Archive for October, 2011
This was our final day in the Lincoln area and it was going to be a fun one especially for the Nissan drivers (oh that would be me )
Today we were going to tackle the Sleaford-Wanna Track through the sand dunes. Everyone had been building up confidence in their driving abilities over the week and it would be put to the test for many before the day was out.
Again the wind and the rain were prevalent today so the sand was firmer than it would normally be so the first bit through the Wanna dunes was fairly easy going for all. There were a few clearance issues for some of the lower cars but all got through OK.
At one point where there was a memorial for someone who drowned in the area, there was a pod of dolphins frolicking in the surf. Not long after this we found a lunch spot near Salmon Hole then made it to the end of the dunes at Lone Pine.
We were going to head back the way we came as it didn’t take as long as expected. That was before we descended on Tinah Beach.
We had passed it on the way in and now that the clouds were dispersing and the sun coming out, why not go for a drive on the beach – it looked firm enough.
We stopped for a line up of vehicles for a photo and maybe we should have turned around there as the Ford Territory got bogged as they tried to move off, so I got to pull out my first vehicle.
While we were pulling Helen out the radio came alive. Barra who was leading the charge in his Toyota Landcruiser up the beach had become bogged as had Carolyn in her Nissan X-Trail and CJ in his Mazda Tribute.
After pulling out Helen, I let some more air out of the tyres and headed up to the others. There were 3 that hadn’t continued further up and I had to leave their tracks and go around them in the soft sand which was fun but I made it.
CJ just needed a little digging and some manpower and he was moving. Carolyn was a bit more of a priority as the tide was coming in on her vehicle. The bulk of the group worked on her car and I continued up the beach to Barra. He was stuck fast.
He had been trying to turn around and come back but got stuck. That’s OK, he has diff lockers. The only problem was that it buried him even more. It would have been easier to cover it with sand – it was that deep.
It was going to be a tricky pull as he was only 20 metres from the soft dunes, so a pull at an angle was required. We started digging him out and after about 15 minutes put on 2 straps and attempted a pull. I moved him a little but not enough for his tyres to get grip.
Half an hour or more later of digging with the rest of the group as they had freed the other vehicles and there was clear air under the car and a ramp out of the hole. A couple of decent pulls and Barra was free but not for long.
He attempted another turnaround and down the car went again. This time he waited for me with the straps before trying to dig himself deeper. From the GPS log we had spent 2 hours on the beach for a total 2.7 kilometre drive.
Despite the challenges today, the club all pulled together and helped each other out, learnt some new skills and told stories of the day over drinks that night at the Port Lincoln Hotel. We held the final dinner for the trip here which topped off a great week.
On the way out of the park we grabbed some of the Cove Man caches as well as getting a FTF on one that hadn’t been found since it was hidden in July. It was definitively well hidden.
We concentrated on the urban caches and near the town. We traveled on some tracks that probably weren’t tracks as well as coming across a druggies stash only a metre from the cache container.
There were some good caches and some number caches.
We still travelled 142 kilometres for the day before finding 37 geocaches.
Our travels today took us to Whalers Way which is a privately owned property with a lot of historical significance to the whaling days during the 1800′s. There were spectacular cliffs and coastline. One little known fact of this area is that it was where the Australian TV series Survivor was filmed back in 2001.
One of the first stops was the Theakstone Crevasse. What looks to be a man made fissure is formed on a fault line that goes underground around 30 metres but this can only be seen if you venture past the fence – boys will be boys.
Next stop was the Caves. This had some amazing geology with some large caves formed by wave action and we saw some of that wave action but it wasn’t enough to form new caves but breathtaking all the same. We couldn’t believe our eyes as 2 sea-doos with passengers went past in the pounding surf – not sure where they came from or where they were headed.
Just down the road was the Baleen Rock Pool and blowhole. It was a clear rockhole with signs saying “Don’t swim in it” but I would imagine that would be for when the sea is pumping and today wasn’t that day as the blowhole failed to impress.
Barra & I headed over the rocks to find the ocean where the waves breaking put on an impressive show but when we returned, we were in the bad boys corner as the others were waiting – I guess we lost track of time.
It was then off to Red Banks Beach for lunch and some more rocks to explore. I am glad we did as there was a lone Fur Seal putting a show for us about 30 metres from where we were sitting. The trek back up from the beach was fun as there was a sand bank leading up to the cliff ladder and it seemed for every 2 steps up you slipped back one. I even had to push up Christine’s Mum as she was struggling.
