Friday, 24 June 2011

80 Mile Beach and BEAUTIFUL BROOME

80 mile beach

This was only going to be a quick one night stop for us, but when we reached the caravan park we quickly decided to stay longer. In the middle of nowhere we took a turn of the highway and down an unsealed road of red dust, at the end of the road was the 80 mile beach caravan park. And just over the sand dunes was the most stunning beach that went of for miles (well 80 of them actually) it was beautiful. Again the park was full of grey nomads, but it had such a relaxed cheerful feel about it and OMG the bestest fun ever, a wed arvo market on the grassed area….well tickle me pink we all know just how much I love a market and this one was a douzy!!!! We wandered down to the ‘grassed area’ just after one and the stalls were all set up, (all 9 of them) there was knitted hats, crocheted rugs, SHELL PEOPLE, (I had so forgotten the old shell people), my favourite stall was the old dot selling Videos and burned dvd’s…I couldn’t help but think did she plan this before she went on her trip, is this her way of supplementing the pension?) there was fishing ‘stuff’ second hand clothes (nothing like blending in with the  nomads)  second hand books and wait for it ….my favourite….nan and pop with a microphone and electric keyboard singing up a storm for everyone!!! OMG so funny. I was mesmorised by the turn out, I particularly loved the oldies who were singing along to the old songs…it was an awesome afternoon (ok 40 minutes) of fun!!! Then it got better Wednesday night was BURGER night, for $6 and byo chairs you too could enjoy the fun of burger night! So at 5pm the Watsons headed off for burger night , we headed up to the general store (well the only store at the site) and there was a see of grey as the nomads had all got their early to secure a good seat, they were chilling and drinking and the laughter was non stop….the kids were accosted by all missing their grandies and played right into their hands! ! oh and the burgers were delicious! Who would think that in the middle of nowhere so much was going on! 

We ended up staying in 80 mile beach for another night, the stars were enormous and the beach walks were beautiful, as much as the kids tried to go for a swim it was a little cold to go all the way in so we just enjoyed splashing about and having some family time. It seems that we really enjoy these places in the middle of nowhere and are readily preparing to free camp some more along the way to Darwin…..that’s if we ever leave Broome!  The only downside was that Mike didn’t bring enough beer with him to last two nights and that we didn’t have enough petrol in the car to go 4 wheel driving along the beach!!!!!

On the Friday we headed off to Broome, with all the hoo haa about not having booked months in advance we had no trouble getting a site at a caravan park. We may not have been in the park right next to the beach but we are pretty happy where we are. Again Mike and I are making up stories to match the people on other sites, we love wondering what they are doing, why they are here, how long they are staying….we think we are pretty good at spotting the short termers now as you can tell by the amount of stuff they put up. My favourite at this park is the ‘boys’ across the road’. On an unpowered site there are about 3 or 4 boys, probably early 20’s they seem to be doing some work around the caravan park, (possibly for cheap accommodation) they have two cars, and two tents but the funniest thing is that they have a fridge and a BIG Screen TV just plonked in the middle of nowhere….then they have this super long power cord running across the country back to a powered site…it is hilarious….here are these guys  with next to nothing but they manage to have a super huge tv! And tonight they were playing games, so they obviously have some gaming device with them too, it is hiliarous!!!
The only downer of this park is that the walk to the loo’s is about a 1km return trip. I know this isn’t far, but it sure feels far in the middle of the night!

We spent the weekend wandering around checking out the markets, watching stair case to the moon, which is an event where the moon’s reflections on the mud banks creates what appears to be a stair case leading to the moon, so very beautiful, and just relaxing by the camper watching the world go by.

