Map of Trip-2006.
Map of Trip-2008.
Map of Trip-2009.
Map of Trip-2010.
For little Harry, September could not come fast enough. I love how
excited he is about birthdays, not only his, but everyone else's as
with both Chris's and mine out of the way for another year all we had
left now was Father's Day, the boys' birthdays and then the big one,
25th Wedding Anniversary. Father's Day I was on
call but we had a lovely cooked breakfast and I scored well with a One
Arm Point (OAP) cap and new tee shirt. They will be good keepsakes.
was time for the long awaited event. Harry's birthday and the massive
joint Alex/ Harry party. The
poor boys have missed out a bit in the party department over the past
few years, mainly because there have been no other kids to invite. Well
this year, we had plenty of kids to invite, so the boys had a combined
party. We asked Dean and Kelly if we could stage the mega event at
their house (which was our house a few weeks earlier) as there is
plenty of room and the trampoline. They had 10 kids come with plenty of
party games, junk food and fun. The boys scored really well with the
presents considering nobody knew there was an upcoming party and the
shop has NO range of
presents. I think people must have a stock pile of presents in their
these events. While we do have a life that we
think is ideal, there are
things the boys miss out on and it was great to see them surrounded by
so many friends and having such a great time on their birthdays.
Next it was Alex's actual birthday. It is hard to believe our big boy
is now a teenager. It seems only yesterday that after many years of
trying we discovered that Chris finally got her act together (Oi -
takes two to tango!! Ed) and was
pregnant. Next minute he was born and now he is a teenager. Man alive,
has that time gone like a flash. Bit scary. Next thing he will be
borrowing the car and leaving home. I am getting depressed at the
thought already. We are already trying to convince him to live with us
until he is at least 30. We may well live to regret telling him that as
we recently saw a show about kids 'not leaving home' !!!! He has always
been an absolute delight and continues to be so. So far the whole
adolescent thing has been completely uneventful and without any grief,
no sleeping all day, no outbursts (...maybe just the odd one), no being
difficult, in fact nothing
at all. Are we just lucky or are most of the teenage problems caused by
societal pressures and bad behaviour caused and learnt from their
peers? Who knows, and frankly who cares, as long as he causes us no
Chris continued to enjoy working
at the school, with the staff all
being really nice adding to the experience. The kids on the whole are
very well behaved and there is an excellent behaviour management
in place. I also spent a bit of time in the senior school running a
drug and alcohol program that went over about 4-5 weeks. The kids were
not only really well behaved but also very interested and
interactive. Harry continued to go to school on the days that Chris
worked and really loved it. He would be dressed and ready to run well
before school started. Alex only attended for circus sessions and
lessons (plus culture and fun days) as he was busy at home with his
distance ed work. It never ceases to
amaze me how self directed he is, what a skill to have.
Next social outing was
Erin's birthday bash. Erin is the Deputy at the school. Harry summed
up perfectly and stated, "Erin is too nice to be a Deputy. She never
yells" (That is Erin in the middle picture below, the one with the
terrible wig on!!). We agree, we will miss Erin when we leave OAP. We
again had a
great evening, a few drinks, great food and great company. Then it was
Kelly's birthday(There seems to be an awful lot of
birthdays in September. Why is that? September minus 9 months =
Christmas. Ah, a little too much festive cheer it would seem!!!) So
to the beach and to our favourite Bali again for drinks and a sausage
sizzle. Yet another great evening, great view and average company (ha!
ha!). Then a few days later it was another kid's party for Dean and
Kelly's youngest, Grace. More food, more drinks and more laughs. How
much can one body suffer before it starts to give way?
Next on this never ending social calendar was a party at one of the
It was a fancy dress 'Beer Trivia' night. Now let me tell you, a bit
like trying to come up with a birthday present at short notice, trying
to get a costume in the middle of nowhere can be challenging. I decided
to go as a 'Pure Naked Blonde' with Chris going as 'Emu Girl'. It was
an excellent night which was extremely well run and organised. Our
table actually did well coming in 3rd overall in the trivia with me
winning the best
dressed for the evening. I must say I was a little apprehensive turning
up in my get-up and certainly did stand out (stick out) in the crowd.
We were sensible and left just before turning into pumpkins, unlike
some of the much sillier (and much younger) who witnessed the sun rise
on yet another perfect day.
Point will always hold a special place in our hearts.
Don't go all soppy on me, we haven't left yet. Our next weekend and we
were off again in Dave's boat for a spot of crabbing. We headed towards
Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm and made our way down a small creek. It was
amazing making our way across the bay as we had to weave our way
through all the rows of pearl shells. Now let me put you in the
The tide is coming in, rapidly. Not just any tide but a 10
metre + tide. The creek is about as wide as the boat and it is almost
impossible to control and manoeuvre the boat with the tide running at
that speed. You combine that with Dave's driving and it was somewhat
amusing. He was getting himself a bit confused and was turning the
wheel the wrong way with very interesting consequences. Then you had
the added problem of trying to position the dilly pot at the base of
the mangroves and then tie the end of the rope in a tree so you could
locate it later, while getting smacked around the head with branches as
we careered out of control in some secret spot. All sounds fairly
easy you say. Well it wasn't. It was bloody hard work but we did end up
with about 6 keepers and a few fish that we caught while waiting on the
pots (you only need to leave them in the water for about twenty minutes
at a time in these parts). It was a magnificent day out and we all had
heaps of fun.
