FRIDAY 18 AUGUST FITZROY CROSSING TO BROOME 405kms
The tow truck driver – B – was not joking about the early morning! He appeared at our site at 6.15am. We had gotten up early, with the alarm, so were dressed, but had not had breakfast.
Truck was very efficiently loaded onto the tilt tray truck, to the great curiosity and speculation of the campers around us. B had to transfer our hitch receiver onto his tow truck so he could hitch the van up. We were certainly the morning entertainment at the park.
And thus we left Fitzroy Crossing in style – with John and I squished into the tow truck.
It was fairly monotonous country between Fitzroy Crossing and Broome, with the only real point of interest being the Willare Bridge, where Highway 1 crosses the mighty Fitzroy River, not far from its mouth, where it enters King Sound.
B proved to be an interesting and articulate man – and a great driver – so the time passed quickly enough. He told us that this was a good job for him because it was all on sealed roads. It was even relatively short, compared to some! He said that he does regular retrievals from along the Gibb River Road, the Kalumburu one and even the Mitchell Plateau track.
We reached Broome at midday. There is something about this town that seems to doom us! Last visit here, in ’93, we arrived in teeming unseasonal rain, in May, that had virtually shut down the whole region. It was far too wet to put up our tent and we took refuge in the only available on site van in the first caravan park we found. It was available because its roof leaked in several places – they did supply us with some buckets too! Even so, it was not cheap. John got his first ever speeding ticket there. We did virtually no sightseeing, were distinctly unimpressed with the place, and after three days of rain, moved on to Derby to wait there for the unsealed roads to open.
This time, we did not even get here under our own steam!
B drove us to Roebuck Bay Caravan Park, where a site had been arranged for us. He offloaded the van there and then drove Truck and us to Shinju Motors, the Landrover dealer. Truck was offloaded there. However, after discussion with the manager, it was decided that we would keep Truck at the caravan park, over the weekend, The fenced yard that Truck would be in had been broken into and some vehicles robbed the weekend before. As we had a lot of good gear in Truck, decided to play safe, look after it ourselves, and take some things out of it before it comes back here.
So the obliging B hoisted Truck back up on his truck and took us back to the caravan park. He put Truck off again, outside the gate, which his rules apparently called for, so we crawled Truck in, to our site, and set up.
We booked a week and paid $138 for it. We were really surprised at the lovely site we had been given, facing the sea, with only one row of vans between us and Roebuck Bay, and plenty of glimpses of the sea between the facing vans.
The bay was a beautiful aqua blue colour. There were some boats out on it, and mudflats exposed by the low tide. It was really lovely. I liked Broome better already!
Other campers seemed very nice, too. One stopped his car by the gate, as we were getting Truck off the tow truck, to see if we wanted him to tow us inside. Very good of him.
Apparently, such a great site was available because the couple who usually stay on it for several months each winter, had to depart a few weeks earlier than planned. They only left this morning! At least, we were lucky with that.
We felt quite relaxed, as we set the van up. At least we got here, and this would be a much better place than Fitzroy Crossing to while away time waiting for repairs.
After a late lunch, John suggested we go for a walk.
We walked to a small complex of shops, a couple of blocks away. I was able to buy a paper, but the shops were mostly shut. John said we should walk on and find other shops. We did not have a map of Broome at this stage! John was only wearing rubber thongs and by the time we reached the start of the commercial end of town, his feet were sore.
I bought some fish – snapper – for $25 a kilo, for tea, at a fish shop. It would have been cheaper at Coles, but this was not an occasion to walk further, to shop around!
It was nearly dark by the time we walked back to the van. I enjoyed the exercise, even if John didn’t!
Tea was fries and the fish. It was yummy.
We watched the moon rise. The best of the “staircase” effect has passed, but we got an idea of what it would be like. The “staircase to the moon” happens monthly, through the dry season (no clouds), when the full moon reflects on the mud flats at really low tides.
I saw a little owl sitting on a nearby post.
Unfortunately, the TV signal is not great, here.
It had been a tiring couple of days. We are not used to pressure any more.