A Travellerspoint blog

August 2012

Day 103 - Thursday 16 August 2012

Darwin

Another beautiful day in Paradise! More odd jobs today, starting with dismantling the cold water taps to clean out the inevitable build-up of calcium from using outback bore water - it will eventually clog up the taps completely if not removed. It does not seem to happen with the hot taps so the calcium deposits must be dissolved in the hot water - although you do eventually get some in the kettle, which we remove with CLR. Second job was to try to repair the roller that supports the middle section of the roll-out awning. David had replaced the worn plastic bearing surfaces with bolts and nuts - however the nuts keep on coming undone - so he again tightened the nuts and used some superglue to try and stop them coming loose.

Like a lot of fittings and fastenings on caravans, they do not seem to be quite up to extensive use, this is the fourth year that we have travelled for about 5 months, and the caravan has now covered more than 50,000 kilometres. I think that the average caravanner covers less distance and spends more time in one place - at two weeks in Darwin this is the longest that we have spent anywhere since we got the van. Almost everywhere that we go we seem to spend a lot of time in Bunnings, Mitre 10, Caravan Accessory shops and Boating shops getting bits and pieces for minor repairs to the van.

After lunch we went into Darwin to check out the eateries on Stokes Hill Wharf in Darwin Harbour. At the start of the wharf complex there is a memorial to the bombing of Darwin on 19 February 1942 when two devastating Japanese air raids killed 292 people. Twice as many bombs were dropped on Darwin in those two raids as were dropped on Pearl Harbour ten weeks before. The death toll included 91 crew aboard the USS Peary that was in Darwin at the time, and it remains on the Darwin Harbour seabed. The first bombs to fall on Darwin destroyed the Stokes Hill Wharf, and the Darwin region would endure another 62 air raids up until 12 November 1943, but none were as destructive as the first two.

The Bombing of Darwin Memorial

The Bombing of Darwin Memorial

We spent some time sitting on the wharf having a quiet little drink watching the activity on Darwin Harbour. Darwin Harbour is now undergoing a major dredging project associated with a new LNG facility. The Ichthys Field in the Browse Basin off Western Australia first demonstrated its potential to be a world-class gas project in 2000, and in September 2008 Darwin was selected as the site for the LNG processing facility. Gas from the project will undergo preliminary processing at the offshore central processing facility before being transported through a subsea pipeline more than 885 kilometres long to the onshore LNG processing plant proposed for Darwin, Northern Territory.

Work boat on Darwin Harbour

Work boat on Darwin Harbour

Posted by TwoAces 19:52 Comments (0)

Day 102 - Wednesday 15 August 2012

Darwin

Today was odd jobs day around the van - by the way it is another clear blue sky day. David started with the Navara, letting down the tyres from about 45 psi to 35 psi, and letting down the airbags from 45 psi to 15 psi, this makes the ride more comfortable when we are not towing the caravan and while this was happening Di did some more washing. Later we went for a walk around the caravan park to check out the dump point as we will have to use our 55 litre Tote Tank to empty the black water holding tank. The holding tank holds about 110 litres which generally lasts seven to 10 days, but as we are here for two weeks, we will have to make a couple of runs with the Tote Tank which holds about 50 litres. We managed to successfully empty the black water tank without any dramas and wheel it around to the dump point - it weighs about 60 kgs when full.

After lunch we went to BTC (Boats, Trailers and Caravans) for some Biomagic and Self Amalgamating Tape - marvellous stuff! Then it was on to Harvey Norman so David could buy a new electric shaver - his 15 year old Phillishave had finally given up the ghost, and this time was not repairable as the motor had burnt out. The three head Phillishaves are still more than $300 each so settled on a Remington copy for $100. Then it was off to the Oasis Shopping Centre for a few groceries and a paper - but even though it was 4:30 pm the Australian had not come in. We wasted some time sitting around waiting for the Australian to come in, but no such luck, so it was back to the caravan park.

No photos today.

