we would be living. It does seem a little ironic that we happened to be living in Kalumburu as that was one of the places the Joiners and ourselves wanted to see on the trip. So for us that meant a 700 km drive (all corrugated, dirt road) to Broome to turn around and drive back along the same road to where we are currently living, continue on to Kununurra and back across to Broome to then, turn around and go back to Kalumburu again. Yes, we are well aware that that does seem somewhat silly, but hey, that's us. What are a few thousand kms in the big scheme of things.

    Packing the camper
    We arrived in Broome just after lunch and set the camper up at Palm Grove Caravan Park at Cable Beach. The Joiner's camper was set up next to us and they were out shopping. The fun started early in the trip as we sat and watched Sharon try and fit 80 cubic metres of groceries into a 6x4 camper trailer. I am not sure she saw the humour in the whole situation. In their defence they were doing it tough. The camper came with no boxes to pack their gear into, in fact it came with no nothing, so they had to be creative. Broccoli boxes, cardboard boxes and anything else they could scrounge was used.

    Now let's take a step back for a minute. Just as we were leaving Kalumburu to head to Broome I noticed one of the new rear shockies on the car was leaking and needed to be replaced. The closest place that could happen was Broome so it was arranged to be replaced there. Appointment made and the shockie replaced the day we arrived in Broome, ready to hit the road. After we had set up camp I climbed underneath the camper trailer to check that everything was in order and noticed some wear in the shackle plates that needed attention. That was great as we were booked into Kooljaman at Cape Leveque the next day and needed to be on the road as early as possible. So here is:

    Lesson 1 - It pays to check out the gear prior to departure, preferably a number of weeks early so parts can be arranged if needed and repairs made
    . That would be far too sensible!!!!!

    So next morning we packed up bright and early and quickly went off to see if anybody in town had the parts for the trailer we needed. Herein lies two problems:
    1/ Broome is rather small and services are limited
    2/ The suspension we had put in the camper is not your garden variety leaf spring suspension and required parts that we clearly were not going to get in down town Broome.

    We did manage to find a very helpful guy at a suspension place that did look at it. It did need rather urgent attention and he suggested we go to an engineering works and get some parts fabricated so we could safely continue on. I came up with the bright idea of contacting the suspension manufacturers in Brisbane and get all the necessary parts sent to Kalumburu and repair it there on the way through. For goodness sakes, the suspension has survived for the past 18 months on some very bad roads, surely it would last another 700 kms. Wouldn't it??? Hold that thought.

    So off we headed towards Cape Leveque. This is a very beautiful part of WA and one that we were very much looking forward to visiting again. In 2006 we dumped the van and headed up for a few days and loved it. Back then the road was a shocker, rough, sandy and narrow. We assumed nothing had changed. In fact it was back then, one of the roughest roads we had traveled on. What a difference a few years can make! It is now 50% bitumen, and the rest is very well graded. They even have mobile phone reception. I am afraid that when you can get there in your Datsun 120Y, some of the magic is lost.

    Camp site- Cape Levique The beach Hard at it

    We had 3 nights on great sites, on the cliff edge overlooking the beautiful blue ocean. We spent our days lazing around, walking the beach, doing the sunset drinks and nibbly thing, swimming and exploring the community of One Arm Point. We were even fortunate to see some migrating humpback whales not far offshore,  having a little play in the Indian Ocean. Then it was time to pack up, visit the communities of Lombadina and Beagle Bay, then head towards Derby and Windjana Gorge. On the way we stopped over for the night at a free camp on the Fitzroy River.

