.....Sunday 2nd January 2011
We woke up a bit sluggish, two nights on the booze and we can't handle it. Started our new fitness regime, ten lengths of the pool, Gary was a bit slow to start mainly because he has just drunk a pint of milk and felt sick....silly boy!! It was a nice sunny day and we sat round the pool for a while after our swim before heading back and chilling outside the van. We really should have a look what is outside this camp ground!! We had planned to go for a walk down to the beach but we are going to the pub tonight (yes more drinking...and the Canadians have the nerve to say we’re a bad influence on them!!) and Bob and Linda wanted to show us Cable Beach first before hitting the pub. So the rest of the day we did some chores laundry, posted a blog, swept the van, boring stuff and then went for another swim and another ten lengths.
This was meant to be Bob and Linda’s last night, they have been in Broome since the 17th December and have really enjoyed their stay so keep extending it by a couple of days. Broome apparently has this effect on people they get this far having travelled though the red parched outback only to find a beautiful oasis by the sea and then never want to leave. The other reason they have stayed so long is the main highway down to Port Hedland is flooded and the road had been closed for two weeks.
We walked down to the pub and got our first glimps of Cable Beach and even with a big storm brewing out to sea it was lovely. Bob and Linda had met another couple in Darwin, who also joined us for drinks and dinner. We were sitting round chatting when Gary recognised the Eckert family, the ones we met at the Ivanhoe Crossing, walk in the pub so stopped them to say hello. They all ended up joining us too, so the evening turned into a bit of a party. We ordered food which came up on huge plates and chatted some more. A trip to the toilet alerted us to the fact that a monsoon storm had crept in while we had been in the pub and the rain was flooding out the sky. Talking to a couple of locals they told us that the buildings in Broome don’t have gutters because they can’t cope in the rain, and I can see why. We deliberated for a while before finally deciding to brave the rain, as it was the rain eased off long enough for us to get back to the van, but it had rained so hard that the roads were above ankle deep in water.Monday 3rd January 2011
Bob and Linda stayed for one more day, as it had rained all night and was still pouring down at 7am in the morning. We are keeping up with our fitness regime and did fourteen lengths of the pool in the pouring rain. It was actually quite chilly when we got out. Back from our swim we showered and then sat around watching the rain. Gary took the bikes off the back of the van ready to use them once it gets dry again. With the bikes off we can make use of the back door, which opens up nicely to let air in but doesn’t let the rain in.
Bob came over and said they were going to get the bus into town to do some grocery shopping, so we tagged along as our cupboards are bare. It’s a very small town but the bus stops at all the resorts so it was good to have a look round and get our bearings. Sitting outside a cafe in the shopping mall the Eckert family walk past, so they stop and chat for a while. A quick shop in Woolworths and then back on the bus, leaving the family behind with a promise of catching up with them the next night in the pub as it was their youngest boy’s birthday (Mitch) and he wanted us to come along.
Once we got back from shopping we all headed for the pool, this is one of the nicest pools we have been in since we hit Australia and it’s hard to keep away from it. After about an hour sitting round chatting with Linda and dipping in the pool, we heard voices and looked up to see the Eckert family walk into the pool area....I think they are stalking us. We chatted about the campsite and how great the pool is, they are staying in cabins and wanted to move to this campsite to use the pool but they don’t have cabins here. They stayed round for an hour and then said their goodbyes to Bob and Linda.
We are having steak for dinner tonight, jump steak for Gary, normal steak for me and we are cooking in the camp kitchen as they have free BBQ’s over there. We joined Bob and Linda who had seafood to cook on the BBQ and we all sat down and ate together. No drinking tonight...well just a small glass of wine with dinner but no big send off for the other two...we are all boozed out.Tuesday 4th January 2011
On our own again, said sad goodbyes to Bob and Linda this morning, may catch up with them again in Perth, but we will keep in touch via Facebook. It’s a lovely sunny day, time to get the bikes out and explore this town. We rode down to the beach as we had heard the sand was hard enough to ride on but the tide was in and the sand was too soft on the bit we tried. So we rode back along the walkway and out on to the road towards Gantheaume Point were the lighthouse is and some dinosaur footprints. The road was hot, and dusty with red sand everywhere, we had brought plenty of drinks with us but hoped there was a kiosk at the Point where we could get a cold drink and refill our bottles.
