Man vs Wild @ Ningaloo - Part 2

Sunday, Jul 05, 2015 at 10:00

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

Sun 5th - more setup today and general resting. David is in no rush to launch the boat just yet. We enjoyed watching as 3 young boys went kite surfing in front of our camp - never seen that here before. Hope this isn't a sign of wind this trip. As an ex-windsurfer, it is torment to watch them. My plan is for endless calm days for kayaking and waterskiing! How life changes.



Our camp has changed as the kids have grown. We still use the RV4 OzTent and have bought the OzTent Tag along Tent that adds another room (for Chardae) - with the side panels added this creates a 3 room tent. The middle room is like a hallway/common room and as its fully shaded its where I setup the pantry and store the icebox. Leah has the Boab Dome double swag - privacy for her. We also have a toilet tent, and two gazebos.


Chardae and I went for a bit of a swim/walk south along the beach around the point and ended up helping a lady whose young boy had caught a barracuda on beach. They couldn't identify it and the lady wanted to take it back up the beach to show her husband but she couldn't move fast enough and had no bucket to keep it alive in some water so I offered to run it up the beach (about 1km in soft sand). I was pretty sure it was a barracuda but it was tiny so I was a bit unsure. I suggested she shouldn't keep it but she wanted to keep it for her boy if she was allowed so I did my best to keep it alive by dunking it into the water every so often as I ran up the beach with it trying to wriggle out of my hands and avoiding getting bitten by its razor sharp teeth, and I had the little boy trying to run with me so it took too long and the fish died. Meanwhile, Leah and David kayaked on a perfect day. After that excitement and we all rejoined to do our own beach fishing we caught small flathead - not keepers. The sand is very soft at waters edge and we're feeling exhausted from the day's activity already!

Finally, it was time to launch the boat. With no ramp or jetty, one of us has to drive the boat off the trailer into the water and set the mooring whilst the other drives the vehicle and trailer up the beach. The worry was the wet section of sand was very soft and even feet were sinking deep so we weren't sure we could get the vehicle and trailer back up the beach easily after the weight of the boat on the trailer would sink it in. As we have come without another family, there is no one on hand with a snatch strap so knowing this, we had brought along a set of Maxtrax copies (the black ones). Didn't need to worry - I drove it out in low range. Faithful 80 xx

Dinner tonight was fresh lamb cutlets (what a treat!) barbequed over the fire served with roasted potato wedges (cooked in camp over over fire) with garlicky buttered broccolinni (experiment bringing that stuff, failure actually). All my vegies I keep individually wrapped in newspaper and stored out of fridge in a cardboard box under the roller-drawers in the vehicle where they stay cool and dry. Everything lasts so well, even the bananas and avocados last 2 weeks but the broccolinni lasted 3 days - and then went yellow and tasted bitter - yuck. I fudged it tonight by adding so much garlic and butter and the kids loved it! Weird... but I'm throwing the rest out it stinks.



Monday 6th - David and I took a morning walk before breakfast to the rocky northern point but I was lagging behind and finding the soft sand so tiring that I decided running back would be easier! Who knew! It felt so good and we enjoyed a little sprint at the end.

The day was turning a bit breezy but it was blowing offshore so we took the boat out. All on board including Harry. David is only interested in the big fishing and trolling so we head out through the reef and run along the edge of the reef in water of 18-33m deep. That's where we typically get the good eating pelagics like spanish mackeral, tuna and anything else that decides to investigate the big lures. We saw a whale and lots of turtles. Caught a small mackeral but it got away (mine). Probably undersized anyway. No catch but it was a great outing. We returned to the beach for a lovely lazy arvo reading. We are starting to relax into doing nothing but keeping busy all the same with the tasks of running the camp, tending the boat, chopping wood, setting up the rods, keeping any eye on the power supply and its usage etc. We have solar panels to keep the car battery charged - only the Engel fridge is permanently plugged into it but we also have some 240v battery chargers running off the invertor and some 12v chargers for recharging items like headlamps, phones (which are getting drained from using camera and music and writing memos), and the girls both have their 3DS consoles which we let them use when its windy and we're hunkered in the tent. We also have the Powermonkey Explorer - Solar Charger, which recharges the phones and DS in lightening quick time.

Late afternoon we got all setup for squidding but the boat played up and we couldn't leave the mooring. We all got off and let Dave work on his boat - took about half an hour but he got it working but he decided he wanted me to stay back onshore in case he needed me to coordinate a rescue! He took off for a spin until he was sure it was ok and then took the kids for squidding, which is close to shore inside the reef and within view of the camp. I figure they had either not been able to start the boat or were doing fine as they stayed out til after sunset. I did a little beach fishing - caught a red worm. Kids were excited to have caught 3 squid, but they were horrified to watch me rip out their heads to clean them. After dinner Leah went for a night run with her music and headphones. She has been saying at home she wanted to go for night runs and I haven't been keen to let her do that but I do remember I used to love doing that so I'm pleased she took this opportunity to do it here where she is free and safe. I tried some long exposure photos of the camp and stars. The spotlight stand is not a good enough tripod substitute though (forgot the tripod).