It was time to visit some of the other attractions on offer which included Moonlight Bay and the Osprey Nest (but the Osprey wasn’t home). Seemingly the same Osprey has been nesting here for 32 years.
At the Ski Jump and Cape Wiles, there was supposed to be a Fur Seal colony, but to see it you needed a telephoto lens as they were way down there on the rocks. It wasn’t until we looked at our photos that we realised there was an albino Fur Seal down there. It made our encounter back at Red Banks Beach all that much special.
The sink hole made all too clear how little crust there is on these roads. Back when they were making the road using heavy machinery, the limestone crust gave way to form the sink hole about 10 metres deep. That road doesn’t go through any more.
We were getting weary but made a couple of stops before leaving Whalers Way. The first was Whalechaser Crevasse and again the limestone crust depth was evident. The final stop for the rock climbers was the Swimming Hole. This involved climbing down a cliff face using a bush-rigged ladder. Unfortunately we didn’t have time for a swim but Barra went for a walk through the water.
The group split up with a few of us grabbing some last geocaches at Mary Ellis Wreck Beach before heading back to camp for another spectacular sunset. We covered 162 kilometres today and found 12 geocaches.
Today we ventured into the Memory Cove Wilderness Area. Even though this is part of the Lincoln National Park, numbers of visitors are strictly limited although we are sure that we counted more cars in here today than there should have been.
It is not a quick drive but we did see some spectacular coastline and cliffs. Our target for the day was Memory Cove with its pristine beach and water – too good not to have a swim (the water was refreshing but you got used to it). I was the only one to take a dip while others tried their hand at fishing or just taking it easy on the beach.
On the way out, we checked out the various lookouts and vistas and even got to hide a couple of geocaches:
As we were getting near the exit to the area, the weather started getting windy and cold again. This was to be the theme for the night around the campfire.
Back in Adelaide there was a geocaching event being held – A Pub Dinner – Oct 25 International Artist Day. Since the event organiser Barrimundi was with us, we decided to a virtual visit via Skype. After saying hello to everyone at the event we had a dinner of our own.
The weather wasn’t all that warm with misty drizzle but it was the strong winds that were not that welcome. There wasn’t going to be any dust today but the wind certainly whipped up the sand in the dunes.
Well it didn’t take long for the first vehicle to get bogged. Phil managed to get his Ford Territory bogged on the first dune. A quick recovery from David in his Hyundai Terracan and we were on our way over the dunes to Gunyah Beach.
The plan was to go for a drive up Gunyah Beach but with the gale force winds, we would have been sand blasted so a quick line up of the vehicles, some photos and we headed back through the dunes to the beaches on the eastern side – hopefully the wind wont be as severe.
The wind certainly wasn’t severe but it was raining on and off which meant for some firm sand both in the dunes and on the beach. We continued along the eastern coast of the Coffin Bay National Park, stopping for lunch at Black Springs Campground, along the Seven Mile Beach to Point Sir Isaac. At Point Sir Isaac we introduced some more muggles to geocaching while we did some maintenance to the cache located there.
The rain was starting to abate but the wind certainly wasnt as we returned along Seven Mile Beach to Point Avoid. We were back on the bitumen so a chance to put the tyre pressures back up and then move onto the Coffin Bay Sporting Association for tea. The meal was good once it arrived. I think we overwhelmed their staff with the numbers we had, even though we had let them know a couple of weeks ago that we would be there.
The group broke up here after the meal with Garry and me geocaching our way back to the campsite.
It was a big day with 300 kilometres and 29 geocache finds.
There were no activities planned for 4WDing today so it was a good chance to make an assault on the 250+ geocaches hidden in the Port Lincoln Area. our only commitment today was a lunch with the locals – Pub Lunch with Barra, Firesafe & Honeysucker.
By the time we got out of the Lincoln National Park it was getting close to the allotted hour for the Pub Lunch. Lunch was at the Great Northern Hotel and for a $10 smorgasbord it was both good value and a good meal. It was great to catch up with a few of the local geocachers in particular the master hider for the area, “Wheres Wolly“.
After lunch it was more caching, this time doing many of the urban geocaches available in Port Lincoln, until we had had enough and then headed back to camp for a swim in the clear water and another night around the campfire.
All in all, we covered only 100 kilometres and found 40 geocaches.
We woke to overcast skies and fog – hopefully it would burn off. We had a little time to grab the geocaches around Port Bonython and Point Lowly. It was a good drive along Cuttlefish Drive with it culminating at the lighthouse at Point Lowly.
There were some very expensive “shacks” here but you have to wonder if they have over capitalised considering they back onto the Port Bonython petro-chemical facility.
