To the North: we’ve reached Broome

We’ve been managing our lack of power quite well. If we wait until about 9.00 a.m. we can turn on the 12volt system and use the water pump. By then we are getting enough solar power to run it. Amazingly this ‘overflow’ section of the caravan has a water tap for each campsite, which means we don’t have to use our water pump as we have the water hooked up. Even so, this morning at about 7.30 a.m. the battery was flashing a warning. Only the fridge was on and I turned it off for about an hour to let the solar catch up. We are getting lots of solar power now as we have no shade, all good.

We are still finding evenings get chilly, even here near the beach. There has been a strong, cool wind during the day for the past few days and even when the sun is high it helps to keep things cool. It also makes it comfortable to sleep and we are still using our doona at night.

On our last evening at Meentheena we walked up the nearby hill for the sunset, then joined the rest of the campers around the fire for the Ode. Again, we enjoyed chatting with other campers before heading off to our van to have tea.

In the morning we were packed and ready to leave by about 10.00 a.m. It was a beautiful drive to Marble Bar for essentials. A little shopping, fuel and water. I checked out the dump point but it was full to overflowing. It is the only local dump point as the caravan park doesn’t have one. Although the Marble Bar Races were cancelled because of the lockdown (couldn’t get staff) a lot of people had already arrived and the town was busy. Race goers had been allowed to camp and use the portable toilets at the race track and some of them had joined us at Meentheena, which is how we knew the story. I think this meant just too much strain on the dump point.

For our next overnight we stopped at the Des Streckfuss Rest Area. There were three vans and one truck also staying the night there. The dump point was very handy and although there was no water supplied for washing down it was fairly clean. Exasperatingly as we were leaving I used it again and some idiot had put a plastic bottle down there, which will almost certainly block it. Why oh why would someone do that!

Yesterday morning we travelled about 280kms to reach the 80 mile Beach Caravan Park. It was our first opportunity to camp at the beach and we were able to near the waves at night when the wind wasn’t as strong. It feels great to be travelling so far north. I haven’t been up this way since quite early in our marriage when we had the old blue Subaru sedan. Stephen came this way when he took a Greyhound trip around Australia, but even that was at least 20 years ago. I’m interested to see Broome again even though we know it will be very busy with tourists. But, we are too.

Our roast dinner Sunday night was excellent. Everything well cooked, the vegetables looking a good colour, etc. We ended up with three deserts, so shared the two that were different and saved the rest for the next day (now yesterday).

The road into the 80 Mile Beach Caravan Park is 9 kms of corrugations that were much too deep to go fast over. For most of the way we went at about 12kms an hour. This was having consideration for all of the internal furniture as well as the van components.

We plan to see if we can stay at the Seventh Day Adventist campground in Broome. It doesn’t take bookings and like this caravan park says it will accommodate everyone who needs to stay even if it is without power or water hookups. We shall see. Another place to stay is outside of the place where we are going to have our batteries checked. If there is no security around it would be very handy for the next morning at 9.00 a.m. when they open up.

We have to be close to Broome until the 12th for Stephen’s vaccination shot. That will be 12 weeks from his first shot and he booked it before we left. I haven’t worried about booking mine. I’m not sure where we will be two weeks after the 12th, which is when mine is due. I can always ask at a local medical centre and if the answer is ‘no’ then it will have to wait until later in the trip.

Update from Broome

We arrrived in Broome yesterday at about 3.30 p.m. after what was a long distance for us, about 380 kms. We shared the driving equally, which worked out well as neither of us was particularly tired at the end of the day. We went to the Seventh Day adventist overflow, but they were full. He recommend the place where we ended up. The dump point was at the Visitor Centre. It was very busy, but Stephen was able to pick up some brochures.

In the end we found free camping at the Surf Lifesaving Club on Cable Beach. Talk about a great option for the night! We also met up with our friends Frederick and Sherene who just happened to be staying there as well. They were in Broome for an extra night and it was quite by chance. Frederick had some advice for upgrading our system and we have followed that advice, plus the input from Roger at AllVolts here in Broome.

We have two new lithium batteries, are having a setup for using an external solar panel, and having a new battery charger installed that is suitable for lithium. We will need to come back to have an electrican finalise the setup, at a time to be determined.

Even here in Broome, about four hundred kilometres north of 80 Mile Beach, the evening became quite chilly. We went for a sunset walk along the boardwalk overlooking the beach and I regretted not bringing a jacket. Stephen had a jumper on, but he is always prepared. Of course, the cool overnight temperature helps us to sleep.

Today has been quite warm, especially as we had the van parked in the sun for most of the installation, but there has been a pleasant breeze all day, which has been comfortable in the shade, if not in the sun.

Stephen rang the hospital to confirm his appointment next week and the hospital could find no record of his appointment. We looked it up, and it was definitely there, so he rang back again just to make sure they agreed with our findings. We can then plan our tours, etc. around the appointment.

So far we like Broome even though we have spent most of the day getting our batteries replaced and various bits and peices installed. We need to restock our fridge and plan the rest of our time in this area.

This morning we relocated to the next carpark (which is one of the rules with the free camping) with Frederick and Sherene and caught up with their plans. They are going to an event in Derby on Friday night and we are thinking of joining them there.

When we tried to contact Matt last night the internet was down. It turned out later it was just one part of the van and if we had known we could have had a Facetime session with him. Stephen rang him anyway for a chat and we will catch up on Wednesday night for a Facetime. Hopefully!!