SATURDAY 16 SEPTEMBER EIGHTY MILE BEACH TO NORTH POINT CAMP 355kms
We were back travelling in good time.
More dreary country to Port Hedland.
Reached there in time to go to the shops at South Hedland and get some weekend papers.
Refuelled there – $1.54cpl.
Port Hedland was a town in two parts. The older town and the original port facilities were on the coast but recent times had seen the main residential section and associated shops built several kms away, at South Hedland. The two were separated by swampy ground and extensive salt harvesting flats. The highway went by the new part.
There was a message on the phone, when we came into range again. It said we would be paid for our days of travel, as well as for fuel and accommodation. Yippee – because we had certainly racked up lots of travel hours!
Took Highway 1 out of Hedland, then the Great Northern Highway to the south. The country was marginally more interesting.
Followed our directions to – at about the 100km range from the highway junction – watch for the second turn off to the right, to the Yandeyarra Community. It was rather more than 100kms, but as predicted, opposite that there was a small sign to North Point, by a track that went to the east.
We took that dirt/gravel track, which was in quite good condition. Drove through the dry river bed channels of the Turner River, then about 3kms further on, there was a cluster of buildings that had to be our destination?
Pulled into a large parking area and went looking for our contact, H. He proved to be of retiree age, like us. We got the impression he had not known we were coming, but he walked around the establishment with us. Showed us the dining area – tables set up on bare ground, under tarps, outside a catering caravan. There were two shower/toilet dongas, one with a washing machine in – a total of two toilets and two showers, only, and unisex. I didn’t know how many people would be using this camp and was starting to wish that our little caravan had its own bathroom facilities!
There were a couple of rows of dongas containing bedrooms – all looked very pre-used. Other donga type buildings were scattered about. There was a tent too – apparently some of the visiting aboriginals did not like being inside the rather confined donga rooms.
Rough “paths” of gravel linked the buildings. A big generator powered the place. Its noise was a constant background.
It was not a camp set up to fill one with great confidence!
H warned us that death adders abounded in the surrounding spinifex bush, so walking about out there required care. Lovely!
H decided that we could park the van right up at the end of a row of dongas, where there were also a couple of old caravans. We could plug our power lead into a power box on the end of the dongas. It was essential that we have power – already it was hot enough to need air con.
It was obvious from the tour that we would be fed – there were a couple of catering/housekeeping staff.
So, this was a “fly camp” – a temporary, initial camp. It had been set up for some weeks already – by Fortescue, not our company. It had been used by FMG people and those doing environmental and native heritage assessments and surveys. All the start up stuff. Now, our company people were allowed to be “guests”, too, while we worked to get the Rail Village 1 to a point where the company people could move there while finishing off the place.
We followed a track around the camp perimeter to our designated spot and parked the van at the end of the donga row.
Unpacked and set up. Plugged our power lead into the box along with several others. Because the lead had to cross a path to the van behind, John dug a trench, found a piece of plastic pipe and fed the lead through that, under the path. In the process, he disturbed a very pretty, well camouflaged little gecko type reptile.
John took some photos of our van and the camp from up on top of the roof rack.
Being right at the edge of the camp set up, we were not far from the scrub that surrounded the camp. It was a pity that our van windows had to look out, though, on close by old vans and dongas, rather than the bush!
Went to our first dinner at fly camp. It was served buffet style. There was a mixed green salad, potato salad, a mix of prawns and snap peas, hot rice, fish and chips, followed by a Boston bun style cake. Not bad at all.
Had no real idea who was who amongst the handful of fellow diners. Got the impression that there were not many company people here yet. One guy, K, did introduce himself – I thought he might be the site supervisor.