This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2007 Travels July 14

SATURDAY 14 JULY     MORNINGTON WILDERNESS CAMP

I was not imagining things yesterday – last night was definitely warmer! Maybe being that bit closer to the coast had made a difference?

I was up at 7.30am – just because I was wide awake! John slept a bit later.

Before breakfast, I went and put our washing into one of the machines in the ablution block – yes, they even had washing machines! Then went and hung it out after breakfast.

Crimson Finch back again…..

John drove back up the Glenroy road until he was clear of the property boundary, and found a little side track where he could park out of the way and start the generator, to charge up his torch and the camera batteries. Not being able to get a powered site at Fitzroy Crossing had meant these had not been charged for nearly a week. This took a while and he did not get back until about 2.30pm.

In the meantime, M arrived about midday. She had not noticed John on the way in. She set up her camp in the area we’d “kept” near us.

She reported that it was very hard to get a riverside site camp at the popular Bell Gorge. People were setting up a temporary camp at Silent Grove, 11kms away, where the Ranger Base was, then queuing up at 7am to be there when the Ranger put out tags for spots at Bell Gorge that would be vacated that day. If they managed to snare a tag, they moved there. M had not bothered with that, since she only planned to stay a couple of nights.

M had enjoyed Bell Gorge, finding the falls spectacular, but found the track in a bit rough. Given the crowds, she seemed in two minds as to whether it had been worth the effort. They were the first of the brilliant Kimberley waterfalls that she’d seen, so had made a good impression. I knew there would be others even more brilliant to come……

M and I did the Riparian Walk, while John was still gone. She pronounced this campground much more to her liking than those of her past couple of days.

Cluster Fig

The workshop here had put out a sign that they were out of gas for gas bottle refills! Given the campfire ban, that could become a bit dire for campers!

However, we could still buy a beer at the bar – for $5.50 a can!

The three of us walked up for the evening talk. Got there a little early, to have an expensive beer, and make sure we had seats. The talk was excellent, given by the head resident scientist at the place – all about Mornington and the work of the AWC here. Very impressive.

I was particularly taken with two aspects of their work: the research on establishing the causes of the decline in Gouldian Finch numbers, hence, how to work to bring back the numbers. And the concept that wild dingo populations were significant in controlling feral introduced pests such as pigs and cats. That tallied with our views after our time on Pungalina in 2005.


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2007 Travels July 13

FRIDAY 13 JULY     MORNINGTON WILDERNESS CAMP

Last night did not seem as cold. Maybe it was due to the beanie I wore all night?

We had a real sleep in. The area around us was quiet, and there was no early bird M waiting impatiently to get going on the day’s adventures!

Mornington camp

John changed the Truck wheel and put on one of the spares. We had – in line with previous trips away from the van – put the van’s spare wheel, which matched Truck wheels, up on the roof rack, so we had two spares.

I read, sewed, did some Sudoku. We both spent time photographing a little group of crimson finches that were flitting about in the undergrowth near our tent.

Crimson Finch

Later in the afternoon, we did the Riparian Walk. This was along Annie Creek, basically bird spotting. Mornington had so many different species of birds. AWC was leading efforts to save the Gouldian Finch in the wild, here at Mornington.

Along the creek – cicada moult shells

Near us, along the creek, were purple crowned fairy wrens. Not far from us, a Great Bower Bird was constructing a bower, and watching him kept us entertained for over an hour.

After tea, we walked the few hundred metres up to the Office/bar area for the advertised 7.30pm free talk, only to find that this had been rescheduled to tomorrow night. I was pleased about that, thinking that M might be here then, for that.

We did Sudokus until about 9.30, then sat for a while, in the dark, looking at the stars, and listening to the night noises of the occasional birds and critters.

Mornington had a no campfire policy. Also no generators. Both quite sensible, really, in environmental terms.


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2005 Travels April 12

TUESDAY 12 APRIL     PUNGALINA

The sky was very cloudy. It looked as though it might rain, but didn’t. There was quite a wind in the morning and through to mid-afternoon, which kept the humidity down. But that rose after about 4pm.