Monday June the something (I have no idea what the date is anymore!)
Some days can be really really long on the road, the small living quarters, the lack of personal space, the inability to hide for 5 minutes to regain your composure, the constant ‘wanting’ and questioning by the kids, the nappy  changes the I need to go to the toilet, the I need to do poos after you have just taken them to the toilet, the I’m hungry, I'm thirsty, I spilt my drink, I’m still thirsty, the I’m bored, the ‘mum, can I play on your phone’  the ‘mum can I play the ds’, the ‘what can I do then’ the snot forever pouring from someone’s nose, the smell of 5 people in a small camper, ( my kids are big FARTERS!) can sometimes drive you to drink (and it’s only just gone 10am!). Today  was like that,… was meant to be a great day, we were going to do lots of touristy things in Broome, but it ended up being ‘one of those days'.

We piled the kids in the car, turned the key…nothing, zip nada……so we jiggled the gear stick, turned the key and away we thought we would go, but no, our car drove forward but the stick was stuck in reverse YIPPEEE our car is fucked again!!! As we could not put our car in park we were then stuck with the problem that once we turn it off, we can’t turn it back on!!!!!! So mike dropped me and the kids in town and went in search of an available mechanic in Broome, during the dry season….(yes I can hear your laughter!!!!). Mike pulled up to the holden dealer ship, they said we won’t be able to even look at it till tomorrow and we don’t have a vacany to do any repairs for a fortnight….(apparently all the grey nomads book their cars in for a service whilst in Broome!) so thank goodness for racv total care, we have a hire car and are having a possible extended holiday in Broome!!!

Holden did call us back later that afternoon and said that the cable was broken, a minor job, then the pause….BUT they don’t make those cables anymore so we will need to try and source one from a wreckers somewhere in the state!!!, wow I am seriously loving our car right now!!!!

So, deep breath in and out, righto a few weeks in Broome what a great thing!

So for the remainder of the day Mike did the running around, changing car seats out of our car, into the rental, removing ALL our shit from our car into the rental and I enjoyed a 6 hour wander around town in 30degrees with three kids in tow!!!  During this time scarli ran away and nearly ran onto a road, Lola managed to spill drinks all down her so I had to purchase a new change of clothes for her, Scarli also managed to spill a goodly amount of softdrink EVERYWHERE at lunch (and by everywhere the majority hit me and mike!) we had tantrums from Lola who  did not want to be in the pram….oh happy days!!! By the time we got back to the camper I was in need of a little ‘alone’ time, so mikie took the two eldest to the pool whilst Lola napped and I read a mag, I recharged ready for the onslaught of tea etc, however Mikie didn’t quite manage to regain his composure and has had ‘one of those days’ I am so glad that he is experiencing ‘one of those days’ as I am sure he always thought I was exaggerating what ‘one of those days’ could be like! Now it is a little after 8, tea is cooked, dishes are done, I have had a dance with the kids in the camper, put Lola to bed, read them the final chapters of James and the giant peach, put the eldest two to bed, had a relaxing shower and am sitting back with my milo….I am leaving Mike to his own devices outside (eg drinking beer!)

I do think though that even on the crazy days like today, where it wouldn’t matter where you were, it takes a lot of energy to parent the kids and still be pleasant, that I would rather be here, doing this than anything else in the world right now! Tomorrow is another day!

Tuesday June the something
So after the commotion of yesterday, Holden called back and said that they repaired our cable and the car is all good to go Yippee!, today I had a little ‘me’ time without Mikie and the kids, I had a pedicure, shopped, drank coffee, listened in on other people’s conversations, visited art galleries and working artist studios, chatted to the locals, had a lovely peaceful lunch without any children spilling their drinks or food on me, I window shopped at the very expensive pearls and generally recharged with a little Treenie time! What a hard life I am leading! Broome really is lovely, not too commercialized (yet), and although there is a very obvious relaxed touristy feel, there is something else in the water (or air), the place seems to hum to its own rhythm, or  maybe I am in my own little happy place and the hum I can hear is my heart a smiling ALL the time!

