…..well, ‘aint this the life!
The author Daryl Morrow is heading from Eltham Victoria Australia on the 4th October 2014 to Carisbrook Victoria to meet up with brother Skeet Morrow/and his friend Phil Hurse, ready to head to South Australia at 5am on Sunday 5th, hoping to make Port Pirie South Australia before night fall.
Travelling in a new Toyota dual cab V8 diesel with utility back equipped with freezers and storage compartments. We are towing a fibre glass 5.6 meter boat with an inboard motor on a twin axle trailer; this trip is approx. 4,600 Kms each way. We estimate being away approximately 4 weeks.
4th October i headed from Eltham to Skeets and Lillian’s home in Carisbrook approx 176 kms and arrived there at 3 p.m. We then went for a drive to their farm and a tour of bluestone buildings in this old gold mining area. We also had a look at their new home site of approx ½ acre.
5th Oct still at Skeet and Lillian’s, we took Skeets vintage car a 1929 – 6 cylinder Chrysler Ute for a run and got up to 50 miles p/h Later we went to Phil’s home a hooked up his boat a Whitly fibre glass impressive boat, he had loaded his gear on board and we brought it home and packed our gear ready to take off in the morning at 5am, daylight saving starts also on the 5th Oct. we intend to travel through Horsham across to Adelaide and somewhere beyond before nightfall . We have put aside $7500 to start with for expenses. The weather is fine sunny and about 27 Deg no wind.
5th Oct covered over 1370 kms via Bordertown into South Australia daylight saving started today put clocks forward one hour then 30 minutes back in South Australia, passed through Adelaide onto Port Augusta and headed past Iron Knob towards the Nullarbor stayed overnight at Ceduna road house $140 for 3 of us.
6th October left Ceduna after breakfast at 4-15 am and travelled along the Eyre High to a road house called Nullarbor, diesel here $2 per litre and coffee $6 a mug, very windy and there was lightening last night, started to cross the Nullarbor just after 7 am, very flat with grasses and small shrubs, the road is very good and speed limit 110 km/h. Land is covered in low scrub and small trees. We travelled across the Nullarbor to Norseman and then went to Boulder near Kalgoorlie where we stayed in a two story unit and had tea at the Albion hotel.
Left around 7am and had a look at the Kalgoorlie open cut pit very impressive took some photos then headed for Leinister going through Leonora, we stopped again at an old township and open cut gold mine Leonora where Mr hoover stayed at the grand sand stone homes (3). We crossed through Leinster across to Sandstone, Mt Magnet and stayed at Yalgool an old Hotel. Last of the 6 hotels that serviced this mining area, we meet some great characters here including the publican and yes you guessed it the ever popular hotel dog who loves everyone. Right from Kalgoorlie there were signs of many mines still operating.
Left Yalgool at 7 am after continental breakfast and head towards the coast through extensive grain cropping farms, just getting ready to start harvesting, we turned north toward North Hampton, after finding the surveyed town of Naraling where the only building a sandstone church come hall was erected on 21st Aug 1926 foundation stone laid by James Criddle Esq. we headed up the West Coastal Highway stopping at Billabong road house and later filled with fuel at Wooramel road house then headed for Carnarvan, township on the coast we booked into a caravan park, then went site seeing, walked the one mile jetty and looked at the prawn trawlers fleet being 10 at harbor. Done some shopping and cooked our own bbq tea. Nice sunny day about 30 deg. should arrive tomorrow at Yardie Creek.
Left Carnarvon this morning and went to Coral Bay a lovely sea side village, lots of people here last days of school holidays, we had coffee and walked in the sea where hire tours take people along the reef, we headed to Exmouth on the point of Exmouth gulf, a thriving town lots of building and a harbor for many prawn fishing boats. We bought our groceries and grog here, it is very hot now, and then on our way to Yardie Creek, we covered 4600 kms. Fuel and accommodation on the road was $2100 we are buying supplies out of our own pockets. WA fisheries have a base here we bought a fishing license $15 each as we are seniors. Arrived at the camp site the shearers quarters they are terrific tons of room long wide verandah and some lawns, air con, high ceilings, cooling fans tank water and bore water also, not crowded, lots of trees BBQ in ground pool, kangaroos and emu’s with chicks.