    We left Derby (after another shopping expedition) and the trip along the Gibb officially began. Next stop was the campground at Windjana for 2 nights where we did the gorge walk and also revisited Tunnel Creek. The days there were very hot and the shade limited which made any down time a little uncomfortable. The unfortunate part of this trip was this was school holiday time, and a lot of people took advantage of that, with the camping areas being very crowded. While Windjana is not the most exciting gorge in the area, seeing dozens of freshwater crocs lazing around on the banks is good viewing. Tunnel Creek is a must see. It is a 750 metre long , very dark tunnel, that has large masses of cold water in it that need to be crossed. We are told there are freshwater crocs living in there, and gladly we didn't see any, in fact we couldn't see anything!!!  Our torches went flat about half way along , another example of a well planned and well managed outing. We stumbled along in the dark with head lights that must have resembled a glow worm sitting on our foreheads. Luckily, more through pure luck than good management we made it out safely.

    Tunnel Creek Tunnel Creek Tunnel Creek
    A small cave in the tunnel A small cave in the tunnel A small cave in the tunnel A small cave in the tunnel

    Next stop was a day trip into Bells Gorge for a well deserved swim. Bells is by far one of the most spectacular gorges in this area with plenty of water still flowing over the falls. The campground is 30 kms off the Gibb with the falls being another 10 kms further along. The water was cold but refreshing, clear and very deep. I would love to spend a few days there and really explore slightly downstream from the main falls. It looks very speccy.  So after lounging around like big lizards for a few hours in the warm sun, it was time to move on to our next destination, not far down the road - Charnley River Station.

    Let me explain about all these station stays. A few years back station owners discovered there are a few bucks to be made during tourist season. The ones that had a gorge or two on their properties opened their doors to the public. Mostly they have limited services, flushing toilets and hot showers. Most are working cattle stations and they charge like wounded bulls for you to stay there (Ha! Ha!). Travelling the Gibb is somewhat expensive. All the station stays will cost at least $30.00 a night for an unpowered tent site and diesel will cost at least $1.95 litre ($2.70 in Kalumburu).

    Bells Gorge Bells Gorge

    Charnley Homestead
    Charnley has a very large, mostly shaded campground with a reasonable toilet/shower block. There are two main gorges to visit, Grevillea and Dillie gorge. Grevillea was the pick with a nice waterfall and great swimming hole. All the waterholes are cool but swimmable. Not bad for the middle of winter. Dilli Gorge is more like a river and they do have kayaks that are able to be hired for a reasonable cost if you so desire. We stayed at Charnley for 2 nights, 3 would have been better.

    We made a brief stopoff at Galvin's Gorge the next morning, where we happened to bump into a bunch of teachers we knew from Wadeye - talk about a small world!! Next stop Manning Gorge. Now we have stayed here before. It is also known as Mt Barnett and has a well stocked roadhouse attached. One of the good things about Manning is that the campground is close to the Gibb River Road, in fact only 8 kms off it. The campground is huge, fairly shaded with flushing toilets and cold showers. At $12.50 a night per adult, kids free, it is better value. Absolutely right at the campground is a huge swimming hole with a hard smooth rock base. Tyre tubes and noodles are supplied for you to lay around on if you wish. There are also dozens of foam broccoli boxes all over the white sandy beach. It took us a little while to work out what they were for. Manning Gorge is about an hour's walk from the campground. To get there you swim across the campground swimming hole (you can walk around the swimming hole if you wish to stay dry. No fun in that though!). The boxes are there so you can float your shoes, towels and cameras across on the way to the gorge. You leave your box on the other side and hope it is still there on your return. The walk is at times a little challenging, good walking shoes are recommended. You are rewarded at the end of the walk by one of the most spectacular gorges on the Gibb. It is a very large waterhole, crystal clear with a very large waterfall. There are huge expanses of rock ledges around most of the gorge for warming up after a swim. This is a 'must not miss' gorge. We met a nice family (the Leavers) here who are on the road for 12 months from Kalgoorlie. They have two boys, similar ages to ours and hit it off straight way. They are great fun and we planned to travel with them as well at least until Kununurra.

