5th to 8th month

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Kalbarri and a rest stop 25 - 28 May

Arriving in Kalbarri
There were no free or cheap camping in this area so we had to bite the bullet and pay for a caravan park! $65 a night thank you very much.
Lush green lawns
However, Kalbarri is an oasis. Driving through the dry coast line from the last town and coming over the hill into Kalbarri it is a real picture. A bay with the bluest water and dotted with palms on it's edges. The sight itself was worth the $65. Maybe not, but you get the idea; it was really, really beautiful. Besides, our friends the Marshes were also camped there.
Waiting in vain for pelican feeding
At the registration desk the park owners took one look at our Beast and put us down the back. That's ok, we thrive on adversity!
Another sunset
For the 3 days we were in Kalbarri I think we wore a track between our van and the beach across the road!! The kids just love to go to the beach!! Snorkeling, catching stuff, collecting shells. As long as there is sand and water they will be there!
Mushroom Rock
Rasmus took them for a drive one day to see a few of the sights but that rarely gets hoots and cheers. Lots of, “when are we going to the beach?” or “I wanna go for a swim.” comes from the back seat.
Sometimes Rasmus and I think we should have just spent our year traveling to Mornington and back again. The kids would have been just as happy. We better get some credit for this trip when they are older or I want my money back :o/

But back to the topic.....

Kalbarri beach is a bay with some rocky points further out which lead into the open sea. Rasmus, in his wisdom, decided to take the kids out to the rocky points as the snorkeling looked better out there. As you couldn't walk out to the points they had to swim it!!! I was a little concerned when he was telling me this, my children are not going to be the Ian Thorpes of this world. However, they all made it back so it must have gone alright.
Usually, in the evening, we are so knackered we crash and not a lot of night time activities are scheduled. On one night however, it was our new friend Leanne's 31st birthday [;-)] so after watching the sunset down at the beach's edge we bought fish and chips and wine and had dinner together. Happy Birthday Leanne.
B'day party
only legal Australian fireworks

I don't know if I mentioned this, but I was, for the most part, sitting in air conditioned comfort banging out 3000 words on the computer for my assignment. Which means most of the stuff I have written is hearsay but it comes from reliable sources so we'll still print it!

28th May
Rest Stop
We finally stopped late in the afternoon. It was a big paddock with lots of dry, scratchy grass lumps. Not particulary inspiring but it was fine for us and a few other vans for an overnighter.

I was still feeling restless knowing that my assignment still hadn't been completed so I left Rasmus boiling the water for dinner and took my glass of wine outside for some fresh air. The kids were being so noisy after being cooped up in the car all day they were making my head spin- or it could have been the wine!
As it was only an overnight stop we never get the chairs out so I had to sit in the car for my peace and quiet.
Surprise Surprise I actually got the laptop out and wrote another 100 words. That made me feel better-or maybe it was still the wine!

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Coronation Beach 22 - 24 May

Driving down to Coronation Beac
Molly like beach life
Setup close to the water
Arriving late in the morning we waited an hour or so till some one left so that we could pinch their spot. As there are only 15 camping places and not many of them were suitable for the Beast, which was our home...It was worth the wait.
Sitting right next to a beautiful beach under an endless blue sky is a rather nice way to spend one's day I think. After a quick set up we went down to the water and spent some time frolicking in the suds.
On awakening on the the second day it was so windy we couldn't keep the fridge gas alight and the awning was about to take off on its own. The neighbours were also having trouble so they had decided to pack up and leave. No use staying and spoiling a fridge full of food. After several attempts to keep the flame lit we thought that perhaps we should move on too. The beach isn't much fun when it is whipping your legs with sand. So, we half packed up the van and thought about leaving.

We hadn't had breakfast yet so there was going to be no rush. Gotta pace yourself even in an unwelcome situation!
Playing monopoly card game
view over campground
We said goodbye to the next door people and went inside to eat. After we did a bit of tidying up and thought we had better get on with the rest of the pack down. On opening the door we found a calmness had replaced the restlessness of the morning. Pack down ceased and set up began again.
We felt a bit sorry for the people who had jumped the post and moved on too quickly. If only they had been as lazy as us they could have enjoyed the area for a few more days.

