The Gibb River Road, this is why we have purchased a satalite phone, as its so remote.
A new Broome Sweeps Clean. day 1335
Its funny, how you know how you week is going to turn out, as things unfold, It was 7.40pm on Monday 2nd July, when I got an e-mail from my boss, asking me to make flights plans as he wanted me up in Curtin, on Tuesday if possible.
The “Company” had been talking about sending me to Curtin for the last three weeks so I wondered what had become so urgent, I knew that there was no chance of getting to Curtin on Tuesday, the nearest would be Perth staying overnight and flying on to Broome on Wednesday 4th July.
It was our Four wheel drive meeting on Tuesday night and I would have been ticked off, if I missed that, but I was comfortable in the knowledge that It would swing my way, so when I got in to the Office early on Tuesday morning, I called our travel people and posed the question, if it was possible in getting a flight to Broome today.
The task fell in to the too hard basket, the same basket that contained, Knitting Fog and collecting Rocking horse Poo, so I
A normal sight, in remote area's, as Australia rich resources attract big machinary.
asked our travel company what the options I had available to me and they asked if I wanted to fly from Canberra on Wednesday morning, early which would be perfect, which would get me to Broome just after lunch, same day.
With my details e-mailed to me, I phone Caroline and said that I would be able to go to the four wheel drive club tonight and she could pick me up at 5.00pm and we would go and have dinner with our friends which would be nice.
Now that Caroline has left the business, she usually takes me to work and has the truck in the day, so she can beetle around, if I need to go anywhere I just get a taxi, which seems to suit us fine.
Caroline picked me up at 5.00 pm, and after a quick drop off to the cash point, we got to the Eastlake Football club had a beer and ordered our dinner.
It was a good evening as usual and we caught up with our four wheel drive friends, the club has some very active members, who organise some really good trips and
If you don't have one of these in places like Derby, you stand out.
they are read out to see if people want to go on them, though usually there is a restriction on numbers, one trip we are so disappointed in not being able to go on is Bob and Kim Rutten’s trip, they leave Canberra and head up the middle of Australia to Alice Springs and basically Turn left and drive all the way to Pannawonica which is far Western Australia, then driving down the west coast, coming back across the Nullarbor then home, in 6 weeks, this trip would be a doosey, 10,000 K’s across some very isolated arid area’s of Australia, but sadly we are unable to go this time as we are in the UK.
We left the club at around 9.30 as I wanted a fairly early night as I knew It was an early start tomorrow and sure enough my Alarm went off a 4.00am as I had a Taxi booked for the airport a 5.00 am.
I kissed Caroline and quietly slipped out of the door and stood in the early morning cold of a minus -5 Canberra morning.
The Taxi was bang on time, which is unusual nowadays, and
I don't have one
You see, I told you that you stood out, without a 4 wheel drive.
I was his first pickup of the day and soon we were on the way to the airport.
I was flying from Canberra to Melbourne then Melbourne to Broome, I had looked on the weather report and it was 30 Degree’s in Broome today, so from Minus Five to plus 30 in a few hours, lovely, my suitcase contents reflected, the condition of my destination, shorts, thongs, sunglasses, summer shirts etc.
The plane was late leaving Canberra for whatever reason and by the time I got off at Melbourne I had to hurry across the airport to catch my interconnecting flight to Broome, little did i know what lay ahead.
I settled in to my seat, had something to eat, watched the movie, read a bit of my book, read a bit of my off road magazine that I had purchased this morning and realised I wanted to go to the toilet and as I was sitting by the window, which was my choice, and had to wake the bloke who was sitting in the aisle seat as he was snoring like a wounded buffalo.
I eventually woke this big fella up
I think this blokes wife, needs a hair do!!
and asked him if he would let me out which he begrudgingly did.
I had just studied the world outside my window and starred down at this open vastness of outback Australia, I looked hard and saw a vehicle on a track out in the middle of nowhere and I wondered if this area was the “Great Sandy Desert”
When I went to the toilet, two Qantas Ladies were in the galley and I asked if they could tell me if this was the Great Sandy Desert, so she picked up the phone and asked the Pilot who indeed confirmed it was.