Just before the Point the tarmac road disappears and a red sandy dirt track takes over....it is very hot out here, sweat is running off us. It was all worth it though, at the end was amazing rock formations in fantastic colours that all contrast with the turquoise sea.....my pictures don’t even slightly do it justice. There are meant to be Dinosaur footprints at the base of the rocks but the tide was in so we couldn’t see them, they did have a replica of them at the entrance. There were no shops at the Point only a lighthouse on a tripod and a lighthouse keeper’s house.... we did think about knocking on the door for a drink. We weren’t in too much trouble, we still had a litre of drink and we also found a water fountain, that I stuck my head under for about ten minutes, so that cooled us off for a bit.
We rode back down the red sandy track and down to the beach, we had decided that although the walk back along the beach would be tiring it was better than riding the long hot road way, at least on the beach we could stop for a dip when we got too hot...avoiding the stingers naturally. There were a number of cars on the beach so we tried riding our bikes, only to find that the sand was really compact and easy to ride on. It was so much fun cycling on the beach, neither of us has ever done it before, the sand was so hard our tyres hardly made any tracks. We stopped a few times for drink’s breaks and shallow paddles in the water. The sea from the beach is a jade colour and looks so inviting.....bloody jellyfish... we would have loved to just dive in and splash around in the waves. The beach is massive and we only saw two people on it as we rode along. We rode for 8km before we saw an exit we recognised and left the beach. We got back to the van and headed straight for the pool, nothing better to cool the blood than a long dip in a pool.
That night we met up with the Eckert family for Mitch’s 10th birthday. We had planned to meet in the Divers bar but they met us on the road and suggested a bar right on the seafront. It was sunset as we arrived and we watched lines of camels coming up from the beach having finished their sunset ride, very bizarre seeing camels being led through the streets. We had a few drinks, Jody bought me a Mojito cocktail, my favourite, and then we ordered dinner. There was a mix up with the food due mainly to the fact that the staff in the restaurant didn’t speak a word of English and their food came up first but then ours never arrived. After explaining it twice to the staff we finally got dinner two hours later, it was worth the wait every mouthful was delicious. Wednesday 5th January 2011
We are knackered from our swimming and riding, spent the whole day in the van watching cricket and doing nothing. It was hard work just walking to the toilet block, we had planned to sit round the pool all day but couldn’t muster the energy to walk that far....a proper veggie day.Thursday 6th January 2011
Back on the bikes and a trip into the town centre, the roads are hot but it isn’t too far to ride and we can seek out the Air con when we get there. The town was originally set up round pearl fishing and every corner of the town has either a pearl showroom or a reference to pearls or diving in their name. This is still the biggest producers of the world’s best pearls but now they are farmed and you can go on a tour with a whole explanation of how they inseminate oysters to make pearls....we didn’t go to the expense, simple because we spent a fortune on and before Christmas and need to pull the rains in for a month or so. We arrived in town and parked the bikes next to one of the malls. We then set off and had a good walk round, down through small alleys with boutique little shops, up past China Town, lots of Chinese and Japanese here in the early days of the pearl diving. It was a hot humid day and a cold drink followed by an ice-cream was called for and where better to head for but McDonald’s Aircon. Sitting and sipping our drink we heard a commotion at the counter we looked up and saw the Eckert family ordering lunch.....I really do think they are stalking us. We said hi and then they rushed off, it’s their last day tomorrow they fly back to Adelaide.