Dinner tonight was meatballs & spaghetti with bbq garlic bread. The garlic bread was another experiment - I don't normally buy the pre-made stuff but I figured I could keep it in the icebox and would be a good filler. But although I double wrapped the flimsy foil wrap with my own foil the open fire was too much for it and the inner foil stuck to the bread so we had to cut that away. Next time - remove the flimsy foil first then wrap in real tin foil!

Tues 7th - David whipped up our teenager's dream breakfast - fried bacon & eggs. I don't eat bacon but I have the eggs and add avocado. We put them in wraps - yum. The day looked good so we went out for a morning fish. The boat started fine. Phew! Last trip, the engine was playing up and we had bad luck with the fishing so we are keen to flush out the bad experiences and replace with some fresh new good luck memories. Harry (dog) & Leah stayed onshore... plus the camera. My theory is that taking a camera on a fishing boat = bad luck (phones don't count). We also took out the squid heads for bait but didn't get to use them. We saw a whole pod of whales plus 2 other individuals and more turtles. The fishing action happened quickly - pulling in an 8kg coral trout of 95cm then a Rankin Cod. My camera theory was proven correct so had to make do with the phone's camera until we got to shore. After filleting, bagging, and refrigerating we went back out on the calm water - David swam as Chardae and I followed on kayaks - water safety ;)



Lunch that day was seasoned fish in Mission bread wraps with fresh avocado, fresh lettuce, beetroot, pineapple, and tartare sauce - yum, this is Ningaloo! With happy smiles and full bellies we then drove off into the sand dunes to get our water and stopped at a look out where the kids played rolling downhill, then it was back to camp for washing smalls. Off for squidding at 4pm. Caught 3. I did the honours with their heads but Chardae dutifully wanted to get involved so she cleaned 2 of them - very fiddly but she has the patience like me to just keep at it until its done. I baked up a nice coral trout fish pie in the camp oven for dinner - layers of potatoes, onions, carrot, and fish with a fresh made creamy garlic, white wine sauce, topped with a little cheese. What a life.

Wed 8th - awoke to a very windy morning. Realised we had gone a few days without emails and phone etc - bliss but it is only fluke to get service and usually overnight so was more circumstantial. David does try to keep an eye out on the business so he checked his phone and was dismayed to see an email from Adele about a problem with the work email system = our Microsoft cloud email server that we have recently moved to was not receiving any mail so Adele could not manage to communicate with customers, the system was not sending all the auto-system emails from . Can't fix itself, no idea how it magically started to fault when it was all working previously but there was no option other than David to get to a point where he could get online, make phone calls to Microsoft support and use the internet. To do this he had to drive out of Sth Lefroy Bay, down past the homestead and half way back up the Ningaloo Rd (a 40min drive) to get decent internet service using Leah's iPhone with his sim card, the iPhone car kit, and his laptop. He never bothered to spend the money getting a car kit when he changed to a Samsung phone and without the external antenna in the car kit there was no getting service at all. Some people bring their own internet antennas and set them up above their vans. No us. We really wanted to stay unplugged. Meanwhile back at camp we were experiencing a gale so we 3 girls hunkered together in the Oztent and played card games. I have been teaching the girls my favourite card game - Canasta and Leah was getting right into it! When David returned we emerged from our cave, ate lunch and asked David to fix everything that had blown down at camp (most importantly the toilet tent).

But the weather soon turned and it was good for boating again, so Leah and David went out off the reef fishing and Char and I stayed on beach and swam. They came back without fish this time, so I cooked the squid with pasta in a marinara sauce and served with garlic bread. Chardae cooked a packet chocolate cake in the camp oven and iced it. Together, we all ate half for dessert!

Thurs 9th - calm night then windy morning. I went for a 6km run with David along the sandy track out to the dunes and then we came back via beach, which was a hard slog as it we were running into a gusty headwind and on the soft sand. Hard work but felt good to start running again - haven't been running much since May - I needed a break and David has been off with injury and surgery for so long he's desperate to get fit again. David had known he'd have to drive out to get internet and phone service again to continue the next stage of fixing the email issue so he went to do that for a few hours, whilst the girls and I played games in the tent and polished off the chocolate cake. Dave came back at 1230 job fixed and much relieved. But it remained windy all day. We continued to laze about reading but eventually we were able to get out for a paddle about 3pm when the wind dropped a little. Then it was more rounds of canasta with the girls. I suggested to Leah that we should set a goal for the winners of each round of canasta. The winner (first to 5000, which takes a few hands) gets the honour of wearing the Pasta Necklace. I got some fishing line and threaded on 21 pieces of pasta. Leah loved it and was the first to win it!

David has now read half his book - think it's the first book he's read in 2 years. I cooked the largest fillet of the coral trout in a kedal? coconut curry (some gourmet packet concoction I found at the supermarket in Perth) served with pearl couscous - everyone's favourite. Chardae baked a banana bread in the camp oven for tomorrow's morning tea. Very windy night annoying tent flapping sounds.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
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Always working not enough travelling!
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