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Motorhome Travels - Feburary 2011

11/02/2011

We had not met our first (and only) grandson, Oliver. We have seen thousands of photos and videos thanks to his mum (she is such a good daughter).

We were very excited to be driving to the airport to meet our little family. Even the midnight hour of the fights arrival from New Zealand could not detract from the moment.

Second Xmas for Oliver, WA - [Click for a Larger Image]
Second Xmas for Oliver, WA

Their plane landed early and so they were waiting for us when we arrived at the airport. It was quite a reunion - with Zoie (oldest daughter) and her husband Richard and 11 month old son Oliver ... AND Samantha (youngest daughter) and her fiancé, Mark. Of course the center of attention was young Oliver who was in amazing shape for a young lad who had just come off a very long flight.

Over the next few days we enjoyed some of Perth's hottest weather - quite a change for the folks from the frozen south of New Zealand where they ski to work 9 months of the year. They all handled the heat very well and I am fairly sure that Oliver enjoyed not having to wear 35 layers of clothes and deal with the effects of frost-bite on a daily basis :-) 

We spent the next few days doing the typical Perth tourist stuff. Oliver loved the zoo and the elephants and monkeys put on a great display for us. I must say that we were a bit disappointed with the Perth zoo, it really looks like it could do with a serious bit of TLC with many of the enclosures looking very tired.

Oliver and his Nana at the zoo, WA - [Click for a Larger Image]
Oliver and his Nana at
the zoo, WA

Perth zoo, WA - [Click for a Larger Image]
Perth zoo, WA

Perth zoo, WA - [Click for a Larger Image]
Perth zoo, WA

Can you imagine the looks on the faces of the Dunedin dwellers when they first saw the beautiful Perth beaches? These guys are used to seeing giant icebergs just off the beaches in Dunedin (seriously) and teams of doctors standing by the beaches ready to amputate the frozen limbs from anyone who accidently comes in contact with the water over there (not so seriously).

Young Oliver learns to drive the Moke, WA - [Click for a Larger Image]
Young Oliver learns to
drive the Moke, WA

We had booked the bus into the tail shaft workshop to have two of the universal joints replaced. The rear shaft is the only one that was not touched when we fitted the joey box so the uni's were quite old. I had also incorrectly phased the shaft when I last had it off the bus - this did not help. The guys did a good job and I took more care with the refitting.

We decided to give our guests a taste of bus life with an overnight trip to Lancelin, north of Perth. Travelling with four adults and a baby onboard is very different to our normal "just us" lifestyle! I think everyone enjoyed the experience and were perhaps a bit disappointed when we turned the bus around to head back to the big city.

For us the family reunion was over far too soon. It was very hard to say goodbye at the airport (yet another midnight flight!). We look forward to seeing them back in Perth sometime soon - this time perhaps for a MUCH longer stay!

Grandad and Oliver, WA - [Click for a Larger Image]
Grandad and Oliver, WA

We said goodbye to Samantha and Mark as we quickly completed all our Perth jobs in preparation for leaving the city. Just a few appointments and a bit of shopping to do today and we will be ready. We are not really sure where we are heading (and neither of us really care too much). I wonder if the crayfish are back from the deep water yet?

 

17/02/2011

If you have been following our SPOT Tracker you will know that we are back at our most favored camp at Cliff Head (just south of Dongara).

Ian cooks his famous fish and chips, WA - [Click for a Larger Image]
Ian cooks his famous
fish and chips, WA

We get quite a few people asking us what makes it such a good place to camp. For us it is a combination of things:

Unfortunately at this time of the year it can get very very hot. We have no air conditioning in the bus and when the wind comes from the desert the only relief is obtained by going for a swim in the sea. Still, that is not too much of a problem for us - I am sure we spend almost as much time wet as we spend dry anyway.

The rough plan at this stage (we are not good at plans) is to enjoy the sea here for a couple of weeks before exploring inland for a week or so. In March, Ian requires help in celebrating his half century of existence - knowing Ian and a few of his friends, that may be quite a party - one not to be missed. Until then we will be enjoying the fish and crayfish (and restocking the freezer).

 

25/02/2011

The term "heat wave" does not really seem to go far enough to describe the weather we have had over the last week. I don't think the night temperatures have dropped below about 28 degrees and the daytime temperature has been up around 40 deg most of the time.

This is what all the fuss is about - crayfish!, WA - [Click for a Larger Image]
This is what all the fuss is about -
crayfish!, WA

On the positive side, there has been almost no wind and no swell which has left the sea flat and crystal clear - perfect for free diving. So rather than sit on land and melt, we have spent a lot of time out on the ocean enjoying the clear water. The water temperature is amazingly warm too and even our thin wetsuits are almost too hot. We have heard reports of a lot of shark activity in the area and have been keeping a good look out - but no sightings so far.

A western baldchin grouper!, WA - [Click for a Larger Image]
A western baldchin grouper!, WA

There is no shortage of fish life and our freezer is beginning to look a little more full now. Tracey speared a really good sized bladchin grouper a couple of days ago and I got a slightly smaller one on the same dive. These are my favorite fish of all. They have more flavor and better texture (in my humble opinion) than any other fish.

I have been doing a few jobs around Ian's camp (the local cray fisherman). He has been battling with the issue of refrigeration for years. Because his generator only runs for part of the day, standard fridges tend to be unable to keep up with the heat when only powered part of the time. We have installed a 12 volt compressor fridge (danfoss compressor) and a couple of deep cycle batteries. The fridge runs on 240v when the generator is running and a large (25amp) smart charger keeps the batteries charged. The whole system seems to work very well and has been a fairly economic solution to the problem.

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