The wind and rain show continued all night. The wind is something that has to be seen and heard to be believed. Even at first light, the wind is at ground level, gusting ferociously through the trees. It cycles in bursts every few minutes, each gust seemingly getting stronger. We haven’t seen any trees blown over, but the way they thrash around it is surprising any are still standing.
We packed the cars and re-arranged things yet again so that everyone can fit. Ted wasn’t up to driving today, so I did the honours. Tracey is wedged in with Steve and Tania, and has a tiny viewing porthole with which to see a small part of the passing scenery, she just needs to stretch her neck to the left, whilst tucking her right shoulder under her left ear, and the view is tremendous!
Steve proposed a different way out of camp, back to the bypass road. He wanted to avoid the deep creek crossing on the way in. We turned right and followed the old telegraph road for about 100m until the first obstacle. This was a deeply potholed creek crossing with a sharp steep exit. Really nasty. So we executed a 27 point turn and headed back out the way we came. The creek crossing we were trying to avoid was a non-event and before we knew it, we were back on the bypass road.
From the Eliot Falls turnoff north, the road is like a highway. It is easy and safe to maintain 100kph with no problems. Jardine River ferry was our first stop. A quick fuel stop, soft drinks all round, over the ferry (the ride takes about 45 seconds) and back on the road. Injinoo doesn’t have much to stop for, but Bamaga was a pleasant surprise. We stopped for sandwiches at the bakery before heading to Punsand Bay. We got settled on our site only a few metres from the beach. Punsand Bay is one bay to the west of the tip. It’s a long sweeping beach with Casuarina trees backing onto the white sand. The water is pretty murky, not surprising given the wind the last week or so. Everyone here cannot believe the wind, they are all talking about it and cannot believe it has continued for so long (neither can we!)
Ted was out of action, so the rest of us decided to head up to the tip for sunset photos. We left Steve to navigate, and he discovered a ‘short cut’ over the Lockerbie road. It is basically two wheel tracks through the forest, sandy and deep. It was actually lucky we went that way, because about ½ way along, we came across a couple stuck in a creek. Their HRV (?) had bellied on the sandy bottom of an ankle deep creek. The bloke had done all the right things, walked across first, and then drove straight into the two deep ruts that he had walked between! They’d been there 2 ½ hours, and the only one having any fun was the dog! We used our snatch-strap to pull them out. The Nissans clutch wasn’t happy, but did the job nicely, albeit a bit overheated. Seemed to work OK on the way back out, so all good.
We had to cross deep creek crossings, move trees off the road, navigate using only a map, scare the local pigs out of the way, turn around a couple of times, but in the spirit of adventure, we pushed on and made it. We eventually got out to the car park near the old Pajinka resort. The resort has been abandoned and looks terrible. The buildings are all derelict and it’s a real shame it has been left to be wrecked. We walked out in the howling gale over the rocks towards the tip of Australia. It took a lot longer than most other people, as we kept stopping to take photos. Surprisingly, when we got there, we had the place to ourselves! Every other person in the country was to our south! There was a terrible amount of pixels burned while we were there; we got some great shots of the sunset over the ocean. It just peeked out behind the cloud banks scudding across the water, right on time.
Dinner was bread rolls back at camp. Ted is feeling better as well.
Bob and Tracey
Jardine River Ferry Crossing
We made it!