Monday, December 29

And so that was Christmas

One of the few things that has caused me concern while we have been on #ouradventureofalifetime is how Christmas would pan out. As much as we are doing things completely different at the moment Christmas is a special time of the year that sometimes different doesn't work too well for. Especially if different means the absence of family.

As is so often with the case with things that concern me, I need not have worried.

A couple of days after we arrived in Gingin a most wonderful blogger sent me a message asking if I would like to come and enjoy Christmas with her family.

A big hell yes was what I wanted to instantly reply, but instead I waited five minutes and then wrote back with, why yes thank you that would be incredibly lovely and how kind of you to offer.

Of course before actually arriving I had all kinds of mini panic attacks about how it would all work out. Apart from a brief (and I mean very brief) interlude at DPCON13 we only knew each other through our blogs and social media.

Again though my worries were all completely unfounded.

Between her tribe and my tribe there were a total of eight children aged between four and thirteen. You would never have known that half of them had never met each other before. It was pure joy watching them all interact and get along.

We arrived on the eve of Christmas Eve and tagged along to a production at their local church. Which was amazing. It was the most clever integration of modern music and the birth of Jesus that I have ever seen.

Come Christmas morning the children had firmly locked in best friend status with each other and cries of 'this is the best Christmas ever' echoed through the house. And it was. Without a doubt.

Since my dad passed away (five years ago) Christmas just hasn't been quite the same for me. I mean it hasn't been heartbreakingly sad or anything to complain about, it just hasn't been in the best Christmas ever category either.

This year was.

It was filled with lots of good food, laughter, relaxation, family and the best of friends. What more could one ask for?

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Sunday, December 28

Snapshots of Us - Weeks 50 & 51

It's hard to believe it has only been two weeks since I last shared a Snapshot of Us. As always there has been plenty of things going on. For the most part though I was without my good camera because my card reader decided to stop reading. Which I found  somewhat heartbreaking because there were some killer shots on there.

Since my camera card is an almost antique compact flash card I worried I might not be able to find a new reader and therefore until I did so my *professional* photo taking was put on hold. Thankfully when we arrived in the big smoke I was finally able to locate a new reader. Though by that time my camera was safely stored at the back of a cupboard in the depths of Edna.

But enough of my camera woes.

Here are a few snaps from my trusty old phone.

Lovely and Zany at the Pink Lake

Mr Awesome and I at the cliffs in Kalbarri

The three musketeers at Kalbarri National Park

The five of us in front of Nature's Windo

The two little ones were transfixed by this big goanna next to the path. 
I loved how they wanted to walk by so slowly and carefully so as not to disturb it.

At Willowbrook Farm, Gingin

Aussie summer Santa in Perth Mall

Zany and the big Christmas Tree

Teapot and Mr Awesome at Carols by Candlelight

Did you know Ikea has cafe? 

With a make your own sundae station?

It is all kinds of smiley awesome

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Thursday, December 18

From paradise to snapped cables

Moving day. Today we leave paradise as we know it and return to Broome. Which is, in it’s own way, still a type of paradise. It just involves a lot more people. The solitude of Cape Leveque is one of the aspects I love most about it. Though I imagine in the height of peak season there is not nearly as much solitude.

With all the beauty and tranquility of staying at Koolijaman for the last four days I had completely and utterly forgotten about the road we would need to take to get back to Broome.


It is still horrendous. Perhaps even worse. Though now because Mr A knows it he goes a little faster. This both terrifies and pleases me. Pleases because it means we will get off it faster and terrifies me because sandy narrow road full of dips and potholes. Sometimes I hate being a passenger. At least as a driver I am the one in control.

Lots of deep breaths.

In the end I decide that having a little nap is probably in my best interest. It is easier to block out what is going on and gives me a chance to talk to the fairies and ask for their protection. As much as I know the worrying is all pointless I can’t help it. Mr A is an experienced driver and knows how to handle Patty and Edna and the roads and deep down I do have faith and trust in his ability but still I worry.

Looking on the bright side of it all though it gives me a great chance to work on some visualisation techniques.

Eventually we leave the road to hell and return to the civilisation of solid roads. The harrowing road has taken it’s toll on all of us though and we are all super grumpy and irritated.

Since we had such a lovely time at the Roebuck Bay Caravan Park last time we were in Broome we decided to head back there. As we approach though there is a line up of vans and motorhomes waiting to check in.

