Monthly Archives: September 2011
We sail tomorrow. Went aboard this morning at about 9.30am. Have spent today going through all the various duties on board; including handling ropes, climbing afloat,watches and manning the helm. Yes they entrust the helm to each of us for about an hour each day during our watch.I am in Solander’s cabin which he shared with another. Could not possibly have been at the same time. Solander was one of the artists who drew the botany and animals discovered on the voyage. He died on the way back to England from dysentery in Batavia (now Jakarta). I have decided not to go aloft at this stage as there is a fair bit of climbing where you take big steps sideways and the need at times to squat as you move which is not very comfortable for the knee! I will have a go towards the end of the trip. Have seen lots of whales during the day, some breaching and others just cruising past. apparently, we will see plenty of them on the way south.
We go out of internet range so this will be my last blog until Geraldton in about 10 days. You can follow along on the ship’s blog which works via satellite. See blog roll below for link.
Well I have arrived in Exmouth to join the Endeavour on the sail down to Geraldton.This is a bit under 1000 km and will take about 10 days. In Exmouth I am staying at the Ningaloo Lodge. Exmouth is the base for the Ningaloo Reef fanatics and the spot you can go diving and swimming along with the Whale Shark amongst others such as Manta Rays and Hump Back whales and the like. Crystal blue seas and clear skies. Spent the afternoon at the Exmouth Game Fishing Club overlooking the Exmouth Gulf with the Endeavour laying offshore. HMAS Wollongong is also here and a few of the crew are also at the Club, interesting characters about 10 blokes and one lady. Look a lot like the crew from that TV show Patrol Boat. Looking out across the Exmouth Gulf you are actually looking east with the sun setting behind you, seems odd over here in the west! Will try to post daily blogs but may not be able to because of internet availabilty, you can also follow the ships blog but using the link on the side here in the blog role.
Well we spent yesterday chasing the sun in the morning and again at night, it was a long day finished off at the Outback Pioneer BBQ Bar. You buy the steaks of varying types and prices ( or emu, kangaroo, prawn skewers) and then cook them yourself on the BBQ, throw a bit of weary salad on the plate with a baked potato. and away you go to find a seat among the masses eating and listening to a one man band. Must be the most profitable eatery at Yulara. Slept like a rock.
One of the standouts of the trip has been the native plants and flowers. The recent heavy rains have thrown the cycles out a bit and the landscape is full of colours; green, red, yellow, purple, pink, white. This is all set against a red earth and a deep blue day after the morning haze burns off.
We finish up today and fly back to Brisbane.
Set off today,actually it was yesterday I am a day behind, for Kata Tjuta or The Olgas in the European tradition. I prefer KT. This is about a 45 minute drive from Yulara and we left around 9am with the intention of doing the Valley of the Winds walk, the full circuit and staying on for the sunset. Well we did the VoW circuit but were so worn out that we headed back to Yulara early. It was a great walk, took us 5.5 hours up hill, down hill and across slopes. Was a real tester for my knee which came through reasonably well. I was pretty determined to do it after being passed in the early stage by a young guy with artificial legs below the knee, a bit of a reminder that there is always someone else doing it tougher. Leanne and I are both stiff in the legs after it all though and not eager for another long walk. Some great scenery amongst the domes. When you look at Uluru you wonder what is inside the Rock and when you are within the domes of Kata Tjutu you wonder what is on the outside!
Off early this morning to catch sun up. Sun came up but it was not a great flaming red rock, lot more subdued. Maybe it is the time of year. Spent rest of the morning at the Cultural Centre having a look-see and then a wander around the Mala walk and the Kantju Gorge. This was a 2 hour stroll on pretty level ground, had lunch at the head of the gorge. Also had a look at the characters walking up Uluru, or more correctly dragging themselves up a chain to the top. All ages and nationalities! Leanne spotted and chased a sand goanna for a picture. After lunch we headed back to the unit for a breather before heading off for the Sounds of Silence dinner out on the sand dunes under the stars. We were seated at a table with Aussies from Sydney and Melbourne and also a Spanish couple out on the see Australia in 24 days itinerary. They have had a great time, including a few days on Kangaroo Isl, also going to Fraser Isl. The dinner was really good and we were entertained with the didgeridoo and a look through the night sky with a star-gazer. Earlier we had seen the sun set but again there was not the flame red rock, but subdued tones.Tomorrow Kata Tjuta
Well here we are at Uluru. At last. A decision was made a few weeks ago to make a journey to Uluru, Ayres Rock for some. One of those Aussie icons to be seen by all. The flight out of Brisbane to Sydney was uneventful. Arrived in Sydney a little later than expected, usual Sydney delays. A quick cup of coffee with Stuart, Leanne’s brother, at the airport was enjoyed. He was enroute to Canberra. The flight from Sydney to Uluru was eventful as we detoured via Alice Springs to drop off an ill passenger. But undeterred we took off about an hour late and headed for the Rock. Staying at the Desert Garden Hotel at Yulara. Bit of a wander around the hotel and grounds before dinner. Dinner was one of those sophisticated sort of events with fancy food, but not much of it! We had a taster plate of native fare; smoked emu, rare kangaroo and buffalo with some bush tucker sauces to accompany each. Followed by salmon and a chicken dish. Then bed. Off to the sunrise viewing of Uluru tomorrow morning. Sun up is 7.04am. We have a half hour drive to be there. Attached is a photo of the view of the Rock from our hotel room. And so the adventure continues, at least until tomorrow…………..