another relaxing day spent kicking back at the caravan park on the Wednesday (well except for the quick trip to Hospital for Lola who had done a runner straight of the bed face planting into the side of the cupboard and had appeared to split her lip open),  we geared up for our last full day in Broome. On the Thursday the kids and I swam at the caravan park at the icily cold pool, we went for a camel ride down the beach and then a four wheel drive down the beach past the nudist beach. There I was sitting on the camel with Oscar and Scarli watching all nude nomads (I didn’t look close enough to see if they were ‘grey’ if you know what I mean), Oscar looks over and casually says to me without a care in the world “Check out there big bare buts mum!” I was trying very hard not to fall off with laughter! After the camel ride, Mike took as back past the nude nomads on a four wheel drive adventure, well again we couldn’t stop giggling like a bunch of school girls everytime a ‘nudey’ would bend over in the direction of their friends, it seemed a little funny to see all these ‘senior’ people just swaying in the breeze without a care in the world, and to have oscar making farting sounds everytime we passed one that was bending!

The mood was then set for a very funny evening, Mike and I watched as the boys over the road packed up their HUGE tv, packing it back into its box like a prized possession, they then put the picnic table and chairs back in the ‘makeshift camp kitchen’  (this was a fridge with tarps around it), they then packed up every thing but one tent, Mike and I could only imagine the cramped night’s sleep all four of them would have that night in the small two man tent!

The site on the other side were having a farewell party for one of the travelling companions, so we sat tucked up in bed with our canvasses down listening to the funny stories they were telling about fishing and four wheel driving and fu$%*….well you can imagine the rest!  Then everytime one would walk past to go to the toilets mike and I would amuse ourselves by doing different animal noises. It started out as soft bird calls, cats meowing, skippy calling for sonny, until we couldn’t help ourselves and started ‘raaaing’ like dinosaurs! We were literally crying with laughter as we watched startled people trying to work out where the noises were coming from. By the end of it I had tears, snot and teaspoons all in one hit, the belly laughs were awesome, and Mikey again had the silent shaking shoulders, the sign that Mike has once again cracked himself up! What a funny night!

Friday June the something
Good bye Broome, hello Derby
So with a great deal of feet stomping, screams of ‘I don’t want to go’ and tantrums (from Theresa not the kids) Mike packed up around me, eager to head off to our next destination, Derby. This is just a quick overnight stop on our next leg across the kimberley’s. We visited the local touristy sites, the Boab prison tree, the jetty  that has the highest tidal movement in Australia and the longest trough in the southern hemisphere and are ready for an early morning departure. A bitterly disappointed Mike is just waiting for the day we can go four wheel driving down the Gibb River Road, but his cautious wife has vetoed the drive as we are not prepared at all for the conditions, so instead Mike is settling for a few days of free camping, with no showers, toilets, electricity…OMG what am I in for!!!!)

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Road Kill!

Today’s blog is dedicated to Road Kill, today we hit our first road kill, a little birdy flew straight into our car and bam it was dead, the poor thing, I’m not a fan of dead things but am taking more of an interest in the decaying carcasses that are lining the highways! We are seeing a lot of headless kangaroos, (apparently they go out on the road at night to eat from the side of the road, look up when they see headlights and BAM a road train clear takes off their heads! (very sad), but the last few days we have seen some pretty amazing things, there is a lot of cattle that wander  these roads, so we have now seen sheep and COWS as road kill, the cows were really strange because someone had obviously dragged them off the road and they were upside down with their legs straight in the air, they looked bizarre, but what was even stranger was the decaying carcasses that looked like someone had deflated the cow, all the insides were gone but the hide was still in mint condition!!! What is even more amazing is watching the massive eagles lift a whole kangaroo carcass off the road, it is such a sight, today the eagle had the carcass and was raising it higher in the air, then it dropped it and SPLAT road kill again!! We were very lucky it didn’t drop it on our car, that would have been a strange incident to tell the insurance company!!! (yes a kangaroo really did fall out of the sky onto our car!)
Karratha (or as Scarli called it, Karratha Arthur)                                                                                  
Today we left Exmouth and did a 5 hour drive to Karratha, this is the hub of the Pilbara region and we only stayed overnight to refuel, again the price of caravan parks is increasing as we head further north, tonight it cost, 65$ for ONE NIGHT! We are now getting more prepared to free camp a lot more to save a few dollars as the price apparently will only get dearer as we get higher! The next morning we left windy ville (as mike referred to it) and headed to port hedland. Again we are only staying overnight on our way to Broome, we have had a quick look around the town, purchased some expensive groceries and booked into the cheapest caravan park we could find. At 40$ a night, the lady was lovely and didn’t charge for kids! (some parks charge 10$ a kid!)