Posted by TwoAces 18:37 Comments (0)

Day 101 - Tuesday 14 August 2012

Darwin

Another clear blue sky with forecast temperatures of 30 degrees plus, interupted only by the RAAF playing war games from Darwin Airport, which is about five kilometres away. After the planes take-off at about two minute intervals they pass straight overhead and the noise is deafening - you can't hold a conversation until they are gone and the caravan shakes as each one passes over. It seems as though they have to follow the main highway south despite the complaints of Darwin residents - they are probably worried about getting lost if the stray too far from the highway. They generally leave about lunchtime and return after dark, and they make nearly as much noise on the way back. By the time that they pass overhead they are travelling too fast and are too high to get a good photo so I have borrowed one from the RAAF webpage.

FA 18 Hornet

FA 18 Hornet

We had a lazy day today reading and doing sudoku and crosswords, but after lunch we went into Darwin again for David to have a haircut and for Di to get the catch on a gold chain repaired.

Posted by TwoAces 18:28 Comments (2)

Day 100 - Monday 13 August 2012

Darwin

It was quite warm overnight - about 23 degrees - but today is another beautiful sunny day in paradise with a forecast temperature of 30 degrees. After a leisurely breakfast we headed into the city to pick up our mail from the darwin GPO. This was our first mail collection for nearly a month and thankfully only a couple of bills - most are now paid by direct debit. We walked from the GPO to the Mall and browsed a few of the shops then had a coffee and read the papers.

After lunch we picked up Richard and Margaret from their hotel and drove to Berry Springs for the afternoon. Berry Springs is located about 60 kms south of Darwin and is a collection of thermal springs that join together to form Berry Creek that eventually flows into Darwin harbour. The Berry Springs Nature Park is a popular picnic and swimming spot with three pools and well equipped BarBQ facilities. While we were having a snack and a couple of drinks we watched two Kites feeding their young in a nearby nest.

Berry Springs

Berry Springs

Berry Springs main pool

Berry Springs main pool

A Kite on its nest

A Kite on its nest

The mate keeping watch

The mate keeping watch

Margaret and Di at Berry Springs

Margaret and Di at Berry Springs

On the way back to Darwin we stopped at Strauss Airfield which is right alongside the Stuart Highway. Strauss Airfield was built between March and April 1942 and was home to P40 Kittyhawks and two squadrons of RAAF Spitfires for the duration of WW2. The runway, 5,000 feet long and 1,000 feet wide, was built from gravel and clay bound together with diesel oil, which must have been effective as it is still there today. Strauss Airfield is one of nine military heritage sites located in and around Darwin.

Strauss WW2 Airfield

Strauss WW2 Airfield

Posted by TwoAces 17:29 Comments (0)

Day 99 - Sunday 12 August 2012

Darwin

A slow start to the day this morning as David had sat up until 1:00am watching the Olympic womens keelboat sailing. The Australian crew won silver in the 5 race final, and but for an out of control gibe in the 3rd race where they lost their skipper overboard, could well have won gold. This form of sailing with 5 match races each taking about 30 minutes to complete is very exciting.

Di has had a busy morning changing the bed and doing the washing - the best bit is that it only takes an hour to dry and you can get it in again. Did I mention that it is another bright sunny day in paradise, no clouds and 30 degrees at 11:30 am.

Later in the afternoon we picked up Richard and Margaret Hughes from their hotel in the city and we went to the Mindil Beach Market. After a walk around the market we went down to the beach to watch the sunset.

Margaret and Di at the Mindil Beach market

Margaret and Di at the Mindil Beach market

Mindil Beach Market

Mindil Beach Market

Mindil Beach

Mindil Beach

Sun sinking at Mindil Beach

Sun sinking at Mindil Beach

Mindil Beach sunset

Mindil Beach sunset

After watching the sunset we drove over to Cullen Bay to find a restaurant for dinner, and settled on Seadogs - an Italian restaurant. Margaret had Scallopini Marsala while the rest of us had Calamari Fritti which turned out to be huge plates of calamari and chips with salad - the meals were not only excellent but very reasonbly priced.

Posted by TwoAces 03:55 Comments (0)

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