22.06.2012 - 22.06.2012
We began the day with a shower in Pardoo's little self contained ensuites. We met a few other early risers and noticed, as has often been the case, that those who seem to feel the cold most are those who come from cold countries. Go figure...
We breakfasted at 7 and departed at 8, with little camp to break, as we all slept in the dongas last night.
Only a short distance down the road we got to Port Hedland. The actual port itself is full of massive ships many of which, I think, would be bulk ore carriers taking the diggings from Tom Price and other top end mines.
We went a dozen k south to the sister town, South Hedland, so that we could all buy last minute supplies before we went into Karijini National Park. Karen only had 20 minutes to shop and still managed to buy a pair of shoes (cheapies to wear in camp among the ever present red soil), got a sausage roll and went to Maccas!
(...well that was a nice nap. I can't believe how readily I fall asleep My red bag and pillow are a great combo on these longer drives)
Shortly after I woke we crossed Obstinate Creek which made me think of some of my family and colleagues.
We just finished having hamburgers for lunch at Auski roadhouse. It's got a massive donga complex at the back that's part caravan park, part road worker and maybe even temporary accommodation for people going to and from Tom Price.
Just down the road is a sign with spaces for 3 towns on it but the top one is blanked out. Apparently it used to read "Wittenoom" which is a town that now only has 8 residents still living there because the state closed the town down in 2006. There is no government provided power or water, no other services, and it has been removed from all newly published maps and existing signs. It was a mining town that produced asbestos from distinctive blue striated crocidolite rocks found in the Pilbara region. Shortly after telling us about the town, and its demise and the affect on its people and the miners, Jess played the song "Blue Sky Mine" by Midnight Oil which is about the mine. Sobering.
A while ago we passed Mt Bruce, WA's 2nd highest peak, but now we're in the top end of Karijini NP, a little south west of Wittenoom. The entry road was very corrugated and Jess said it's markedly worse than last week when she brought the north-bound group through. We stopped at the Joffre Falls lookout and then continued to camp where we found permanent tents that are quite different to others that we've had. This one's a single long tent with a central shared atrium and four rooms, in pairs on opposite sides of the atrium.
The snorers and their partners have been put on one side and the non-snorers on the other. Because Karen snores I'm stuck on the noisy side Oh well, we're with the other oldies so they might be understanding when I go on my nocturnal wanderings.
We don't have any mains power or in bus charging for the next 3 days so we're adopting power conserving behaviours, ie. phones off while traveling, airplane mode when they're on unless location capture is required, fewer photos, infrequent facebook. We do have a Power Monkey recharging device that Jack, a friend from work, lent us. If it's been precharged then you can plug it into an iPhone and add about 60% of charge to the iPhone's battery indicator. It's very useful as a day extender or to eek out part of a 2nd bush day. It has a solar panel to recharge itself but we haven't had much success with that.