Published: July 22nd 2012July 22nd 2012
We live here
These are freshies, and no real threat to Humans apart from Bad Breath
Doing the Paper Work
As I put fingers to keys, the airport clock tells me its 10.56 and I am at Broome airport in Far Western Australia, waiting for my 4 hour flight to Brisbane then my 2 hour flight to Canberra, by the time I’e got a taxi home from Canberra Airport I should just be walking in the door at Ten o’clock tonight Canberra time and boy I am looking forwards to seeing Caroline.
I have been away just over two weeks in Derby and it has been great, the work is the same but the warmth on my bones has just been a tonic, from the minus 5 temperature when I left behind.
It has been a fantastic temperature every day between 29-31 degree’s and so very sunny, as I had previously mentioned in my last blog I have been staying in Derby, quite an interesting town, if you drove through it , you would swear there was nothing there at all, but take a closer look and its quite a busy place, though its fare to say a little rough around the edges, but not in an unpleasant way.
unfamiliar with these environments, you have to get in to the swing of things as the people I have come up to work with have their own lives, that they need to lead, so there it quite a bit a time on your own, which takes a bit of getting used to,
Sure people tell you the places to eat and the places not to go, but there is nothing like company, especially Caroline, if she hadn’t been going to Fiji , this Saturday then she would have come with me.
Last weekend, I borrowed a four wheel drive and with one of my colleagues who happened to have his son up here from Canberra, we decided to drive to Windjana Gorge and tunnel creek, places I have been to before with Caroline, when we were on our great trip.
We leave at 7.00 am on Saturday, loaded up with sandwiches and a cold drink for the journey, Windjana gorge is about 220 K’s from Derby and its a pretty rough old track, the closer you get to it.
When we arrived we parked the truck and readied ourselves for a 6 or so Kilometre walk
A stubby Sunset
A stubby sunset, is when you go and wahtch the sunset witha couple of cold stubby beers
there and back to the end of the gorge, it is spectacular scenery and the high light is the Crocodiles that bask on the shore, which you can walk right up to, until they open an eye and start hissing at you.
This sounds very dramatic, but they are fresh water Crocodiles which are quite benign, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t go in the water with then just in case, but they have a far better reputation than the salt water mates, you never know you may just get bitten on the bum in a case of mistaken identity, and I ‘m sure they still wouldn’t offer any apologies.
We obviously took some pictures of these crocs taking a sunny afternoon snooze, and as the day heated up decided to keep walking and after an hour we came to a sign that said the rest of the trail was closed for regeneration.
Fiddlesticks, the only option we had was to turn around and walk back the way we came, but I think that was the plan anyway.
We took a break under a tree to have a drink, so I thought it was the most
Do you remember this Dunny
Not for any other reason , than we have been here before, together.
opportune moment to send Caroline my Coordinates from our new Satellite Phone, just to test it out, and when Caroline receives them on her mobile phone, she can drop them in to Google maps as a latitude and longitude and it pinpoints where the Sat phone has been activated from, our friends Keith and Jan have a similar device called a spot messenger II, which does the same thing, you activate it and it advises the pre loaded people, who you want to send a message to that you are ok, i guess its like a GPS baby sitter.
We decided to buy the Satellite phone for a number of reasons, firstly we managed to purchase it at a reduced priced through the Australian Satellite Phone Subsidy scheme, all you need to do is provide proof that you go to remote locations for more than so many days in two years and the Australian Government assist with the purchase of the phone.
It’s pretty cool technology, ours is an Inmarsat, device which are a British Company who have 11 Satellites in Geosynchronous orbit, something like 22, 000 Miles up, we didn’t buy it because it was British, oh
no, we took advice from some one who was ex Australian special Forces, who has used these system all over the world and now works for a Satellite phone supplier and his methodology was flawless.
Be warned when reading this, they are not fool proof, you have to wait to connect to a satellite and if it is a life and death situation, and your are relying on sat technology, then I think you may as well quickly realise your stuffed, equally a Satellite phone is no more than an insurance policy, hoping you will never need it, but it is there just in Case, I am also looking in to a HF radio to be fitted in the truck, but that is another story, for a later time.
