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  • Writer's pictureJess

Week 16 Weekly Blog 09/09/2021- 15/09/2021

Last week saw Allan start working at the Sailing Club and myself being a “lady of leisure” just chillaxing at the pool and doing “housework”. Read on below for what adventures we got up to in week 16 of Allan and I exploring Oz.

Day 106

I woke early and let Allan sleep in after his late shift last night. I washed Allan’s work uniform and typed up the blog and was just about to go to the gym when Allan woke up, so I made coffee instead. We chilled out at camp before leaving at 9:45 to get our first Covid Vaccinations. I was feeling OK about it until we got there, and they herded us around like we were animals. It also felt very formal and clinical, and it made me nervous. We had booked at a mass vaccination clinic which was located at a hall. There were about 20 people waiting in line outside. We had to get our names ticked off, then we were given a tag with the time of our appointment on it (for us it was 10:10). We had to fill out a form telling them any potential risks we may have if we got the vaccination. We were then told to wait in line at a desk with our Medicare cards and IDs. Our IDs were scanned, we were told to sit on a chair (there were about 50 of them strategically placed 1.5m apart) and wait for our names to be called. We sat down and waited. We could see two rows of small partitions where people would go in and have their vaccination before being escorted to sit at the other end of the hall where more chairs were strategically placed 1.5m apart where we had to wait for 20minutes after the vaccination to ensure there weren’t any major side effects. In this time no names were getting called and the section we were sitting in was filling rapidly, but no one was being called in. Allan noticed that no more forms were printed, and we could see there was a light flashing on the printer indicating that there was no paper left. Finally, one of the staff noticed the printer was flashing and refilled the paper tray. I was called in for my vaccination, by a young girl who didn’t tell me any complications, just said to take some Panadol after and you might have a headache or mild flu-like symptoms and maybe a sore arm at the injection site. She asked which arm I wanted the injection in and asked if I was afraid of needles. When she asked that I was looking away and she had already done it. I didn’t feel a thing. She put a band aid over the injection site, gave me another tag saying what time I was allowed to leave and told me to go and sit down the other end and that was it. Allan had finished slightly earlier than me and was already waiting. We sat and waited the allotted time, booked our second vaccination in 3 weeks and left. We went food shopping, went back to camp, had food, and went swimming in the pool. I dropped my Fitbit at the pool and smashed the corner of the screen. It was still working, but I don’t know how long for. We were both feeling a bit light-headed and foggy, and Allan complained of having a sore and heavy arm. Allan got ready for work and left. I chilled out at camp, went for a walk on the treadmill at the gym, typed up the blog, went for a swim, played Monopoly Deal with Arnya, Will, Rhiannon and Aaron, then went back to camp. I ate leftover curry from yesterday for tea, watched a movie then went to bed.

Day 107

I woke early, got ready to go to the gym (it isn’t open until 8am), washed Allan’s work uniform and then Allan woke up, so I made coffee and never made it to the gym. Allan had a day off work today and had heard from Haz and Loz about some Street Art around Darwin. They had told him about an app you could download on your phone that showed augmented reality for some of the pieces. We planned on doing that later this morning. We chilled out at camp for a bit, both feeling all right after the Covid vaccine yesterday, but Allan was complaining of a sore and heavy arm. Allan downloaded the Darwin Street Art app on his phone, and we drove into the city. We found a park but had to pay $4.50 for a ticket (better than a fine I suppose), then using the app we were able to locate the street art. It was all very incredible and inventive and the pieces that were done with augmented reality were amazing. We had lunch at the mall food court, then went back to the car. Allan wanted to go to a boat shop to have a look at boats, so we did. The boats were all too big for what we need and want, but it was still good to have a look around. I decided I wanted to go to East Point. Allan hadn’t heard of East Point before, so we went for a drive. There was a beach/ocean to the left and to the right was a lake (Alexander Lake). It was crazy to see people swim in the lake, because I thought there would be crocodiles in it. There was a playground and the lawn around the lake was immaculately kept and a beautiful green colour. We kept driving and parked the car at Dudley Lookout to have a look. The tide was out, and it was a beautiful view of the ocean. We kept driving around East Point towards the Military Museum. I did a quick check to see how much it would cost and it was $20 per adult, which we decided we would do another time. This time, we had a look at some of the WWII ruins positioned next to the coast that included multiple artillery shelters, magazine ranges, a powerhouse, a search light and multiple cement slabs where guns used to sit. We walked around the area, had a look around before Allan got too hot and complained about having sore feet. We got fuel, then drove out to East Arm boat ramp where Allan and Mike launched Mike’s boat when they went fishing together and caught nothing. We saw a sign about a Leprosarium, which I looked up on Google. Google told me there was a quarantine station on Channel Island for people coming into Darwin from boats that may have leprosy or smallpox. The people diagnosed with those conditions would stay on Channel Island in quarantine and the others would stay in a quarantine facility in the port of Darwin until they had a diagnosis. We stopped at a bottle shop on the way back to camp. Back at camp we had a swim in the pool, then put a roast pork on the Baby Q for dinner. While the roast was cooking, we played Monopoly Deal (Allan is still winning 20-17). We ate tea, chilled out at camp, then went to bed.

