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Australia 2010 and 2011

Carnarvon ...... or ......

How to get a House!

Leg details

May 7, 2010 - February 1, 2011
Perth - Carnarvon - Exmouth - Coral Bay - Carnarvon - Perth - Kelmscott - Perth

Leg map (click to enlarge in separate window)

On Friday morning, May 7, 2010, after a lengthy delay because of a busted windscreen and problems with the clutch we are finally ready to leave Perth.
We intend to buy a house in Carnarvon.
We picked Carnarvon because the place fulfils all he requirement we had found to be important to us, such as water, good shopping facilities, an airport and a hospital.

But first we help our friends Ursula and Armando ( getting organised with the shipment of their MAN to Japan.
Next year our OKA will be here too ..... to be shipped to Africa .....

After dropping them off at the airport and then we head north on the Great Northern Highway.
It is an unusual warm day and the temperature reaches 30°C.

We find ourselves a small spot to camp off the Brand Highway and are rewarded with a pretty sunset.
As soon as the sun sets the temperature stars dropping and a strong wind picks up.

After an amazingly quiet night with almost no noise form the highway on Saturday we continue on in northerly direction.

There is smoke in the sky from the corn fields that are made ready for the new crop by burning off last year's stubble.
The temperature slowly climbs from 14°C over night to a comfortable 23°C.

Shortly before the turn-off to Cervantes an Asian couple stands at the entry to the rest area holding a sign "Car need help".
We turn around and have a look at the problem they have ... but the smell of the clutch tells it all: it is gone ...
As they cannot get any gears working we have no other choice than to tow them to the next garage ... which according to the tourist info at the rest area is in Cervantes ... some 50 km away.

After hooking the stricken vehicle up to the OKA Susi gets the walkie-talkie out of the OKA and takes the co-driver seat in the broken down car while the female passenger of the broken down car gets into the passenger seat of the OKA.
Without any problem we reach Cervantes but the local garage has no possibilities to fix a clutch and sends us off to Jurien Bay.

On the way we have lots of time to talk and find out that they are from Hong Kong.
He is in Australia on a working holiday visa and she is visiting.

In Jurien Bay we are luckier.
The garage does repairs like that but it is Saturday afternoon and the mechanics has to order the pars in from Perth.
So we tow the car into the campground opposite of the garage and say goodbye to the couple.
We promise that we will visit them in Hong Kong and he will cook Cantonese for us.

We continue on along the coast on the Indian Ocean Drive until we reach the Brand Highway again.
Late in the afternoon we reach Geraldton where we stay for the night.
During the night we can hear the sound of the waves .....

On Sunday morning we continue on north and after a short break for lunch at the Gladstone Scenic Lookout we reach Carnarvon in the afternoon.
We can stay at the place of Cherry and Robert Williamson (OKA 429) at Olivia Terrace, directly at the famous Fascine.
We head into town and have a look around.
Tomorrow we will get the bicycles out and explore Carnarvon.

The evening is balmy and we can sleep with open windows, wonderful!

On Monday morning we receive a SMS-notice that the property we were interested in has gone .... so we sit down and have a good look at all the remaining objects on the market and decide on what to visit.
Then it is time to get onto our bicycles and check out potential candidates.
We like the area around the harbour quite a bit.

After lunch we visit the real estate agents and decide that the people at Elders definitely are the people that we want to deal with.
We arrange for some visits for tomorrow.

As we are on the way "home" the phone rings.
Trish, the agent from Elders lets us know that another renovation object will go onto the market tomorrow and that we will include it in the house inspection tour.
What a day!

Back at the OKA we sit down and start some serious calculations about what we can afford and what would be off limit.
One of the objects that Trish will show us is just not in reach so we let her know that we will only visit the two remaining objects: The one at Hubble Street and the renovation object.

On Tuesday morning we meet at 10 am in front of 45 Hubble Street.
The little house had already caught Ruedi's attention the first time we drove past.

It is just neat and exactly what we need.

Besides a garage for use by the future tenant it even has a shed in the back garden where we can store all our stuff that will remain in Australia while we are on our world trip.

And one can even see the ocean from the veranda .... if one stands on the toes!

The house is also on elevated ground that is actually higher than the nearby levee banks.
Carnarvon has a history of flooding due to cyclones and after the last flooding the levee banks were elevated by quite a bit and should now sustain a flood level of 7.70 m.
But one never knows ......
So should Carnarvon get flooded again because the levee banks are too low we should have a bit more margin and should be one of the last houses to get flooded in this area.

Trish shows us the renovation object but we don't like the area .... too noisy.
So we quickly make up our minds and decide to go for the cute one at Hubble Street.
Trish is a bit surprised that we decide so quickly and wants to give us more time.
But we had done all the "if"s and "but"s the night before and know what to expect.
So we arrange to meet her in the office after lunch.