    1st Crossing 1st Crossing Manning Gorge

    From here we made our way along the Gibb, turning left onto the Kalumburu Road. Sixty kms up the road is Drysdale Station. This is a must visit if passing by with reasonably priced fuel, phone, restaurant, campground and a very well equipped and staffed workshop. We planned to have lunch as their KBB (Kimberley Beef Burger) is a must have. It is 3 meals in one and I defy anyone to get it in their mouth. Up to this stage all was going smoothly. Boy, was that about to change.
    The mother of all burgers

    We had just pulled up and for some reason I walked over to the Joiners camper and inspected the suspension. I noticed one of their shackle plates had snapped and it was only just all holding together. Off to the workshop to see if they could fix it today. It was still only midday and they said it would be ready by around 1-00pm. As we were heading to Mitchell Falls we decided to push on and get a couple of sites at the Mitchell campground with the Joiners meeting us there later that day. Well, that was the plan!!
    We set off for what should have been a 3 hour drive. We got to the Mitchell Falls turnoff and made our way down the 80 km track. It was still school holidays and the amount of traffic on these roads was obscene. Who could ever imagine that this many people would come so far, but boy they did, and by the thousands. The road into the falls was the worst road we have ever been on. Only 6 weeks earlier we had been on the same road and sitting on 80 kms/hr. What a difference to the 20-30 km/hr we were now doing. The trip in was a nightmare. Rough as and so much dust from all the traffic that at times we could not see our bullbar, let  alone what was either in front of us or about to pass us. We arrived at the campground just on dusk to find a full house. Bloody tourists everywhere. We can say that because we are locals; we only live up the road. We found a small patch, one that we could squeeze the Joiners on when they arrived.

    This is where the fun really started. Even before we started to set up I noticed one of the brand new rear car shockies pouring oil out all over the ground, and on closer inspection found it to be completely bent in half. Sensational. That's shockie no. 2 buggered so far. We had picked up a campground payment envelope on our way in but didn't have the right money to pay our fees, which we decided we would do in the morning. At some ungodly hour in the morning we were awoken by the Rangers doing spot inspections for non-payers and handing out infringement notices. I tried to explain we arrived late and had no change, but it would appear he was hell bent on handing out some of these notices and we got one. Thanks very much. I then climbed under the camper, trying to decide whether I should have a go at this Rambo ranger when (could it really get any worse) one of the trailer springs had a broken leaf. This was possibly caused by the now very worn shackle plates causing far too much movement and increased stress on the springs.

    Lesson 2 - Don't leave on a long, difficult trip (or any trip for that matter) if you are aware there are problems. Fix them before you leave.

    Could it get any worse? Yep, I think it could. So here we are in the middle of nowhere, without even a phone box. (What about your mobile I hear you ask - funny! No mobile coverage anywhere on the Gibb!) Who needs a phone box, we have the HF radio! I tried for ages to make a phone call from it, doing everything but stand on my head. No go. It was buggered as well. The whole reason we had bought it was for emergencies such as this, and it lets us down when we needed it most. Bloody beautiful. We have since discovered that there was a computer glitch and we had been disconnected from the phone call making network. This was really starting to test my resilience, believe me.

    Pumping and carting water
    Lesson 3 - Yes, things can get worse.

    So what did we have to work with? One ranger (my mate with the notices), one helicopter company and a water pump. Yep, that was it. I went and saw my mate the ranger and explained my problem, and asked was there a public phone available. No. Our relationship did improve and he did let me use his sat phone about 10 times, as well as his fax machine to try and get a shockie. Next it was off to the chopper company, Slingair to see if they had any flights coming out from Broome. They, or should I say Jodie, their tour desk lady was excellent. They had nothing coming out but Jodie rang around and found a company, Broome Aviation, that was coming into Mitchell in the morning. They agreed to bring out a new shockie, if it was at their office in 2 hours. Back to the Ranger and his sat phone, shockie paid for and being delivered to the airport. Finally we were getting somewhere. So next morning I drove slowly to the airport (over an hour's drive at 10 kms/hour) and waited for the 10-00am flight. At 1-00pm, only a little late (no, I was not complaining) in came the flight. I could have kissed the young pimply faced pilot when he pulled the shockie out of the plane. Something going right.  Let's regroup for a second. We have now been at Mitchell Falls for 2 nights and have not seen the Joiners. Who knows where they are??. It is hot, we are all filthy and we haven't even got down to the swimming hole, let alone the falls. I climbed under the car at the airstrip and started to install the new shockie. In the dirt, ants climbing all over me, finally the new shockie was in, and I still had a little skin left on my knuckles.

