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Elephant Cove, Denmark, Western Australia.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Not Yet But Soon...

Well my solo camping adventures didn't last long and the ones with husband are very few and very far between...but that is how it is...for now.   I was cross with myself that I let the licence on Wanda lapse and regretted it too late to get it back without a pit crossing and I knew she wouldn't pass that.  I now use the van to store stuff for the Really Really Free Markets so she is not a total waste of space.   One day I would like to get her under cover and use it as a camping/cubby house spot for the grandkids. 

The camping didn't happen, the adventures didn't happen, so I have taken on a new role and will stick with it for 12 months all the while looking for my next van, the one that I WILL USE to go off exploring by myself.  Or keep licenced so I can I and when I want which is what I should have done with Wanda...As least she was there if I ever wanted to so there was still hope that I would...Now that's gone...HoHum, I am a sad little wannabe wanderer.  But only for a bit, my next life plan is to succeed at being a volunteer manager at our local Vinnies and though the volunteer bit is not going to help me get the money for a new van the stories I hear from women that come in that are out there doing it are reinforcing that it is what I want to do.   Not full time.  Not every day.  Not even very far but I will squirrel away the very little money I get and then when I find the right van I will hit the husband up for the money to buy it.   

I know what I want.  It will be a small van similar to Wanda but newer so I feel safer that it want conk out on me...though I do quite often see new cars conked out on the side of the road so know that is no guarantee.   I sometimes think I will have seats in it so I just have the one car that I can sleep in and use for everyday driving but haven't quite made up my mind yet.   Every time I see a van drive pass I think whether that is like the one I want but still haven't decided.  I will  go back to the beginning, read this blog from the start, but think I want the same things as what we had with Wander but a newer version.  And maybe keep a seat in so I could still take passengers and only have the one car...Undecided on that but have plenty of time to get it right.

In the mean time I have joined Facebook group, a group with women doing it, wanting to do it, women that sound like they are strong and resourceful so I'm sure after a bit with that I will start seriously looking for my van and will find what I need when I need to, when the time is right for me to do it too.

So things will be quiet here again but one day in the not too distant future there will be things to read, I will have stories to tell and photos to show.   It wont happen this week but IT WILL happen.

Friday, April 4, 2014

How We Camp.

Our camp set-up down at Hamlin Bay was simply having the bed in the back of the ute and setting up cooking facilities outside.  We didn't take the tent or too much gear.


We take 1 big table and it never seems to take long before it is covered in stuff.  I need to work out a system where it is easy to keep things put away and clean.  We use a two burner gas stove and the crate we transport the gas bottle in doubles as a step for me so I can reach the fridge which is kept in the back, at the end of the bed.  We have a metal toolbox where we keep the plates, pots, cutlery, tea, coffee, some food.  We have a small camping stove that takes butane? cylinders that is kept in the car with a smoko box for when we are away from the camp area.


 Notice the blue ladder he made for me.  There are some days that I cannot climb up and into the back of this and the ladder makes getting in and out so easy.  And safer!  Well as easy and safe as climbing this while at the same time lifting and squirming under the canvas can be.

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 He has put in 2 water tanks under the tray, each holding 80 litres, 1 each side.  In theory 1 is supposed to be only rain water but I can never remember which one so it doesn't really matter anymore.  If we ever travel where clean water is a problem I will need to mark which is which.

After husband put the frame and canvas back on at home we put the bedframe that he made ages ago in.  We took the mattress and quilt instead of the swag as I like being rugged up and he likes being unrugged
We have a mozzie net that fits over the bed
There is room under the bed for all the boxes, chairs, fishing gear...And if you look close you can see the portapotti down the back.  It comes in handy when there are no public toilets around and for the middle of the night when it is dark and scarey outside and I'm busting.  I have made a curtain that goes on the frame connected to the main frame and pulls around for a bit of visual privacy.
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My concern with this set-up is what do we do if it rains.  So far we have been lucky but we came close this trip to getting wet.  I think a big tarp over the car and table area would work but husband isn't so sure that is the best way to go.  Does anyone here camp from the back of their ute?  What do you do to keep dry?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Nannup Markets. Before Going Home...