Then all goes quickly and by 1:30 PM all necessary papers are signed.
Next is to get insurance on it.
Two hours later this is done too and we head to the Old Post Office Café where we celebrate with a pizza and a great banana / pancake desert with lots of butter scotch sauce!

On Wednesday we get in contact with the bank.
Well - well - well ..... we have to learn that we now live "rural" or in other words "in the country" ....
The bank wants the property to be valuated but the next valuation agent is in Geraldton, some 360 km south of Carnarvon ... and they only come to Carnarvon every so often, next time will be in some 2 weeks.
We cannot believe this and head into town to the local bank to enquire if they can do this a bit quicker .... but they use the same valuation office ... in Geraldton .... so no luck here either so we might as well stick to our bank!
The next problem comes because we are "grey nomads", travelling retirees on a private pension: we have no payslip!
But our finance manager in Perth will get in contact with the home loans department and tell them, that we have enough money on the account and they don't have to worry.
So that is solved too.
A bit stressed out we go to bed.

On Thursday morning we wake up to clouds.
As we are in the shopping centre a bit of rain falls, just enough to wet the roads.
People are very happy about this ... it is the first rain they have seen in 18 months!

Back at the OKA we get busy with our e-mails.
The bank wants to know our address ... we don't have one .... all we got is the address of our post forwarding company.
Hmmmm ... again we don't fit into the scheme.
But as we have a good credit history this will not cause problems with the loan, it is just a bit unusual and the computer forms are not really set up for this case.

What is annoying is that the bank cannot give finance approval until the valuation is received/completed.
So we will have to wait for that to be done before we will receive the keys for the house.
What a shame!
Susi wanted to plant some flowers in the garden but they will have to wait a bit too.

During the night the temperature drops to 11.5°C ..... looks like winter has caught up with us!

On Friday the morning a strong wind blows and it takes quite a while until the temperature climbs over 20°C.

We head out on our bicycles and go to the house to see how high the tide comes in.
Today is one of the days with the highest tides of the year and we are very pleased to see that the water barely reaches the levee banks.
Our land is elevated and is even higher than the levee banks so we should be safe.
Very good, looks like we picked a good and safe property.

Then we are ready to explore the next few parts of the town ......

.... the Fascine .... sometimes you can even see dolphins swimming here ..... the old jetty out to the harbour ...... they are renovating the train tracks and eventually want to take the train back into town ......

Past the old jetty the expensive part of Carnarvon starts ..... houses with their own jetties and great views of the harbour .....
But the prices are way off our budget.
A block of land here costs more than we paid for house and land and one has to build according to certain rules and within 30 months after buying the property.
It is just a different league then what we are in ....

But we find the hardware store to be nicely stocked ..... it even has the bolts Ruedi requires!
He is pleased with that.

In the evening we go for a walk to see what the town has to offer on the weekend.
Footy is on, which seems to be popular here too.
There is even a concert on with one of the local bands but we decide to head back and have a quiet evening.
Over night the temperature drops even further .... to 9.5°C!

On Saturday morning it takes long to warm he camper and we decide to turn the floor heating on to make the floor a bit warm .... it makes such a difference if the legs are warm ....

As we want to head north to Exmouth on Sunday we stock up in the convenient shopping centre in town.
The night is another cool one with only 10°C .... we better get used to this ....

On Sunday, May 15, we pack up and get ready to leave Carnarvon.
We get some petrol.
As Susi waits for the tank to be full she studies the local notice board.
There is one note that catches her attention: There is a local Blues Club in town and people are invited to bring their instruments for a jam session.
That is definitely something for Ruedi!

At the register Susi notices the strong accent of the lady at the counter.
Curious as she is she enquires what the accent is ....
"Hungarian" the lady replies.
Susi says she would have placed it more in direction of Germany.
The lady replies that it is Swiss ....
Where from???
"Zürich" is her reply.
We too!
What a funny coincidence.

Then we drive north on the North West Coastal Highway.
First we pass the fields of Carnarvon where all the local fruits and vegetables are grown.
Shortly after driving over the Gascoyne River the fields end ... no more subterranean water available ...

We stop at Coral Bay for lunch.
By now the temperature has risen to 29°C and the beach is quite busy.
Also the caravan parks look almost full.
Looks like the yearly migration of the grey nomads has already set in and people are settling in to spend the winter in the warm and sunny north of WA!
For us it is great to see that we have such a great beach and reef area just 250 km (!) north of our home.
On the way back we might actually take the way down along the beach ..... we will see .....

We reach Exmouth and are invited to stay at the place where Ron and Dawn stay with their OKA 048.
Here we meet Sonja and John, two South Africans, now also Aussies by choice.
We have a great time.

On Monday morning we wake up to an overcast sky.
It is quite warm.
We see that the temperature has never fallen below 19.5°C over night ..... that is more to our liking ....

