This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

2000 Travels July 28

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It was windy and hot again today.

Les was losing some business, as some campers were not prepared to wait around for suitable conditions for his fishing trips. They had allowed themselves two nights here and that was it! I thought they should be pleased that he was being cautious due to the conditions.

We had heard talk, virtually every day since we had been here, of travellers having problems – even damaging their vehicles – on the same rock in the creek ford where we’d gotten stuck! It seemed we may have gotten off lightly, compared to some. It was a strange kind of relief to know that we weren’t the only ones who’d been caught.

After lunch, Les decided to take John and R to Pago to see some art. Obviously men’s business only! Les also decided that I should drive into Kalumburu for him – for fuel for the generator and some “stores”. It seemed irrelevant that I was not all that keen on the idea!

I’d spent much of the morning sitting up at the “office” keeping an eye on four young guys who arrived yesterday and who were freely borrowing tools, welder and so on, from Les’ workshop, to work on their rigs. I just hoped they’d pay him something for this – felt they had some cheek to act like they were entitled to do this.

So, off I went to Kalumburu, in our Truck. I quite enjoyed the drive, after all.

I bought diesel and petrol for Les and the supplies he wanted. I’d made sure he gave me money for same, upfront. I had to drop off letters to his wife and daughter, at his house in town – his place turned out to be one of the better kept ones.

It took me three hours to do the round trip.

Meanwhile, the men had a fantastic time. They didn’t get to the art site because Les decided that he and R needed meat, and they took off after a cow. This was sparked off by sighting a small mob grazing in the scrub. So they chased a poor beast across country, in the Nissan – modern mustering!

07-28-2000 04 intrepid steed.jpg

Really off road!

Aboriginal R was in the seat behind John, holding onto a rope that kept John’s front door shut, whilst trying to shoot a rifle out the side window at the cow. The rifle kept being knocked by branches and saplings as Les sped through the scrub after the cow.

The door rope was instigated, apparently, after Les’ wife was catapulted out of the Nissan, when the door flew open,  one day!

It took nine shots to bring the beast down! Several of these did hit it – in the backside and the neck. John said his ears were ringing for hours afterwards!

After the race the cow had through the scrub, and the terror it must have felt, I reckon that was going to be one really tough lot of beef!

Butchering had to then be done, on the spot. Some leafy branches were gathered and the work was done on a bed of them. The men said that Les butchered it well, with no waste. They brought back the hide too, because D had previously said that one day she wanted one to process for tanning. I don’t think she’d envisaged that, here, though.

07-28-2000 03 meat

Skinned cow

So, it was after dark when the Nissan party got back. D and I were starting to get a bit concerned.

The meat was in the back seat, with the two R’s sitting on it. It was rather a gory scene. It was taken off and hung in a shed by the big one, that looked to be a camping shed as well.

07-28-2000 09 meat in vehicle with richard.jpg

R in the back with “meat”

The men were as high as kites on the excitement. Les and R came down for a while to relive the events of the afternoon – they were hyper, too!

They’d had two flat tyres during the adventure. The tyres on the Nissan were not the greatest, but he’d earlier boasted that he didn’t get flats! He’d asked J and R how you could tell which vehicle tracks belonged to tourists, then told them tourist tracks are the ones with treads: “blackfellas tyres got no tread”!

In the cross country chase, they’d also gotten a piece of tree wedged in the transmission under the Nissan – Les told them not to worry about the noise – he’d sort it out after they got the cow!

It was all obviously a memorable experience for our guys. They had gone first to the beach at Pago, where they got some more oysters. Black R had attempted to get bait using our casting net, that John had given him. He is more skilful with it than John, but only got one tiny baitfish. They’d also looked at the remains of the Mission at Pago.

07-28-2000 06 Mission Beach oyster gathering.jpg

Off to gather oysters at Mission Beach

07-28-2000 07 richard using our bait net.jpg

R using casting net to get baitfish

In the late afternoon, Les’ wife, daughter and son in law had arrived from town, so Les had more family out here now. They do not have a separate house out here, yet, but have quarters in part of the big shed. There did seem to be a bit of a rotating number of “family” coming and going, from day to day.

We had the oysters for tea, after a battle to open them with a chisel like tool, and hammer. It was easier with the proper knife the group at the fishing hut had, the other day. They are tough critters to get at. We also had some golden trevally, a gift from people camped next to us. It was not as nice as the tuskfish, but was alright.

07-28-2000 13 opening blacklip oysters.jpg

The hard way to open oysters!

After both our busy, but diverse, days, it was early to bed.

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