    Lesson 4 - Just when you things can't get any worse, believe me, they can.

    It was now getting late and we really needed to move on and try to find the Joiners. I got  back to the camper and we quickly packed up and made our way back down the Mitchell Road to the King Edward River campground. This should be a two hour drive. Four hours later arriving in the pitch black we tried to find a spare bit of ground to set up and spend the night. I have never seen so many people. There must have been hundreds of tents and campers set up. Finally we found a few square metres and got organised. I grabbed a torch, checked the shockies, all good. Checked the trailer suspension. Give me strength. One of the grade 8 high tensile bolts had snapped at the rear of the spring and the suspension had collapsed. Luckily it must have just happened and it appeared there was not any other serious damage. Now this was a real resilience test, and I think I was close to the end of mine. Next morning, up early to try and fix the problem. I jacked up the trailer, removed the broken bolt from the now very badly worn shackle plates. Luckily I had one spare bolt, but no nut. Off around the campground I went asking if anyone had a M12 nut. After 1/2 hr I found someone who had one, put the spring back together and slowly made our way back to Drysdale Station.

    Repairing the trailer Unmaintained alright

    Now it was time for our next little drama ( well, we hadn't had one for an hour). We were driving along minding our own business when a cow (actually two) ran out in front of us. I swerved to avoid them and hit a culvert on the side of the road which was somewhat deep and had us bounce what felt like a metre in the air. Down we came with a crunch. Out of the car to check what we had broken this time. I just laid there under the car shaking my head. The force of the impact had torn part of the rear coil spring tower off the chassis. Bloody hell!!!!!

     It was now 3 nights since we had lost our traveling friends. Arriving at Drysdale Station and seeing civilisation was like winning Gold Lotto. As we pulled in, who could we see in the campground, the Joiners! They had made it to the King Edward campground a few nights earlier when they had another trailer suspension failure and then a flat battery in the car and had to themselves limp back to Drysdale for more repairs.
    Leavers saggy arse
    The Leavers were also at Drysdale. They too had made it as far as King Edward campground when they blew an airbag in the 100 series. That would not normally be a big deal but their car has no springs, only air bag suspension. That meant they could go no further until they got hold of a spring or a new airbag. Drysdale sent them out (via another tourist) an old spring that was only vagely successful as the picture shows. So this time over to the workshop I went to see what they could do with the chassis on the car. They had seen this a number of times before and did a great job patching it up for us. It will need to be repaired properly by a chassis repairer, hence going home via Melbourne at the end of the year. It is a bit of a long way around but it will give us the opportunity to catch up with, and bludge off  a lot of people we met on our first lap around the block in 2006. Anyway, back to the epic story. As I said earlier, a few weeks back I had ordered  new bolts, bushes and shackle plates for the camper from Brisbane that were sent to Kalumburu. That was unfortunate, as we needed them here and preferably now. I rang my work colleague Lex at Kalumburu and asked her to go down to the campground and find a tourist who was leaving and heading to Drysdale, and who could bring our parts down to us. She luckily did find a lovely retired couple who did just that for us. The parts arrived after lunch and by that evening we had a new spring (we carry a spare), new bolts and new bushes installed.

    Home Valley Station Home Valley Station Home Valley Station

    Next morning we all packed up and headed to Home Valley Station for 2 nights. This joint has just had a huge injection of cash ($10-20 Million depending on who you talk to) and is fairly flash and aboriginal owned. Big camping area, motel type rooms and a big open air bar cum restaurant. I found it a little over the top myself, but it is nicely done and flash, maybe too flash. It is a good spot to chill out and regroup before hitting the dirt again. They have a big playground and a good sized pool, so all the kids were happy.

