Friday, June 20, 2008

A Snapshot of Two Weeks up North...

What else do you do when you're faced with lovely warm weather, irresistable red dirt and a little water..? of course... you paint yourself from head to toe in MUD!

That picture is Brooke... the boys just did their feet. One of the boys did help paint Sister's back though with mud... then we got pics of them all muddy and getting cleaned up. This picture was taken out on the station where my Nanna is. Well with the recent rain there were caterpillars, dragonflies, butterflies, lizards, stick insects - all sorts of things for the kids to catch and observe and then release. Not to mention the emus, cattle, kangaroos, sheep, goats, birds, and various other wild things about the place. Zeke as full-on and fast as he is, has always always been gentle with the 'littler creatures' that he finds... and yes we did cut his nails lol.

We also visited the cemetary where my Grandad is buried, it's all looking very green at the moment with the recent rain. We did try and polish the plaque with the stuff we bought with us, but have concluded that it's not actually very good stuff, as we did try with the same stuff last time with not much result... plan is to find something better before we next visit...

We planned to drive out to [a favourite spot] again, where we went last time - lovely shade, massive big boulder, pools of water, river sand and much to the kid's delight - tadpoles! However, after clearing 45mins walking pace of fencing wire from the track, we decided to stop off well before our destination to have lunch, in the shade, (displacing a few cows from under the tree temporarily while we were there) as the day was getting on. Nanna knows the station very well and makes a splendid guide. We emptied out, well Michael did, the underneath of the car of grass seeds at least once each outing - seems the Prado is rather a harvester but then again, the grass is long and seeds a-plenty... certainly there were masses that came out when Michael cleaned out underneath and you definately don't want that lot getting hot!

Later in the week we headed up to Exmouth, Pilgramunna to be exact. We got the last camping spot of the entire National Park. We went to Pilgramunna last year and it promised the same this year. When the tide is in, a shallow beach perfect for the kids. When the tide is out, ghost grabs galore to catch on the beach with bare hands, which the kids loved. Green and brown crabs to catch with a wet hat if you're fast! This is my hand, and a tiny little Ghost Crab...

Of course... there's the fishing... The first day's fishing I forgot the camera of course... Brooke caught a 79cm Long Tom, which after we exclaimed how big it was and checked out it's needle long teeth, went back in the water - Brooke was rather excited as it was the biggest fish she has ever caught! Michael caught several Spangled Emporer and Trevally - undersize went back. The next day's fishing bought more... I caught a Spangled Emporer, Dart and a nasty pasty (laster identified as a Spinefoot) which just from the look of it I said don't touch! and we put it back using the bucket lid lol But the big catches of the week were Brooke's Spangled Emporer at 55cm, and Michael's Trevally... We had run out of gas on our last night there, and S and D camped next to us kindly offered to share their gas, so we shared the fish. Courtesy of D and his good bonocs, we also checked out the stars in detail - found a galaxy and enjoyed some good conversation with both D & S. The kids had a ball telling their stories and sharing the games D&S had to play.

Here's Brooke with her catches (her yell of 'help!' when she hooked the 55cm made me laugh - Daddy to the rescue but she still bought it in herself) of Trevally and Spangled Emporer... it took a LOT of effort on her behalf to hold each fish up for the photo! and the pic of the Spangled Emporer just doesn't do it's size justice, just think of the 55cm lol and for comparison... the fish didn't even fit in the fishing bucket lol the tails poked out the top... I am however the holder of the 'one that got away' story times two... most likely sharks but wowee they played with me and then just snapped the line - the first time I got all excited and tried to bring it in (uttered some shouted exclamations to Michael lol), the second time I tried patience and it just was emptying the reel of line... in between it was yanking me forward as it pulled away lol Anyway, later in the day we did see two black tip reef sharks, so chances are it was one of them. We also saw several rays, and a dugong (at which time we made sure all the lines were in so it wouldn't get tangled). We caught about 10-12 fish and all but 5 went back. 2 we shared with S&D, one went into town to go out the station to Nanna and the other 2 we shared with Grandparents and Great-Grandma when we got home.

Early morning walks on the beach revealed roo tracks (including joey ones), Emu prints (and you can see how big the emu was as that's my hand next to it in one of the pics), some littler prints I wasn't sure what they were, a snake trail etc - best spots were in the dunes were the wind had 'cleaned the slate' and on the shore below the hide tide line where the sand was compact and 'cleaned' of the day before's prints.
On the way home we stopped at the cairn for Grandad - the travel stop near Lyndon River on the North West Coastal Highway. We pulled out the weeds around the circle, and polished (or tried to) the plaque, which the smaller print reads
"An inspiration to all
Taken while helping others
The highest of distinctions"

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