So with Caroline responding to my coordinates, with a smart arse message, we decide to move on and walk back to the vehicle which was just over an hour away.
We open up our sandwiches which Brendon and Jackson Dive in to, but its just not what I fancy at the moment and snacked on a couple of fruit bickies.
Once all our feeding and watering duties
are completed, we drive off the Tunnel Creek, and when we arrive, it is fairly busy, with every conceivable 4x4, Caravan, camper plus a few of the tourist trucks, which is basically a load of seats like a coach on the chassis of a smallish truck and the suspension is lifted to give a perfect ride to their paying guests, pretty cool but I believe pretty expensive.
Ah it was great to be back, but I so missing having Caroline with me, the last time we were at tunnel creek was Blog day 211 (Tunnel Vision) dated 06/06/2009 when we were up here last.
Brendon and his son Jackson strode in the water of Tunnel creek followed by me tagging along and we only had the light of Brendon’s I-Phone as we had all forgot to bring a torch with us, Doh.
If you have never had the pleasure of doing Tunnel creek, then I would defiantly put it on your bucket list as it is well worth it.
We completed the walk to one end and I sat on a rock in the sunshine as Brendon and Jackson wanted to have a swim in the
By the croc warnin sign.
Billabong, as they swam I watched a long water monitor get himself comfy for his afternoon bask in the sun, and when all the swimming and sun baking was done we started off back to the other end of the Tunnel, back to where we started..
It takes only about half and hour to walk one end of tunnel creek to the other, all depending to how deep the water is, as the deeper the water the more gingerly you have to walk.
It was now about 3.30 and the day was so hot, we got our selves ready for the journey back to Derby.
The journey back was pretty un eventful, well it was until the last 10 Kilometres, I was driving and looking down the track I saw some think on the left hand side, that was large and black, and for a second I thought it was a cow.
Now Caroline will agree with this statement, more than anybody, “you never have a Camera, just when you need one” and as I got closer, I realised it was a very large Wedged Tailed eagle, “Standing on top of the carcase it was devouring.
Yes, Caroline I was there with out you, sorry
We gingerly cruise past the eagle and I gently turned the truck around, our plan was to get in to a position where we could take a photograph, but as usual, as soon as we got to where we needed to be, the Eagle decided he was having non of it and took flight.
This was a big bird, the thing I love above them is their legs, the White and Brown feathers, makes them look like they are wearing medieval pantaloons, what an amazing creature, I remember, Caroline never had any success trying to photograph a wedgy, as they always flew away just as you put the camera up ready to take that shot, and today was no different.
I got back to my hotel at about quarter past six and I was bushed it had been a full on day and I wanted to do nothing this evening, I switched on my mobile phone and there was a message from one of my ex Canberra colleagues, who had said they would pick me up at 6.00pm and take me out for dinner, and I just had to confirm, sadly, it was well past six and
I was bushed any way.
I must have fell asleep on my bed as I woke up at 11. 30pm with the TV on, I found the remote and pushed the red button to off and slipped under the sheets, and turned the lights off, the balcony door was still open, I just could not be bothered to get out of bed and slipped back to sleep.
Again I woke to the most beautiful morning, the sun was streaming in and it was lovely and warm, the weather was going to be between 29-31 degree’s as it has been every day and, personally it is “just my temperature” I just warmth in my bones.
My morning plan was this, Slipe on my Things and Tee shirt and go and sit at the local coffee shop, watch the world go by, have breakfast and read some more of my book, I am reading Keith Richards Autobiography ( Guitarist for the Rolling Stones) and I just want to finish this excellent book.
I hadn’t realised that I had left my book in the four wheel drive that I had used yesterday, so things were not going to plan,
I decided to just grab a takeaway coffee and go in t work for the morning as there were something’s I needed to do, so I text the guy would had lent me the truck nd asked him if he would drop the book at reception of my hotel.
My loose afternoon plans were simple, find some lunch, sit around in the sun, have a snooze and read my book, (Nothing flash) just nice and easy, I still maintain my point of you, that it is one on life’s great pleasures to have a siesta.
The day panned out pretty much as I hoped it would, but was overjoyed when I asked texted by Chris who I used to work with in Canberra, they asked me if I would like to go and have dinner with them this evening.