Ron and John take Ron and Dawn's OKA to the auto electrician as it keeps blowing a fuse.
Soon they are back and take the boat to the service station to have it filled up and ready for today's trip.
We would like to do some snorkelling on to the reef .... and who knows, maybe we can see some whale sharks too ....
The rest of us get lunch ready.

But Ron and John return with bad news: the ocean is too choppy; we have to wait until the wind quietens down a bit.
So the "boys" spend the day trying to fix the OKA.
But they are not really lucky .... as soon as they fix one problem another one pops up ...

We ladies watch our movie from our trip on the "Matisse" in 2005.
They agree that they would love to also make a trip like that.

The weather does not improve.
Even though the weather forecast is bad until Thursday with rains forecast for tomorrow we hope that we might be a bit luckier tomorrow ....

We agree that John will get up at 6 AM and check the weather.
Should he decide that we go for the boat trip he would wake us up ...... otherwise we would get a bit of a sleep-in ...

Overnight a few storms pass and also some rain can be heard every so often.
It is quite muggy and we would have loved to be able to keep the windows open, but since our rain-triangles have not been finished yet, we have to sleep with rather sticky air.

Early in the morning we hear John and Ron discussing what to do.
It is overcast but the wind has quietened down.
They decide that they will drive down to the harbour and have a look at the waves.

Soon after they come back and inform us that it is very choppy and I would be no fun if we would go out.
As the weather does not look any better today Ruedi gets busy with finishing the new fixation of the rain-triangles in the windows of the OKA so we can leave the windows fully open even if it rains and is a bit windy.

Dawn and Susi get busy with finding some kind of a water protection for Dawn's Video camera.
There are plenty of shops to be checked out in Exmouth ....
Finally the idea of using an air-tight food storage container wins.

Later in the afternoon the rain sets in for a while and the humidity increases even more.
After an ice coffee and some fruit-salad with ice cream we get into party mood and the "girls" play various "percussion instruments" while Ruedi plays the guitar.

Tonight we can leave all windows open without fear of having the bed soaked and enjoy a good night's sleep.
Lucky us as the temperature does not drop below 20.5°C ...

On Wednesday morning we are woken up by fishing gear being placed in John's ute.
Ah, what a sound!
That means that we will go out with the boat today.
Quickly we get up, make our sandwiches and by 7:30 AM we are taken down to the harbour in OKA 045.

The water is absolutely still and it looks great with the sun and the clouds mirroring in it.

John wants to go to the North and South Muiron Island.

He takes the boat up along the coast past the naval communication station.

On the way we pass some fish schools and John tries his luck with fishing but the lure is too large and there is no catch.
Then John and Ron set up the other fishing rod and drag them behind the boat.

Ruedi gets a quick introduction on how to drive the boat so John and Ron can fish.

It only takes a few minutes and Ron's rod bends.
He has a mackerel on it .... but when John tries to get into the boat the fish jumps out of his hands and is gone ....

But just a few minutes later a second fish bites, again on Ron's rod.
This time John gets the fish and our dinner is secured.

The swell is still quite high and we take Kwells to stop us from getting sick.
But sadly for Sonja it is too late, she suffers with sea sickness.

When we reach the islands skipper John finds a spot where we can drop anchor and go for a snorkel trip.
But the water is still very murky and even though we see a fair bit of fishes we give up after a while.
We want to head down to the Ningaloo Reef to see if the water is clearer there.
But the swell gets even higher and it also gets choppy as the wind picks up.
So we decide to head back and enjoy a quiet afternoon.

On the way back the boat jumps over the waves and we have a good time.
Even Sonja's feels better and she joins the squeak and squealing up front when the water every so often splashes into the boat and onto the passengers.

In the evening John cooks the fish in batter ..... yummy!

Over night the temperature drops to 16°C and we sleep like babies.

On Thursday morning there are no clouds in the sky and Ron and John leave very early to go fishing.
The rest of the crew has a bit of a sleep in.
Then Dawn has to get all gear back into the OKA as we will leave together tomorrow morning.
It is the usual .... it takes a few hours to get the stuff out of the OKAs but it takes HOURS to get it back in!

After that they ladies hit the town for some shopping.
Clouds start moving in and it gets really muggy.

On Friday, May 21, it is time to say goodbye to John and Sonja.

We decide to visit Shothole Canyon.
The road leading in to the Canyon bring us pass some very nice rock formations.
The colours vary from white to deep red.

A short walk leads uphill and gives some fine views over the valley.

Then we head up Charles Knife Road.

As we climb the views get better and better, first out to the ocean and then into the canyons.

the next stop is the Thomas Carter Lookout.

The canyon has an impressive wall and the light is perfect!

The views are great.
We even find some rocks with small crystals in them!

All along the road it is worth to stop and have a look at the canyons .....