    Crossing the Pentecost River
    The drive from the Kalumburu turnoff towards Kununurra is some of the most spectacular scenery you will see on the Gibb. Mountain ranges, amazing rock formations and some big river crossings, especially the Pentecost River made this a memorable part of the trip. It was also memorable for all of us, as nothing went wrong on this leg of the trip. Oh sorry, yes it did, but only for the Parfitts. More of that later.

    Next stop not far down the road was El Questro. I have said this before, but this is a must see place. We were there early in the day after some firewood collecting, so got some great sites, set up in a big circle like a wagon train with a fire in the middle. (The Leavers were still with us.) We had 3 nights there and it was a hoot. We did all the standard walks - Emma Gorge, El Questro Gorge and everyones favourite, Zebedee Springs, the hot thermal pools. We all still vote this place as possibly the most special in the Kimberley and believe me, we have seen most of the places there are to see. El Questro has just been sold, not sure to who, but hopefully nothing will change.
    On our last evening at El Questro we were on our way to Branco's Lookout, when clunk, another rear shockie snapped in two. That is three brand new heavy duty shockies that have all done the same thing on this Gibb River trip. As you could imagine, I was rapidly loosing faith in this brand, maybe they are simply not up to the task. It would appear we may have had a faulty batch of shockies, as the rod was unscrewing itself from the piston, jamming and then bending in half. They were all replaced under warranty (great after sales service), but it was all a bit inconvenient, to say the least.

    El Questro Zebedy Springs Zebedy Springs Emma Falls Emma Falls Pentacost River

    That was nearly the end of the dirt and before long we were back on the black stuff. I must say we were all glad to be rid of the dust, at least for a while anyway.
    It is only a short drive into Kununurra and luckily we managed to get into one of the caravan parks. We tried three before we found one that could accommodate us all. Kununurra is a great place and we were kept busy for our few days there. We did the Saturday markets, went out for dinner, drove across Ivanhoe crossing (about 5 times) and had lunch at a little farm cafe. We visited Zebra Rock art gallery and fed the biggest cat fish you have ever seen, explored around the Diversion Dam wall and did a bit of shopping, including getting two new tyres put on the car. I also washed the car which took 3 buckets of water, 2 stubbies and about an hour. It did look a bit prissy all nice and clean. Unfortunately it was now time to say bye, bye to the Leavers as they continue to head East. I am sure we will catch them up down the east coast on our way home.

    The end of the dirt Ivanhoe Crossing Diversion Dam

    This was the last leg of the journey from Kununurra into Broome, a total of close to 1,100 kms with only one shockie. We stopped overnight at Fitzroy Crossing and then into Broome. Driving with only one shockie was not very pleasant as the car wanted to drift all over the place. With the camper on the back and the air bags it was OK, but only just.

    We booked back into the same caravan park at Cable Beach while the Joiners took the upmarket apartment option (and they call themselves tough Gibbers) as they had to get the camper cleaned up and returned (that was their excuse anyway). We had a ton of jobs to do while we were there, including a bit of welding on the trailer suspension and getting two new shockies put on the car.
    They all ended up like this
    They decided to replace both the rear ones, with a different batch to see if that was the cause of all the grief and they gave me a $200-00 spare for free. Can't complain about that!!.  We went out to the pub at Cable Beach and visited the Willie Creek Pearl Farm for the tour which was actually rather good and very informative. The Joiners flew out on the Friday morning, with us spending the rest of the day grocery shopping, and Chris getting her hair cut. While we were there I got a call from work asking me to go in and see the boss, based in Broome. I dropped in to see if I had been given the sack. No, they wanted us to go back a week early instead. Sorry, no can do as we had booked an overnight trip to the Horizontal Waterfalls. That was OK and she then asked if we could stay on at Kalumburu for an extra 2 weeks (9 weeks total this time) and then do a month at One Arm Point at Cape Leveque. I said 'no' to Cape Leveque as we needed to start making our way back to Qld but the carrots got too big so we said yes. It will be nice and is a place we did want to stay at, even for such a short time. That will give us a month to get home (via Melbourne), then a week to get the van sorted and down to Cotton Tree. After our last leg we will have done the Gibb River Road five times. Not a bad effort.

