FRIDAY 6 FEBRUARY NELSON TO PORTLAND 75kms
Were up at 7am, in an attempt to depart at a more reasonable hour. We had to pack up everything this morning, not having had a chance to get a start on it yesterday. We did well and were away at 10am. Hitching up the van was brilliantly easy – I am getting much more relaxed about this now. John is becoming brilliant at moving Truck the small distances I need, to align the Treg fitting on Truck with the poly carbonate block on the van – and I mean SMALL distances, like millimetres!
It was a straightforward trip to Portland. We were only passed by one big truck; yesterday we saw lots of them on this road. Some were logging trucks, others we thought might be carrying woodchips to the port.
There did not seem to be a great deal of choice for caravan parks in Portland. I opted for the only one near the sea – the Henty Bay Caravan Park. This had a 3 star rating in our RACV Caravan Park Guide book. It is about 3 kms from the centre of the town, but has an outlook over Portland Bay. We looked at their bush camping sites, hoping for something as nice as Nelson, but found these a bit too secluded, especially as there was a rather seedy atmosphere to the place in general, and some run down permanent vans tucked away in some of the bushy sites. So we are totally out in the open, but still amongst permanent on site vans. The powered site cost $14 a night.
The park is just alright, but seems rather run down. There is no sandy beach frontage here – just a low rock sea wall and then the water. We can hear the sea, clearly, which will be lovely to go to sleep to. The amenities seem ok, but access is up a long central corridor – rather cavernous and gloomy.
After setting up, we drove into town. First stop was the Post Office, where we collected our next mail bag from home. When opened, back at camp, it contained my new Visa card, but most importantly, the cheque for John’s long service leave entitlement – nearly $39,000. Yippee! He was thrilled about the amount. Just a few days ago we were mentally juggling the money in our accounts, working out how we were going to pay the house rates and Truck registration. We can’t go wild with it, but at least we now have some savings as a buffer against the unforeseen.
We did some grocery shopping.
We drove to both the town’s bowls clubs so John could check out events coming up.
By late afternoon, rain was setting in and it was getting colder.
Bought fish and chips for dinner – had to drive into Portland to get them. We thought $12.10 was rather expensive – and in a seaside town!
There is a huge oil or gas drilling rig out in the bay. It took me a while to work out what it was, and that it must be able to be moved around, because they are not actually drilling for anything right in Portland Bay. At night, it is lit up like a Xmas tree. There are a couple of other ships in the bay, too – maybe waiting to load wheat or alumina from the Alcoa smelter.
That corridor in the amenities block is really spooky at night. I don’t like it. Do not feel secure.