Trip Leader: Paul, Louise, Matt & Sam
When: Thursday 25th to Sunday 28th January 2007
Where: Leschenault Peninsula
Participants: Paul, Louise, Matt & Sam, John & Sue, Roger & Jan, Peter & Denise, Trev, Rachel, Lewis & Jamie, Keith, Bob & Bridget, visitors Piers, David and his children Laura and John, Guy & Wendy, Peter & Chris, Sue & Rick, Malcolm, Lizzie, Daniel, Nicky and Jade, visitors Andrew, Leanne, Lucas and Ben
“What time are you leaving to go down on Thursday”? came the e-mails and phone calls in the lead up to this trip. I replied confidently “12 noon parents with kids time”. (I can imagine the looks on peoples faces) then I explained that meant we would be there hopefully before dark (I was even more confident as I remembered daylight saving was on my side). Can you imagine my shock and awe when we were driving down the freeway on ramp at precisely 1.45pm, a suddenly empty feeling overcame me as I realised we were either getting better at this or we forgot something major behind. After checking the rear vision mirror and seeing both the kids and the caravan were in tow I settled on the ‘we are getting better at this’ scenario.
Could this be a non-eventful almost boring trip…….
…….NAH ! I think not.
It was about 2.05pm when the phone rang and it was John and Sue saying they were at the gate but could not find a key. Louise then spent the next 1.5 hours draining my mobile phone battery and also introducing herself to every D.E.C. ranger south of Geraldton as she tried to track down the key. You will have to ask at the next meeting the end result of this one. Just remember to ask me about the 9 John’s and 6 Keith’s.
The rest of the day was reasonably uneventful but all the more relaxing. We had Paul, Louise, Matt & Sam, John & Sue, Roger & Jan, Peter & Denise, Trev, Rachel, Lewis & Jamie, Keith, Bob & Bridget, visitors Piers, David and his children Laura and John all set up camp on.
Much fuss was made over Peter & Denise’s new Jayco Expander as it is accessorised to the max (good buy Peter & Denise). WE all had a gander at it and then left the proud new owners to set up. This was the second time they had erected it on their own… and they did a sterling job at it too (good erection Peter and Denise).
Happy hour was attended by all and a merry one it was as we relaxed down on the beach under the shade of the local foliage.
The rest of the crew made up of Guy & Wendy, Peter & Chris, Sue & Rick, Malcolm, Lizzie, Daniel, Nicky and Jade, visitors Andrew, Leanne, Lucas and Ben arrived and set up camp in various shapes and forms.
After lunch a beach run was the order of the day as we made our way down to Belvedere Beach and along the coast down to The Cut. The water was absolutely magnificent, cool, clear and calm. After a brief look at the cut and a family of dolphins swimming in amongst the beach goers, and there were plenty of them, we drove back up the beach to find a less crowded spot so we could set up our tarps and have a dip ourselves. Much discussion was made about coming back later in the evening for evo’s and to watch the Bunbury fireworks. Most of us made it off the beach on our first attempt but there were a few regulars that did not (they mentioned something about not disappointing the crowds)
Once dinner was consumed we all went back to beach and as we rounded the first point there in all their glory were the fireworks, we all had a bit of a moment as we could see the sunset, fireworks and the comet as it got darker. Matt and Sam proceed to dig a tunnel in the sand and was very proud of their engineering achievements until one of our resident ‘get bogged in the sand’ members, stepped in it and nearly injured himself. Much ado about nothing proceeded for some time after that, but the fact that he could dig another tunnel, and he was lucky that John didn’t hurt himself, doesn’t really sink in when you are 7….aaahhhh only to be young again.
Once the fireworks had finished every single car on the beach mobilised and proceeded to head off the beach, now if you are thinking what I was thinking at the time you’re right, lots of vehicles, soft, boggy, dry sand and our resident “get bogged on beach mob”. Yes people we did not disappoint, several attempts by some who will remain nameless brought cheers from the ever increasing crowd of patient (but not for much longer) onlookers gathering at the exit ramp. Given the lateness of the day and the fact that there were probably 150 cars following up behind us, we thought it would be better to drive slowly back to the camp site and air up in the morning. (Maybe someone should get some tyre deflators for his next birthday).
Collie was in our sights as we left the camp site with all except Piers who choose to soak up the serenity of a vacant campsite and spend the day relaxing. Thirteen cars in total were in convoy with Keith following as tail-end-charlie. Now for those of you that are not superstitious about the number 13 keep reading and you will certainly become that way. We had just left the peninsula and we were coming up to our first turn (still on bitumen) and next thing we notice we have lost the last few members of the convoy.
Keith radios in and tells us he is on the Main Highway but can’t catch up to Peter (at least he thought it was Peter in the distance), we couldn’t reach Peter on the radio at all but managed to have a nice conversation with a local resident of Australind who by some chance happened to know Peter. I lead the convoy on a wild goose chase trying to get to the petrol station in Australind, which is a lovely place with lots of cul-de-sacs by the way. So now you can imagine the look on my face when we arrived at the petrol station Keith was already there and not long after Peter turned up.