Thankfully there was plenty of room still available and we were able to secure the same wonderful location as what we had the other week. All is starting to feel right again with the world, though the children are in a particularly dire way and complaining of dying of starvation. I start to lecture them on what it would really feel like to be in such a predicament and explain that really they are just hungry but decide I don’t really have the energy.

We set about unhitching Edna and getting ready to unpack. Only everyone is too busy complaining and grumbling to concentrate properly and suddenly there is an almighty snapping sound in one of the corners.

Mr A stops winding up Edna’s top and we both head to the corner where the sound came from. It turns out that on of the roof clips was not undone and we have now snapped on of the cables which means the roof will not go up. 

Shit. Bugger. Fuck.

I walk down to reception to get the name and number of the caravan repairer. All the while trying to lay any blame or get worked up. These things happen. After fifty two days on the road it is only to be expected that something go wrong somewhere and if this is it then so be it. There are so many worse things that could have happened to us.

The caravan repair man doesn’t answer his phone and we walk around scratching our heads not sure of what to do. Our neighbour, who arrived at about the same time starts to make small talk about how we are.

Turns out that he was once a mechanic and pops on over to have a look at our predicament. In an instant he offers a suggestion on how it could be fixed and before we know it Mr A and I are able to see things a little differently and all hope is no longer lost.

We plugged the fridge in and head straight for Bunnings to get some little u-bolt thing that will be able to re-join the snapped cable. I drop Mr A back at the van and take the girls to get some golden arches while he fixes it all.

While I am out and about I manage to find a car wash and hose of the salt and sand from Cape Leveque and refuel the car. By the time we return Edna’s roof is up and most of the unpacking is done and all seems right with the world once again.
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Wednesday, December 17

Day 51 (Sept 8)

The looking behind our little shelter.
In preparation for moving day tomorrow I spent the better part of the morning sorting stuff out. Experience has shown that moving day goes a lot smoother (and quicker) if we spend some time the day before sorting out most of the crap.

As much as we have culled and scaled down our essential living items a true minimalist would probably say we still have far too much. And perhaps they might be right. To me though it feels like really do only have the basics.

After nearly a week without a washing machine it feels like most of the crap is dirty washing though.

Once all the sorting was done I sat back and looked out at the ocean while I worked on the blanket a little more. If I look hard enough I can see whales spurting and splashing. Which naturally excites me no end.

Before long though my eyelids are to heavy to keep open and sleep is my only option. Mr A and I may have done some midnight ocean frolicking under a full moon last night.

While I catch some z’s Mr A took the little ones in the water. It all ended in tears though as Teapot cut her toes on some oyster shells. Thankfully not too badly, just enough to make her want to not be in the water anymore.

It is tempting to extend our stay here longer but the food is starting to run a little low and as much as the expense of paradise is totally worth it we need to remember there will still be so many other paradises on our travels as well.
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Tuesday, December 16

The big 5-0!

Happy Fathers Day and happy fifty days of travelling! Hard to believe that we have really been on the road for only fifty days. On the one hand we have seen so much but at the same time we have only gone about 1900km from home. 

Since it is Father’s Day we decided to treated ourselves to coffee from the cafe. I am still not coming to terms very well with the whole only instant coffee thing. Especially since back in Darwin the other week I was able to be momentarily reunited with my beloved machine.

Sadly though the coffee was awful. Actually it was quite possibly beyond awful but at the same time it wasn’t instant so I feel I can’t complain too much.

While we were at the cafe, which was also a bit of a shop, Mr A got some more fishing stuff because apparently he still didn’t have what he needed to actually catch something. As you can tell I am highly interested in the whole fishing thing. 

Now that he was adequately decked out in the fishing supply department we headed to a different part of the beach and spent the day fishing. Without much success mind you. The girls got their snorkels out and gave them another whirl and had a great time following a few little fish up and down the water’s edge.

And me? Well I sat under the awning of the car and got my crochet on. Pure bliss. Just before I left for Darwin, well actually in Windjana Gorge, I started working on a bit of a blanket thing. I wasn’t really sure when I started what it would turn out to be as it was just a chance to work on my granny square stitch really. After a few rounds it was looking a lot nicer than I expected so I decided to keep going and make it into a blanket for my niece’s up coming third birthday.
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Monday, December 15

Paradise. Don't mind if I do.

If I thought waking up on a cliff edge at James Price Point was paradise, then waking up at Cape Leveque must be akin to heaven. It was the most glorious feeling ever to step out of Edna and be treated to the beauty of a sparkling blue ocean right on my doorstep. Right there and waiting all just for me.