We woke up early Saturday morning to the sound of flapping canvas and trees blowing in the wind.  Oh dear, we might get wet now.   We quickly get up and decide to leave earlier than planned.  Husband starts packing stuff away while I make us both a coffee.   This is one of the downfalls of back of the ute camping.   What do you do when it rains, when it's too windy to be outside, when everything is wet and you are too?  This wasn't the case on Saturday but it could be in the future so it is something that we will need to think about and plan for.  Maybe a big tarp that covers the car and comes out far enough to cover the table and sitting area too...Any ideas?

After getting everything packed away it still hadn't started raining so we were thinking of calling in and staying a night at Alexandra Bridge...We called in to have a look around but it was quite full and we were sure that it was going to rain so we decided to give it a miss, maybe come another day.  Really though I think I like Hamlin Bay better...So, we decided to pick up the trailer from daughters place and go on home.   While there she says that the markets are on, were we going?  We hadn't planned to but as we had to drive through the town anyway...and I wanted to stop and call into the bakery and let them know about the rolls...Yes, we would go to the markets.

It still wasn't raining but as we were crossing the road over to where the market stalls were we felt some light rain.  Not much, enough for me to cover the camera and the daughter to cover the baby.

The first stall I stopped at was a guy selling honey.  I stopped and chatted with him, I am interested in how honey sellers market their honey now that I will be doing the same.  Daughter has bought tea from this guy, their lemon myrtle is lovely but he says that they are not going to be doing the teas any more. 

Another stall that had honey for sale.   Different honey, different price...I wonder why someone would buy this honey over the other one.  Or the other one over this...This woman was selling small bags of seed and I bought a few.  Hope I actually get around to planting them.
 This stall was pretty cool.  Full of quirky things, the type of stuff that I like.
 See that blue owl in there.  It is now mine.  Three dollars for that, it is so cute.    Made from a bouy/float and some old tin.  Very clever.  I liked a few things on this stall.  The woman that was here is retired and very interesting to talk with.

By this time though it was raining and I still needed to get over to the bakery.  The others were ready to leave so I did too.

At the bakery I spoke to the owner and told him that I thought his rolls were not fresh, that they felt stale.  He said he had not had anyone else complain, wasn't sure how they could be as he baked fresh every morning...He didn't offer me a refund or even more rolls.  In the end I asked him if he was willing to give me some more so that I could see that it was a once off and he wouldn't get bad things said about his bread.  He didn't want to but did in the end give me 2 rolls.  They were better than Thursdays but really not that soft or tasty and I wont be buying any more from him.  I may try out his loaves of bread but not sure.  

Have you ever been to the Nannup markets?  Do you go to local markets and support the stall holders?  I never used to, I'm tight with money but lately have decided that this is something that I will do.  I will support sellers at local markets.  Of course not all stalls can be supported but I'm sure that buying from 1 or 2 each time I go will not send me broke.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Hamlin Bay Stingrays

The main reason that I wanted to go down to Hamlin Bay was because I have read a few blogs about people going there and having the rays swim around their feet.  I thought that would be pretty cool but wasn't completely sure if it actually happened.  I mean, stingrays?  Being friendly...It was too cool to not go and see for myself.   Husband and I had called into here a couple of years back but it was a wet and windy day then and we couldn't see anything in the water so we went home and I promptly forgot about it.  But lately I have again read different blogs where the rays were mentioned and once my plan A birthday trip was not going to happen I started thinking of another one that we could do. Plan B, Hamlin Bay to see the stingrays.  And this time, see them we did.