Then we head south on the Minilya – Exmouth Road and try to find a shortcut out to Ningaloo Station but without luck.
So we take the Ningaloo Road out to Ningaloo Station.
The sign "Corrugation" for sure is right .....

We stop at the homestead to register.
Soon we are involved in a lively discussion about OKAs .... they own OKA 145 at the station!

Then we are off to Lefroy Beach South where we set up camp.
The beach is supposed to be the best spot for snorkelling.
We get into the water and have a bit a look around.
There are corals and also fishes but the water is murky and stirred up because of the strong wind.

We enjoy a nice sun set and are in bed soon.

Over night the weather deteriorates.
The wind changes direction and every so often we can hear a few raindrops falling.

Just as the sun comes up some heavier rain sets in.

Due to the storm the ocean is choppy.
Well, so much for snorkelling today .....

We decide to head south, hoping that by the time we reach Coral Bay the weather will be better.

On the way out to the main road we see groups of sheep on the track.
Some of the rain water has gathered in puddles on the road and the sheep are drinking it.

After passing the gate we stop to pump the tyres again.
Ruedi sees that his fix on the front airbag has broken ... the wire that holds the airbag support in place has worn through.
It is on the list as "to be fixed in Perth" .... so he replaces the wire.

Then it is Ron's turn ... the front shaft hanger needs fixing ... so the tools come out again ...
Ahhhhhh .... OKAs for sure are boy's toys!
Never a dull moment with them!

We head south and the rain sets in ....
Every time one has to get out to open a gate the wet sand sticks to the shoes ... the OKA is covered in sand ... it is a miserable day!

It also seems that the track is much more corrugated than it was yesterday.
Probably it has to do with the wet sand and that it does not just run easily back to fill the track after a vehicle has passed .... who knows ....

We take the Cardabia – Ningaloo Road track along the coast to Coral Bay.

After a while we come past a track that leads down to the ocean and that has no gate.
So we go down and explore it.

The wind had worked on the sand and left some "castles" ....

As we come back to the OKAs Ruedi checks his fix and finds it to be gone .... so the "boys" get the big tools out and apply a better fix.
Ruedi also finds that he has lost a bolt and some others need a bit of tightening.

Ron decides that he might as well check his bolts at the same time so that job is done too.

When all is fixed and checked we get back on the track and continue on south.

We find another interesting little track that leads us to the southern end of the Cloates Sanctuary where we find an excellent little spot that would be suitable as camping spot for 2 vehicles.

After having lunch there we continue on.
We stop at Bruboodjoo Point but don't find it that nice.

Next stop is Coral Bay.
Dawn and Ron like it but are a bit negatively surprised that at the only caravan park that takes animals they have to pay extra for their dog Tinka.

Soon we are outside with some nibbles and drinks enjoying the warm evening.
But our peace is disturbed by rain drops every so often ... and then it really gets wet and we decide to break up the party for today.

It is a comfortable night with the temperature staying at the 16°C mark ... just the right temperature to get a good night's sleep wrapped up in the blanket ....

On Sunday morning the sun is back and there is no wind.
We check-out of the caravan park and park the OKAs along the beach.
Soon the ladies are snorkelling.
The coral is very close to the shore ... as we had actually expected it to be up at Ningaloo Station.
Especially around the 5 Knot sign there is a nice patch of coral ... but there is also a rather strong current.

After lunch it is time to say goodbye to Dawn and Ron as they will head into the Kimberleys and we will go south back to Carnarvon.
We leave the pretty Coral Bay and soon turn south onto the Minilya – Exmouth Road.
Then we are back on the North West Coastal Highway that will take us "home".

As we drive south we cross the Tropic of Capricorn and believe it or not, we can watch the temperature dropping slowly but surely .....
Then we are back in Carnarvon and settle down in Cherry and Robert's backyard.

On Monday morning the Corellas wake us.
It is rather fresh outside with only 13.5°C .... we are used to warmer temperatures ..... but the sun is shining and that is all that matter (it is raining in Perth ....)

In the afternoon we go for a ride around town.

It is time to explore the beaches ...

.... the harbour .....

.... with its fleet of trawlers ....

.... its seafood restaurants ....

Then we get on the tramway walk and head out along the water's edge of Whitlock Island and then out to Pelican Point.
Hmmmmm .... nice place out there .....

Next we visit the One Mile Jetty and read all the historical signs.
We will head out to the jetty when we have the first visitor ....
Quickly 2 hours pass and it gets a bit fresh so we return "home" to our OKA.

It gets rather fresh over night with the temperatures dropping to only 10.5°C .... 4°C below normal ....

On Tuesday our house will be valuated.
We are kind of excited; it is the next step towards getting the key for the house .....

Our "landlords" Cherry and Robert drop in for a visit and we have a bit of a chat on the front veranda.
We learn a bit about the local plans regarding tourism and are glad that the area where our little house stands is surrounded by mangroves and is a protected area.