It was then time again to move house for the 4th time since we have
OAP. My contract had come to an end but they wanted Chris for another
week. We shifted into a teacher's house and I became a man of leisure
for the week.
The shift was again fairly painless with the teacher's
house being very
comfortable. I had big plans to get out and go fishing and had a few
boat trips lined up. Well mother nature had other ideas. It absolutely
blew its guts out for the entire week, so fishing was completely off
the agenda. As it turned out I was flat out anyway, not sure doing
what. In our last week we did end up going out 7 nights in a row(!!!),
which for people of our age was far too strenuous. Great fun but
One of those nights had us back to the sunset platform at Cygnet Bay
Pearls with Craig and Kelli to again have a few drinks with the sun
setting on another picture perfect Peninsular day. Then it was off to
Hunters Creek with Dave and family and Dean and family for a sunset
barbecue on the beach. It was a lovely evening, a sensational
sunset and we had a heap of laughs. On the way home Dean got
bogged in the Prado, we got bogged in the Patrol and Dave in his
$1,000 rust bucket sailed through with ease. Boy did he give it to
us, the boys with the big flashy 4x4's. If we had that much rust and
that many holes we would have got through as well, it's all about power
to weight you know, and holes don't weigh much!!!!!!
The last few days of the week Alex and I spent all day over at the
school grinding and polishing trochus shells. It is quite a process and
was a rather steep learning curve for me. As Alex had been attending
manual arts lessons at school learning the art of shell polishing,
he was able to
steer me in the right direction. I ended up with 6 polished shells
with Alex doing 3 and he also made some jewelery from Dugong bones. Do
yourself a favour and have a look at the following link that Alex
did as another presentation for school - Grinding Trochus Shells, Pearl
Shells and Dugong Bones. This will explain the
process much better than I could and is complete with good
photos. Chris and the boys also spent an afternoon at school with
Josh (one of the teachers) having a lesson on jewelery making. We have
now all had a go at it and have something to take away
as a reminder of our time here.
One minute we are moving house and the next we are packing the car in
preparation to move on again. Luckily we were not moving far but
never-the-less it still all has to fit in the car and camper, which
be a concept I have trouble getting through to Chris. Yes, we might
to eat, we might need endless crafts, but the fact is, it has to
fit. It would seem that is my problem, but make it fit I did, just. The
boys seemed happy being strapped to the roof rack for the 6 hour
journey(!!!!), so the back seat could be packed with vital, can't
survive without, absolutely must have at all costs, stuff (all
very important stuff you know - Ed.). As I
said earlier, leaving was sad but it was time to move on. Can't stay
too long, can't get too comfortable.
Our last night it was back to Dean and Kelly's to watch the AFL semi
have a bit of a farewell dinner with a group that we had become good
friends with over our stay at OAP. It was a great night. Thanks guys.
So early the next morning we were up and again down the bumpy Cape
Leveque Road. First stop was Derby for a little shopping before
heading to Looma. Well, in actual fact we were actually heading to
Camballin, which is the small white fella town about 12 kms out of
Looma. So here is the story as well as we know it. Looma is the
Aboriginal community of about 400 people. It is nestled at the base of
a mountain range and is very close to the Fitzroy River. Boating and
fishing are favourite pastimes here with every yard having at least
one boat. It is a very functional
community that seems generally speaking to have it all together.
is a small town consisting of about 30 houses and a small shop. It
mainly consists of teachers, council staff, clinic staff and essential
services staff (power and water).
Looma house- After this it's back to the camper!!
The housing is
by far the
best we have had so far. The house is very new, highset and very, very
comfortable. Our reason for choosing here is that it is in the general
direction of Qld and is very quiet. That is good as we have a bit of
catching up to do, especially with regards to the boys' school work,
repacking and reorganizing for the trip back to Qld. We do have a few
outings planned while we are in Looma, one of which is a trip to Broome
for the weekend and then a fishing trip with Wayne and his family.
Wayne is one of the Aboriginal workers at the clinic and has spent his
entire life in this area. What he doesn't know about this part of the
Kimberley is not worth knowing. If we were going to spend a bit more
time out this way, he certainly would have a lot he could teach us.
Our 25th wedding Anniversary
Of course the most important event for the month was
anniversary. Not just any anniversary, the 25th one. Who could believe
that anyone could put up with my stupidity for that long? That would
take a particularly stupid, I mean sensational woman (Excuse me!?!#!).
We had a lovely
evening in downtown Looma. The kids cooked dinner and I had bought a
nice bottle of Moet, but
Chris decided to hang onto it until we get to somewhere more romantic.
could you get anywhere better than here???
We are having a celebratory week on Daydream Island on our way home so
we might crack it there.
So that is pretty much all there is for September. October will really
start to hot up, not only the weather but also our pace. We move on
from here around mid-month and then rapidly make our way back across
the Barkly Highway into Qld and to Townsville where our 3 months of
tourists begins. We have tonnes planned and things booked. More
So September saw us start at the beach and end in the bush. The weather
in the last few weeks has become rather uncomfortable with temperatures
hovering around 39 degrees C. It looks like the top end will be in for
long hot summer. Thank goodness for the 10 air-conditioners our house
and I am even more pleased we don't pay for electricity!!!
Until next month.
I would be
unstoppable, if I could just get started.
The OAP Clinic team
Chris and some school staff