Saturday, March 14, 2015

Shark hunting bear turns his attention to croc hunting

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Friday 13th!!
What could possibly go wrong??
A lot by our standards.
First up – the female bear woke cranky - something about impeding weather or was it just “this time” round?? In any case – treading carefully – we got packed and decided to head off to “The Big Banana”. 
First up though – the emptying of the chemical on board loo-box. Drove to the dumping ground and started unscrewing the lid only for it to jump off it's thread and make a bee-line for the big funneling system – and down she went – Oooooops :( 
Emptied out the chemical toilet put the stuff back and headed off – while ringing the on-road-people from the caravan place – who gave two places in Coffs Harbour where we could buy a replacement cap!!    Breathes  a sign of relief.
First stop though the BIG Banana. Booked the (self-guided) tour – only us two going (10 am – we were the first visitors) so had the whole movie auditorium for ourselves. No kissing in the back-row – or any other row!! Movie was informative – then on to the next Movie- theater, were was a super nice holographic display - talking about - - yup - more bananas. 
Walked round the banana plantation and learned lots – and we looked forward sampling the other on-site attractions - ice skating  / tobogganing / laser tag / mini golf and the giant water park-slide thing! 


 However - just as we got back from the self guided tour through the banana plantation and walked into the 'packing shed' and under cover, the lightning and thunder started and 2 minutes later the heavens opened up!! 


Water everywhere!! 

It came down so hard – our own watery West-coast could learn a trick or two!!
I got Mamabear to take a video - check out the water running down the wind screen!

Bought souvenirs and we decided to try and find the camping store and get the replacement cap – right after we had morning tea in the van  rather then in the on-site banana café – after all that’s what we got it for!
Minor hiccup – off-grid the plugs do not work – so no toaster or electric jug (and no Cpap machine either ) possible – thus – back out in the rain and turn on the gas then use matches (No electric gas starter working either)  to light the gas stove so that Mr Bear can have his cup of tea!! 
Eventually drove off and found the store – and the rain getting worse!!
It came down so hard we decided to be not stupid and head back to the camping ground and take a well earned break – post lunch. 
Rain now torrential - could it get any worse?  Yup  water EVERYWHERE. 
Driving is rapidly becoming hazardous – with visibility at times zero and water standing several inches deep in some places. In fact we saw one decent prang on the road – and I was seriously contemplating stopping on a side road for a bit and ride it out – when looking ahead it looked like it was going to clear – that it did – only for the rain to follow us to our Camping ground – some 20km north of Coffs Harbour!!

Friday 13th so far living up to it's repudiation!

Had late lunch back at the camp-site – all plugged back in and so forth and  mopped up the floor – yet again!
The afternoon was spent catching up on rest and blog while the booming thunder makes the van rock - literally!! Mamabear not impressed with the thunder! 
What else will Friday the 13th toss our way????

Try needing to update the web browser on the mini-samsung netbook.  It has been nagging me for a while to do so and seeing we had no where to go or be - thought that should be a easy task and while away the hours.  Upgrade (so it seems) can only happen if the old one is first un-installed.  No problem there.
Now surprise surprise - the new one is not installing itself.  Sighs
4 hours later we are still without a web-browser.  :(  

I gave up right there and then.    No sign of skippy either - wonder where they found shelter.  Time for dinner!! Went out to the local wood-fired pizza place for tea just round the corner from the camp-site – very nice. Mamabear having “Australian” pizza complete with potatoes on top - yeah -- spuds on top of a pizza - go figure?! 
Short stop at the bottle store for some decent supplies of medicine, then settling in for the night amongst the rain/hail/thunder. Nice to know you can hear the rain on the roof and you are water tight.  Would not want to be in a tent in this for all the money in the world! 
We found out later via a Facebook update that we had 89ml of rain for the (10hour) day and 28ml fell during a 10 minute period – super. 
Fonz not impressed!! Eventually bed – only to be woken up by some clowns who thought it was ok to party 'till 4 am and let everyone – and I do mean everyone - on the camp-site know about it!! You could hear them from a kilometer away.  sighs

Saturday 14th

The shark hunting is not going well - so far every-time we had plans to catch one - we missed out! hmmmm - maybe we have better luck going inland and hunt for a croc???  We eventually woke by 7am - usual routine  / breakfast / van tidy etc.  Going inland we needed some diesel first - so headed of to the local station!
No diesel ( they lost their underground tank, when the new highway right past their store was built) - could Friday 13th still be haunting us???  

Back into Coffs Harbour in search for petrol. We kinda had to go through town anyhow - so not much of a de-tour.
First stop though the "Clogg barn" a Dutch themed  camping ground.  It has a model village aka Minimundus in Austria - or mini-legoland and a working clog making display and of course a camping ground and souvenir shop and café and two working mini-trains.  