After breakfast and coffee was done and dusted we donned our bathers, grabbed our snorkels and head out to see what was hidden amongst the water. I can’t recall ever having seen such a pretty blue or such clear water.

There was not actually a whole lot of action to be seen underwater but there were enough little creatures to keep the girls interested. It was a great opportunity for Teapot to practice her snorkelling skills actually. 

The water level was probably about chest deep for her which meant she could happily paddle around sticking her face in and out as she pleased. She had a terrible habit of wanting to look at things behind her after she had swum past them which meant as she looked down and behind her snorkel would feel with water. Eventually though she started to see the errors of her ways.

After living so close to the beaches that were relatively not swimming friendly it is beyond awesome to be able to frolic in the ocean without fear.

By lunchtime I was so in love with Cape Leveque that I knew two nights here was not going to be nearly long enough. Since tomorrow is Father’s Day it just doesn't seem right to have to pack up and move somewhere else.

Technically speaking Mr Awesome has already received his present back in Broome (a go-pro) but staying here for two more nights counts as a present we can all share. Aside from that by paying for it with the gift vouchers that we won thanks to AANT it is not like it is really coming out of our budget.
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Sunday, December 14

Snapshots of Us - Weeks 48 & 49

Oh hi there!

Since last we met there has been lots of snorkelling

 After we left Cape Range, we headed to Coral Bay.

It was ridiculously windy and rather chilly so there was also a lot of time spent out of the water. We are tropical wimps like that

 A certain little girl was particularly pleased to find a piece of coral in the shape of a 'T'

Though it wasn't all about long beach walks.

We may have snuck into the other van park so the kids could have a jump on the pillow. This was we had lunch at the pub where Mr Awesome introduced the girls to the yip yip martians. They were hysterically mesmerised. If you had a deprived childhood and have no idea  what I am talking about check out a clip here.

After we had seen the sights of Coral Bay we headed to a little station called Warroora. Where we had an entire beach all to ourselves.

Again it was a little too cold and windy for a lot of swimming, but there was a lot of fishing done.

And quite successfully as well I might add. We ate fresh fish every day we were there.

There was also lots free playing fun time for the girls with cuddles thrown in for good measure.

From Warroora we headed to the delightful Shark Bay.

Where we were once again greeted with beautiful beaches and lots of selfies.

There were also these little things called stromatolites, but they really deserve a post of their own.  

We also stopped into the Ocean Park Marine Park,

the girls were pretty entranced but again it deserves a post all of it's own. All in good time I guess.

 There were also a few more meals and drinks out on account of it being to windy to cook on the gas barbie. Oh the hardships right?

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Saturday, December 13

The bumpiest road. Ever.

It might not look like much here but after travelling it I am sure
it could well be what the road to hell is like.
Interestingly enough though, it did not lead to anything remotely like a hell.
One thing I had not missed in my short time away was moving day. Which is what today just happens to be. We are on our way out to Cape Leveque. A place Mr Awesome is incredibly excited to see. He has heard many a people say they want to go there and was pretty keen to join the list of people who had done so.

After about an hour on the road out there I was quite happy to say that we never made it. 

The road would have to be one of the worst we have been on to date. Any peace or relaxation I may have built up over the past day or two were quickly shredded away within ten minutes of being on this track.

Thankfully though despite my subtle suggestions at turning around we soldiered on to discover one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.

According to our road map bibles advance bookings are essential. Which posed a slight problem because naturally we had not done so. Thankfully though an hour or so before we reached our destination we found a signal strong enough to make a phone call. 

We had planned to stay for three days however when I heard the price of paradise I dropped it down to two. The only spaces available were in beachside shelters and it was a little over $100 per night for all of us. Which is about twice as much as what our budget allowed for.

Of course as so often is the case with life you get what you pay for. So as much as we were breaking the bank it was worth every cent.

Our incredibly expensive but totally worth it on the beach shelter
Our shelter which had it’s own cold water shower and table and chairs was located about twenty meters from the beach. It was totally amazing. We were able to back old Edna in next to the shelter and use the shelter as our living space during the day. The best part of this meant there was no need to put all our awnings up as the shelter gave us all the shade we need.

The was however a slight drama as we were pulling into our little camping area. We had read the signs saying that it was advisable to have pretty low tyre pressure, what we didn’t realise though was exactly how low we needed to go. Thankfully though Mr Awesome was able to jump out and let them down low enough before we got bogged in the sand completely.

Feeling rather stupid for our actions we were slightly pleased to see that the same thing happened to two other people following us in.
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