Thursday, 9 May 2013

#37-42 Broome - A.C. (the Canadians arrive - bit by bit!)

We whisk the new arrivals off to their resort and move in with them and enjoy four (4) nights in a bed, with our own bathroom (well except for sharing with them), a kitchen (with oven) and all under cover of wonderful quiet air conditioning. It's been six weeks since we have seen a real bed (the smaller-than-double bed in our van is not a real bed).  
Thank you Ken & Eileen.

Eileen and me at the Resort pool... yum yum.

The first night Joseph takes them to Roebuck Bay to watch those millions of birds fly over; Ken declaring them to be Plumed Whistling Ducks and using his black-duck counting skills reckons there are about 25,000.  They seem excited by their evening.  Next day he takes them on a tour to see the beaches and more birds.  Finally Joseph has somebody to be (or at least they seem to be) as excited as he is about the bird "lifers" they are seeing and I'm enjoying not having to go for walks in the hot steamy mangrove swamps. I do join them for a swim in the ocean.  

From left to right: Greg & Florrie Cook, Pip & Paul Frigon, Eileen & Ken Ross ... and me with the famous Cable Beach in the background (5th best beach in the world?  That's what they say.)

We go down around five o'clock to see the sunset and it's a great time to be at the beach because it's not hot anymore and the water is sooo warm and there are just enough waves to make us 60+-year-olds jump around and giggle like kiddies!  

We enjoy this so much that we do the same thing the next night - this time with Greg & Florrie who have arrived that day and then again the next night right after Pip & Paul arrive.  (They are staying at a B&B so we don't have to share the bathroom with them!).  

Turns out everybody enjoys it and there are no sharks and only two people are stung with "stingers" (the legs of octopus that float around but are still alive and sting you when they touch you!!)  Nobody mentions this until after we had left the water for fear of making me panic.  There is a slight chance I might not have panicked but we'll never know, because I choose to swim in a pool for the remainder of our stay in Broome.

Time to leave the resort/B&B so all eight of us pile into our van (we've unloaded everything to make room) and troop over to the "rent-a-van" place so they can pickup their very own "vans"!!  Who knew this would consume most of the day?? There's a video to watch, insurance to choose, papers to sign and two van "go-overs"; one to check for damages and one to explain how things work.  I'm so used to our van by now that I forget how overwhelming it all was at the beginning - and overwhelmed they all are. It's boiling hot in the yard but the Canadians have a lot of questions and the poor boy explaining how things work is sweating so much that he is dripping all over the counters etc. Finally there is no more that can be explained.

The Ross' ... and their "upgrade"!
Their vans are supposed to be similar to ours but one of the vans has mechanical problems and the replacement is a much larger van (boat as it is now referred to) and try as we might there is nothing that can be done about . So Ken offers to take it because a. he is more used to driving in Australia and b. has driven a truck as part of his counting-black-ducks job. We complain enough that they throw in some extra chairs and a table - I should think so! 

The Cook's

The Frigon's
The caravan of vans  driving through the streets of Broome is quite the site. Joseph drives with Greg to explain how the van works, to help him keep on the right side of the road and to explain how the roundabouts work (their are a lot of roundabouts in Australia).  The others do well and we arrive at the campground and only a few trees are damaged in as they position the van into the sites.

The caravan park is OK - it has a nice pool- and considering that it is very hot 36c (and reasonably humid) that's a blessing. The beach requires a bit of a walk (too hot) or piling into our van (too much work for jill to make room for them), so into the pool we flop and it's rather salty so we easily float around until it closes at 6.00 p.m.  Why they have to close at 6.00 p.m. (sunset) is beyond us because all three nights we are there, the nights are almost hotter than the day.  

The slight breeze from the day drops and the humidity and heat is almost unbearable, so we do the only thing we can, we retire to our respective air-conditioned vans.  We can do this because we have power, we will not be able to do this for the next two nights because there will be no power.  The forecast for our first stop (Birdsville Station) is for a high of 39c (just one degree short of the hottest temp recorded there for that day) but it should drop to a balmy 21c at night with the light winds of the day becoming even lighter at night.  Sadly what works best if you sleep inside a van is if the light winds of the day increase to gale-force at night.

Just before we leave we must shop.  The fiasco that is eight people shopping for five-night's food in an unfamiliar supermarket with unfamiliar products (and prices they can hardly believe), for simple meals with only tiny fridges to keep items cool  - is the likes of which Broome may never see again. It's five nights before we are in a real town again - and Kununurra is a quarantine zone (to prevent fruit fly) so you can't take in any fresh fruit or vegetables.  That makes the shopping expedition just that bit more … interesting.

So we leave the coast (and the beautiful beaches) and head inland on our way to Darwin. 

On the way we have some days without power and some with, and even some van-less days because the highlight of this four-week trip is when we visit the Bungle Bungles and we can't take our vans on those roads. That's when we get to really camp!

But now it's off to Kununurra with some stops along the way.

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