In the afternoon we go and "visit" the house.
The lawns have been freshly cut and it looks very well presented.

We start checking out the one and the other thing that will require our attention once we have the key to the house ..... for the moment we just enjoy the peaceful setting ..... it is so hard to be patient ..... but we have no other choice ....

Here a quick "introduction" to our house-to-be:

Entry, living room and kitchen ....

.... bathroom .....

................................... bedroom 1 and 2 ..................................... and the master bedroom.

On Wednesday morning the weather does not look too good; some clouds are coming in from the ocean.
Later on we get a sprinkle of rain but they could do with much more water around here .... they have only had some 10 mm of rain up to now!

Today we have a busy day at the computers so there is not much to be told about our little town and the areas that we visit.
In the afternoon Cherry and Robert pop in again.
After an apéro on their veranda we go for dinner to the Gascoyne Hotel and have a lovely dinner.
Hmmm ... another restaurant with good food .... nice!
After dinner Robert takes us all for a bit of a drive along the beach and down to Pelican Point.
The water is very calm, no waves on it, and the city light and the clouds reflect vey prettily on it.
Then we head home and have a coffee on the veranda, enjoying the nice evening and the views of the water.

Overnight a storm front comes in followed by some rain.

On Thursday morning the sky is grey and it looks like there could be some more rain.
Cherry and Robert inform us that they will stay in town for an extra day.
Because of the rain the muster cannot be continued and therefore they don't have to return to the station right now.
As they have some time they want to show us Carnarvon.

We head out to the plantations and stop at the one and the other to sample their ice cream or get some fruits and vegetables.
The sky clears up and the sun is back.

For lunch we stop at the River Gums Café that is run by the mother of Cherry and Robert's son-in-law.
When they ask about the status of the paperwork we tell them that we still have not heard from the valuer ..... patience ..... patience .....

In the afternoon Robert and Ruedi go for a walk to the house to have a look at the septic system.
They don't find the septic tank but find a bore pump instead.
We will have to have a talk to the council if we can still use it for irrigation.
That would be quite useful!

On Friday morning we still haven't heard from the valuer .....
In the afternoon NAB confirms reception of the valuation and that the price of the property has been confirmed.
We are relieved.

On Saturday Cherry and Susi visit the weekly market.
As it is a beautiful warm day (we reach 28.5°C!). We then get the bicycles and head out towards the Golf Corse and the horse race place.

On Tuesday morning NAB calls and lets us know that the loan has been approved and we should expect the email in the afternoon.
No mail arrives .....

On Wednesday morning still no mail.
Susi gets in contact with our NAB contact and he asks back ....
An hour later we receive the email with the confirmation.

Later on we meet with Trish from Elders, our real estate agent and go through the process.
On the way out of the office we have a look at the advertised properties in the window ....

Our house has a "sold" on it.
In the evening we have a bit of party with Cherry, our "landlord".

On Saturday it rains and rains and rains .... and Robert bogs the truck out at the station ... and today's program at the speedway is cancelled ....
In the evening we have dinner at "Restaurant Olivia Terrace" with chef cook Cherry .....

On Sunday morning the sun shines again.
Cherry and Robert head back to Perth.
We get the bicycles and head out to the speedway for today's races.
It is very muddy and we get showered with clay but we have a lot of fun and there is lots of action because of the slippery conditions.

On Tuesday morning Trish calls and lets us know that the paperwork has arrived.
We will see her tomorrow.

On Wednesday, June 9, 2010, we head into town to see Trish.

The papers get signed ... tomorrow the current owners will be in town and sign too ....

By Friday all papers have been signed.
Now we will have to be patient again until the mortgage papers arrive.

We pass the time by working a bit on our planned world trip and are entertained by the Corellas that live in the surrounding trees.

Monday, June 14, in the afternoon it starts raining.
The Corellas go nuts and have "showers" in the tops of the trees.

Click here to view the movie.

The whole night the rain continues on ... finally some decent amounts, not just a sprinkle!
In the morning Cherry tells us that they also got some water out at Cooralya and Boologooro Station which is great for Warren and Milly.

Today it is Tuesday, June 15, and still no mortgage contract from the bank has arrived ... even though the papers apparently were sent on June 9th ....

We receive the keys to the house so we can give it a bit of a clean.
As it rains fairly strong we decide to drive to the house tomorrow and only start cleaning then.

On Wednesday, June 16, the weather is better and we head up to the house on bicycle equipped with the basic cleaning equipment.

But there are also a lot of things that need fixing so Ruedi gets the OKA from Cherry's place and we park it in the driveway.
It fits perfectly inside of the fence and the driveway is also pretty level.
It will be perfect to camp up here.

In the afternoon we check at the post office for the bank papers .... nothing .....

As the night come we realise how quiet it is up here ..... no pub noise .... no traffic ..... just lots of birds!