A discussion ensued almost heated (but it was already too hot “weather wise” for that) about convoy procedures, marking of corners, and not knowing visitors names etc etc. Anyway off we head to Collie and our first stop for morno’s (and by that time it is now noted as the latest morno’s on record) was at Potters Gorge a lovely little camping spot on the Wellington Dam, plenty of room for our lot in the car park even though the camp sites were all full. “A nice spot for a weekender” says Roger, “thanks for volunteering to lead that trip Roger”
I said, so keep an ear open for that one. I would register your interest early so you don’t miss out and so Roger doesn’t try and deny he said that. The facilities consist of BBQ’s, Toilet block, an outdoor rinsing shower and lots of shade.
Next we went down to the base of the dam and took our recently explored little pipeline track that took us back up to the top near the cafe, it is quite a windy rocky track and well done to everyone for making it through on your first attempt. A brief stop at the base of the dam to see the water shooting out of the pipe and flowing into the river system left us wondering what it would be like if the dam actually over flowed. Click on this link to see it in action http://www.southwestlife.com.au/downloads/wd.wmv now that would be a sight to see.
From there we followed the river downstream and found a great spot that would accommodate all of our cars and settled in for lunch Some of us waded in the shallows, others had a seat in the water and the luckiest ones went in for a dip. Continuing on from there took us along the notorious Leonard Track.. After we made it through the extra deep water crossing (as you can see on the left here it was as dry as a bone) we passed a few 4WDers coming the other way they yelled out to us “you guys in the Pajeros wont make it up“.
I just shrugged and hoped we would.
Well it got steeper and steeper and whilst the track was very smooth it was covered in pea gravel and had large water runoffs cut into it. We met the Holden 4WD club just after the steepest part and they kindly pulled over to let us through. A lone Toyota driver decided he would reverse back up rather than pull over and he was happy as Larry when he made it. Blowing his own horn literally. Whilst waiting for the Holden club a few of the vehicles (mainly the petrol ones) started to get a bit hot and we had to pull over at the top of the hill as Bob & Bridget were boiling… and so was their car.
Ranger Chris Gilbert from D.E.C. showed up and we all had a good chat with her regarding the local area and to many people’s surprise there is a local Quokka population. She also mentioned that most of the Rangers were over at Dwellingup fighting the bush fires. We filled her in with a report on Leschenault and thanked her for arranging our stay there.
A quick stop off in Australind on the way back to camp to see if we could go through there without losing anyone in the convoy, and also to get some last minute supplies. Once back at camp the wind had died down to almost non existent and happy hour on the beach was a necessity for keeping cool, as was plenty of beverage consumption. Happy hour eventually became secret men’s business with Keith, Piers and myself holding the fort until 1.00am. The breeze had picked up slightly and allowed a pleasant night’s sleep in preparation for the pack up trip home.
At one point in the evening I saw Lizzy returning some soap to Roger & Jan’s trailer, I though I would sneak up on her and scare the living daylights out of her but she was too busy looking at a grasshopper on the roof of the kitchen area. Lizzy and I moved in for a closer look only to be greet by a “Oh Hello there” when suddenly I heard a shriek followed by lots of giggles, upon further inspection not too closely for which I am grateful, I saw Roger in all his glory (sorry didn’t have the camera) with a cheesy grin on his face standing under the shower. Jan came running out and John and Sue thought someone had seen a snake…well now that you mention it…..nah! we wont go there. Needless to say we all had a good laugh and it was at this point in time I made sure I was doing the trip notes as there was far too much good stuff that might get left out. (Maybe someone should get a shower tent for his next birthday).
Most of the happy campers had packed up and gone home by the time I had finished my obligatory cooked breakfast, a few had chosen to go to the beach for a last swim in what turned out to be a clever way to beat the heat of the day. After lunch we decided to join them having packed our van we then parked at the beach and then went for a quick dip in the ocean which was a welcome relief but what was a relief was when I tore my calf muscle in 2 places. I couldn’t put any pressure on my right leg at all and had to lean on Malcolm to get out of the water and on to the sand.
Many recovery techniques were discussed such as chairs and it was even suggested flagging down a passing vehicle to get a lift up to our car. I chose the least embarrassing but most painstakingly slow method of hobbling, Malcolm, Daniel and I became one with the hobble technique and surprisingly didn’t take as long to get me off the beach which was just a well because any moment I was expecting Green Peace volunteers to turn up and start pouring buckets of water over me.
Ice cream on the way home went a long way to curing my woes as we stopped at the Ha Ve cheese factory, lots of cheese but given the temperature we settled for ice cream.
It was great to have a weekend at Leschenault without the work commitments, we really got to enjoy the environment with paddling, fishing and even swimming on the inlet.
Paul , Louise, Matt & Sam