It’s All About Us

Hey gang

4:20pm πŸ˜‰ Tuesday 13 September 2011
After getting cleaned up at the Dragons Lair, we headed out to Walker Bay. First we checked the North end, then headed to the South to find some shelter from the trade winds. We found a nice hidden clearing about a hundred metres (330ft) in from the beach. The thick coastal scrub just lifts the wind over our heads, but also lets the breeze flick in a little to keep things cool and fresh.

I learnt a lesson today. Tina should not have shopped by herself at the supermarket. She insisted though.
“I haven’t been in their for ages! I’ll do the shopping.”
Tina purchased some avocado, bread, tomatoes, eggs and potatoes. Cool. She also bought a tray of herbed steak, a cold chicken, some cheese kabana. Enough cold meat for three days. Cool too. Except we have no fridge or ice. πŸ™‚
Now, we could have eaten the chook last night. But…we also had two live crabs that our bama mate had given us. They were happily resting in the mangrove leaves in the old blue Styrofoam esky we’d found at the Annan.

A Quick Diversion

Bama Explained
The term ‘bama’, pronounced ‘bumma’, is the local term in both guugu yimmithir and kuku yalanji languages for person or people. However, over time it has become the respectful term for differentiating between local aboriginals and white people. White people can sometimes be referred to as migaloo (whitefella), but that’s generally reserved for tourists who travel up here around the same time as the whales migrate North. We sometimes think there was an in-joke going on when the White humpback whale was named.

Our somewhat famous mud crabs are arguably the best tasting crabs on the planet.
Mud crabs are most commonly found in tidal saltwater, mangrove lined rivers and creeks. They’re also found in mangrove lined coast.
Now, some people may argue with me, but in our humble opinions, the best way to cook Australian Mud crab is thus:

Assuming a 1 kilogram (roughly 2lb) mud crab.
It must be alive! If you can’t get live green mud crab, ignore this and buy a cooked one.
Euthanase it.
Squeamish people avert your eyes. Either place in a freezer for an hour,or spike it between the eyes with something sharp.

Preferably get a big pot of fresh clean ocean water,about 5 litres (1.3US gal) and bring it to the boil. Immerse the crab and allow it to come to the boil again. Boil for 15 to 20 minutes, then take off the heat. Let it sit in the hot water for a couple minutes, then remove and immerse in a bucket of cold saltwater.
Leave in water to cool for 15 or 20 minutes before eating.
Oh, if you put thick layers of fresh mangrove leaves in your esky with your crabs, they’ll live for days. Keep the esky in the shade and open it for fresh air a couple times a day. Replace the leaves every couple of days or so. Only mangrove though.

End Diversion

Anyway, we decided to cook and eat the crabs instead, and sacrifice the chook to the dogs in the morning.
Dinner was fresh Annan River mudcrab, boiled in Crystal clear Walker Bay ocean water. Accompanied with ripe Avocado, tomatoes, lettuce and soft multigrain bread and butter.

We went to bed early, listening to the ocean and the breeze we’d become so used to before Tina was diagnosed with the GBM.

Wednesday 14 September 2011

We both had an interrupted sleep. Tina was awake more often than me, listening to the radio and quietly shushing Jack when he barked at a hog or wallaby in the undergrowth.
I woke around 11pm. Then at some hour after that, I woke with an overwhelming urge to throw up.
After emptying my guts, I felt much better and slept til dawn, about 6:15am. Tina was fine. Not sick at all. Just not very tired.
I did something silly while cleaning up last night. It may have contributed to my sickness 😦
This morning, Tina had some steak and salad for brekky. I took our long bucket out to the beach with Jack to get some washing water. There’s a good 25 to 30 knot Sou’Easter blowing off the ocean onto the beach. Our spot in behind the 4 metre high, dense vine scrub is well protected, but the wind still rips through the canopy at the edge of the clearing, letting us feel her freshness when a gust rolls like a wave into our camp.
Which leads me to the beauty of Pig.

Pig, of whom I think you are intimately aware, provides our cooking fire, warmth and entertainment during our nights here in Paradise. Pig can contain a fire and its ash in a 20 knot wind. I reckon it could handle more though. The mesh on the vent at the bottom of Pig, Pigs Arse, holds the ash until it has completely burnt. The ash can’t start another fire outside Pig. The only evidence of Pig that you’ll see after we leave a camp after a few days, is a small pile of ash that might, but probably wouldn’t fill a 10 litre (4gal) bucket. Thankyou Legend Of The North, Pig is good πŸ™‚

Tina weighed herself Tuesday morning at the Dragons Lair. She was 67.7kg (10.6 stone 150lb).
Prior to the Dexmethsone treatment, well actually, the Thursday Tina flew from Cooktown a month ago, she weighed 58kg (9.1st or 128lb).
An extreme appetite is a common side effect of Dexmethsone. There are others as well, some quite serious. I think it is either the Dexmethsone or the omezaprole that lowers your immune defenses. We have to be careful in case Tinas system weakens.

