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Gibson Desert - Nipper Pinnacle, spinifex grasslands, island refuges and more bush welding!
Monday, Jun 14, 2010 at 00:00
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Atop a ridge island, Gibson Desert,
The rising sun casting light on Nipper Pinnacle.
Up before dawn to take some photos of the early morning sunlight hitting
. Alan and Gaby had climbed it to greet the sun. Al got to washing up after last nights banquet while
Preparing the cache
I got things ship shape and then dropped off the front right hand Quad tyre to replace the leaking mushroom plug. A bit of work grinding back the inside ridges of the tyre as the rubber is very thin. I opted for a radial patch mounted longways instead of towards the bead. Plenty of blue goo and it seems to have held. He wind picked up with the sun blowing sand across the campsite. After that it was merely another three punctures in the quad tyres and then a climb to the top of the pinnacle to bury our cache.
And don't come up till it's finished - MJ preparing the cache.
It was a windswept photo opportunity atop the pinnacle and we decided on placement of our cairn (more a replacement and addition
Any opportunity for a group photo - On top of Nipper Pinnacle
to Alan’s cairn of several years past) in a large hole in the flat slab of
to offer some protection from the elements. I was surprised to see the feint outline of McPherson’s pillar on the horizon to the south west. Whilst still a good number of kilometres away, it put our location into perspective for me having over-nighted there back in 2006. With everything packed and the sun well up for the morning, it was time to be off on our slow amble west. Our days activities also involved checking a couple of anomalies that Alan had identified on Google Earth including one he suspected of being a meteorite crater some seven kilometres from Nipper.
A view west from Nipper
That 7 km was eaten up quickly with a mixture of open spinifex plain and the occasional thicket of mulga which
Al's mystery crater - A circular patch of spinifex.
required some twisting and turning. Unfortunately the meteorite crater turned out to be a circular shaped patch of dead spinifex so it was on the kilometre or so to the next, a
of bushed tightly packed together. On arriving there about 11.00 a.m. we were forced to face the sad realisation that last nights weld on the front coil had not held. Unfortunately, our work
was a fairly open plain with little shelter from the sun. Never the less, out everything came and the process of renewal began once again. Grinding, welding and this time, reinforcing with some steel strap.
Troubles with the front coil again
There was a bit of fun playing with the amperage, Scott and my experience of two years past giving good insight into battery needs and regulation using leads. The bonus was having sizable chunks of metal to weld unlike our 3 mm RHS. Three batteries used. Again my ramp as a template. This time after welding, a piece of strap was tacked then folded around the double length of spring both inside and out of the coils radius.
The welding crew at it again
This was then welded, the boys having to go down to two batteries to compensate for the thin strap. It certainly looked robust. The welds were quenched using water boiled in the eco-billy. We improvised a shade sail of sorts using Al Kennedy’s shade cloth ground sheet.
Everything was put back together and we finally got moving when Al indicated a banging noise from the area of the spring. Seems the welded piece was hitting the bump stop and internal spring guide. Off it came and they tried rotating the spring to no effect. Then it was misaligning the bump stop using a piece of left over strap and then grinding down some of the stop, This seemed to work and we were off again just after three, successfully this time.
An improvised sun shade for the workers
It’s amazing the views you get with just 30 metres difference over the surrounding countryside. We have entered an area of wide open expanses bordered by low rises, some of which sport rocky breakaways.
On each peak there is often a clump of trees while the wide valleys are almost grassy in appearance, the spinifex is deceiving. We've likened it to being in a grassy ocean where the hilltop clumps of flora truly resembling islands. We only made and an extra 8 kilometres or so before calling it a day at one of these tree clad rises. The views are amazing. On collecting firewood, Outback Al found two small perentie in a log providing a great photo op. The night sky was spectacular with its ribbon of gold on the horizon. The merest thumbnail of a moon was setting into the night sky followed closely by
Venus. So calm, clear and still. A million dollar sunset for sure.
One of the two small goannas
Tube steak and vegies for dinner and I reckon an early night for everyone. I’ve had a fair bit of sun today and am feeling it. We had a few laughs around a fantastic fire before retiring about 8:00 pm.
MJ getting the fire set.
The bush about our island refuge.
What a set of heads - Sunset near the fire.
The camp cook hard at it.
A million dollar sunset
Some extra Bush Mechanic shots surrounding the welding of the front coil.
Grinding back the weld for reinforcing
Bending the strap around the coil
Strap tacked in place and ready for full welding
The batteries set up and connected for welding
John working while the supervisors supervise (and drink tea!)
Members Blog Index
Gibson Desert - Through the crazy sandpit & another mechanical disaster (and some bush mechanicing)
Gibson Desert - Navigating the spinifex plains to Hideous Rockhole and Patience Well
A written note outlasts the longest memory
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