Chris and Keith had come over from the UK on a working visa, after Keith had retired from the regional electricity company he worked for, back in the UK and they had this chance to work in Australia, and they chose to come and live in Derby and absolutely love it. Recently they have had their working Visa
extended for another 5 years, but do intend on going back to Blighty at some stage as they have their house there, but would like to buy a house and officially retire in Norwich.
For them Derby is a hub-bub of activity, The shooting Club, Fishing, and just exploring the area in their four wheel drive, its great to see just how they have embraced their new life.
Keith came to collect me at 6.00pm and took me to their house that is rented for them and it was really nice, it was great to see them again, in a non working environment and the time just melts away.
Soon we were sitting down to a roast Pork dinner with all the trimmings and it was fabulous, followed by apple pie and Ice cream, when my bowl was given to me, containing my desert, the piece was as nearly as big as the Isle of White it was massive, and though I would never be rude to my host, there was not way I could have eaten all that.
We sat and chatted after dinner and Chris told me she was an avid Radio 4 listener,
from a very early age, and I said the two most vivid things of my childhood I can remember on the radio, is a song by The Seekers called “Morning town ride” and the Shipping Forecast, and as a little fella I could never understand what the words meant such as Fare isle, Fisher, North Utsire, German Bight and Dogger Bank, and only years later came to realise that they were area’s of sea that surrounded the united Kingdom. Chris picked up a broadcast off the Shipping forcast on U –Tube and I was transported back to when I was a little boy.
I have since come to appreciate the fantastic Voice of Judith Durham of the seekers and as I finish this block, I am playing on my I-Pod.
I had a brilliant evening with Chris and Keith and they looked after me perfectly which I thank them for.
Everytime I had spoken to Caroline, I had said that I hadn’t seen a snake, I believe everyone who doesn’t live in Australia has this perception that there are snakes and spiders everywhere, they are but you rarely see them unless you are really lucky, and that
sums it up, to see one you have to be really lucky, where as to be bitten by one you have to be really unlucky.
When Caroline was up here, she got to see two King Browns in the road, and managed to get a photo, which she published on the blog a couple of years ago, well I was driving home on Monday night at about 4.30 and I caught something in the corner of my right eye and I said to myself that was a snake, so as there was nothing else on the road, I turned around and headed back the other way, and pulled up off the main carriageway to see this poor creature that had been run over and was pretty badly damaged, it was still alive and was fitting, so I thought I best not get out of the car, as I might be bitten and they are killers.
I took a photo of the poor snake dying, and decided not to publish it on the blog as I felt I had over stepped the mark, as I invaded this creatures dignity, but it was sad, non the less.
Soon it was Thursday morning and I was packed, my room had been paid for and I had a three hour Drive from Derby to Broome as I was going home, as I wanted to see Caroline before she went to Fiji as I had been away just over two weeks, my boss tried to suggest, I ought to stay, but I wouldn’t have a bar of it, I said that I had told him that I wanted to be home, to me my girl and that was it, I was going home.
I collected a coffee and a snack for my journey and had a fantastic morning Drive arriving in Broome at about 9.00 am, which was nice as I had already checked in 24 Hours earlier, so all I had to do was arrive, dump my case then I had a couple of hours to do what I wanted to, so I went to a Cafe and sat and had a coffee and did some more of my book.
Now Broome airport is officially called Broome International Airport, which I think is stretching it a little bit, Its about as big as Chandlers Ford Village Hall, don’t get me wrong Its not unpleasant its just so small, but hey who am I to judge.
I think a positive over Chandlers Ford Village Hall though is the weather in Broome, its is a Beautiful Winters day 31 Degree’s, so I better not throw stone’s.
I boarded the aircraft at midday for my four hour flight to Brisbane, and a couple of hours in the Pilot announced that over the Port Wing in about 2 minutes we will see Alice Springs, and looking down from 38,000 feet or 11 Kilometres up it is amazing, just how remote the town of Alice Springs is, its just there and this massive expanse of nothing, I have been to Alice Springs, and had to land there after refuelling at Katherine Airbase, after a Cyclone had park itself on Darwin last year, so the 8 hours I was there, is not really far to say that I have been to Alice, but I have if you know what I mean.