The rays down here are stingrays and eagle rays.  The rays have been coming to Hamlin Bay for a long time, they come right up into the shallows.  They are protected in this area now but that hasn't always been the case and there are stories of them being caught and killed by fishermen.  Now there are signs saying to release them carefully if they get on your line.  Husband fished a few times while we were there and they didn't go near his line but did come up and over his feet as he was fishing.  

video
The rays come to this area to feed on the fish scraps that fishermen throw in the water. While we were there bucketful's were thrown in and this must happen most days. I'm actually surprised that here aren't more rays here.  Glad that there aren't any sharks...Hundreds of people come here to see these rays and as long as we respect them and don't harm them I think it is pretty darn cool.








There were different sized ones and the biggest that I saw was over a metre across.  That one too would come up and allow you to touch it.  You can feed them fish, they seem to like that.  
video

 
What do you think they would feel like?  Rough like a shark?  Scaley like  fish?  They are actually slimey.  A slippery feel and not what I was expecting.
 
This is one of the coolest things I have done in a long time and something that I would really like to do again.  Have you been down to Hamlin Bay and touched the stingrays?  Done anything as cool as this?  Tell me...

Friday, Day 2


Friday morning we were up bright and early, I walk along the beach, he goes fishing again, catches a few small sand whiting...



I said they were small.  This small and they go back into the water.

After breakfast we decide to go for a drive into Augusta.   Hamlin Bay is not far from there, less than 20km and there were a few things that we wanted to get from the shops.  Coffee was one of them.  I had taken the coffee out of the tuckerbox before we left home as it was stale and not nice, I tried it, but I had forgotten to put some fresh stuff back in.  Some floats for fishing and a few other things were needed too. 

 We had a picnic lunch on the grass down by the river.  OK, I agree, having the fridge in the back of the ute has some benefits.


The pelicans are a lot bigger than the seagulls and much more impressive but I like the seagulls.

When we were kids it was always great fun to feed the seagulls and have hundreds of them come around you squawking for food.  Most places frown upon you feeding them nowadays but there are still always plenty wherever there is coastal water.

On the way back the camp we called into the entrance way to Jewel Cave to have a look.  Not to go down into the cave but just to check it out in case we want to do it next time we are down that way.  At $22 each I'm thinking we might.  We have been down in the caves before, many years ago, and they are pretty impressive.  There are 3 or 4 caves in this area and probably all worth a look but it all adds up and moreso when there is more than one person.

Back at camp I have a mug of nice coffee before I talk husband into coming with me to explore the rocks.  I had gone up for a look the night before but the tide was coming in and I couldn't get around the end.

There was a hole that you can go through, it was full of some sort of fly.  As I went through all the flies flew out, straight into husbands face.  He had to back out then go through when the flies had left.


This rock looked like a giant head of some kind.  The rocks are limestone and some areas are fenced off due to the cliffs falling down.  It is tempting to climb them but not safe to do so.





This little cave had water in it when I came last night.



I really like places that have great majestic rock formations, it makes me wonder what other places have when little places here are so cool.  Who needs pubs and nightclubs when the outdoors is so great.





Thursday. We Went.



So husband spent his day of rest packing up the car to take me away...He's going to take me awayyy haha...Our first stop was Nannup as I wanted a bread roll from the bakery there.  It has new owners and is open more often than before and we hadn't been there since but sadly the rolls were not very nice. Or fresh.  I bought a 6 pack of multigrain rolls thinking to have one with salad when we got to the daughters house and they were not eatable.  Not to me anyway but I like my rolls fresh and soft with nothing on or in them.  Just roll.  The others put salad in theirs but agreed that they were not fresh.  So lunch at daughters and we left the trailer there planning to pick it up on the way home.  Then onward to...Where were we going to go?  We both had 2 spots in our head, Alexandra Bridge and Hamlin Bay camping area.  A quick talk and we decided to go to Hamlin Bay first.  We get there and drive down to the beach, get out and have a look around...we have been here just for a look a couple of years ago and I'm glad we finally went again.  It's a lovely beach with plenty of parking for cars and boat trailers.  We drove back to the camping area and booked in, asked for a powered site close to the beach and were given one with water views and plenty of shade.   There weren't many campers in this area, one other couple that had a camper trailer set up.  They were the closest to the water but it was only a dozen or so steps closer than us. 
We get out and set up camp,






 This is the view from husband's chair.
We have a coffee then go down to the water. 
We saw a few of the things that we came to see...



