Friday, May 26, 2017

Working as Driller's offsider and Cape le Grand NP




 Camp at le Grand Beach


 Up Frenchman's Peak



 sunset under Frenchman Pk




 Inside work Caravan


 Convoy of trucks

On the outback roads, past stations and mines



The Drill Rig, and cyclone on the left 

(click on a photo for large versions)

On break after 4 weeks hard work as a Driller’s offsider - 2 weeks near Leonora, then 2 days travel in convoy of trucks and me in a ute to get just inland of Geraldton.  Exploration for gold, often in areas with old mineshafts or mining dating back to 1910. The Geologists wait for us to get soil samples (1 per M) and examine them, and send back calico bags of soil for analysis.  We sometimes drill to 240m.   
Dig trenches to channel water which can be considerable. Fast running initially to drop bags, then slows down as drill gets deeper.  
We have an Eski full of food - ham, wraps, yogurt, fruit, which we dip into during the day.  as the drilling slows we even get to take it in turns and get a 10-15min break !

When we come to a new hole. there is a dance of bit changes and putting on a plastic tube which acts as a casing. Once this is done, we start with the trenches and run with samples. 

we camp in tents and swags, with a caravan full of food, a generator, shower, small washing machine, a campfire. Actually is quite pleasant after the corporate atmosphere of a mining camp. Great star viewing as I stretch my lower limbs in the swag, on a elevated stand. 
Deep Heat and stretching mandatory at my age… hands get big callouses and cracks.  Legs get bigger. 



I am told I’m going on break thursday evening and Friday morning we drive the 10 hrs back to kalgoorlie.  I pack the van and head off 3 hrs down to Esperance, arrive sat morning, wash work clothes at campsite and reset bags for next time. 

Later I head of for Cape le Grand NP - a real wild place with imposing Granite hills. Climb up Frenchman peak 262m,  swim in the cold sea.  quite a bit of rain or overcast first few days but get a sun only day Thursday.  Good to be able to be snug , watch movies etc in the van, which keeps much warmer than surroundings. Daily stretching, aided by my bouldering mat.  

Very few people this time of year. Known for some climbing… I do a bit of rock scrambling.  Working up courage to go out in the cold ocean with the Kayak.  Have a full length wetsuit… good for security in unlikely event of capsize.  
I’m used to tropical waters…. whitsundays, Noosa… you need to mindful of hypothermia in these waters.  

There is an archipelago of islands, and seals on the outer ones. Reminds me of Kangaroo island , SA. Weather is Tasmanian…
Sharks are around and eat bits of surfers once in a while.  safer in a Kayak - dont have my legs dangling.  

HISTORY:

in the 1790s, French explorers Huon de Kermadec and Admiral D’Entrecasteaux who commanded the ships Esperance and Recherche, sailed past while searching for missing explorer  la Perouse. 
D’Entrecasteaux named Cape le Grand after one of his officers.
Ten years later,  Navigator Mathew Flinders went past as he mapped the Australian Coast. He rode out a storm in a sheltered bay and called it Lucky Bay - one of the NP campsites.

I wild camp and also at NP camp - Le grand beach (10$). From which there is a coastal walk, 15km to Rossiter bay, via a deep canyon between Granite hills.  

Great stars, Frenchman’s peak is imposing to be under at night. 
Quite a few tame kangaroos around. 


Park entry is 12$ per day, so I buy the annual WA pass (88$) as I know I will be frequently in and out of this and other parks. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Crossing The Nullabor Plain to WA




(Click on a photo to get larger versions)



First Morning. Ravenshoe QLD


On the way to Broken Hill, NSW



RoadHouse stop before Port Augusta


Port Augusta SA Power station and big fuel fill before Nullabor.  




Nullarbor Cliffs



Cyclist from Spain... cycled from Gold coast to somewhere on Nullabor


Belladonna roadhouse with a Piece of Skylab... which fell to earth in the 80s 

 Tagon Beach,  Cape Arid NP. East of Esperance.

Campsite at Thomas River. Boulder mat as sofa

 View of a beach at Cape Arid.


Video above: Crossing the Nullarbor plain. click to activate. 
Click on the bottom right square to get full screen. click on it again to go back to this screen.


Starting At Noosa, QLD with my troop carrier,  I cross the continent.  about 7 days, not pushing it too hard.  Some longer stretches. 

 Easy driving past broken hill to Port Augusta SA,  across the Nullabor - flat,  big cliffs dropping to the sea.
2 days relaxing at Cape Arid National Park - wild and large.  2wd access to Thomas river camp, nice small nooks to camp in with privacy, 10$ / night. 
Roaring surf, big dumpers. I walk a small coastal track to a small bay.  The next day I mountain bike along the easy dirt roads to Tagon Beach.  This is my first time across in a vehice. And first time East of Perth. Some nice beaches and bouldering. 

Do a bit of rust maintenance on the van, Organize my gear. 
Then off towards Kalgoorlie, where I am to start work as a Driller's offsider.  
Hard work running around with heavy soil samples, diggging ditches etc.  But a good way to save. 




Saturday, November 5, 2016

Grand Canyon, North Rim

Much less busy than South Rim.
camping area at 2400m...     one morning we got up and our gallon water jugs were half frozen (10 october)...   

Amazing plunging views looking down eons of geological history.  












(Click on  Photo for large view)