On Friday, as we are just getting ready to head up to the house for some more cleaning, the bank rings.
They want to know, when we will send the contracts back ....
What contracts???????
We are still waiting for them!!!!!
Hmmmmmm ..... nobody seems to know where the papers are ......

As sending the papers to Carnarvon seems to be such a problem we decide to travel down to Perth a bit earlier than planned and get the papers signed there.
New contracts will be sent to Fremantle and should arrive latest on Wednesday, June 23 ..... the bank will let us know once they arrive .....

So after two days of cleaning and fixing on Friday evening we drop the keys back to Trish at the real estate company.
The house is clean and ready.
Now it is up to Trish to find us a good tenant.

On Saturday morning we leave Carnarvon and hope that the next week will clarify all and make us the new owners of the little house on 45 Hubble Street .....

On the way south everything is green; the recent rains have already started to trigger the spring flowers.

On Sunday we reach Perth and settle in at the Caravan Park.

This week we have to get organised as Susi is flying to Switzerland on June 30.
This means that the contracts have to be signed this week so that we can shift all our gear to Carnarvon before Susi goes to Switzerland!
The days fly past ..... and there is no word from the bank that the contacts have arrived ......

On Thursday we've just had it and visit the branch in Fremantle and guess what .... the papers had just arrived!
So all goes well and on Friday morning June 24 we finally become the owners of the house. It has taken bloody 6 weeks to settle the deal!

It is not too early as at 4 PM we pick up the rental van to "shift house" or in our case "shift shed".
All is packed and made ready for the transport up to Carnarvon.
We also take our inflatable mattresses and the sleeping bags with us as we intend to sleep in the van.

On Saturday at 5 AM we leave Perth .... it has been a cold night and there is white frost all over the place .... the grass makes a crackling noise .....
As we know the way up north we don't take a GPS with us.
Driving along we watch the thermometer .... - 5 °C ..... - 4°C ..... it is cold almost everywhere we drive through.

Then Susi sees a sign reading "Bindoon" .....
Wow wow wow!
Hang on that is the wrong highway!
Somehow we have missed the turn-off onto the Brand Highway and are driving north inland on the Great Northern Highway!
So much for knowing where we have to go ....!
But the "damage" is short lived and soon we are back on the correct highway heading towards Carnarvon.

Around 4 PM we have managed the 906 km and drive onto our driveway.
We have to hurry to unpack all and set up the shelfs.
Soon it starts getting dark.

Then Ruedi gets nervous ..... he has lost the car keys ... somewhere ......
He is worried that they may have been on top of one of the boxes that we have moved into the shed and that they have fallen behind all the gear we have packed into the shed ...
But after searching around for a while we find the keys:
They are stuck into the fuel tank cap and lay on the car seat!
Ruedi had emptied a jerry can of diesel into the tank and then walked off to do something else ....
So all goes well and we head into town for dinner.

The night from Saturday to Sunday is really cold .... it is the coldest night of this winter!
Susi freezes in her sleeping bag ....
So we get up at the first light of the day and head down south .... and really enjoy the heater in the cabin .....
We reach Perth late afternoon.
Now all is ready for Susi to fly to Switzerland and be a companion to her brother Peter for a month.

While Susi is in Switzerland the settlement goes through and only two weeks later we finally sell our flat in Switzerland.
Is this a sign that the house in Carnarvon was meant to be?
What ever ... it is great!

Susi comes back and on Sunday, August 8, 2010, we leave Perth to head back up to Carnarvon.
We will spend some time up there and prepare our trip around the world.

First stop is Cunderdin on the Great Eastern Highway, where tomorrow a new stainless steel exhaust and muffler will be mounted.

After a cold night with only 2°C on Monday morning we get up really early as Manta, the factory where our new exhaust is produced, starts work at 6 AM.

Shortly after 10 AM Lindsey finishes his work and we head off.
We drive through Meckering, where we have a look at the displays of the 1968 earthquake.
Via Northam, Bindoon and Gingin we reach the Brandt Highway which takes us to Dongara, where we stay for the night.

As we want to reach Carnarvon in the afternoon on Tuesday morning we get up early again and drive off shortly after day breaks.
We keep an eye on the fuel prices to get the feeling for where to fill the tanks.
In Geraldton the fuel is 1.358 $ and they accept the 4 cent discount vouchers from Woolworth or Coles.
Then the prices slowly but surely increase to up to 1.49 $.
Amazingly at the Overlander Roadhouse it is only 1.39 $ probably because of their large turn-around.
In addition to the traffic off the highway they also get the whole traffic from Denham and Monkey Mia because out there the fuel is dear!
Wooromel Roadhouse has no price displayed but accepts 4 cent discount vouchers.
We will have to drive in and check on the way down.
In Carnarvon the fuel is 1.399 $ again and vouchers are accepted.
Interesting ......

