Trip Leader: Chris & Jan
When: 9th – 15th April 2006
Location: Steep Point
Participants: Sam, Frank and Rocco; Helen and Richard; Teresa, Terry, Liam and Kelly; Martin and Karen; Trevor, Rachel, Lewis and Jaimee; John Stampalija, Ralph and Luke.
Saturday 8 April, 2006
On Saturday the following people met at Ginger’s Roadhouse for an 8 am departure: Sam, Frank and Rocco; Helen and Richard; Teresa, Terry, Liam and Kelly; Martin and Karen; Trevor, Rachel, Lewis and Jaimee; John Stampalija, Ralph and Luke.
After a fuel stop at Dongara we had lunch at the 440 Roadhouse north of Geraldton, Fuel at the Overlander, and a quick afternoon tea were the only other stops we had. “Deputy Dog” Terry ran a tight ship so that we would be able to set up camp before sunset. We managed to do that, arriving at Tamala Station about half an hour before sunset. Our campsite overlooked some water and we enjoyed a lovely sunset (refer cover photo of the April edition of the magazine).
After tea we all enjoyed a great laugh or two around the campfire and retired about 11pm, grateful that we would be able to tackle the most difficult part of the track into Steep Point at a relaxed pace the next morning and all going well, arrive before lunch-time.
Tuesday 11 April, 2006
We awoke to another sunny but windy day – but we’re on holidays so ‘who cares’!
5 boats were taken out in the early morning by the fishermen and it wasn’t long before Sam, Frank and Rocco returned with 2 good sized Pink Snapper for their fridge.
Those campers who were not out fishing had a very relaxing breakfast and morning tea and awaited the return of the rest of the fishermen. Eventually the boats returned with their catch which was duly inspected by the rest of the troops, photos were taken and then the filleting began.
A social afternoon was had by all with lunch, afternoon tea, nibblies and finally tea happening in all the individual camps. Most people ended the evening by sitting around the campfire which provided much warmth but not much protection from the wind and swirling sand.
Chris told everyone that tomorrow would be the day of the Fishing Competition and lots of discussion followed his announcement. Finally everyone drifted off to their own camps and bed.
Helen & Richard
Wednesday 12 April, 2006
Today was fishing competition day, so all 5 boats were loaded up early with a full compliment of crews and were out in the water by 6:30am. Karen was the only female willing to brave the windy waters. Richard and Helen K headed for the cliffs of Steep Point to fish from land. Karen, Martin and Roger were first to return after a couple of hours of not so successful angling. Roger then took visitor Geoffrey on-board and headed back out to sea.
While standing on the shore with the other ladies, Claire noticed Stamps (John S) and his travelling companions Ralph and Luke walking along the beach towards camp holding their life jackets. Stamps informed them that they had just spent an hour in the water after their boat had been capsized by a wave. They had attempted to swim to shore from quite some distance out and were not achieving much against the current. Luckily they were noticed by a passing boat, which picked them out of the water and radioed an alert to the Steep Point Ranger. A fleet of boats was summoned from neighbouring campers for a search and recovery of Stamp’s submerged boat.
Our 4 other boats were still out fishing unaware of these events. By chance, Chris S and Ivan T just happened to drift nearby the submerged dingy and alerted the Ranger of their find. With the assistance of another boat, the dingy was towed back to shore were the motor was quickly flushed of sea water and found to be undamaged. Unfortunately a quantity of fishing equipment had been lost.
Good safety preparation in having life jackets available and a degree of luck had prevented a tragedy from occurring. Stamps commented that “though they were very aware of the areas shark population; he had the advantage of having the shortest legs of the group.”
The fishing competition finished at 2:00PM. Jan was given the task of measuring and weighing the catch from each group to determine the winners. The winners were to be announced at the evening’s Hawaiian banquet. To which end, everyone set about in the afternoon preparing their contributions to the banquet.
The men’s cake competition was also well underway with an array of cakes being served up each day.
Today was Trevor’s turn to present a cream filled chocolate cake for happy hour to tempt the lady voters. Happy hour also saw the vying for hot coal positions from the fire for all the camp ovens being prepared for the banquet dinner.
The evening came and one and all arrived dressed in various Hawaiian influenced clothing. Ivan came out of the closet (Literally) wearing a very becoming blonde wig which was somewhat off put by 5 days of beard growth. Karen’s visit to Good Samaritans prior to the trip came in useful for clothing several people who had forgotten to bring along Hawaiian clothes. The banquet consisted of a vast array of various hot pots, salads, vegetables and a large ground baked Mulloway caught by Terry.
The fishing competition winners were announced. Sam’s son Rocco won best reef fish.
Richard K won best Mackerel (1.075M) and Trevor H won best Sweep Lip.
Roger completed the Banquet by presenting his cake competition entry, a very nice carrot cake. It was hard to tell what the men took more seriously, fishing or baking cakes (but don’t let it be known, otherwise Steep Point will loose it’s rugged macho appeal).
Karen & Martin
Thursday 13th April 2006
The day started early for some, all the people who took boats went out for a spot of fishing. There was no luck to be had today but everyone was pleased to be back safely on the beach after a big swell and choppy conditions caused one macho man to say “I was even a bit scared out there today”. We bid farewell to Roger and Jan and their lovely friends this morning, safe trip home! We had a pleasant morning on the beach and after they returned from fishing some of the men tried their hand at baking cakes for the big cake competition.
At two o’clock, once nearly all the cakes were finished baking, we set off for a drive to Crayfish Bay led by John Stamps. The drive was easygoing but once on the beach at Crayfish Bay the sand was quite boggy. Everyone followed the winding and deeply rutted track down to the beach with no problems and the beach was covered with beautiful shells suitable for collecting for the shell competition. One lucky member resorted to being snatched out of the boggy sand (yes, it was Trev!), and we made our way back up the hill and on to Thunder Bay and the Blowholes. Walking down to have a look at Thunder Bay was like walking in a moonscape with craters and pools of water everywhere. The blowholes were spectacular, one blowhole was quite small and seemed to breathe hot air. There were several large blowholes and you really needed to watch your step, you could easily have stepped into them when they weren’t blowing and then they blew fine spray all over anyone in range.
Ivan and Claire had already headed back to camp early to cook their turkey for their very special Anniversary dinner, Congratulations! Once again there was a feast back at camp, but the wind ensured a healthy dose of sand was consumed with the food. We had Terry’s very nicely seashell decorated cake entry after dinner, as well as another entry from Sam but we are yet to be convinced that Sam baked his cake whilst at Steep Point. Another pleasant evening sitting around the camp fire after another pleasant day.
Thanks to all for a fun filed week of fishing and relaxing.
Trevor & Rachel
Saturday 15th April, 2006
We broke camp at 7.30am on a windless beautiful calm morning which was a massive change to what we had experienced over the last week.
First job was to conquer the sand dunes on our way out which we did with only one small falter, then it was on to the tyre pump up spot.
This done we set out for the Overlander Roadhouse only to hear a call over the two way that one of the trailers had a flat. One vehicle stopped to help fix this problem while the rest decided to wait at the Overlander. The two caught up after some time then it was off to Geraldton for more fuel and a cuppa.
We then met again at Cataby for another cuppa and goodbye cuddles before our last leg. However it was not long before that same trailer had another flat and no more spares. Ivan & Clare had an oil leak so they continued on with Terry & Teresa following to make sure all was ok
Martin & Karen were the savior for Sam and his crew by finding some discarded tyes in Gingin which just happened to fit the rim. From reports more goodbyes were said and all that was left had the rest of their journey home uneventful.
Thank you Chris & Jan for another enjoyable break.