Monday, November 15, 2010

Living in Broome-time

(10 September – 16 October)

In the meantime, we spent the first two nights at a lovely resort, with plasma screen TVs in each of the three rooms of our apartment, as well as the very large spa bath in the huge master ensuite. The luxury was the perfect antidote to massage the pains of our incident.

Since then, we have stayed in a cabin at a holiday park, the tribe enjoying the large free-form pool and meeting other kids staying in the park. We have resorted to getting about town by bus and now are familiar to all the bus drivers – Robyn, being the tribe’s favourite.

The boys even had their first haircut experience at the barbers, both sitting ever so patiently while their follicles were trimmed to create a pair of very handsome young men – “would you like some product in your hair?” The boys look back in bewilderment. . “huh?”, not quite the metro-sexual yet; the girls watching on with curiosity.

We have become members of the Broome library, the tribe joining in with their weekly craft activities, which became a near daily ritual due to their excellent school holidays program. This also provided the impetus to borrow books and DVDs every few days which presents useful distractions.

Both Town Beach and Cable Beach have continued to be draw cards, although one trip to Cable Beach resulted in only playing in the sand as the water had been affected by cyno-bacteria for a few days (the water takes on an oil-slick hue and the warning mentioned possible skin irritation though some people were swimming in the murky miasma).

In order to ensure we could continue our trip, we needed to replace both the car and camper-trailer. The car replacement seemed to be an easy choice given there are enough car yards around. Having chosen a car – a Hyundai Terracan – it has taken at least 10 days (and counting) to have a couple of minor repairs done before final purchase.

Broome-time means given the remoteness, spare parts aren’t that easy to track and getting them delivered takes some time too. We were told it would be ready last Wednesday, but now it looks like next Wednesday . . . who knows?

We contemplated getting a box-trailer and tenting our way to Perth before buying a replacement camper-trailer due to no camper/caravan dealer in the region, and very few opportunities of second-hand ones in the classifieds. There was even the suggestion of ordering one from Perth and shipping it up!

Broome-time means biding your time in finding a camper-trailer.

In the end, we found one via the classifieds – this time, it’s a canvas tent style camper-trailer – the whole thing being less than half the weight of our dearly departed Jayco Eagle. Anyway, it’s a roof over our heads with bed and kitchen – just got to sort out some electricals so we can have lights, recharge batteries and phones as well as run a fridge.

So it looks like we will be back on the road in the not too distant future . . . dare we hold our breath!

The tidal range up here continues to marvel – we had the ‘staircase to the moon’ phenomenon (a low tide and nocturnal rising moon) and the opportunity to see the dinosaur footprints which needed a low tide of a maximum of 1.46m to see all three sets of prints. The other tidal-related ‘must-see’ is the Catalina (flying boat) wrecks which require tides less than 0.86m.

The plane wrecks are located about 1.5 km across the Roebuck Bay mudflats from Town Beach, taking just under an hour’s squelching walk to reach. The walk traverses sand banks, mudflats and fields of seagrass, populated by little and big mud crabs, mudskippers, hermit crabs and starfish.

An eeriness befalls you as you view the wrecks – the knowledge that over 100 people were killed in the air-raid by 10 Japanese aircraft in 1942. The silence at the site is shattered by the constant ‘chattering’ of the sea-life now encrusted on the bits of fuselage and engine casings – barnacles and other shells. Or so you wish as you block out the chattering of fellow viewers: “is this a Catalina?”, “were people killed?”, “I could do with a coffee, how about you?”.

A must do when you’re here is a picnic dinner (or takeaway) to watch the sunset from Cable Beach – even better if you tailgate your dinner and drive onto the northern expanses past the camel rides – mind you, you won’t be the only one doing this as many locals as well as travellers will be joining you to enjoy nature’s daily light show.

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