THURSDAY 4 JANUARY HOME TO RV2
It was a very early start for us. After yet more possibly final goodbyes to old cat, M drove us to son’s place – at 4.30am.
Son drove us to Tullamarine Airport. Not too onerous for him as he worked nearby – just an earlier start than normal. At that time, it was still dark, of course, and there was not all that much traffic on the roads.
By the time we got our bags checked in, there was not much time to spare. We travelled on a 767 – seemed huge. The four hour flight to Perth was a bit rough over the Bight, as we flew over the low pressure system that had formed from the cyclone and storm. It was inundating Esperance now.
There was some hanging around at Perth Airport. The time between flights was too short to go away and do anything, but long enough to be boring. We encountered one of the workers – T – who lived in Melbourne and like us was on his way back to the Pilbara. Also M and H, coming back from their Xmas break. Then it was a two hour flight to Hedland – in a one-class jet.
As soon as we landed at Hedland, could see that it had been quite wet. But the day felt really balmy – and we kidded ourselves that maybe the worst of the hot weather was now over. Ha!
The bongo bus had been left at the airport, by the last lot that flew out before Xmas, with the keys hidden on top of the wheel. John drove the five of us – first to South Hedland, where we stocked up on cask water, beer and scotch. Then it was down the familiar road to RV1, where we called in to have a look at what it was like, finished. There were quite a few puddles about the place, after the cyclone rain.
We admired the new “landscaping” around the pool. Called in to the Spotless office to say “We’re back!” . Chatted with the two managers – almost old friends now. They said they had been a little concerned about the incoming cyclone, but that it had not been as bad as they feared – just some heavy rain.
John arranged to be able to transit overnight at RV1, on occasions when he was coming back late from Hedland, or having to have someone in there for the early morning plane. They basically said they would allocate him a permanent room there. All very pleasant – but the main manager did have a little complain that the swimming pool could still not be used, because it had not been inspected by the Shire. I was surprised that no one had managed to arrange this, back in December, after I’d left. Workers coming back into the Village would certainly be complaining at not being able to swim. I promised to expedite this.
Then it was on south. There was still some water over the Rail Access road, in a couple of places.
It was well into the afternoon by the time we reached RV2. The manager – who I’d not met before – allocated us two adjoining rooms, one of them an end room, in what he said would be a quiet part of Pod 2, the only one yet commissioned. He said that they had not yet received a fresh food shipment, so the evening meal would be a bit limited, for the few people who were in the camp. This camp was only occupied just before Xmas so they were really just starting to ramp up for operation, and it was all quite casual. In the event, tea was ample.
The rooms were quite comfortable. The air cons were working – most important. No TV’s in our rooms as yet, though. Our rooms would be cleaned by Spotless staff every few days, the sheets and towels changed too. All we had to do was go to work……
K had driven himself in from the NT and arrived a bit after us.
After unpacking, showers and tea, we sat and chatted for a while – in John’s room, then headed off to our respective beds for an early night. It had been a long day.
Today, we had travelled, in six hours of flight, what it had taken us a week to drive, back in December.