Made a phone call to the rest of the High Rangers and they weren’t far behind so it was off to the main road to meet them. We couldn’t have timed it better as we met at the junction of the Whyalla Road.
A quick diversion to the Whyalla Visitor Centre to regroup and rest stop and it was back on the road heading south.
Next stop was Cowell, checking out the Black Stump, then lunch at the jetty from the local bakery. By this time we had blue skies and ironically the sun was really biting and we would have welcomed some cloud cover.
Upon reaching Port Lincoln the group divided as not all were camping in the Lincoln National Park. We were camping at the north eastern tip of the park in a spot called Richardson’s Shack. The campsite was up on a cliff top overlooking Boston Bay with a white sand beach and clear water.
We were one of the last to choose a campsite and I think we were lucky to get the million dollar views that everyone else missed.
Time to set up the camper trailer, cook some tea, enjoy a spectacular sunset over Boston Bay then a few beverages around the campfire. A great finish for the day.
I am a member of the High Range 4WD Club and this year one of the trips was a big one. It was a 10 day odyssey to the Lincoln National Park and environs. The trip was to include some beach driving, dune driving, relaxing and of course some free time to do some geocaching.
The actual start time was to be dark o’clock on Saturday morning at Port Wakefield which would have meant getting up well before dark o’clock to get there, so I decided to go a day early, take it easy, geocache along the way and then let the rest of the club catch us up on the Saturday.
By the time I was sorted with the camper trailer hooked on it was 9:30. A detour to Windsor Gardens to pick up Garry and it was time to head north.
We took it easy grabbing some munzee’s and those caches that I have driven past many times but couldn’t stop for.
One of those caches was GC1RPF5 – Ship It, a multi cache in Port Wakefield that ended up in the mud flats and after the rain last night, we now know why they are mud flats. I grew about 2 cm in height with all the mud on the shoes.
Some tea at Port Augusta and grab some wifi to log the caches so far then off to Fitzgerald Bay near Whyalla to camp for the night. We stayed here last year but this time we didn’t have the Army carrying out night live fire exercises.
I have only just bought a new Garmin Oregon 450 GPS, when I got an email from the Australian Magellan agent whether I would like to try out a Magellan Explorist 610 on a long term loan. I told them – why not ….
The box was the same size as the Oregon 450 box but once I opened it up, there was a unit that was slightly bigger than the Oregon 450. It felt a little heavier and in fact was about 20 grams heavier.
The big difference on the outside between the two was the addition of a camera and a loop body extrusion on the Explorist 610, otherwise they looked very similar. This is where the similarities ended.
After turning the unit on, there were what seemed to be icons everywhere – this is going to take some getting used to. Maybe time to read the instructions (in 3 languages ).
One thing I have found is that my fingers seem to be too big for the virtual buttons and find myself touching them several times to get an action.
It took a little time to get the unit to find the satellites but this is expected on a first run out of the box.
Now to add some geocaches. I tried dragging in a GPX file with 3000 caches in it but it would only recognise around 700 of them – this was frustrating.
Onto Google to see if I could find some answers. I eventually found a method from within Geocaching Swiss Army Knife (GSAK) that would export to the Explorist 610. Even then it would not show all of them – about 80 missing out a 4300. Not sure why it has not shown them all.
I do like the camera and it takes reasonable photos as well as screen captures. I have tried a small video as well.
So first impressions is that it looks like a good unit with a few hiccups. Time to find some geocaches.
One thing with my life, it is like a magical mystery tour - you never know where I will be.
With the warming weather curing this massive growth and a lot of dry lightning storms there have been some large fires threatening townships and station homesteads.
The role of the SA crew has been to burn strategic breaks around Alice Springs and provide a rapid response to nearby fires.
My role has been that of a Planning Officer within the Incident Management Team. The amazing thing about these fires is the sheer size of them (e.g. 4000 square km just for a single fire) and the small amount of resources managing these fires.
Today started early with lightning heading through Central Australia starting a number of new fires. So apart from chasing up information on existing fires, it was a case of chase up on the new ones as well.
The temps were high today with 35 degrees and some good winds so fires were moving well. The main fires giving more interest were east and west of Alice Springs.
We were starting to wind down when I starting doing a scan of the latest satellite data and spotted some new fires south west near Yulara and on the Stuart Highway north of Ti Tree. Another flurry of work then it was time to head back to the hotel.
It was only 5 minutes back at the hotel and a fire started directly across the road. Our crews were out working north of town so we rang the local crew and watched them get to work.
Time for an ice cold beer to finish the day