We pass the leaning tree of Grenough and soon after Geraldton the flowers start appearing along the road .....

We reach Carnarvon in the afternoon get our house key from the real-estate agency and park the OKA in the driveway.
We are home!

On Wednesday we get active, Ruedi fixing this and that and Susi trimming back the garden.
During the night rain sets in and most of Thursday it rains on and off.
This water will be greatly appreciated by nature and Susi can hardly wait for the flowers to appear.

On Friday Susi goes on a "flower-trip" in the vicinity.
And these are the goodies she finds .....

We keep ourselves busy at the house.
There is lots to be done .....

.... with painting the shed, renovating the shower, general repairs at the house .....

Susi is busy with gardening and replanting some grass along the house.

The front gardens are a bit of a jungle but look nice after a good trim and fresh wood chips.

Luckily the back garden had just been made.

There are also some enhancements on the OKA that have to be done.
The weeks just pass one after the other.

We meet the neighbours, make new friends, visit the lady from the Peak petrol station that used to live in Zurich and speaks Swiss and .... etc. etc.
We also meet our new tenant, Chris, and find him really nice.
We are very pleased with the choice of tenant done by the real estate company.

Then Robert and Cherry arrive back in Carnarvon.
As Robert is out at the station mustering, we are busy with the house and Cherry is "baby"-sitting her grandchildren, so we don't really have much time to socialise.

On Sunday, September 26, Cherry and Robert ask us to come along to the bike races at the Carnarvon Motorcycle Club.

The weather is great and we enjoy the atmosphere.

There is lots to see .....

........... for the "boys" ................... and for the photographer!

We even meet some of the local "stars" .....

Sometimes the time between the races is a bit long for the young ones .....

We really enjoy it because it is a real family event!

As we are here with Cherry and Robert we are also introduced to all the family members and friends ...

...... and of course their drivers!
We feel like as if we had been in Carnarvon already for a long time, all integrated and accepted.
This is really good and we enjoy it very much.

Here some pictures of the event:

The quads and bikes .................... the bikes for father and son ........... the kids .....

... the races ....

... the youngest drivers: just 4 years old!!!!!

On October 10 we leave Carnarvon.
We won't be back here until we come back from our world tour ...... a few years from now.

At the Billabong Roadhouse we meet Hal and Liza with their OKA.

The famous Western Australian spring flowers are in full swing ...... and Susi is busy taking pictures.

And some in detail .....

Eventually we reach Perth and settle down at our "second home": The Woodman Point Holiday Park in Coogee.

A bit of a break is needed after all this .....

We are not the only a bit "special" vehicle at the caravan park .....

The OKA goes for an overhaul of the axles to OKA factory in Bibra Lake.

Now the axles should be as good as new and hopefully not cause any more problems.
Note in 2011:
Sadly we have even more problems ...... read more about the troubles in our journals from Africa.

To get the OKA in top form for the planned around the world trip we head to Suspension Man and have the holding points for the air bags redone.
Hopefully these will last a bit longer than the original solution .....

On November 13 we have an OKA-get-together in Kelmscott.

On the way the OKA reaches 100'000 km ......

We meet our fellow Western Australian OKA owners ......

... some of them we already know from the get-together at the Glen Mervyn dam in April ......

... and enjoy the company of them ...... it will be a while until we see them again .....

Susi is not the only photographer here ......

On Saturday November 20 we drive north to leave the OKA at the property of OKA owners Dave and Pauline.
They will take care of it during our annual trip to Switzerland to visit Ruedi's parents for Christmas.
At a shopping centre we see that the back axle is heavily leaking oil.
This is really annoying because we have our flights to catch on Monday morning at 8 AM!
Ruedi calls Arthur from OKA and we arrange that on Sunday somebody from OKA will be at the factory to receive the OKA.
They will fix whatever it is during our absence.

On December 17 we get an email from our friends Cherry and Robert that Carnarvon has had 200 ml of rain in the last 24 hours and that it is still raining.
We check the web page and see that the all over record of rain has been broken.
Cherry's next email tells us that her son in law Warren cannot get back to the station as the roads are closed. So he and her daughter Milly are busy helping Warren's folks lift the pumps out of the river and sandbagging around their house and River Gums Café .....
Warren reckons they have had 320 ml at their station.
Bidgemia, east of Gascoyne Junction, had 2' of water flowing through the homestead.
In all the records of Bidgemia the water has never come to the homestead before let alone in it!
Slowly we are getting worried about our house .....
We watch on the Internet how the Gascoyne river which passes Carnarvon rises and rises.
The council starts elevating some parts of the levee banks that protect the centre of Carnarvon .... the parts that are outside the levee are under water ....
The water raises to 7.70 m ...... the height of the levee banks ....... and just does not break it!
Even though we have a good insurance on the house we are happy that it did not happen.