Our group of three all put $2500 making an initial bank of $7500.
Had a good night’s sleep, up had a good breaky, set up our rods and finished unpacking, I tried to move a portable fridge and my back went on me, very sore now but still went out fishing. Very windy off shore this morning, but we still rigged up ready to go trawling at sea. We fished inside and outside the reef 3 Spanish mackerel struck at the same time we landed 2 but too small to keep, the sea had a big swell but the boat handled it well, we came back at 2-30 pm. It was about 30deg. My back is very painful have to use a broom as a crutch. Skeet cooked a nice tea and Phil gave me some strong tablets, which did help.
Met Steve at camp last night he is going to set up a tent section here at Yardie Creek to bring tourists on adventure tour bus runs, will return the owners here $2-3,000 per week. The wind has dropped now as evening falls.
Low wind to start, Skeet and Phil headed out i stayed at camp to rest up some more, they were back at 10-30 am too rough at sea and they had lost two new lures they had hooked two Spanish Mac’s but lost them also. Lots of people have left but by night a lot of new ones have arrived. The weather is windy and hot but the camp is good to be in. My back is feeling a bit better but will have to be careful still.
Trying to get phone calls out and internet is only Telstra so I am handicapped Florence’s birthday today 73 can’t get a call out to her. Cooking tea roast spuds carrot, onions and boiled peas. Getting ready to go fishing in the morning, have set up the lines ready. A cloudless sky as the sun is setting. We are about 15 minutes from the boat ramp which is concrete with foot platforms and rubber coated posts to protect the boats. The Corollas are settling into the limbs of the non native white gums.
Up at 4 am had a shower and toast for brekky not much wind so we went fishing the birds sleep in the overhanging gum tree had shit over the boat and Toyota. We had very little water at the ramp, just got the boat launched and we trawled for 2 hours inside and outside the reef no fish, it had become very windy and the sea was rough so we came back to camp had a cuppa and a sleep. We then drove to Exmouth town ship and bought some fishing gear and had a look at the town, lots of new buildings going up, mainly corrugated iron nice designs, big wide streets very neat place. Done some more shopping and got more beer xxxx came back to camp and cooked a lovely roast tea, going to bed at 8-30 very tired, my back is still hurting and stiff.
Up around 4pm again still very windy back still sore, headed down to the ramp the tide was low again and Phil stripped off to his jocks and towed us out to deeper water. We went out passed the reef and lured in deeper water, it was rough with a 4 meter swell we only caught a Sweet Lip to eat, had to throw back a Cod or two. It was about 27 deg and sunny Came back to camp and filled boat with fuel $132 washed the boat and rested up we were all stuffed. People here are helpful and friendly.
Got up late near 6 am the wind has dropped and went fishing again, water was still low and Phil towed us out again, we lured again and had lots of hits but lost most of them, only brought home two Barracuda’s and had them for tea, mmmm lovely. There were more boats out today fishing and they all caught fish. Most of us experienced multiple wire trace cut offs by fish or sharks and we lost lots of other gear also. Came home washed the boat and re fuelled $ 53 , the wind is light tonight and was about 30 deg, my back has become quiet sore again guess from the rocking boat and trying to wind in fish. Some other fisher men have given us some gps co-ordinates to try a new reef and a sunken ship. Had fish and potato and pumpkin tonight had a good lay down rest today but still quiet tired.
On the water at 6-30 am, the water was like a mirror and the wind has lapsed, we went out a long way and tried fishing at 80 meters it took 65 seconds to get to the bottom but no bites, came back to 30 meter depth and started to catch some nice fish and also losing plenty of gear, luring was also rewarding but we did not land any fish, Skeet landed one big nice fish. We saw some whales playing but could not get any movies as they would not surface when we got close to them. Back at camp we saw what the other fishermen caught for the day, Spanish mackerel, Red Snapper, Couta and Sweet Lip. We were given some wings of some fish and had these for tea. Quiet hot today, had a shower which helped my back a great deal. We will be on the way fishing tomorrow at 5-30 am.