We touched down at about 11.30am Broome time, which would have been about 1.30 Canberra time, so I had already flown for nearly six hours, which I think is amazing as it is further than London to Moscow. (Broome is at about the eleven O’Clock position on a clock face)
I got off the plane and there is just a wall of heat, I took a deep breath and thought it was good to be back in Broome, The Last time was Blog day 197, 26th May 2009, the blog title was “The
A Crocodile Cage
Samson, was out, having dinner, I guess.
Truck is bleeding.
The belt of the luggage Carousel started up and everyone crowded round as they do, collecting their luggage, except me.
The Luggage belt had now stopped and I had no luggage, “AGAIN” courtesy of Qantas, I went and found the Qantas Service desk and told them that my luggage had not followed me on the flight.
Did you interconnect with the Melbourne flight sir, Yes i did, I explained, Oh that’s why, it was a short interconnection and you bag didn’t make it, How Come!, I made it i said, so why did my bag not manage it. They didn’t have enough time to load it, great!, when will I see it again, Well its now in Perth. What do you mean Perth, I haven’t even been to Perth today, when will it be here, 6.45pm tonight we will deliver it to you in Broome, we assume you are staying in Broome sir?, Nope, I am staying in Derby 220 K’s way, can you put it in a Taxi please, sorry Qantas won’t do that, we will put in on the Greyhound bus and you will get in at 8.45pm tomorrow,
The Thousands of Dollars our company spends on flights and this is the service we get.!!
I needed to get some stuff, underwear, Business Shirt, Tee Shirt, Thongs deodorant, tooth paste, Tooth Brush, razor, shaving foam, as I had business on site tomorrow and didn’t want to smell like a baboon.
Broome is very Rock and Roll, we both have some great memories of being in Broome and some of Caroline’s very best photos have been taken here.
There is a feeling about Broome, it’s very casual, very transient, very “faux hippie” in a way but absolutely lovely, it is always very busy in the winter, yes it is Winter (The Dry Season) in Broome and its 30 degree’s that is why is busy as it’s a dry heat in winter, in the wet season, (Summer) the thermometer heads towards 50 degree’s and boy that is cooking.
I go and collect my Hertz hire Car, the two ladies are chatty and once all the paper work is done, they tell me the car is in the 2 hour parking bay, so not armed with any luggage, I troop off
The Stilted Jetty
They have Road Trains, Loading on the Wharf that have to cross the jetty, they load 118 Tonnes, but they do spread the load over 84 wheels
to the parking bay to find the car, which I do.
I drive a kilometres to the town centre and go hunting for my necessities, and once all gathered together grab and sandwich and a drink and get myself ready for my drive to Curtin Air force base some 220 K’s away.
I take the Northern highway, heading for Derby and Curtin, Curtin is no more than an Australian Air force Base that is only used for emergency flights and the odd military requirement, apparently it was an emergency landing strip for the Space shuttle, should it be needed, but I don’t know how true that is, but that is what I was told.
I arrived at the base and had a meeting with a couple of people at Curtin, then went in to Derby to locate my hotel, the drive between both places is about 35 K’s, but at night it is a very hazardous journey as cattle wander on to the roads and there are a lot of Road traffic accidents, two of my colleagues have hit cattle that have been in the road, one killing the cow and righting off a
The Prison Boab Tree
Caroline and I have been her before, I do miss my senior navigator.
company vehicle and the other sustaining $15,000 dollars worth of damage to his truck, and the cow survived to tell the tale.
The Hertz car that has been hired is only insured in Derby when it is cark for this very reason.
Derby has a population of 4000 people and is the gateway to the Kimberley region, it has a large indigenous population and most things can be found.
My luggage was due in ay 8.45 on Thursday evening, which I would be glad of, and they said that it would turn up at the “visitors centre” by bus, I had a Qantas slip with the reference on it, so was confident that it would all go swimmingly.