    We went to Gantheaume Point beach on Friday night with Tash (we took her to Mitchell Falls with us last month) and some of her friends and then did the Court House Markets Saturday morning (bought a few more bright t-shirts) and then headed to Barn Hill Station (yes, going totally in the wrong direction again) for a few nights. The reason was that we had booked the Horizontal Falls trip from Derby and didn't have to be there until Tuesday. We didn't want to stay in Broome (it really doesn't grab us that much, although it is slowly growing on us) so what's a 100kms in the wrong direction?  As per usual we had a great time at Barn Hill, bowling, walking on the beach, swimming and relaxing. Our timing was right for the Sunday Night roast, plus they had a local aboriginal band to entertain us. They were really good and had us all dancing the night away. We also scored one of the best waterfront sites, so couldn't be happier.

    Horizontal falls from the plane
    Tuesday we packed up early and did the nearly 300 kms to Derby. We put the car and camper in storage at the local caravan park and were collected after lunch for our overnight trip to the Horizontal Falls. This is something we have wanted to do for some time but is rather expensive. At nearly $2,800 for the family it is up there in the price department. In saying that we really enjoyed it and thought it was worth the money. The little bus collected us along with 4 others and took us to the airport. There we boarded the sea plane for the 30 minute flight to the falls. We landed in the very spectacular Talbot Bay and motored over to our very luxurious accommodation and pontoon. It is a great set up with plenty of room to move about.

    Our accommodation was aboard the 'Adventure Cat' which is about an 80 ft power cat. We had our own room with en suite as did the boys. There was a large saloon and large outside deck for meals. Tied to it was an equally large house boat that normally houses more guests but was empty the night we stayed there. It also has a huge saloon with a very large LCD TV so after dinner the boys watched a video in style.  Then attached to the rear (stern for those nautical types)  of both boats was a large pontoon. The set up was clearly able to cater for large groups, while we had a total of eight.

    As soon as we arrived on the boat after our flight we had a cuppa and then boarded the smallish speed boat to go and see the falls. Now what are these horizontal falls exactly?

    The sea plane Handsome Co Pilot Horizontal falls from above

    Within Talbot Bay itself  are two very large bays that are totally land locked except for two small openings. Talbot Bay opens into the first bay via an opening approx 20 metres wide and is 40 metres deep with 1 million litres of water a second  flowing through it at high tide. The next bay is filled through 'the narrows' which is only 7 metres wide and also 40 metres deep. So what you have is a lot of water in Talbot Bay trying to get through these small openings. What this results in is a height discrepancy of up to a metre or more on either side of the opening, depending on the tide difference. Remember up this way they have 11 metre tides, that's a lot of water. So what you end up with is what actually looks like a water fall, except it is laying on top of the water - therefore horizontal. Get the picture?

    Horizontal falls from above The big boats The speed boat
    Harry The Narrows A slow cruise