Had brekky Wheaties and toast and hit the road at 5pm for Exmouth gulf the sea was calm and little wind and we headed to the Muiron Islands approx 18 k’s out when we got there we started luring Skeet caught a rather large Spanish Mackerel it was a hard wind up and eventually a shark bit a piece out of the Mack’s back while this was happening 3 big Mack’s jumped over 2 meters out of the water, we also saw Dolphins sunning their tummies and floating on top of the water and other species floating around, there were a couple of whales cruising south wood towards the south pole, Phil also caught a lovely Mackerel. I hooked a large fish and fought it for about 15 minutes, found it hard to get it off the bottom for any length of time eventually the lure snapped before the fish was sited. Later I caught a spotted Mackerel on my River Rat lure, we had a great day out and a great days fishing. We packed 16 kilos of fish and packed it all into the fridges. It was a sunny day about 30 Deg and the sea stayed calm. Had a look around Exmouth Township fuelled up the car and boat. Next door guys Cam and Andy invited us to tea cooked fish and salad which was great all in all a great day and conversation with some of the campers, the camp is empting out as it is the end of the holiday season and the hot weather is about to heat up so they tell us. Now 8-30 pm, time for a well-earned rest.
Had a slice of toast and coffee for brekky, showered to ease my back head off fishing no wind and a full tide made launching easy the sea was flat as, we lured and bottom fished all for little results, no other boats had much success we caught a Spanish Mac from the bottom but was to small, Phil caught a small Trevally just legal, the wind started to blow and most boats headed in, there was a jet ski I guess they were trying to catch a breaker to ride as the swells are great near the coral reef. Came back to camp not many campers left now, Cam and Andy who are going home tomorrow have asked us to tea again we will do the vegies and they will provide the fish done in beer batter. Done our washing and had a shower and shave, not very hot today slightly cloudy, just comfortable. Forecast is 15 knot winds tomorrow, hope to have a better sleep tonight, bit restless last night, maybe because of the excitement that day.
Hit the water at 20 to 7am it was calm and on a rising tide we headed out past the reef and headed north toward the light house luring for Mackerel then turned south when the action started we had 3 lures out and at one stage we had three fish hooked up this causes havic with potential tangles and lost fish, we caught Mackerel, Bonito, and lost a Cobra near 3 feet long. We tried bottom fishing but kept getting stripped off, about 1-30 pm a whale shark approx 25 to 30 foot long came right up to the stern of our boat I tried for a photo but he had submerged by then only got water I think, it was a good sports day for us all, it was sunny with a light wind and the sea became a bit choppy Perth I heard had hail and storms 30mm rain around the Swan river area, we had 28 deg here. Took a couple of trick photos of our fish and Skeet on watch. We came back to camp and cleaned our fish and went into Exmouth some 80 plus kms away for more bait and lures and some tucker supplies, had a coffee at Brumby’s $5 per medium size. Phil and I had fish and some potato chips for tea and Skeet made sausages and spuds for himself. Spoke to a lady at camp who stopped and spoke to the Japanese man who is pulling a cart across the Nullabor he had her sign his flag and told her he has walked over 18 thousand miles in different countries for no particular reason, she was an ex school teacher who spoke Japanese and she had played golf across the Nullabor taking 3 days to travel across. Not many in our camp now, there are some Kangaroos and Emus with some chicks on the edge of camp and Cockatiels in the trees by our site they make a lot of noise but not as much as the fire detector in our hut when I burn the toast each morning I hope to improve in my camping skills before I burn down the camp. Its 8-30 pm so I am heading for the cot for some shut eye before rising at 4-30 am to embrace the new day’s rewards. If you befriend someone today you may become the whole world to him.