I drove out to the visitors centre, at pulled in to the “Lay by” at 8.30 I expected to see the bus already there, but no, the only activity was from 15 or so Aboriginals who were clearly on the beer and every now and again, I saw them go to the visitors centre and urinate up the side of it.
I waited until 9.00pm and nothing had happened, with my luggage
I just took at picture of the sky
that is, the Aboriginal urination team had put up a good tag team and we drinking heavily to keep up the momentum, if this had been in the Olympics, they would get a gold to “taking the piss” in relay.
The road was now quite so I decided to turn around and drive a little way back to see if I could see the bus, we were in WA-Western Australia, apparently that stands for (Wait awhile) Not NT-Northern Territories, standing for (Not Today, Not Tomorrow, Not Tuesdays Not Thursday’s, so I thought I could hurry the situation up a bit, how wrong I was.
As I drove 1 Kilometre towards Broome, I say a Red, Grey hound bus go past towing a little box trailer and said to myself, that’s the bus with my luggage on it, I turned around and followed the bus, for a Kilometre then it did a U turn and parked outside the Post office, it was 9.15pm, I pulled up behind the bus, sprang out and asked the guy if he had any Qantas luggage on board, “may be, he said, you need to go and wait up by the visitors
centre” Thanks mate, will do, I said, and under my breath I cursed this blokes luck.
I again pulled up at the visitors centre, and the aboriginal drinking team were on last orders, I sat in the car for another half an hour waiting for the dam bus to arrive.
The bus pulled up behind me, I sprang out only to find the Aboriginal people had formed an orderly cue and were taking tickets off the bus driver, and they were loading the bags and eski’s in to the hold of the bus, all off to Fitzroy’s Crossing.
I could see my bag, slowly disappearing under the mass of bags and boxes, and said to the driver, mate!, I said with urgency in my voice, that’s my bag, you know, the lost Qantas luggage, if you put any more stuff in the bus, you won’t be able to get my luggage out.
He responded by grabbing the bag, and yanking it out and throwing it on the ground, in such a pleasant manner, I really felt the love.
Still I suppose, he must have been in a happy mood as most of his clients were three parts shit faced and the journey to Fitzroy’s Crossing was not going to be a quite sedate drive, (I do hope he had some sick bags).
I put may precious cargo in the boot of the car, and went back to the Hotel, it was after 10.00 pm and I was tired.
Within a blink on an eye, it was Saturday, I did intend on going in to work but the need for it diminished so I decided to have an easy day.
I had eaten at the Wharf restaurant on Friday night and had been advised to come down here in the day time as the jetty is spectacular, and the Road Trains, load at the terminal and I was to pay special attention to the structure, furthermore I was to try to spot Samson, a big Crocodile that frequents the area and seemed to be a bit of a legend.
My first stop on Saturday morning was the Windmill coffee shop, as I needed a coffee and some breakfast and sat outside, watching the world go by for 2 ½ hours reading my book and watching, 4 wheel drive after 4 wheel drive pulling out of town , heading towards Fitzroy’s Crossing or the Gibb River Road.
The temperature was about 30, it was a hot and a beautiful day, I spoke to Caroline who had gone to Woodstock and she said the sun was out and it was quite cool and lovely to be on the farm, with everyone.
I drove down to the wharf and had a walk around, the tide was way out exposing the mudflats and in the tree’s you could see a Crocodile trap, but sadly no crocodile, Samson must be out at the moment.
I walked to the wharf, being mindful not to spend to much time in the blazing sun, and soon knew what my colleagues had been talking about hen they said the road trains, came to load here.
If you look at what appears to be a flimsy structure, the road trains load 118 Tonnes, and navigate themselves off the jetty, the length of them is 57 Mtrs, there was a AAT coach driving over the jetty at the time I was taking some pictures, I bet it was a back side clenching moment for these people, who were on this bus.
Once I had a good look around, I decided to go and have a look at the “Prison Boab Tree” just outside of town, Caroline and myself have seen this before, when we were up here on our adventures, and I felt disappointed that Caroline was not with me, I like Caroline and myself to experience these things together, still she doesn’t share this sentiment as the day after I get back she goes to Fiji with the girls.
To be continued!!
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