Tuesday 21st April 2015
Dongara to Geraldton
It is a perfectly warm night to have the windows and hatches open and we listen to the crash of the waves against the rock wall as we fall asleep.
I wake at 6:00am to the sound of running water that sounds like someone has taken the bungs out of their boat. But it keeps on gushing, a boat would have sunk with that much water aboard. I wake Woody to tell him that it must be raining hard. We leap out of bed and into water! A hose fitting has sheared off the water heater and water is gushing out, under our bed. Thank you, my friend Mary, for telling me to always keep a lot of old towels on board. The towels have already soaked up quite a bit and help in the cleanup too. Woody is outside turning off the water, I’m half dressed and under the bed flinging stowed stuff left and right. It’s wet stuff out to Woody to hang on the line, dry stuff into the bathroom out of the way. The boys crawl under the bed to determine the cause of the problem while I search for my bra and find it under the laptop and the ukuleles, obviously the important things.
After the boys scout around town we decide that we should be able to get parts up in Geraldton. We apologise to our neighbour for waking them up. He tells us that they didn’t hear a thing as he’s a shift worker and always wears ear plugs and his wife wears ear plugs because of his snoring!
Back on the road we hear on the radio that two fishermen have been swept off the rocks to their deaths at Salmon Holes near Albany (refer day 22), no fish is worth that.
It is a delightful drive up to Geraldton through pleasant farmland and the funny leaning trees at Greenough. We buy the parts at Reece plumbing and check into Sunset Beach Big4. Woody soon has the parts fitted and being a warm sunny day we leave the van to dry out while we tour the town.
Geraldton has instant appeal. It’s a big bustling port with many ships in dock and more waiting out at sea. There’s a marina and interesting city buildings shaded by tall Norfolk Pines and flowering trees that look similar to hibiscus. Parklands stretch along the beachfront for kilometres. Built on high dunes it is a hilly city. On the hill above the CBD is the HMAS Sydney II Memorial honouring Australia’s greatest naval tragedy. It is a fitting tribute to the 645 sailors lost at sea in 1941. Geraldton had been its last port of call before the battle in which it was sunk by the German ship the Kormoran. The wreckage was located 207kms off the coast in 2008.
On visiting the lighthouse we find an osprey nesting high up on a manmade platform. Rather than hide it pops its head up when Double or Nuthin’ gives it a whistle.
We buy a heap of fish at one of the harbour fish shops and after a cooling swim we BBQ prawns out on the camp deck with B & V from Perth. They are a wealth of information as they’ve done this coast more times than they can remember.
Travelling Kms: 75Kms
Note: Usually when we travel I do the planning and infuriatingly Woody just says “I don’t want to know, surprise me!” Thus as I trudged out of the sea that day a funny thought crossed my mind…”If I were to drown now would the other three have any idea where they’re going or even how to get home?”
What’s the tally for the trip so far? One house burglary, one possibly dead, kangaroo and a bent number plate and nudge bar, two broken sets of towing mirrors, an arm caught in the awning and now a broken thingamajig on the water heater. You just couldn’t have this much fun staying at home.