Sunday 19th Oct 2014
Up at 5 pm had a shower and a slice of toast and coffee the we headed for the boat ramp at the light house and headed to the nearby reef and caught a Couta strait away, we lured for an hour or so but never caught any more, Phil headed out towards the oil rig it was a long way out we stopped at 70 meters to fish caught two small fish and the wind came up so we headed inshore again we lured Skeet and I had a hook up at the same time but we lost both of them, we headed back to camp at 12-30 pm . when we got back coffee and biscuits were on the menu, we decided to go to Yardie creek crossing in the coastal park the rock formation and coastal beaches were fantastic to see we stopped at one beach where tourists were feeding fish by hand, I tried it and the fish took part of my finger in his anxiety much to my surprise. My camera batteries went flat so I put in the other new batteries. We went on to Yardie park and crossing where a Toyota Hi lux got bogged with his boat and trailer in the River as the tide seemed to be rising, there was much ado as people gathered to help out, we got a spade and dug out the wet sand disconnected the boat trailer and a lady arrived with two plastic wheel traction plates, this saved the day the car came out we reconnected the boat and the owner drove out at high speed through the loose dry sand an across the river again through the sand , when he got out he had to re pump up the tyres, after talking to the young gentleman he said he had lost a vehicle last year in similar manner, I had taking a series of photos but later found out the camera had failed this was a great disappointment as this was a great record of a group rescue. We headed back towards camp but stopped off to watch many wind surfers sun baking and showing their skills. All in all this was a great day of experiences. Phil is cooking roast vegies and some fish and sausages as I am typing up this day’s report Oh yer I also had a long spell at being Captain of the boat when we were heading back from out near the oil rig, the holiday here is closing in now we need to catch more fish to fill the freezer to take home.
20th Oct 2014
Tried for an earlier start to see if the Mackerel where feeding earlier in the morning, hit the water at 5-30 am after having coffee and Wheaties for brekky, there was just a gentle wind and the sea was fine for luring we went out passed the coral reef, had several hits on the lures, Skeet lost two at $28 each they broke or where bitten off, I had a few hook ups but lost them very quickly without seeing the fish, we saw some whales breaching and playing in the sunshine, no photos as my main camera is playing up and not recording the events, I took some photos from my iphone of the dawn of a new day. Skeet had a shark take a fish he had caught at the side of the boat and a small Mackerel had his tail bitten also, we saw other fish leaping out of the water either playing or being chased by predators. There were other boats out trying for a feed today but very poor catches. Still sunny about 28 deg with light winds, inland the sand his hot underfoot and the birds are in the shade as are the few seagulls who sit on the ground in the shade of the trees I noticed a few kangaroos doing the same to keep cooler. Phil has been guiding the boat along the 30 meter depth mark and studying the GPS and sounder or fish finder IT. Back at camp the boys have had a sandwich lunch with a Bundy and are now having a seniors nap. I have been working on the camera and have been studying the movie camera to take still photo’s I also have my digital Cannon 16 Pixel still shot camera, it is hard to see its screen in sunshine, even the laptop wanted a holiday is was reluctant to fire up but I threatened to use it for a sinker, that made the bugger jump to attention and beg for mercy.
21st OCT 2014
Gough Whitlam former labor Prime minister died aged 98 in my mind he was a great visionary for Australia but most Aussies thought different and Malcolm Fraser Liberal had him sacked by John Kerr the Governor General
Up at 3 am and got ready for an early start as we intended to head out to the Muiran island out of Exmouth Gulf, as we drove along the sealed road the head light picked up lots of kangaroos feeding along the roads edge we actually hit one who kept zigging and sagging in front of us but as we observed at boat ramp the off shore breeze suggested we would be in danger from rough seas later in the morning so we came back the Tandabiddi boat ramp and head out from there to deeper waters to bottom fish, there were only small fish biting Skeet put a live one his big rig it only took 15 seconds before he had a big hook up after 15 min battle he wound in a big Bronze Whaler shark there was a great fight to land it after killing it on the gunnel Phil broke my knife stabbing it as its skin is like steel, we gutted and cut it up for flake and put in the freezer. We set up other rigs only to see sharks take the baits just under water. We lured again and had some hook ups on mackerel only to lose them and some lures, Skeet brought in a huge Spanish Mackerel about 1.8 meters long, I took a movie clip of this hook up, later we hooked up some more small Mackerels and let them go back, I caught 3, one was a spotted Mackerel. We came back at 12-30 pm and cleaned them all a packed them into the freezers in vacuum plastic bags. Skeet and Phil repacked the trailer bearings x4 they were letting in water and would possibly collapse on the way home. We now have 36 kilos of fish packed to take home and one more days fishing to go, and then we head back home via Perth with approx 4,600 kilometers to go. Tonight we will have a toasted cheese sandwich for the evening meal. Was a windy sunny day and the sea was moderate to rough, a long day but very productive.