Despite the cloud, the solar system charged the van batteries up quite well – got to the green light on the controller, and into the 13’s in the batteries.

Having a proper toilet to use this morning was great. Trekking off into the long grass with the spade was not the greatest start to the day, yesterday!

We had grapefruit and cereal for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch. I was pleased to have some appetite and wondered if the heat of the day was affecting this  by the evening?

The three men went off for the day – driving to the west, across the Calvert, to near Surprise Creek. This was a tributary that entered the Calvert at the upstream end of the long Escarpment waterhole, and which had some interesting waterfalls near the junction. They were able to get the vehicle within about a km of the creek, but had to manhandle the couple of canoes they were taking to leave there for tourist use, the rest of the way. Hard work over that terrain.

Resize of 04-12-2005 surprise creek.JPG

In the morning, we went and worked in the vegie patch for three hours. John dug beds. I did the fine weeding and transplanted basil and eggplants to better places, and watered. Our watering tasks were to include watering the rather large house garden area, moving sprinklers around that, making sure the lemon, lime and pumpkins were watered.

We had a little driving outing too. Drove north to the Fig Tree Camp, where we briefly camped in 2003. We had to go cut some stakes for a teepee structure for the climbing beans that O wanted planting. We cut these from along the track, then continued on to have a look at Fig Tree.

We bird spotted along the way. There were lots of crimson finches out at Fig Tree.

Resize of 04-12-2005 07 Crimson Finch 2.JPG

Crimson Finch

The Calvert River there was decidedly higher than it had been in 2003 – as one would expect at this time of the year.

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Calvert River at Fig Tree Camp and a cloudy, humid day

After lunch John went back up to the house, to use tools there to make a wooden frame for a piece of mirror he found in the container. This would become a little mirror in one of the showers.

I washed our clothes from yesterday. Went to clean the toilet and showers, but there was no water. I wasn’t sure how to operate the pump to fill the tank from the creek, so decided to wait for John to return. So I sat by the creek and watched birds and tata lizards, and just enjoyed it. There was no sign of the big water monitor we had seen around the creek yesterday, or the smaller one we’d also seen around.

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Safari Camp Creek

Later in the afternoon, I started to feel off colour again.

I cooked ham steaks, eggs and fries for John’s tea. I had a cup of vegie soup from a packet, and a few fries. Felt a bit better after that.

O came down while I was cooking, to check if we were ok, he said. He’d already told us that a small order of foodstuffs could be brought in from Tennant Creek, on the weekly mail plane – but nothing like meat or frozen goods, at this time of the year, because the plane was loaded the night before. I gave him my want list for some groceries – and for the Weekend Australian, to be a standing order, delivered from the newsagent to the plane. John ordered some more packets of vegie seeds.

O mentioned that, when he was in Melbourne before Easter, he and A went to see the guy who had fixed our van solar system – an authority on alternative power systems. We had mentioned to A about him and suggested he might have some ideas about power options for Pungalina. Was nice to know he had listened to our suggestion.

I asked O if he had any beef mince at the house. He said no – but he had some beef he could mince up – maybe. I replied that I had been going to offer to cook hamburgers/patties for the men’s last night here, tomorrow. O replied “I’ll mince it”! I did hope that I would not have to beg for items of food all the time.

Decided to try John’s cortisone cream on the itchy rashes on my hands and ankles.

This morning, there was a big cane toad outside our van. We decided to christen the place Cane Toad Clearing.

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I’m a cane toad

 

Yesterday, we had put out all the solar lights brought from Melbourne for the camp, and stuck them in a pile of raked grass near the van, to charge up. Thought these were attracting insects at night, hence toads.

Resize of 04-17-2005 08 Camp with Mushrooms

Solar lights charging up

Ran the generator again at night, to give us the 240v light and to run the big fan.

It did seem a little cooler tonight.