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Motorhome Travels - August 2009

01/08/2009

The new wind turbine spins at 14 mile, WA - [Click for a Larger Image]
[Photo Information]
The new wind turbine
spins at 14 mile, WA

What a great place to have a wind turbine! We erected the wind generator on its 5.5m pole about 2 weeks ago and the wind has not stopped blowing ever since. Now that may sound like a good thing and if all we wanted to do was surf the net and watch TV, it would be, but all this wind has had a serious effect on our plans to dive and fish.

 

A couple of fish from the speargun, WA - [Click for a Larger Image]
[Photo Information]
A couple of fish from
the speargun, WA

Still - if it is going to blow, it is nice to be able to capture some of that energy. I will write a detailed review of the Jaycar 300watt wind turbine in the next few days (for the news section of the site).

 

We did manage to get out in the boat on Monday. There was a bit of a swell, but we thought it would be ok. The Ningaloo Reef runs about 3km from shore and there is a small gap (about 100m) through the reef that allows boats to pass out of the protected waters behind the reef and into open sea. We took the boat part way through this gap before deciding that the swell was quite a bit bigger than it looked from the beach. We decided to turn around and fish inside the reef.

Not long after anchoring and getting into the water, a large school of mackerel arrived and gave up one of their number to my spear. A few minutes later a nice spangled Emperor joined the mackerel (and the hole-in-the-head club) onboard the boat. It was nice to get back in the clear water after so many days of windy weather.

 

We are planning on staying here at 14 Mile camp for another couple of weeks before heading inland towards Karijini National Park. We spent a few days at Karijini a couple of years ago and really enjoyed the amazing scenery, since then we have been itching to get back. This time, we hope to be there for a couple of weeks.

07/08/2009

Energy Matters - do their customers? - [Click for a Larger Image]
Energy Matters - do
their customers?

The wind turbine has hardly stopped in the last week - we have power to burn (so to speak).
I had hoped to be able to tell you exactly how much power the turbine is contributing - but unfortunately, the supplier I selected to provide the shunt adapter needed has let me down.

 

I placed and order with Energy Matters via their website on the 24th of July, they processed that order and took the funds from my credit card account the same day.
I phoned them on the 29th to see where the order was and was told that it "left the warehouse today and was sent via Toll".
When the goods had not arrived by the 4th of August, I phoned again - this time I was told that "the order was dispatched yesterday" (the 3rd). At this point I was more than just a little annoyed. I finally was able to speak to the National Services Operations Manager, Deborah Porter to whom I posed the following questions:

 

To be honest I did not have high hopes for anything other than a standard "we are sorry - get over it". I was therefore quite surprised when Deborah seemed to take the complaint quite seriously. She tracked down the cause (the humans involved in the human error) and reported back to me with the details and the answers to my questions. Deborah also offered a token refund to help compensate me for the inconvenience.

Now it is very difficult to remain angry when my complaint had been dealt with so professionally. I do feel that Energy Matters need to do some work to improve the processes and systems at allow this kind of error - and I can not in all honesty recommend them as a supplier if you are wanting an order fulfilled and dispatched quickly - but I feel that they should be very happy with the manner that their National Services Operations Manager responded to my complaint. I was adamant that I would not give the company any further business - I am now prepared to give them one more chance.

 

The items have still not arrived (AusPost???),  so I will have to provide details of the wind turbine performance in the next update.

 

09/08/2009

Boating at 14 Mile - [Click for a Larger Image]
[Photo Information]
Boating at 14 Mile

We seem to be the only ones catching any fish here - I do think the direct approach (in the water with a spear gun) has many advantages over the "dangle a line and hope" method.

It is quite amazing to cruse along the reef on snorkel with the spear gun at the ready - you never know what will venture along.

 

The types of fish that can be taken on the Ningaloo Reef with a spear is quite limited - many of the more prized species can only be taken on a line. It is also not permitted to spear fish when using SCUBA gear, so the tanks must stay on shore.

The bald chin grouper is perhaps one of the most sort after varieties, they are really fantastic eating - sadly these are not allowed to be taken while spear fishing. Somehow they seem to know that, and are forever hanging around me when I am in the water. Today I had a large (600mm?) bald chin follow me around for about half an hour - almost jumping in front of the spear - it was very hard to leave him swimming! (and yes, he is still out there).

 

We were planning on leaving the coast today - however the delay in receiving our ordered items means that we will have to suffer here a little longer :-)


12/08/2009

Tracey's big fish - [Click for a Larger Image]
[Photo Information]
Tracey's big fish

Nothing new really - the gear from EnergyMatters has still not arrived - so we are still at 14 Mile. The main reason for this entry is really just to put this great photo of Tracey's big fish up for all to see (especially Tracey's Mum).

Yesterday was a particularly calm day, we were able to get right up close to the reef and into a large swim-through that I had seen a few days earlier. Tracey had the spear gun ready as we swam into the channel and unfortunately for the big "Sweet-lips", her aim was good.
She had quite some difficulty fighting it all the way back to the boat. The tide changed a few minutes later and the current stopped us from going back into the gap. We are now waiting for the next super calm day.

23/08/2009

The Cheela Plains 7Kw Solar Array - [Click for a Larger Image]
The Cheela Plains 7Kw Solar Array

We left 14 mile camp a couple of days ago. Yes the (re-sent) package from EnergyMatters did finally arrive. The additional shunt and adapter has allowed me to track exactly how much power the wind turbine is contributing. Unfortunately, it was only tracking for three days before we took the turbine down to move on. This is not really enough time to get any meaningful data. When the turbine is back up I will continue recording data and eventually publish my findings and opinion.

 

After leaving the coast, we turned inland towards Tom Price and Karijini National Park. On the way we stopped off at Cheela Plains Station were we have worked a few times. In the two years since we were last at the station they have "gone all 21st century" and installed a solar power plant.

It is a very impressive setup, the 7kw solar array provides most of the homestead's power and is only supplemented by generator power when needed.


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