We walked back to the bikes and set off to find the Town Beach which was a bit of a ride away and up hill....not a very big hill but still an incline. The beach was very unimpressive and we didn’t stay to paddle. We rode back to the mall were we first got the bus as I wanted to get a few bits from Woolworths and have a look in Target. It was an easy ride back to the campsite and we headed straight for the pool again.Friday 7th January 2011
Another rest day after our big ride the day before, we had planned to spend the day round the pool but ended up messing about with the van all day. When Bob and Linda were here they couldn’t believe we lock ourselves in the van every night with no doors open, the van is hot but we don’t really trust bugs not to find their way in. We had a look at the back of the van to see if we could have it open overnight and protect it from six or eight legged invaders. We have been carrying two very expensive mosquito nets around with us for the last sixteen months without once needing to take them out the packet....what a waste of money they were. So with a length of elastic and one of our mozzie nets I fixed up a bug proof screen that clips on the back of the van still allowing the door to be shut from the inside should we get any heavy rain in the night. Tonight will be its maiden voyage.
I really wanted to get photos of the camel riders along the beach at sunset, but it has rained or looked like rain most nights. Today it rained most of the afternoon so hopefully I am in store for a lovely sunset tonight. We left the campsite about 5.30pm and walked down to the beach. The sun was low in the sky and it was already looking like the start of a great sunset. We had to walk over the rocks and along the naturist beach (no nudie rudies around) to catch up with the camels and get them in line with the sunset. It was so romantic watching the lines of camels silhouetted in the wet sand with the sun burning red as it sinks in the sea. The sunset was gorgeous and with the train of camels the pictures were fantastic. After the camels had finished we went back up to the walkway and watched the remainder of the sun set into the sea....wonderful!Saturday 8th January 2011
We had our first night with the back open and the new bug screen in place, it worked really well. We had a lovely cool night and no visitors. Not sure I would be comfortable doing this in some of the roadside stops we have done, but it was great for nice comfortable campsites like this one.
We packed the van up today and pulled in the awnings, we left the table and chairs set up outside and drove into town for the day. Saturday morning there is a market outside the courthouse, as this was the first one since Christmas it was a bit quiet but still lots of stuff to see. We left the market and went to the supermarket for a big shop, lots of food and lots of water.
Gary wanted a drive out to the port so we followed the map and found our way there. Although it is an industrial port there is a walkway down one side of the peer that anyone can use. There were a few fishermen casting off side and we stopped to have a chat with them. While Gary quizzed them on fishing and types of fish in this area I looked over the side and came face to face with a turtle who had just popped up for some air. There are a lot of turtles in this area as just a few miles down from Broome is a beach where the turtles spend the day shuffling up the sand to lay their eggs. We stopped and filled up with petrol on the way back to the campsite. In the last month coming through the outback we have spent $1180 on fuel. The most we paid at one remote roadhouse was $1.98 per Litre, normal price for fuel is about $1.15.Sunday 9th January 2011
We were rudely awoken at 5.30am to the sound of the wind rushing through the trees above us, it didn’t sound too bad at first until one big gust caught under the awning, ripping the tent pegs out the ground, sending one flying over to the other side of the road. We jumped out of bed and grabbed our shorts and dashed out into the wind and rain. Since I altered the flynets round the awning they just clip on and off now so getting the nets down wasn’t a problem. Once they were off we wound the awning back in and brought inside anything we didn’t want to get wet. Finally, shut the back door and went back into the van, watching the storm through the window. Like most storms here is didn’t last long and although it was still a bit overcast and wet in the morning everything looked fine when we set the awning and nets back up again.
We are moving on tomorrow, if the road down is open, it’s been closed for two days. It will be a long drive and we want to get an early start in the morning, so we are trying to get all our chores done today. I think every item of clothing we own is on the washing line and it doesn’t even feel like we have done anything this week to have worn so many clothes. Having done all our jobs we rewarded ourselves with a final dip in the pool. All that is left to do is cook and eat dinner and then pack the nets, chairs, table, stove and awnings away ready for the morning.