This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2011 Travels February 15


Woke to strong winds and heavy rain squalls. Turned on the TV to get a forecast. That little tropical low that had only warranted a brief mention, yesterday, now was said to have a 50% chance of turning into a cyclone by Thursday. Bloody wonderful! John wanted to see Darwin in the Wet Season – maybe this was overdoing  it,  just a tad?

Squally wind gusts, to 98kmh were forecast. And rain….

Bleak outlook from our bedroom window

The Stuart Highway south was closed by floods at Noonamah. The Mandorah ferry was not running and had been moved inside the Marina. We could just hope the Ghan makes it through….

The skies were all grey. The winds were strong even in the central atrium of the building.

Rain blown into the central atrium – and onto my camera!

John went down in the lift to get the daily paper. I decided that when I had to go downstairs, I’d use the stairs – didn’t want to get trapped in a power failure in a lift.

While he was down there, John asked the lady at Reception to arrange for the Ghan bus to collect us, tomorrow, then came back and told me he’d done that. I was really cross – I’d clearly told him that I’d arranged this, back with the rest of the trip, in Melbourne. I rang Reception and explained our transport was already arranged, and that my husband was “confused”.

They asked us to bring our balcony furniture inside. Workers were putting the pool furniture – tables and chairs – into the pools at our complex, and the one we could see, next door. This was starting to seem rather serious.

Not much traffic out and about….

According to the paper, last night’s ship was the Diamond Princess, out of Port Douglas, bound for Indonesia. She was in port at Fort Hill Wharf for part of the day – over lunchtime included. Over 1000 passengers would be braving the rain to have a quick look at the town. So that would be an area to avoid.

Drove to nearby Sky City to have their seafood buffet lunch once again; it was cheap with the Monday to Wednesday discount, plus our Action Club one. We had a big feed, because it would be dinner too – in these conditions we would not be going out again, anywhere.

At Sky City, also, workers were packing away anything from outdoors, and sandbagging the bottoms of doorways facing seawards.

Everyone we spoke to today said there hadn’t been weather like this in Darwin for at least eight years. Trust us to land in it. Concern was expressed on the media that there were now a lot of people living in Darwin who had never experienced a cyclone and wouldn’t know what to do.

Then to Nightcliff shops again. It was hard driving, in the wind and rain, and somewhat scary. Something hit the car roof with a thump – a little coconut? There was lots of leaf litter and small debris on the roads. It actually felt quite cold.

At Nightcliff, the lights were out and the shops were on emergency power.

We bought wine and some snack foods for the train. The supermarket shelves were being rapidly emptied – just about every shopper was buying supplies of bottled water.

Refuelled the car, then drove to Stuart Park to return the car. The wind was getting worse all the time. We were very glad to get to Thrifty with no mishap. Their staff were not going outside in these conditions to inspect the car – said they’d look at it tomorrow. We hoped there wasn’t a ding in the roof – or if there was, they would think it happened at their place.

They called us a taxi. We only waited about 15 minutes for it to come, which was pretty good in these conditions.

Back at the apartment, received a phone call from Great Southern Rail. The Ghan train was being terminated at Katherine and we would be bussed down there tomorrow. Damn! I hate bus travel.

We watched the weather – by now a howling gale – out the windows.

Palm trees showing the wind direction…

I packed what I could, cleaned out the fridge.

It turned out that today was the coolest February day on record in Darwin, at only 24 degrees.

The wind howled and wailed through the atrium, all night, making it harder to sleep.

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2007 Travels January 3


After my morning walk around the lake – some 4kms with side tracks – thought I had better just phone Alice Springs and check that they did not now need us.

The new girl said that we were booked to fly to Port Hedland tomorrow! She “thought” she’d left a message for us – somewhere – before Xmas. Good thing I’d checked. She emailed the necessary documentation. That, at least, came through.

It was to be a very early morning flight out of Melbourne!

So began a flurry of packing and getting organized. We took the new table to son’s place. They were really pleased with it. John makes great tables!

Discovered that a hose on the washing machine was leaking. We’d been blaming the old cat for having a bad aim at his litter tray!

Resize of 03-23-2006 pantry cat

Old Spook cat had developed some eccentric habits….

Category 1 Cyclone Isobel made landfall at Eighty Mile Beach this morning, with winds around 120kmh. By the afternoon, it had turned into a tropical low, deluging the Port Hedland area and parts to the south east – just where our Villages were! It was threatening to join forces with a big storm system lurking around, so flying up to Hedland could be interesting!

When I got up this morning, did not envisage the way the day would end, for sure.

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2007 Travels January 2


We spent an enjoyable Xmas/New Year period, catching up with family and just living normally.

A highlight was meeting and getting to know my new grandson who had been born in May. We were visited by John’s daughter, home for Xmas for the break that diplomatic staff receive mid way through a posting. So John met his new grandson, born in Brussels, now 19 months old, for the first time, and renewed acquaintance with the older boy, now nearly 4.

Melbourne’s weather was mostly balmy over that time, with the exception of the cold snap over Xmas itself. The Pilbara heat we’d experienced seemed almost illusory.

I treated myself to a rather expensive Xmas present – a lovely new digital Pentax camera, that had all sorts of refinements that the smaller point and shoot one did not have. There would be a lot to learn about its operation.

There had been no further communication from the company, regarding going back to work in WA. I’d rather expected to hear from them by today, at the latest, since the office resumed work today. It seemed there must have been a change of plan, and no-one had bothered to tell us. We were not overly concerned – home was nice. I was enjoying daily walks at the nearby lake and sewing some new shorts for M. John was making son a jarrah dining table. Less enjoyable was working on tax  matters and getting the relevant paperwork together. Our lovely accountant had gained us an extension of time for the return due last year, but I really needed to do something about this hated task.

We had been watching, with more interest than usual, a low pressure system building off the WA coast, that had the potential to develop into a cyclone. Today, it was named Cyclone Isobel and forecast to cross the coast somewhere between Port Hedland and Broome.