Sunset fro platform

wave of sea weed
Later on we met up with other 2 families we had been bumping into along our journey up the coast. The kids now had friends to play with, sunny weather and a beautiful beach to play in. What more can a kid ask for? Don't worry they thought of other things...more computer/DSI time, TV, food. The list goes on and on with kids doesn't it!
But for now they were happy.
We also met a new family, the Marshes from Newcastle. Two boys and a girl in the same birth order as our own family's. Must be fate :o)
Internet connection was a bit slow at the camping ground which was not a lot of help as I was doing my assignment. Especially at night when the whole system seemed to shut down. Perhaps Telstra only worked 9-5 out here?

kids playing
Sunset viewing platform
They had built a tall, wooden structure at the rear of the grounds as a viewing platform for the amazing sunsets which occurred each night. Watching the sun go down into the water is a particularly special event-especially for us eastern dwellers. Each evening campers would meet up in the tower with a beer or wine in hand and say good bye to the day. It was a lovely communal area and lots of chatting and laughing took place.
As it was the highest place in the area it was also the best spot for telephone and internet connections. Consequently, many of us spent our time up there with our electronic bits and bobs searching for that sweet spot which would connect us to the rest of the world.
The beach took up the majority of our time here. Although snorkeling was not at its optimum with the waters being too murky, they had fun doing what you do on the beach. Swimming, sand stuff and lying around not doing much at all.

Orion in the night sky (and the new moon)

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Before and After Geraldton 20 - 21st May

20th May 
Dongara East rest Area
Paddy Melons
It was still only early in the afternoon and still plenty of driving time left but we had a lot to do in the next town and wanted the whole day to do it in so we found a lovely pull over spot and called it home for the night.
There was already a few vans there which was odd being just after lunch. We spoke to one guy who explained he was having car problems; that explains why he was here. Rather than asked the others I decided to make up stories about them instead. My brain needed some fantasy time after sitting in the car all morning.
The kids, on the other hand, spent their time collecting Paddy melons. We had seen the round objects in the fields for ages now, growing next to the sheep. The sheep however, did not seem interested at all in them so we were really curious about what they were.
Playing with paddy melons
They looked like watermelons on the outside but were much smaller so when the kids had a few we decided to open one up.
That job done we agreed they also smelt like watermelon. Putting on my home schooling hat, we hypothosised that they were perhaps unripe watermelons. It wasn't till we met some people later that we were told that they were actually called Paddy Melons and wouldn't grow bigger than what they were.

Fish and Chips by the sea shore
21st May
Driving into Geraldton we headed straight to the Visitors's Center. We needed some stuff and we needed to know where to get it!
As we looked around the place and asked questions of the sales assistant the kids, as is their usual habit, perused the gift shop. My darling Molly spotted the basket of shells and asked if she could buy one!
Guess what I said? No!

Buy shells!
Gaol craft shops

Is she out of her mind? We are hitting every beach from Melbourne to Upper Backofnowhere and back again and she wants to BUY a shell!
I did feel bad that they only cost 10c each, but it's the principle. Buying shells indeed!
Yellow Submarine
Needless to say there were tears, loud ones :o(
In an attempt to distract her we went next door to the local Old Gaol. Obviously it wasn't used as a jail any more but we were surprised that each cell had been reprised as craft shops! How entrepreneurial. It stopped her tears and luckily there was nothing else in the shops that caught her eye.
self learning Monopoly card game
Knitting Nancy
We then continued our tour of the town and arrived at the Geraldton Museum. It was quite fascinating here. They had sections on the local indigenous people, local flora & fauna, a huge fish tank, which the boys especially spent much of their time at taking photos and video of the wriggly aquatic vertebrate (warning: thesaurus being used). I found the section on maritime disasters most fascinating; must be the ghoul in me.
After looking at the beautiful photographic gallery they also had we found Molly in the kid's playroom playing dress-ups! Uncultured waif!
We ate hot chips down at the beach for lunch and then for the rest of the day we traversed the town doing our jobs.
Dress up anywhere!
It was getting late in the afternoon by the time we were filling up with fuel and driving at dusk you run the risk of encountering our skippy friends on the roads. As I was paying at the counter I asked the sales lady did she know of any free camp spots close by? She said no, and then I casual said that I wish we could just pull up over there. Pointing to a vacant lot behind. She answered that if we wanted we could park in front of her house. She lived in a cul de sac full of big empty blocks just across the road from where we were now. Wow! Very Cool!