22 Oct 2014
Up and about at 5 am and went to Tandabiddi boat ramp the tide was ok but low headed out past the reef to do some bottom fishing but to slow so we went off luring we caught a Spanish Mackerel but lost it on the gaff we lured again and lost some more equipment we bottomed again catching a small Emporia back hooked this to try for a bigger fish not long after away it went on Skeets rod I tried to reel it in as it went to the bottom with a large hook and 45 kilo line it became too hard for me so Skeet took over and it gave him a real battle it took 20 minutes to raise him to the surface it was a Bronze Whaler shark about 1.8 meters long at least we got it to the top of the water according to Phil if you raise a big fish and can touch the trace it is regarded as landed we had to let him go, between Skeet and myself we got a movie coverage of this mammoth battle. It was nearly high tide as we loaded the boat and back to camp by 11 am. This was our last day fishing here so packing started ready for the home trip via Perth. Phil took the boat to Exmouth to get a new ball coupling for the trailer as the old one was showing signs of fatigue, he brought back some T bone steaks for tea we have two spuds and two onions to go with the meat this is our last meal here, the trip has been marvelous to this point who knows what will eventuate on the journey of 5000 kms Homewood bound. Skeets gone for a walk Phil is having a swim and me Dazza is writing up the day’s events. The weather is warm and the wind is gaining strength by 3 pm, a good shower and a good meal and early to bed for and early start tomorrow.
23 rd Oct 2014
Had brekky and cleaned out the shearers quarters camp and hit the road at 20 to 6 am as the sun was rising over the limestone ranges, headed through Exmouth onto highway one (1) to Minilya road house and fueled up with diesel $231.97 then onto and past Conarvan and onto Waramel homestead road house then to Northampton and further south to Geraldton not stopping there then onto Dongara a lovely beach resort township, we went to Southerly’s hotel on the beach , the pub with no water and they would not serve meals for a health and safety ruling , we then went to a main st hotel $ 32 for 3 pints of Swan larger and $110 for accommodation at the caravan park ,it was a long drive today through salt plains and low scrub mainly flat terrain. As we came into the built up areas lots of homes had been built from local limestone, we are now about 348 kms from Perth where we head tomorrow. We met a man Mark who got married 2 weeks ago in England he is 59 years old and is honey mooning in West Aus, also spoke to two yachts’ men on a catamaran and took photos of their yacht; the weather is still sunny and about 24 deg. The hut is a very good design with 3 beds and ensuite and a lovely verandah facing the setting sun. On the way we stopped and drove up to a high lookout we could see to a very distant ocean across very flat sparsely covered land which must have been an original sea bed, so much for global warming this land has been exposed for hundreds of years, where has all the water gone does it evaporate into space, may be this happened to Mars and it now appears to be a dry planet. The others are a sleep in bed as I sit up and record some of our events of the day, we hope to be in Perth by midday tomorrow and stay for a look around as we have never been there before. I have written 4491 words on this trip so far.
Friday 24 Th Oct 2014
Left Dongara at 5-30 AM got to the servo and fuelled up had to go back to park as we had left the map and money record book on the BBQ chair we headed off again to go to Perth the roads are good and we took the scenic tour coastal road to Julian bay thru Bangingatta to Perth passing thru to Freemantle, stopping off at Hilliyars boat ramp and coffee shop took photos of the harbor with the many and varied boats and yachts. Phil dropped Skeet and myself off at the Maritime Museum we had a tour of the Collins class submarine with Tom aged 74 who was the communications officer during the war at England. Had a look at the Llewellyn square rigger sailing ship and took some photos on my movie camera. We drove around Perth trying to view the footy ground the WACKA saw the city buildings and the Swan river this is a very impressive city with some great designed buildings. We headed out of the city heading for Kalgoorlie, tomorrow we hope to be partly across the Nullabor heading for Adelaide, we feel at this stage to be back home about next Tuesday lunch time. We have travelled approx 1.600kms since leaving Yardie Homestead on Thursday morning, still about 3,000 kms to go.