    So we got in this speed boat with silly little uncomfortable seats and just a bar in front to hang onto. Harry and I sat at the front with Chris and Alex behind. This blow up thing has 2 x 150 hp Yamaha outboards and moves along very nicely, let me tell you.  We took off at warp speed and within a few seconds we were at the wider of the two openings. The volume of water making its way through was amazing. We went through the first opening and then we made our way over to 'the narrows'. If we thought a lot of water was trying to squeeze its way into the big opening, you should have seen it trying to get through the narrows! The water was swirling and being agitated like a huge washing machine, or probably more like a blender. There was at least a metre height difference in the water on either side of the opening. We looked around, backed into it and then the guy asked did we want to go through it. Of course we all yelled 'Yer', thinking they always went through. So in we went. Going down wasn't too bad although still way up there in the thrill seeking,' I'm about to crap myself' stakes.  I had the video camera out (that was only back from the repairer 2 weeks) and was trying to hang onto Harry as well. In we went. The pull and force of the water was hard to imagine. The engines screaming and us being thrown around like a cork in a rapid. Next thing we took a huge wave over the bow, soaking those in the front completely, including the video camera. Bugger. Next we had to get back up the waterfall, against the flow. The engines were screaming, but it was a little less turbulent than going in.
    Boy, was the adrenalin flowing. Chris was behind me screaming with her eyes closed for most of it - better than any rollercoaster ride that's for sure!! It was surprising how hard it is to drive up a step of over a metre of water flowing goodness knows how fast in the opposite direction. After, we found out that someone was killed on that very spot only a year ago. It was with a different operator and that business no longer exists. Glad we found out later, let me tell you. ( Most tours now do not drive through the narrows, so we were fortunate to have the experience.)  It was lots of fun, and a real buzz. Then it was back to the big boat for another drink and then off for a slow leisurely cruise around the waterways in a very comfortable party pontoon boat. It was great sitting back watching the sunset and taking in some of the most magnificent scenery the Kimberley has to offer. Then back to the boat again, showers and sit back on  the deck and have a few drinks waiting for our Burramundi meal to be whipped up in the kitchen. The boys had fun feeding the 2 metre lemon sharks that call the pontoon home.

    Slow Cruise Lemon Sharks Dinner on the rear deck Cabin Crew The coast line The coast line

    Dinner was served, a few tales told, a tour of the bridge, then to bed for a early night, ready for the early start the next morning. Out of bed at 0630 and back to the deck for a cooked breakfast. Now we could get used to this. Time then to pack up our gear and await the arrival of our plane. An hour's scenic flight home along the coast and King Sound really topped off a great day and a great adventure.  Stop Press: Only about a week or so after our trip to the Horizontal Falls the seaplane flipped upside down on landing and sunk, with just the floats showing. The accident was caused because the pilot forgot to retract the wheels which dug into the water on landing, causing the plane to flip. Everyone was OK, shaken and stirred!!

    It was now time to get back into the car and again make our way down the Gibb River Road back to Kalumburu. We still had a few days before we needed to be back, so we spent a bit more time exploring a few places we had not yet seen. First stop was Manning Gorge again, just for a night stop over. Then only 40 kms down the road it was into Mt Elizabeth Station. We planned to have a few nights here, as Friday was Chris's birthday and we didn't want to be on the road for the big event. We visited two gorges, one they called the 'Beach' on the Barnett River. It was OK but the next gorge was another 'one of the best' we have seen on the Gibb. Even this late in the season there were about 5 waterfalls all flowing into the same beautiful swimming hole. It was deep, crystal clear and yes, cold, but still very swimable, plus we had the place to ourselves! The birthday went well. Presents, cooked breaky and my great company. What more could a woman want?

    Chris's Birthday Chris's Birthday Chris's Birthday

    Saturday back on the road again, into Drysdale for lunch (and another KBB) and then onto the King Edward River campground for an overnighter. Now last time we were there which was only a few weeks earlier, (when the trailer suspension broke) it was so busy you could not move. Now there was only us and 2 other campers. The difference was unbelievable. Get rid of the school holidays and everything goes back to normal. Next morning it was an early get away and home to Kalumburu by lunch.

    It was good to be back, to have a bit of room and your own toilet, to soak the clothes and our feet. People asked if we had a good holiday. I told them it was more an adventure than a holiday, but heaps of fun, a little frustrating, but I learnt a few things along the way, but hey, that's what traveling is all about. You have to take the good with the bad.

    The next 9 weeks back in Kalumburu will fly and then it will be off to Cape Leveque for a month. What a life.

    So that is it for July. Hope you enjoyed reading about our adventure as much as we enjoyed living it. It was sad to see the Joiners leave, as a familiar face always brings a smile to your face. They are talking about joining us in Cape York next year. That will be fun.

    Take care. Until next month.

    Ah, thats good

    What is the first thing you do after 5 weeks on the Gibb??