We have had a wander round the caravan park which is full of permanent sites, many of the mine workers live here and it certainly has a feeling of trailer trash!!! (the watson’s will fit right in!!) it is funny to see these old caravan’s that have got trashy annexes etc then next to it, there are these huge big expensive boats, quad bikes, and 4 wheel drives!

Both in Karratha and Port Hedland there are many ‘make shift suburbs’ with rows and rows of little tin houses that are obviously for the fly in fly out crowd….a very different lifestyle and one I don’t think I would enjoy. We have definitely left the beautiful peaceful coastal areas and are now in mining country with lots of red didrt, trucks, railway lines, big piles of salt and ‘miny’ stuff everywhere!

Tomorrow we are heading out of the Pilbara region and up to 80mile beach, on our way to Broome!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

On the road again Cervantes to Exmouth


We arrived at Cervantes (or stinkville as Mike liked to call it), a small fishing town and set up for the night. Our main purpose was to see the pinnacles that everyone had said was amazing, so we jumped in the car when it was close to dusk to see these amazing rocks, we were told they were up to 5 meters tall, well Mike isn’t too sure who was measuring these rocks as we didn’t really see any that tall, they were still pretty  and although our kids seem a little ‘looked out’ Mike and I enjoyed the views. It wasn’t great weather and during the night it teamed down. Again Mike and I are wondering when the nice weather is going to kick in……during the night we had the dreaded call that all campers don’t want to hear, from Oscar…..”I’m going to be sick” and so it started, the pooing and spewing commenced, my poor boy was so sick and had to keep walking to the toilet blocks all night in the rain, (and so did his mother) this was the start of a very long few days for little Oscar who took about four days for the little bug to leave his system. The next day we had to keep going as we had pre booked at the next town, so poor Oscar had to drive all the way to Geraldton in not so nice a condition.

Geraldton (or shitsville as Mike named it)
Not only did Oscar continue to live up to Geraldton’s new name, it was also cold and raining there as well, so one of us continually had to stay at the camper with osc (or at the hospital) whilst the other tried to amuse the girls in the wet weather, needless to say Mike and I both got cabin fever very quickly…..nothing like bad weather, sick kids and tired parents to make for an interesting few days! As soon as Oscar felt a little better we hightailed it out of Shitsville and headed for Kalbarri.

Kalbarri was BEAUTIFUL, again the weather was not as kind as it could have been and Mike and I spent quite a lot of time getting wet trying to take in the beauty of the national parks, the kids enjoyed sitting in the car watching dvd’s whilst we climbed to the nearest look outs, our adventurous scarlie was always up to checking out the views, (I think she just liked getting wet in the rain!!!!) Whilst at  Kalbarri we were lucky enough to be there for the Kalbarri canoeing and cray festival!!! Wow what a great time we watson’s had!! In the drizzling rain we watched  as others canoed, we searched high and low for the crays with no success (I think that was how they got people there by the lure of the cray!!!!) and the kids played on the three carnival rides and attractions! The kids were happy to win a soft toy  from the clown,s that promptly started to fall  apart the next day. However against all odds Kalbarri will be remembered not only for it’s magical national parks but for my first attempt at beating my fear of the roller coaster!!!! And what a ride it was, Scarli and I were definitely enjoying the ‘fast paced’ ride as it went up and down and around and around……look out Gold Coast theme parks here I come (NOT)