Day 108

We woke early this morning and had coffee. Allan had an early shift this morning and started at 10am, so I dropped him off, so I had the car and decided to go for a walk around East Point Reserve. I wanted to do the Mangrove Boardwalk, but I didn’t feel safe doing it by myself because I was a little worried about the locals and being alone in a foreign area. I stuck to walking along a main thoroughfare with cyclists and other pedestrians. I did the science walk and saw many wallabies sitting in the reserve and even some dolphins playing in the water. The walk took me past the WWII ruins we saw yesterday, along the coast to Dudley Point Lookout. I walked past PeeWee’s At The Point and walked back to the car. I went to Woolworths to get some supplies, then went back to the caravan park. I put on some washing, went for a swim, hung the clothes out and had brunch. I made dough for wraps and while it was proofing, I put away the washing. I started cooking the wraps and got halfway through and realised I needed to go pick up Allan from work. I had a shower, got changed and made it to the Sailing Club by 6pm. Allan was required to work a bit longer because they were short-staffed and it was peak hour, so I sat and had a drink by the water. Allan finally finished work and joined me with a drink and watched the sunset with me. We went back to camp, I cooked the rest of the wraps, we had some curry chicken for tea and played a couple of games of Monopoly Deal before going to bed.

Day 109

We woke early and had coffee. Allan had a couple of days off work, so we planned to head to Dundee Beach today for 2 nights. It took us almost 3 hours to pack everything up, which was close to 3 weeks’ worth of stuff! We left the caravan park and stopped in Palmerston for some food. All Allan wanted was a pie, but the bakery didn’t have a very big selection, so he chose to get sushi instead. I just bought some cheese and bacon rolls from Woolworths, because you can’t go wrong with those! We continued to Dundee Beach and got there at 12:30pm. We checked in at the caravan park and booked an ensuite powered site for $58 per night for 2 nights, which only turned out to be $10 more expensive per night than just a powered site. Dundee Beach is a small coastal fishing town with not much else there. We drove into the caravan park and saw Naomi and Lee at the pool chilling out and we said hello before continuing to our site. We set up camp and walked over to Lee and Naomi’s site. Lee and Naomi reported the weather hadn’t been too good for fishing over the last week, so they hadn’t been out very much, which is why they chose to stay for a couple more nights. Lee had some crab pots in the river and needed to get them out. He asked if we wanted to go with him to retrieve them. I don’t think Lee had even finished his sentence before Allan said yes. Lee had checked the tides and we would be able to get the boat in the river by about 4:30-5pm. Naomi decided she would stay back at camp and prepare for a job interview that she has via Zoom. At 4:30pm we left camp in Lee and Naomi’s car with their boat and trailer on the back and went to the river boat ramp about 20km from the caravan park. We had a look at the boat ramp before launching the boat. It is a tidal river and because the tide was still coming in, the boat ramp was only just usable. Lee was more than happy to launch the boat, which Allan and I were shocked at because we probably would have waited due to a large and awkward drop at the end. Lee reversed the boat and trailer down the ramp and Allan, and I had the duty to get it in the water. Lee had to stay in the car with his foot on the brake, because he doesn’t trust the Land Cruiser hand brakes. Allan and I eventually got the boat off the trailer, and we could finally get in the boat and get going. Lee had 4 mud crab pots in the water. The first pot was wrapped around a rock, but we were able to retrieve it by removing the float and grabbing the rope closer to the net to get the net. The net was empty, so we went to the next one. The second pot was only just visible but was mostly engulfed by the clay-like mud and we couldn’t see the float anywhere, so we classified that pot as a lost pot. The last 2 pots were both out of the water, so we decided to kill some time waiting for the tide to come up more and do some trawling for Barra. We trawled for about an hour without catching anything, but we did see a crocodile in one of the mangrove inlets which was about 4m long, the same length as Lee’s boat we were sitting in!! Lee found a spot that had a lot of fish sitting at the bottom, so we changed lures to bait casters and floated over the spot. Allan caught a tiny mangrove jack and so we decided to call it quits and retrieve the last 2 pots. We retrieved the last 2 pots with no glimpse of a mud crab, then headed back to the boat ramp to get the boat out before it was too dark. Lee reversed the trailer down the boat ramp, then sat in the car with his foot on the brake. The