Friday, May 26, 2017

Working as Driller's offsider and Cape le Grand NP

 Camp at le Grand Beach

 Up Frenchman's Peak

 sunset under Frenchman Pk

 Inside work Caravan

 Convoy of trucks

On the outback roads, past stations and mines

The Drill Rig, and cyclone on the left 

(click on a photo for large versions)

On break after 4 weeks hard work as a Driller’s offsider - 2 weeks near Leonora, then 2 days travel in convoy of trucks and me in a ute to get just inland of Geraldton.  Exploration for gold, often in areas with old mineshafts or mining dating back to 1910. The Geologists wait for us to get soil samples (1 per M) and examine them, and send back calico bags of soil for analysis.  We sometimes drill to 240m.   
Dig trenches to channel water which can be considerable. Fast running initially to drop bags, then slows down as drill gets deeper.  
We have an Eski full of food - ham, wraps, yogurt, fruit, which we dip into during the day.  as the drilling slows we even get to take it in turns and get a 10-15min break !

When we come to a new hole. there is a dance of bit changes and putting on a plastic tube which acts as a casing. Once this is done, we start with the trenches and run with samples. 

we camp in tents and swags, with a caravan full of food, a generator, shower, small washing machine, a campfire. Actually is quite pleasant after the corporate atmosphere of a mining camp. Great star viewing as I stretch my lower limbs in the swag, on a elevated stand. 
Deep Heat and stretching mandatory at my age… hands get big callouses and cracks.  Legs get bigger. 

I am told I’m going on break thursday evening and Friday morning we drive the 10 hrs back to kalgoorlie.  I pack the van and head off 3 hrs down to Esperance, arrive sat morning, wash work clothes at campsite and reset bags for next time. 

Later I head of for Cape le Grand NP - a real wild place with imposing Granite hills. Climb up Frenchman peak 262m,  swim in the cold sea.  quite a bit of rain or overcast first few days but get a sun only day Thursday.  Good to be able to be snug , watch movies etc in the van, which keeps much warmer than surroundings. Daily stretching, aided by my bouldering mat.  

Very few people this time of year. Known for some climbing… I do a bit of rock scrambling.  Working up courage to go out in the cold ocean with the Kayak.  Have a full length wetsuit… good for security in unlikely event of capsize.  
I’m used to tropical waters…. whitsundays, Noosa… you need to mindful of hypothermia in these waters.  

There is an archipelago of islands, and seals on the outer ones. Reminds me of Kangaroo island , SA. Weather is Tasmanian…
Sharks are around and eat bits of surfers once in a while.  safer in a Kayak - dont have my legs dangling.  


in the 1790s, French explorers Huon de Kermadec and Admiral D’Entrecasteaux who commanded the ships Esperance and Recherche, sailed past while searching for missing explorer  la Perouse. 
D’Entrecasteaux named Cape le Grand after one of his officers.
Ten years later,  Navigator Mathew Flinders went past as he mapped the Australian Coast. He rode out a storm in a sheltered bay and called it Lucky Bay - one of the NP campsites.

I wild camp and also at NP camp - Le grand beach (10$). From which there is a coastal walk, 15km to Rossiter bay, via a deep canyon between Granite hills.  

Great stars, Frenchman’s peak is imposing to be under at night. 
Quite a few tame kangaroos around. 

Park entry is 12$ per day, so I buy the annual WA pass (88$) as I know I will be frequently in and out of this and other parks. 

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