Our next stop was Monkey Mia, we stayed in Denham which is about 30 minutes from Monkey Mia, our caravan park was lovely with great views out to sea, the weather finally started to heat up and we enjoyed going for some great beach walks, we also enjoyed sitting at the pub watching the footy and having a few drinks. The next day we ventured to monkey mia nice and early in the morning to better our chances of seeing the dolphins, it was amazing, the dolphins were beautiful and swam right up to you, oscar was very lucky to be selected to feed one a fish and he thought that was awesome (they actually pointed at me so oscar should think himself lucky that I let him go in my place) we had a great time at monkey mia, enjoying the glorious weather, we then hired a 4 person paddle boat and attempted to enjoy some family fun. Against Mike and my advice, Oscar chose the paddle boat (we were gunning for the motorized glass bottom boat you could hire) and so the family fun began! Firstly Lola took an aversion to wearing the life jacket and spent the entire time squirming and trying to get out of it! Then my poor baby  just screamed and yelled to get off the paddle boat and into the ocean, she was so funny to watch as she changed from unhappy that she had to wear the life jacket, to unhappy that she couldn’t get in the water!!!! Her expressions were priceless and even though she doesn’t say too much with words, she can certainly get her point across!
So we paddled around for a little while, trying to hold our baby in the boat, then Oscar got a little cocky and started to dip his feet into the water, Mike couldn’t help himself and had to push him into the ocean. The look on oscar’s face was so funny that I nearly peed my pants with laughter! OMG I laughed and then I couldn’t stop laughing at Mike who was laughing so hard that he got the shoulder shakes, tears streaming out his eyes and the silent laugh all happening. Oscar was devastated and quickly hoisted himself back into the paddle boat, only to have Mike push him in again!!! Oscar then cracked the shits and swam back into shore, The guy who we hired the boat from didn’t know whether to be worried oscar wouldn’t make it back into shore, or to laugh at how funny we must have looked at there, one baby desperately trying to jump in, one 7yo cracking the shits, 2 parents killing themselves with laughter and the ever adventurous Scarli, loving every minute of it!

That night I was thinking about the guy that we hired the boat from, what a life he must have sitting on the beach all day tinkering in his little boat shack, hiring out canoes, and paddle boats to tourist, listening to so many different stories as people come by. Certainly sounds like a pretty good life to me. He was so totally chilled and relaxed, looked like he didn’t have a care in the world, he dropped down onto the beach and played with Lola, chatted about his own kids and you could tell he was a very happy soul!

What we have loved about the last stretch of the trip:
The hitchhiker who hitched all the way from Geralton to Monkey Mia, with his guitar on his back, we would often pass him sitting on the highway strumming his guitar and smiling as you drove by. Mike loved responding to his outstretched thumbs up with his own 'thumbs up' as he drove by, and then cracking himself up with the same joke about hitchhikers must get sick of people giving them the thumbs up back!!!

Mike has loved the quaint little places we stay at, much more than the bigger towns. His favourite thing however is his new beer fridge, he is so happy to not be walking down to the reception at every caravan park in an attempt to get a bag of ice for less than 6 dollars. (his beer fridge is just saving us money he tells me, it’s nearly already payed for itself!!!!) And it came in very handy when the dunderhead forgot to switch the other fridge over when we stopped and all the meat we had stocked up on thawed out!!

I have loved finally getting some warmer weather, relaxing at night outside listening to other people’s conversations around us, star gazing and watching the world go by  (oh and that Oscar has finally stopped shitting!!!!)

