Published: May 10th 2011May 8th 2011
Emily All Ready To GO!
Emily, the night before in her stinger suit and snorkeling gear
Well it was an interesting go with camping this past weekend. Heather, the kids, and I along with the Newell family left to start setting up the campsite at Taylors Beach. I was happy that Simon was coming later because it meant that I got to sit in the front seat on the way there! Simon was coming later with the 3rd and final family of the trip, the Darrigans. It was less than a 2-hour drive to the Spit at Taylors beach. It was a 10 minute boat ride from the mainland to the Beach, Richard Newell had just finished restoring his boat the “Bumble B”, so we had a vessel that could carry 5 people back and fourth from the mainland to the Spit. We got everyone and everything over in 2 trips, which was good since during low tide all of the sand bars surfaced and it was almost impossible to get across by boat, you were more likely to get across by walking. We started to set up camp and I choose a nice little semi-secluded spot to set up my tent that I could watch the sunrise in the morning. I only had a little 1-man
The Bumble B
tent while everyone else had a 4-man mansion tent that had rooms and you could get up and walk around in, but my tent was perfect for me and I was happy that the Robsons let me borrow it. I went for a nice walk out into the ocean on the other side of the beach; it was so cool to be able to walk across the sand bars! I found a few sand dollars, saw a bunch of little fish, and picked up a few feisty hermit crabs! These guys were barely larger than a dime but were ready to fight rather than hide, it was actually quite adorable when it was trying with all its might to pinch your finger and you couldn’t even feel it.
Right after the sun went down we were able to get the final family plus Simon across and then we all were settled. Since I have been hanging out with the Darrigans daughters I told them that my nickname was B, well Simon had ridden over with the Darrigans so that we only had to take one car back, and boy did he get a kick out of my nickname and
started calling me “Girl whose name is neither A nor C,” this went on the entire camping trip.
It was the Robson’s night for cooking and we had a wonderful fajita mix with a nice roaring campfire and a clear night to view all of the bright and wonderful stars. I was then told that there are Crocodiles about 5 miles down the beach and even though they probably don’t come up this way to not go swimming or be at the waters edge in the early morning or late at night once the camp activity has died down. I was also told a funny story about 3 guys that went camping and they each set up their tent facing the water, when the first guy woke up he opened his tent and saw a Crocodile a few meters away directly in front of his tent waiting for him, he also saw that there were 2 additional Croc’s in front of the other men’s tents. He went back in his tent and got out his knife and cut a hole in the back of his tent and then did the same for the other two guys. Stories like this
one were told back and forth and I was also warned about the “Drop Bears”. That while I was walking a bear would drop out of the trees onto me, well I pretty much saw right through that story because of the “dropping part” but then Heather explained that Australia was a bear less continent, which made it a little funnier. I was looking forward to a few more nights in that type of setting but as it turned out it was not meant to be.
Not 20 minutes after I had retired to my tent it began to rain. I was happy because I was snugly in my tent and that it was not raining during the day . . . yet . . .. .
It had rained the whole night, I knew this because a). I had not slept much due to the sound of the rain hitting the rain sheet on top of the tent and b). because I was sleeping on the ground. I consider myself kind of tough but when it comes to sleeping I like the softest cushiest mattress and blankets I can find. If I could sleep on a cloud I
would. It turns out I wasn’t given the proper instructions on how to inflate the mattress, and since it was already inflated a little bit I thought that is all it was going to be, turns out I was wrong. . . more on this in a bit.
I finally slept for a few hours and work up at 6 am, it had stopped raining (thank goodness) and I poked my head out of my one-man tent and was so happy to see that I was the first one up. “Great!” I thought, I could go for a nice long walk on the beach uninterrupted. As I made my way out to walk along the beach something made me turn around and when I did there was one of the Newell children, James 8 yrs, following a few meters back with a fishing pole. No! This isn’t supposed to happen! I walked back to meet him and it turned out he wanted me to watch him fish, since his Mom doesn’t like him to be alone when he does. At first I said yes, but then I thought about what was said the night before about being near the
waters edge in the early morning and the Crocodiles. I joked to myself and thought maybe that wouldn’t be a bad idea if he went fishing by the waters edge in the early morning, but then snapped back to it and reminded James about the Crocs as well. I walked him back to camp and when we got there more people were up, there was washing up to do from the night before, and my window for an early morning beach walk had closed.
Heather and Simon asked me how I slept and I didn’t want to complain too much so I said not too bad but that I had slept better. Emily then came up to me and told me how bad she slept and I confided in her that I was the same. I guess Heather heard me because she then asked me if I inflated the mattress. When they gave it to me it looked kind of inflated already, so I said no, and as it turns out there is a little nozzle at the end (I had stuck the mattress inside my sleeping bag so I wouldn’t slide off of it and the nozzle was
in the corner by my feet so I never saw it) and you blow into it and it inflates it from ¾ inches to about 2 inches) and let me tell you it makes all the difference in the world. . . Oh well, now I know.
Luckily the embers of the fire were still going and we were able to get the fire going again, but not as ferociously, which would be the case for the next few days. It started to rain again after breakfast but then stopped and it did this for the rest of the day. Before lunch Richard Newell took his boat out and we all had our turn being towed in a tube by the boat. I had flashbacks of doing this with my Dad in Virginia, only it wasn’t very much fun for Dad if we stayed in the tube the whole time. He would try to get us to fall out, and one of his signature moves (which, if you saw it coming, it was best to just abandon ship instead of try to stay on) was to turn and get slack in the rope then gun the boat so that
the rope was all of a sudden taunt and you either held on and had your shoulders pulled out of their sockets or fell off the back, like I said when you see slack in the rope just get out of the tube as fast as you can. Richard was a bit kinder but we still had a great time.