current and tide was pushing the boat upstream making it difficult to get the boat onto the trailer rollers. It took Allan and I about 20 minutes to get the boat on the trailer. We got back to the caravan park empty handed and expected to see Naomi, but then thought she would be at the beach watching the sunset. We went to the beach to watch the sunset, but just missed it set and Naomi was no where to be seen. Lee sent her a message and she said she must have just missed us as she had been down the beach but left about 10minutes ago. We told her to come back to the beach and meet us at the Roadhouse/General Store/Café/ Pub for a drink. We made plans to go fishing on the ocean tomorrow at 6:30am. We went back to our sites, had tea and went to bed dreaming of catching big fish tomorrow.

Day 110

Woke up early ready to go out on Lee’s boat and catch some fish. We had enough time to have a coffee and pack snacks, sunscreen, drinks and ice. We took our car over to Lee and Naomi’s to hook the boat trailer up to our car, as Naomi needed their car to drive to Darwin to have her online job interview, because the internet reception at Dundee Beach is not consistent. We drove to the boat ramp, launched the boat and got in. Lee had a spot marked on his sounder that was only 5km from shore. We anchored up and I got to use the only rod that was rigged up. Within a minute of having my rod in the water, I was on with my first fish, which was a tiny cod. I then caught a sweet lip and then a large gold spot cod which we kept. Allan and Lee caught a few small cod and Spanish Flags and then Allan got a snag and lost his rig, so Lee started rigging up Allan’s rod and passed Allan his rod and as Allan took hold of the rod, he could feel a fish on the end, so he reeled it in and caught a blue snapper. We then started to catch small reef sharks, so we decided to change spots. By this stage I was feeling a bit seasick, but because I hadn’t eaten anything I was just dry reaching. We tried the second spot for ten minutes without a single bite, so we pulled up anchor and moved on. At the third spot, Allan and I were both feeling a bit green, and we both vomited once the anchor was down. I had a bit of a nap and intermittently fished. Lee and Allan sat and fished. There was a point where both Allan and Lee caught sharks at the same time, so Lee landed his and was trying to get it back in the water when it slipped out of his hands and landed on Allan’s foot. The running joke for the day was that Lee threw a shark at Allan. Allan then was able to land his shark and release it. We caught a few more sharks so we decided to move on to another spot. This last spot was no good, so we decided to try some trawling for Spanish Mackerel, as I was still feeling a bit green. We trawled for about 1 hour and my arms felt like they were going to fall off, so I handed the rod to Lee, and I took care of steering the boat. We still had about an hour before the tide was high enough to use the boat ramp, so we drove close to the boat ramp and trawled along the shoreline for barramundi. After about half an hour of trawling we had to stop again because Allan was snagged. We had spent most of the time unsnagging Allan’s lure. This time, I left my lure in the water, which I hadn’t been doing and Lee turned the boat around. My line got stuck on the motor, so Lee stopped the motor and untangled it and we got the lure back, phew! Allan kept attempting to trawl until we got to the boat ramp. We got the boat out, went back to camp and washed the boat and equipment down. Lee taught Allan how to fillet the fish and I untangled Lee’s lead line that had got tangled today. We had showers and had lunch. I was feeling much better now we were on land and had food in my belly. It was a great day out in the boat and cemented to both Allan and I why we need a boat. We went to the Pub/Café/General Store/ Roadhouse and had a round of drinks and met up with Naomi who had just got back from Darwin after her interview, which she thought she had done all right with. We planned to go to the beach and build a sand couch, have a fire and make a cheese platter while watching the sunset. We got ready, lowered our tyre pressures and headed along a short 4WD track to get to the beach. We found a good spot and the boys started digging. Once the basic outline of the couch was there, us girls made it homely and feel like a couch while the boys went and collected firewood. We started a fire, but there was lots of wind which was blowing the smoke straight onto our sand couch. We chilled out on the beach and watched Lee attempt to go fishing. I say attempt, because the shore was lined with large boulders, so he used his drone to get the line out, but he snagged the line when bringing it in and lost his rig, so he gave up. We sat and watched the sunset and stayed until about 8pm when the fire had stopped burning. We went back to camp and ate the cheese platter and played Monopoly Deal with Naomi and Lee. We went to bed after a fantastic day.