I got off the plane in Brisbane and had 25 Minutes before my connection to Canberra, was to board so I had time to use the toilet, wandered over, chose my stall and sat down, and as soon as I did, “yep you guessed it” they called my bloody flight.
I got on the flight, which was now fifteen minute early and the only thing that was going through my mind was what the women had said to me in Broome, when my luggage was lost. “Well they need time to transfer your baggage “ so I thought the chance of seeing my back in Canberra was nil.
We were being pushed back and the right engine was running, and suddenly the pilot said we have got technical problems with the left hand engine, its got a warning light up and he had called for a Qantas Technician to come and have a look.
I was sitting in seat 10 A just on top of the left wing, and I cursed it, I wanted to be on my way back home to Caroline, but still these things happen i thought to myself.
It was an hour later, when the Pilot said the technician had cleared the fault and done all the paper work, I was curing him again as I hadn’t had time to do my own paper work, (if you know what I mean) and soon the plane was hurtling down the run way in the darkness, i kept looking at the engine, I bet we h=just take off and the engine just farts and dies, and the plane crashes, but it didn’t.
We landed at around 10.00pm, I got off the plane and went to the baggage collection hall and as the belt started, I was cock sure that my bag would not appear, but strangely enough it did, I jumped in to a taxi and was driven home and walked in the door at 10.30 as expected.
It was great to see Caroline, I had really missed her, she asked if I wanted anything to eat, but all I wanted to do was go to bed and sleep.
I woke up with my beautiful girl and the Canberra morning sun was going in, still bloody cold in the mornings but lovely all the sam, Caroline asked me what I wanted to do today and the only thing on my mind was perepaing for our Citizenship (Again) and I wanted to go to the department of Immigration and have a meeting with them.
Since the last catastrophe last year, I was leaving nothing to chance, I had prepared the documentation and re done all our certification again ready, so I wanted it verified.
Caroline and myself walked in to their office in Braddon and took a ticket, and was soon sitting with a representative, to whom I explained the complete sorry story, on how we had been stuffed around and had taken Diac to the AAT (Australian Appeals Tribunal) for there miss management of our case, I did imagine when we went in to their office they had pictures of us, with black crosses through them.
Everything was going well until the lady asked if we were going out of the country before ou citizenship and we said yes, this lady said that she thought this “Time” would be added to our application date, and I went for the throat and explained that she was wrong and didn’t have any comprehension of the advise she was giving out and we said that we could leave Australia for 90 Days within the last year of our residency.
She said she would have to check and came back and said that we were correct, so I asked that she make a not on our records to Identify this conversation.
Everything is done now, the due date falls on a Monday, the official date is 12th
November 2012 so we have a meeting with Diac who will log it on their system that morning then we go off to the post office to record delivery it to the Department of Immigration in Sydney.
The next thing I had to do was go any pay a speeding fine, I had been flashed by a camera in Manuka, (Pronounced Marnika) and I wanted to see the digital image.
The lady, at the Rego place, was really nice and cheerful and when I asked to see the image, showed it to us, with no bother, I agree that she showed us a very dark picture of the arse end of the truck, but not the driver, unlike the UK who have to have a picture of the driver I think.
I explained to the lady that I think it was the Landcruiser Fairy’s who had taken the truck out that night and she said that the Australian Law had been changed so if you were from another state, you wouldn’t get points on your licence but now they have changed it so it does not matter, where the infringement is carried out, the points.
My driving licence was issued on Christmas Island, which is an Australian Territory, the lady looked at it and said, Mmmm, you may get away with this I don’t think there is a mechanism to put points on this licence, I was happy to pay the money, for the fine, it was be one of those “You beaut” moments if I get away with the points, and I will let you know.
Friday night e were out for dinner, it was our Four wheel drive clubs 25th
Anniversay at the Lemon Tree Restaurant in Phillip, and it was great fun, there were loads of us there and the food was pretty good.
We got home about 11.00pm and flopped in to bed and soon I was woken by Caroline, finalising her bags and it was Saturday morning and she was off to Fiji.
Untilnext time Kj