Husband goes fishing and I roll me trousers up and brave the cold water.
I have never been so close to rays like these. Any sort of ray really.  Have once or twice seen a shadow in the water somewhere and husband sees them quite often because he is a fisher person but I think even he was impressed with the friendliness of these. 

There were birds around the camping area, friendly magpies and a few Wattlers.   These ones came right up to where we were, onto our chair and the table as well, looking for crumbs.   Some people might not like this, they might think it was unhygienic but we don't mind at all, we like it.










Getting Ready To Go.

So did the adventure happen?  You may think not seeing as I was so excited last week but then nothing has been reported since.   But it did happen and here is a bit about how it came about.

It was a warm Summer day cool dark night when the husband came home from work after more than a week away...which came after a week of shifting bees so lots of late night driving...He had a week off but I was surprised when he spent all his first day at home getting the 'Cruiser ready so he could take me away somewhere.  And there was a lot of getting ready to do, stuff that I couldn't help with though I'm sure I offered...

Our canvas canopy that we were using on the ute had worn spots and broken zips and was taken off and never put back on.  We were kindly given another one, it also needed some repairs but was in much better condition and as an added bonus it had mesh sides as well has the canvas dropdowns.    And the bloke that gave it to us mentioned that there was someone in town that did canvas repairs.  He would get us the number.   Move on a few months and we still didn't have the number.  We still had this canopy that couldn't be used and a whinging woman that was whinging...A few more months and the answer of not being able to go anywhere because we didn't have a workable canopy...I, yes I, finally rang the daughter to ring the bloke to get the number of the canvas fixer.  Within a day I had the number ready for husband to ring and arrange.  So he did.  Took the cruiser and canopy up so the guy could have a look at it, worked out what needed doing and then came home and did it.  This canopy didn't fit as snuggly as it should, the frame had been extended at one time, probably so the first canopy would fit better.  Anyway, it needed to be shortened so husband came home and cut it down then welded it up again.  Back up to see the repairman.  Yep, better but he was flat-out that week and couldn't fit this repair in.  Husband came home and packed up ready for a week away with work.  It was another 3 weeks before husband was home long enough to take the canopy back up.  You may all be wondering why I the whinging wife didn't take the canopy up to be repaired and fair enough...I couldn't as it needed to be on the cruiser so the bloke could get a proper look at what needed doing and husband had the cruiser away at work.  And most days I cannot safely drive his car anyway and it is a bit** to start and I usually can't do that either!  I'm pretty useless where his car is concerned.

But eventually he is home, the canopy is taken up and left to be repaired.  Two weeks later and it is last Wed morning, the day after husband gets back from a too busy 3 weeks of work he goes up and picks it up then comes home and put's it on.  The repair man had said that the holes needed canvas rounds glued on so husband spend Wed morning doing that and putting a few clips on the ute so the tiedowns worked better.  Finally it was on.  Looked good.   Now the bed had to be put in, I helped with that!! I'm not totally useless,  and we could load it up.  BUT!!, yep more drama, We had a shed full of stuff that had to go down to Nannup to daughters house, a friend of hers had some boxes that needed to go down there too and there was a cupboard or two somewhere else.  We needed a trailer so had to call the son to bring his out.  We had to wait until Thursday morning for stuff to be brought here so we could finish loading up but by 10am we were ready and away.  Yep away.  On an Adventure.