Scarlett’s response to what she has loved is as always ‘the playgrounds’, and having some new friends to play with,
Lola has loved the beach and pool and Oscar has loved the fact that he has stopped pooing and can eat what everyone else is eating!!!!!

Next stop was Canarvon, this was a quick pit stop to pick up some supplies before heading off to Coral bay.

CORAL BAY Wednesday 8th June
Ok so now I am in heaven, the weather is beautiful, no one is sick, the bay is just stunning, a perfect spot to swim and snorkel! We are staying at the Bay View caravan park, which is great, the kids are making new friends again and enjoying some new faces to play with, Oscar is a little unhappy I have put a ban on all electronic toys for the next few days, but is finding many other things to do to keep himself amused. Scarlett is excited that there is another new playground to discover and Lola is just happy being outside.

The first day we arrived we all wandered across the road to the beach and had a great afternoon in the water which is so warm and inviting, I have been very brave and swam in the bay where many fish just swim past you as you play in the water, it is definitely helping with my aversion to swimming with the thought that a fish may get up you know where!!!!! Again Mike and I are making friends with many grey nomads (or slowmads as Mike now calls them) we are getting heaps of advice from them as to where to go and what to do as we venture further north.  The kids loved swimming in the ocean, Lola loves to pick up the sand and just dump it on her head, she also loves to shove her sandy hands straight into her mouth!!!

On the Thursday, Mike went quad biking along the sand dunes which he said was awesome fun, whilst he was gone I took the kids to  the pool at the caravan park, which was so warm, they all loved it! By the end of the day our kids are so tired they are nearly pleading to go to bed, you can tell when Lola is tired as she walks up to her end of the camper, climbs up on to the chair, then onto the bed, then into her cot and waits for you to zip her up! It is too cute!  

The next day I took Oscar out on a coral viewing boat, we saw some amazing coral, fish, octopus, and the highlight was the turtle. It was so amazing, the fish just seemed to follow the boat and it felt like they were just staring at you, not the other way round. In coral bay the reef is literally only metres from the beach (there is only 2 in the world like it) so you really don’t have to go far to see some amazing underwater views.

Coral Bay was just amazing, it is such a small coastal town with only 169 permanent residents, and although the caravan parks were full, the beaches were not crowded at all and it  did not feel touristy, (except for the prices, a block of chocolate at the small supermarket was 7.50!!!) Coral Bay is definitely on my list of come back agains!!!!

As we don’t seem to be getting very far on our travels, we decided to head up to exmouth on the chance of seeing some whale sharks (the largest fish in the ocean), we weren’t lucky enough to see one, but did manage to see some Manta Rays which were beautiful. The beaches in the National Park in Exmouth were again amazing, so we spent the day at a very windy turquoise bay, again we walked only a few metres into the water and were surrounded by some amazing fish We also managed a small walk with the kids through the gorge but as we always do forgot to take the camera with us, so couldn’t take some pictures of the amazing views and scenery!

As we keep forgetting to take photos, and in keeping with the latest craze of tv shows to do a musical episode, Mike and I have decided that instead of having the run of the mill ‘slide night’ when we get back, we are going to perform

“THE WANDERING WATSON’S, THE MUSICAL (seeing Australia one playground at a time!) "

With me as lead vocals it is sure to be a hit. I think I may even get Scarlett following in my footsteps, all day she says to one of us “Listen to this song, I just made it up, right out of my brain” or “my tummy is telling me that this is a better song!!!” (her tummy also tells her when it’s time to eat icecream, mandarins, lunch etc, it is very funny)

Scarlett is really enjoying all the one on one attention she is receiving, (and even when the focus isn’t on her she still thinks it is!!!) she is forever making up stories in the car about anything, she will hear mike and I mention something and off she goes ….’listen to this story Mum, it’s about ‘ROADKILL’ it is hilarious!!!

So I must sign off now, (I have to get the lyrics to the opening number of our show down before I forget them) tomorrow we are off to Karattha on our way to Broome. xoxo