Cape York Day 15 - Cairns to Weipa

Friday, Aug 07, 1998 at 15:43

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

(Josephine & Trevor- Bungarribee 4WD Club)

With a good start to the day we awoke to a nice clear morning and by 7.30am we were packed and ready to leave from our meeting place at the bakery. Our convoy proceeded up the Starke Rd passing through the "Ellersley Station" which was passed back to the aborigines some while ago and has now been left to ruin. The track north of here is a little rough and we lost our radio aerial to a bush. We’re also experiencing carburetor problems which is making it difficult to idle along through the creeks and rough patches making it necessary to use the brake and accelerator at the same time. We stopped at Jeanie Creek for lunch at 12.40pm with a planned departure at 1.20pm. In our lunch break Bonnie decided to go for a walk back along the track with only a camera and hat to take a photo of a specific ant hill she had seen along the way. By 1.40pm Bonnie had not returned and so Collyn drove back along the track for 3 ½ km. He returned soon after without Bonnie and a search party consisting of Collyn, Tony and David Martin was initiated. This group of drivers was selected for their UHF radio equipment and a base car was established at the Creek to maintain contact with the search party. The temperature in our trucks was reaching 40° and concerns were raised for her safety amongst complaints that she was ill equipped and ignorant of the harsh Australian bush conditions. By 2.20pm it was decided that we all should go out leaving only Dave (alone) Darke at the Creek in case of her return to base. Just after setting out at 2.25pm we heard over our C.B that Bonnie had been found approximately 10 km down the track. At 2.40pm the convoy was reunited and we were on our way again. To her credit, Bonnie who has been travelling the world consistently for the last 9 years had taken note of the sun’s position, had found fresh water at a creek and had therefore kept still in the hope of being found.

By this point it became apparent that we would not make Bathurst Bay before dark. We pushed on through some very interesting thoroughfare never going over 20km/hr. We stopped at 4.20pm to refresh and set off again at 4.30pm. At 5.50pm our I.T.L informed us he had a flat tyre so the convoy came to a halt. Collyn had a beautiful big slice in his front near-side tyre from a tree trunk over-lying the edge of the track. While putting on the nuts the truck leaned to the left so all the guys had to push to hold the car upright. We got back on our way by 6.00pm and by this time it was getting dark and the bulldust was making the trip even slower.

At 8.15pm a call over the C.B came from Jeff saying he had a flat tyre. At 8.25pm we were on our way again. Only 5 mins down the track we had a flat. The guys were all getting very proficient at changing tyres in the dark now. Finally, at 8.40pm we were on our way again – nearly. A call from Bill over the C.B confirmed he had to stop to fill up his radiator. Some of us thought this was a cryptic way of saying he was stopping for a pee, but his radiator was in fact concerning him. Further on it was Bill who alerted the convoy that someone was trailing a fair amount of water along the track. Again we all stopped and checked under our cars only to find it was Tony and Oliver who had forgotten to turn off their water tap after the last refreshment stop.

Collyn took us right up to the river entrance at Bathurst Bay and decided this was camp. So at 9.30pm with tempers on edge we had finally made it. Dinners were quickly cooked and eaten, some of us had an AP& C (armpit and crutch) wash and then to bed after a long tiring day. At this point Trevor and Josephine Batten would like to thank Collyn Crowhurst and TLCC for giving then the opportunity to do this trip to the Cape and for their hospitality.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
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Always working not enough travelling!
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