In an attempt to garner a few minutes of internet, we headed into Bamaga. The fridge was not charging, due to the battery charger having sustained damage, probably due to the corrugations, and Paul was hoping to pick up a replacement. Apparently we weren’t the only ones having trouble, as the local traders had sold out of the basic model, and only had the $300 ones left!! We decided we’d just work around it as best we could, not being able to justify (or afford) a charger for that amount. The kids were distracted by the camp dogs wandering around town, and were a bit distressed to see one or two that appeared to have mange. We explained to the kids that dogs aren’t seen as companions in the same way as we’re used to. It was an eye opener for them.
That evening we had some rain, and whilst so many people sheltered in their campers/tents, Kirstine was in the middle of cooking tea outside at the time. There is something so enjoyable about being in the rain in the tropics. It wasn’t a torrential downpour, and the rain itself was warm. Once the mind gets over the usual response to “get inside before you get cold and wet” like you have to down south, it made the experience actually enjoyable. Even better, when the breeze picked up again, it cooled the skin.
The kids took a while to get used to the wildlife that moved freely about camp at night, and eventually rejoiced in being able to spot cane toads and bandicoots, almost making a competition of who could “spot one first”! The northern bandicoots are a bit more elusive, but as the kids were sleeping with only the mesh zipped up on their tents, they could lie quietly and watch any that ventured in after dark.
On our last day we decided to go on a bit of an adventure and see some of the eastern Cape. The drive to Somerset Beach was fairly short, though we did have to tackle the Roma Track again (aww…poor Paul having to go off road AGAIN ..hehe). Whilst Somerset was pretty, we kept driving and heading towards Nanthau Beach. We got some brilliant photos there, but the track continuing on around Vallack Point was no longer visible, so perhaps nobody had driven it for a while. Wherever we see that nature has reclaimed a track, we leave it to Her and go back the way we came. Fly Point on the other hand, was amazing! Super windy, and surging seas made it a true elemental experience. We saw another sea turtle surfing the waves, and feel that these creatures have become a bit of a totem for our trip to the Cape.
Back at camp, we took the kids for a swim. Sally had told us that the bore water and salt water chemicals make it look green, but it is clean, and it was wonderfully refreshing! Paul spoke to a couple who used to foster the guide dog puppies, and always had trouble trying to spend time in National Parks. They were happy to hear that the we had had no issues at all, with Luna’s vest, ID and access rights.
As we waited for the pizzas we had ordered (didn’t trust contents of fridge freezer, so had to buy delicious pizzas again), we chatted with a couple from Victoria. They had also experienced a family loss to suicide, and loved that we are travelling and just talking to people about it. They also loved how independent and happy the kids are. After a couple of great discussions, it was fabulous to take our pizzas down to the beach, sit in the soft warm sand, and watch the sun set as we ate.
Not having phone/internet coverage made it difficult to touch base with local groups while we were in the area. This is something we hadn’t counted on. We left messages and emails for the local newspapers, in the hope that they would run a story after our visit. This has happened on a couple of occasions. Sometimes we get no response at all. The main thing is that our journey catches people’s attention and spreads the word about mental health and suicide prevention.
The morning of departure came and we didn’t want to leave! The Cape is a place that seems to have an extreme effect on visitors. You either love it, or you don’t. We fall into the former category. It was quite warm, muggy and still as we packed up, making it a rather miserable experience.
Paul is diligent about safety checks before we leave a location with the Cub. Lights, stands, rear flap, ratchet straps, wheel nuts and bearings – he’s seen what happens when people don’t check their equipment, and is adamant that any failure we experience will not be due to lack of care and preparation.
In this case, it is bloody lucky that he checked the trailer coupling on the Legend. The nut underneath the coupling was loose to the point where it could be easily removed. That means that towing over the corrugations would likely have resulted in the nut vibrating off altogether, the coupling coming apart, and significant damage to the Cub & the Legend.
The works team at Cape York Camping arrived on their 4WD buggy with a shifter so Paul could tighten the nut appropriately. The lovely staff member then took the kids on a trip around the campground in the buggy. Well, didn’t THAT just make him the best thing since sliced bread?!
We bid our wonderful host, Sally, farewell, and headed to Bamaga for a last refuel, bread and to pick up a shifter large enough to keep that coupling nut well and truly tight.
Time to head south – awwww!
Oh no, those corrugations again! ARGH!!