Milly, Cherry's daughter sends an email with what happened at the station:
We have been stuck in town due to road closed from rain then flooding!!!
I've had no phone on in town since Friday 17 Dec. and I still don't have a mobile!! Also the station has no phone.
We just managed to get home to the station yesterday (23rd I think we are up to!!) as the road out of town was opened at own risk with a lot of bitumen damage along the way. 
Our 8 km driveway is like a motocross track with all the woops I think they call them, it took 1/2 an hour to get in.
Then we look out the back to the north (shearing shed on way in is to the south) we are now calling that our new lake!! 
The water is amazing. Cooralya had in excess of 350mm of rain in 3 days, Boologooro had 450-500mm.
We haven't had flood damage but we have had a lot of rain damage.

This town flood is not affecting us other than access to town.
However we were staying at friend's plantation on South River Road when the floods were coming and hit (Mic and Mel's with their 3 boys). 
The kids were all asleep when the water was filling the house that had never had floods fill it before as it is a high house. 
We were told that the river would peak at midnight that night but we watched it rise above the skirting boards then above the kick boards of the kitchen, then 4:30 AM as it was still rising and only 2 inches away from lapping on the kids asleep in bed we decided the roof with 6 sleepy kids was too dangerous. 
So the 2 men somehow managed to get the boat off the trailer while in the shed that has a low frame work thing for hanging bananas, then turn the boat around in a shed full of gear and flooded with silt making things very slippery. 
Our men managed then did 2 trips in the boat to get us all out to dry land (which we hadn't seen for 2 days and spent all night in water!!).
We moored at a driveway just south of the Caltex and Shell fuel stops. 
Our boat was actually on the news (not us). 
Anyway Warren and mate Mic (Mic's boat and plantations we were at) saved 6 adult, 6 kids (being 11, 9, 7, 6, 5+5), 1 cat, 1 dog and 3 pet lambs.
People came down where we pulled in and offered us beds and showers and all sorts (we didn't know them) but we had friends up at OTC dish housing so we = 2 families now totalling 10 and 1 dog + 3 lambs, all joined our new family of 4, Warrens old mate Crow (Carl ) and Donna.

We had calls of many offers, a friend on the same street offered us their house as they were stuck in town at their caravan park. 
We went up for a look but with the white furniture we just cleaned out their fridges and freezers for them and went back to Carl and Donnas. 
The power was off from the big banana at Elders in town out to everyone on the east of it for safety reasons. 
Hence we had to clean out the fridges ect. so that night we all ate in luxury of prawns, triffle and other yummy things.

With housing an extra 10, Donna also put food parcels together for what we thought was 3 trucks stranded at a truck assembly area south of town ..... ended up being 14. 
She made 2 hampers up complete with scotch and beer. 
When they left they all chipped in a donation to say a big thanks, that Donna wants to put towards Mic and Mel who lost a lot in this flood. 
We ended up spending 3 nights and days at Donna's.

The roads are all a huge mess around the east side of town. 
The kids have had the best adventures imaginable and thanks to Mel for letting me stay to try and help them during all this, we now have some amazing and funny stories and memories for life.
Donna and Carl are the most generous people I've met and camping at their place was like being back at Cooralya during mustering time. 
We had a full time job feeding everyone.

On January 17, 2011, we return to Australia one week earlier than planned to pick up the OKA and check that all is fine before it leaves Australia for Africa.
The OKA is ready ..... but the fridge has given up .... needs re-gassing .....

Then the Carnet the Passage en Duane is signed and all finalised with the agent.
We will have to deliver the OKA on Tuesday January 25 to the Fremantle harbour.

So on Tuesday we check the locks one more time, fix the paperwork to the cabin and hand over the keys to the drivers cab.

Then the OKA is picked up and driven away ......... we wonder in what state we will see it again ......

It will travel with the RoRo vessel TAIKO from Fremantle to Singapore.

We leave Perth and fly to the Gold Coast to Susi's brothers for a visit.

On Friday January 28, category 4 severe tropical cyclone Bianca is tracked to be 545 kilometres west of Carnarvon and 1110 kilometres northwest of Perth and moving southwest at 30 kilometres per hour.
It is expected to impact communities in the south west of the state (the area of Perth and its harbour Fremantle) on Sunday as a category 3 severe tropical cyclone.
This means that all ships from and to Fremantle have to leave the coastal area and head out to see where they are safe(r) until the storm has passed ...... also the Taiko .....

Finally on February 1 the Taiko leaves Fremantle and our OKA is on its way .....

As we know the IMO number we can follow the ship's way on the Internet.

In Singapore the OKA is unloaded and loaded onto the MORNING COURIER that will take it to Durban, South Africa.

And this is the end of this journal.



No liability for timeliness, integrity and correctness of this document is accepted.
Last updated: Friday, 08.02.2019 8:53 PM

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