Day 111

We woke up, had coffee and packed up camp. It was a very humid day and it looked stormy and like it was going to rain. We said goodbye to Naomi and Lee and left Dundee Beach as it started to spit, but it didn’t eventuate into rain. We stopped at a roadhouse and had ordered chips and gravy and a hamburger with the lot for $26 total. The chips and gravy were delicious, and the burger was huge. We kept driving and stopped at a mango farm and picked up a bag of mangoes for $10. The mangoes weren’t quite ripe but will ripen eventually. As we were driving into Darwin it started pelting with rain. We checked in at the caravan park and it was still pouring when we went to set up camp. We spent the next 10minutes driving around the caravan park, because we didn’t want to set up camp in the rain. Once the rain stopped, we set up the camper in our new spot, which was big enough for the camper with the awning out and the car could fit next to the awning. We went to Bunnings to buy another extension cord and a table, but we came out with neither. Back at camp, we played Monopoly Deal with Allan still beating me, then cooked up fish for tea with salad. We chilled out at camp, then went to bed.

Day 112

Woke up early, had coffee and breakfast. Before Allan had to go to work, we decided to go to the Northern Territory Museum and Art Gallery. Upon arrival we were warned that it was super busy, because they had 3 different school groups coming in today. Of course, we managed to pick a busy day to go there. The art gallery had many beautiful and abstract paintings and art pieces created by Aboriginal people. We saw the exhibit that showcased the taxidermy of “Sweetheart”, a large crocodile that died after being captured while rangers were attempting to relocate him to a different river. We saw exhibits on native land, air and sea animals, fossils and skeletons of some animals. We learnt about the destruction that was caused by Cyclone Tracy on Christmas Day of 1974. There was a sound booth that played recordings of the sound of Cyclone Tracy going over. It was very surreal and scary. We saw and read about WWII and about Northern Territory separating from the Commonwealth. There was a maritime exhibit with many boats and canoes that were used for fishing, transporting cargo or refugees from Indonesia, Vietnam, Samoa and other countries close to Darwin. We spent about 3 hours at the museum and probably could have spent a few more hours there as well, but we had to get back to camp so Allan could get ready for work. Back at camp, we ate some lunch and Allan got ready for work and then left. I stayed back and did some washing, demoulded the camper (again) and spritzed it with vinegar, then packed everything away so that it wouldn’t get wet if it rained. Lee and Naomi returned to the caravan park, so I had a chat to them for a bit. There was a thunder and lightening storm that went the whole way around the caravan park, but we didn’t get any rain. I cooked sausages on the BBQ at the camp kitchen, then ate 2 with salad before watching a movie and going to bed.

This week we explored a bit around Darwin looking at the street art and museum. We even managed to spend a few good quality days at Dundee Beach with the company of Lee and Naomi and went fishing and made a beach sand fire chair. Stay tuned for next weeks adventures around Darwin.

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