So, I said yes please and that's where we spent the night.

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sandy Cape 15 - 19th May

320º  sea view at Cervantes
We had found a lovely camping ground via the internet and were on our way to seek it out. Before that though we did the usual top up (of fuel, food and water) in town.
With that done we went to the camp site.
Driving along the main road we spotted the turn off.
Hmm....road seems a little unmade for a well used campground but we continued.
Coming to a t-intersection we used the GPS to guide us as there was no sign post. Again...Hmmm...but still we continued.
The road was no longer a road but a sandy track.

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The Garmin didn't have any of the roads leading into Sandy Cape
found the roads on Google Maps Satellite view on the Android Phone

Now starting to get a little concerned.
We eventually come to a rather alarming sandy hill, rather like a dune. Now we stopped.
Descendan of a theropod
Rasmus got out to take a look at the top of the hill- it just better be the right direction before we attempt to take our 23ft appendage up a deeply sandy and hilly track.
The re-con mission suggested a big NO.
Oh god, what to do now. We have to try and turn around and go back to the t-intersection and go the other way. Bloody GPS.
We did it!!
Actually I did it while Rasmus directed (he thinks I can't direct! Rude man!!)
Ok, attempt #2.
So far, so good.
Oh $HlT!!! The road/track has become a 4WD training course!! With vegetation thickly lining the track and touching the car. There is absolutely no room to do anything except go forward. I closed my eyes for most of the trip waiting for the nightmare to end. Hoping that it brought us to a clearing.
Tick bite (mollys scalp)
After some kms of bush bashing guess what??? We came to an unsealed but beautifully smooth
Reading in the morning sun
road. It was the road we were supposed to come down!! Apparently we had missed the correct turn off and made our way cross country style! Well we do like an adventure...NOT.
Finally arriving we found our little corner of the campground and set up for our stay.
Now pass me the wine bottle!

Sunset with Tim and Bec
In the morning we had a good look around and while we looked we found a family we had met at previous campgrounds. They have a little girl so Molly was organised for play dates!!
Julie doing school work in the sunset
The campground is right next to a really lovely beach which we planed to utilise a lot during our stay. And when I say “we” I mean everybody but me coz guess what??? I had HOMEWORK.
Thus, our days were spent snorkeling, eating, playing and studying. Some of us doing only some of the things on the list.
Every day we filled the solar bags with water and set them out to heat up. When the days swimming was complete we hung the bags in a nearby tree and we all got lovely warm showers and nice clean clothes. It felt good to know the kids weren't relying on their sea water dips as their only source of cleanliness.
Rasmus had found a great part of the beach which was nice and calm and the water was clear enough for some snorkeling.
Great beach
snorkeling is good and most diverse
seaweed in Australia
On one afternoon Kasper returned telling me about a seal he had seen. “How cool” says I. Kasper went on to tell me that the seal thought he was her baby as he had his flippers on. I asked him was he very close to it and he replied simply “Oh, about from here to there.” Very helpful thought and went back to my work.
Another sunset
Later in the day somebody asked me if Kasper told me how he swam with a seal? What!! The seal actually came up to him and Rasmus and swam around and between them!! I'm thinking Kasper played that down a bit. What has to happen to impress that kid?
On our last day I decided to down pencils and check out the scene down at the beach. I even tried my hand at a bit of snorkeling too and they are right, it is the coolest! The under water neighborhood was so pretty; lots of different seaweeds and even the odd fish. It wasn't the Barrier Reef but it is always special to see our fishy friends in their natural habitats :o)

Our kids with The boys of Tim and Bec