Today will be a quite lazy day for us. We’ve gathered wood, collected water, cooked breakfast, checked the weather on the radio, and decided to do a lot of nothing today.
Images today are of The Penn rod we found washed up on the beach. Which reminds me. I forget when we’re in range to Google this rod. Do any of you fisher folk have a replacement value for it?
There is also the float we found that will be for JJ or The Legend, a few obligatory Jack and Floyd shots (puppehz izz cute), and whatever else I have a whim to show. πŸ™‚
For example, Tina dozing in her ‘Fraggle Rock’ t-shirt πŸ™‚
Pig is there with his Blue 5 litre enamel pot (another gift from Legend). See the ash pike? That’s from boiling two crabs, boiling the billy twice, pan frying steak this morning,and boiling off the crab water this morning.
OK, here is a Tina-ism. It might give you an idea of where her head is at at the moment. Her confusion with naming things is more pronounced early in the morning, or at night when she is tired.
“These guys taste pastel!”
…said whilst eating weet-bix with creamy mixed powdered milk at 10pm one night. Pastel=like cream…duh!
…and Aussie kids are weet-bix kids! Sport, team, guys…
If you don’t know weet-bix, Google them too.

Lunch time!
A Tuna salad of Avocado and raw Broccoli florets with seasonings. Too nice on a tropical Wednesday.

We have plans for next month while waiting for the Pensions to come through. First,Tina is adamant that we attend the Wallaby Creek Music and Arts Festival. We’ll get a Centrelink payment on Thursday the 22nd before Wallaby Ck, which runs from the 23rd to the 25th. The tickets will cost us around $200 for the weekend, but dogs are banned. What do we do with Jack and Floyd? I heard a place in Rossville will board dogs for the two days. Jack and Floyd would be very well behaved, but I guess rules is rules.

3:30pm. Time to sneak into town and get some non-perishable food πŸ˜‰



Dodgy Bush Furniture, Plaited Vine Bangles and Mobiles

What do you when you have two days off? Why, you make plaited bangles from vines and dodgy furniture from driftwood of course!

Wednesday was spent doing not much at all. The evening was quiet, spent yarning with a couple of folk from town who came out to visit. A few ales and some interesting conversation while the music of artists as varied as Geoffory Gurrumul Yunupingu, Syd Barrett, JBT and The Dead Kennedys played on our ‘fone’ in the background. Next time our friend will have to bring his guitar out. Last time he just played some freestyle type acoustics that blended with the ocean and the breeze in the bush. Very cool stuff.

Our plans for Thursday were influenced by the need for more sitting spots near the fire.
We have (had) two eskies & a dog food drum for seats, so when we get more than one visitor I usually take the ‘floor’.

So, bright and early Thursday morning, we took a trip to a good scavanging spot we’d been informed of. We collected a length of old sawn hardwood that was once a porch step. We also grabbed some poly pipe, once used as a water supply line & now destined for our ‘kitchen sink’. Three lengths of old corrugated iron also came with us to be used as a bigger fire/wind guard around and over the campfire.
On the way home, we pulled up by the beach and found some interestingly shaped, solid chunks of driftwood and put them in the car as well.
We got all our treasures home and started to scratch build a seat from driftwood and vines.
I managed to get most of it done with driftwood. The first pic shows it half done. I had to cheat a bit and use one coach bolt on one end of the seat. The other end is lashed with vines. The rear support is also lashed in.
I couldn’t find anything in our driftwood stash to make a back for the seat. Not without a decent hand saw at least. Going back to the beach wasn’t an option either. So I ended up using some bamboo driftwood to finish it. It’s comfortable & it supports two people easily.

While I was playing with wood, Tina got to making vine bangles. Check the photos. Very organic and very cool! They’re all different, with varied twists based on how the vine flowed in the weaving process. Even Jack wanted one to go with the shell bling on his collar. Have a look on his left front leg. πŸ™‚

On Thursday night our friend turned up again. This time with his guitar. The seat was “sick” in his opinion, and excellent for sitting while playing. I recorded a bit but the wind noise thru the fone mic kind of drowns the guitar. Maybe on a calmer night. The chair worked. It supported his 100 & my 60 odd kilo frames easily. The only problem so far is that the seat part is only good for small butts. The back rest works well though. I’m working on a way to make the seat big bum friendly soon.
The Guitarist went home with a vine bangle and is going to bring his ‘pig’ out one day for us to test out. We’ll keep you posted πŸ™‚

The wind has been blowing up since Wednesday afternoon and by this morning (08:00 Fri 24 June) it was up to the 30 knot mark SE to Easterly.
The ocean isn’t quite water ski smooth out there as you can see in the photos. Even the mouth of the Endeavour had ‘surf’!

The wind mobile has been loving the breeze too. There’s a couple of pics there. It’s a mix of twisted dead vine, driftwood and shells. One shell that acts as a wind catcher is a feather shaped, wafer thin scallop type shell that spins crazy in the wind.
Tina is in the process of making another intricate shell mobile. When she has it finished, we’ll post pics.

(15:30 Fri 24 June): Out of neccessity I’ve made a windbreak around the fire place. Even though the fire has a windbreak and is in a relatively protected spot, when it’s blowing 30 knots on the coast, we get gusts through the site that can stir the fire up. We do not need to be creating a hazard now do we? So, I’ve bolted some iron together according to some obscure design rule in a Quantum Chaos Theory study guide and created a fire containment vessel thing. One side is adjustable to allow for variations in wind velocity and direction. The rest is solid. Sort of. But then, if you look at the photos, there were 5 to 10 knot gusts blowing in when they were taken. So it’s working πŸ™‚

(19:00 Fri 24 June): Tina has finished one mobile. It’s currently under wind testing πŸ˜‰ . Check out the photos. She has started work on another and if it’s ready in the morning I’ll post even more photos πŸ™‚
The fire enclosure is working well, even with a largish fire it keeps things calm and contained.