After tubing we had a lunch of crabs we had caught throughout the day. It was good, but it continued to rain on and off all day.
That night we had a wonderful pot roast that had been cooking on the coals of the fire for most of the day and roasted potatoes also cooked on the coals, they were both Yum! Luckily the rain stayed away for dinner and we all ate in dryness. It is really funny though because this was the first night we had to actually cut something to eat it and not everyone had a head lamp or torch so we would try to get someone with a headlamp to look at us so then we could see what was on our plates, and as soon as they looked at us we would start
cutting feverously! At one point Simon got up and did rounds of looking at everyone’s plate like a lighthouse, and when his light hovered over your plate for those few seconds you went to town cutting your pot roast and making a mental map of what was on your plate. After finishing an amazing dinner we had Christmas pudding? Christmas Pie? I don’t exactly know what its called but it is good, and it gets covered in Custard, oh man it was tasty!
A few of us stayed up and once it started to rain we all headed to our tents, as soon as I got in my tent I realized I probably should have gone to the bathroom while there were still people out and it wasn’t dark and raining, oh well, like hell I was going stomping through the mangroves for the toilet alone, in the rain, and in the middle of the night, good thing I can hold it!
It rained ALL night, and into the morning, I woke up (after a much better sleep on a fully inflated mattress) but didn’t want to get out of my tent :( The worst thing is that
even in the rain the mozzies are still just waiting at the door to your tent, the females sense heat and carbon dioxide, so while you have just killed 85 million of them that had some how gotten into your tent, there are still twice that many sitting on the door to your tent sticking their little sucker mouth in to the mesh, its quite disturbing that they are literally waiting for you to come out.
I called mom from my cell phone (Australians look at you funny for a second then tell you its called a “mobile” here) since it was technically Mother’s Day in Australia, but still the day before in the US. Mom was so excited to be talking to me and asked me how much it was costing me, and I told her I didn’t want to know, but not enough so that I did call her on Mothers Day to tell her I loved her! We spent most of the morning going back and forth between being chilly but sort of dry under the tarp when it was raining and then the moment it stopped raining we would all take our chairs and sit
around the dwindling fire to try and warm up and dry off. I finally got my chance at a shower during one of the drier periods but I forfeited my opportunity to take my hand at Water Skiing. I didn’t want to get salty and dirty after I had just struggled with dripping cold water from a water bag that was hung up in a tree. The “shower” consisted of this bladder type bag and a tent was put around it, once inside you had to watch out for more mosquitoes and these tree worms that had taken over the shower tent! But all gripeing aside it was so nice to have a somewhat of a shower :)
The plan was to leave by 4 that day, and around 3 pm it started to seriously rain, so there we were, packing all of our already sandy wet gear up in the now steady rainfall. We managed to get everything loaded onto the boat and waved goodbye to the rest of the families on the mainland (they were staying until Monday, but Simon had to work on Monday so we had to leave early, darn) but about ¾ of the way
across we got stuck on a sand bar. Everyone out to push! It was really raining then, and as we were heaving and hoping in the water to push the boat free while getting drenched by the rain, Heather and I just looked at each other and started laughing! What else could you do at that point?!
We got the Bumble B clear of the sand bar and was able to get her to shore (Heather and I jumped on board before it got too deep again, but Simon said screw it and just walked the rest of the way back to the mainland) and unload all of our dripping wet items into the car, luckily we were able to change out of our soaked clothes at the rest stop for the 1 and half hour ride home. We were all exhausted by that point and I slept the entire way home.
Once we arrived back at the house the kids groaned as we got out of the car and asked if we could wait to take all of the stuff out of the car til tomorrow, but we told them it had to be done tonight. After
The fire the rest of the day
Not doing so hot, but still produces heat!
unloading our rain soaked gear and got a load in the wash we ate dinner and the kids were in bed by 8:30 with the Adults right behind them at 8:45. As I lay in my warm, comfy, dry, sandless, mosquitoless bed with the bed side table on I could hear the rain patter at the window and I was so glad we came back early! The other folks who stayed til Monday ended up leaving the campsite the way it was and going over to the mainland and staying in a converted shed with bunk beds. Everyone slept in one big room, and many of them didn’t get much sleep, but at least they were dry. The next morning I woke up, and ate breakfast, but was still exhausted so I went back to bed and slept till noon. The weekend just exhausted all of us and Monday night the kids were again in bed by 8:30 and the Adults around 9:15. Overall it was an interesting experience and if it hadn’t been miserable weather I think it would have been a fairly nice weekend of camping!
This week Heather leaves for Perth and will be gone until
Monday, so its up to Simon and I to ferry the kids back and fourth to their different activities! I just started driving so I think I am up to speed with getting around. Driving is definitely different here with not only sitting on the other side of the car, driving on the other side of the road, but also shifting with your left hand! (The stick for the blinker is also on the wrong side so I keep turning on the windshield wipers whenever I want to turn, its quite annoying to be turning and trying to turn the windshield wipers off and get the correct turn signal going!) Hopefully there won’t be any accidents! Luckily for me since Heather is gone I get a car all to myself for the week! Yay!
There are more photos below