It said = push button for train to work - and so Mamabear did.  Sadly the last carriage had un-hitched itself - thus when the loco came round again - yup - it crashed!! Major derailment.  
Me checks date - today  I S  Saturday 14th - right?!
Funny thing was when we strolled through the shop and bought a couple of things we casually mentioned the derailment and the owner was going to go out there and then to fix the train - more interested in that then making the sale (and taking our cash).  I used to wear clogs in Austria - so was tempted to buy a pair, alas sanity prevailed!

Amongst the models this critter was found lounging round! I bet he enjoyed the sunshine just as much as we did - after yesterdays rain!!  In fact - so far we have seen him and his cousins on several occasions - so they seem to be prolific! They do have an official name - which I can never remember - but are also known as Kanni. I am sure someone can enlighten me (*grins* saves googling it) 

Right - that done and Diesel found and (yesterdays) activity done today - it was time to drive inland (in search of a decent croc)
First stop - hmmm a tiny place called Bellingen.  Supposedly known for its arts and crafts and also an old settler place - not too far out of Coffs Harbour.  Road leading to it very windy and always climbing! Bellingen had a old butter making factory building - that is now converted into a café along with several stores selling everything from clothes to - uh yes - timber products!!  The café and timber store proofed to be to tempting.  Scones for early morning tea and some timber souvenirs for folks left home - and not even lunch time yet!!!
While the ultimate days goal was Armidale - we knew of places to stop before we get there.   Dorrigo National park for one.  In fact - just as well this (Dorrigo) is written - not sure how you are s'posed to say it correctly with many locals giving it a different pronunciation!  Dorrigo is a Rain-forest National Park! 
Wait a second - Australia - rain-forest?????? 
Yup - same principle as our westcoast - warm pacific air is forced up the landscape - compresses and gets colder and cannot hold its water - thus raining.  By the time the air gets to Armidale it is usually dry - so they miss out!

Anyhow - science lesson over - there is this rain forest and it has a sky-walk lookout plus a waterfall where you can go behind the waterfall and 'look out' so to speak.  Sky-walk is a very short platform stroll out,  but has impressive views!! 
 About over there - is Coffs Harbour - see?!?!?!

It also has - and I had noticed them before in other places a wooden/concrete type post with a camera jackpoint sticking out - were the camera can be screwed down (or better to it)  - thus making for an instant tri-pod.  All you need is to set the timer going - then rush to the place and hey presto - a "decent" selfie, and no chance for any would be thief running of with your gear - it takes about 1-2 minutes to un-screw the camera from the post!! 

I had heard about this waterfall - where you can go behind the falling water - so decided to do just that - hmm that turned out to be longer then anticipated.  First up - I hitched a ride with the Old bear - but then he got tiered of carrying me round - so I had to walk on my own through the rain forest. It was scary and exciting at the same time - there were these birds . . . . . . . 

Amazingly it was very quiet - apart for the screeches of hungry birds - when we heard a mechanical sound and wondered what we might find - eventually met this maintenance chap doing his job. . . . .

I eventual made it to the waterfall (it took just under one hour to get there) and enjoyed the sight! It was still warm and the walk gave us a bit of a sweat - so contemplated taking a quick shower as nature had intended - alas - there were other bears there too and I am more of a shy nature kinda bear - so the shower had to wait.  Just as well - it was mostly uphill to get back to the car and café

Enjoying a nice hot cuppa after the strenuous walk - along with today’s late lunch.
The Salmon salad was just delicious and the side dish of Mushrooms was grand - and it reminded me of friends left back on our two Main Islands - remember - we are currently on our "Western" island.

Soon it was time to leave (still no shark or croc found) and on to Ebor waterfall. It is a two tier  water fall and when in full flood a sight you will remember for a long time ( we saw the pictures).  The area is all ex volcano from several hundred of millions years back - so dinosaurs would have walked here - hmmmm dinosaurs.  Wonder if - nah skip that thought!!

We rung the Armidale campsite and yes they had a spot for us so it took us another  1.5 hour drive to get there. Arriving there at 6pm and still 22 degrees – chill out time!!! Yay!! 
Mamabear washing some clothes, then a late dinner and maybe a walk later.
Armidale is famous for being the 'Highest City' in Australia (Byron is the most easterly city) and a good longterm online scout friend of mine, lived there for many years! It has even a University and a population of just under 25 000.

We had a discussion and seeing we had no luck with the shark hunting – we turn our attention to croc-hunting instead!! So far we are heading in the right direction!  Instead we found some of skippy's relatives (from Coffs Harbour) wandering through the camp-site - again! wohoooo

  bear print

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