25th October 2014
Left Kellerberrin at 5-30 am and headed for Coolgardie which is a cereal growing area with lots of salt plains and water areas and lakes then onto Norseman which is at the start of the Nullabor plains, this is a very old town area with many indigenous people we made sandwiches in the street I spoke to 3 push bikers 2 female and one male who were just about to start across the Nullabor they had travelled over several countries by bike and will then go onto Tasmania. We then filled with petrol and headed down the Eyre highway towards S Australia this is a long well known highway with one stretch 164 kms without a bend there is not much to see it is very flat with low shrubs and little rainfall we left the high area of the road and dropped down the limestone ranges which run for many kilometers to another very flat area, which must have been covered by sea a long time ago. We travelled a long way today with Skeet and Phil sharing the driving. We have filled again with fuel at Mundrabilla road house and motel for tonight and will head off tomorrow towards South Australia and change our clocks to Eastern Standard Time.
26 Oct 2014
Left at 5-30 am toward Mandrabila and the South Australian border there were crows having breakfast on the nights road kill at the border we had to add two hours to our clocks we were heading out of the Nullarbor and the highway, north of here is the Woomera rocket range we followed the great Australian bite and past the head of the bight, we went thru Eucla nearly on the border over 400 kms later we reached Ceduna on the Eyre highway and branched down to view the old telegraph station which is half covered in sand and now abandoned . We passed thousands of hectares of cereal crops close to being harvested a storm was looming close by with zig zag lightening and light rain. At Minnipa I took a photo of the concrete toilet named the Concrete Crapper. Also at Ceduna we were inspected by the fruit inspectors for any fruit and vegies we may have to stop the spread of this pest but he was more interested in our supply of beer in the fridge. We travelled past Port Lincoln on to Port Augusta an stayed there the night $150 and went out to a pub for tea as this is our last overnight stay before getting home tomorrow night, we expect to be there about 6pm. Today we covered over 1000 kms, we passed the Japanese man pulling his cart again today we had seen him on the way up nearly 3 weeks ago near Dingo’s Den on the Nullarbor, and he is still crossing the Nullarbor he is still skinny but fit looking.
27th October 2014 Monday
This is the last day and leg of our epic journey leaving Port Augusta at 5 am, I drove for an hour and a half in the dark hours I had never driven a v8 before and had never sat behind the wheel of this vehicle, it was gutsy and towed the 5.6 meter with ease, it started to drizzle first rain we had seen on our entire trip, with rain darkness, kangaroo’s and oncoming traffic lights and travelling at 110 kms per hour concentration was at a premium. We passed Port Pirie as we headed toward Adelaide approx 300 kms away. We passed through Snowtown where they found a number of bodies in barrels in the 1990’s it was eerie but no ghosts were to be seen in the early rays of dawn. We hit the peak hour traffic trying to get through Adelaide made a wrong turn which never costs us much lost time, coming up and through the Adelaide hills the v8 pulled through this tough terrain with ease, onto Murray Bridge heading for our home state Victoria, towards 1-30 pm we stopped at Border Town for a pee break and spoke to a bus group of over 40 people mostly on walking sticks out enjoying life, the wind now had become very strong luckily in was at our backs, this area is mostly grain growing farming the crops were golden in colour with temperature now in the high 30’s it is close to being stripped and headed. The newer roads have bypassed the many farming towns but what we did see suggests a deteriation of business activity however coming through Nhill I saw a Holden car dealer ship in a large empty shop with our name sake on it, Ivan Morrow I guess he must have retired and gone fishing. We were making good time and came via some back roads passing St Arnaud and onto Maryborough dropping of Phil at his home to pick up his ute and meet Skeet and I at Carisbrooke, it was about 4-30 pm we unloaded the boat and Toyota packed our own gear up. We shared up the 38 kilos of fish had a cup of tea and said our farewells. My old 82 Mercedes fired up ready for my further 2.5 hour trip back to Eltham in Melbourne I arrived home about 8 p.m. had travelled approx 9,400klms there and back both the car and boat travelled well, we repacked the wheel bearings (4) on the boat trailer and put a new ball hitch on as a precaution.
The overall coast for accommodation and fuel and some fishing bait and lures was $7,500 fuel prices varied between $1.54 and $1.89 per litre.
Author, Daryl Morrow, aged 73 # 28th October 2014
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