skulking ground

Follow our family of Cunning(ham) Foxes on our turbulent travels around Oz

The Stowaway

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Next stop Port Hedland. BHP Billington welcomed us in a thick fog of red dust, most of the cars and people wore fluro yellow. Not the prettiest town, ugly even, imagine a futuristic Armageddon on Mars, surrounded by gigantic mechanical robots with arms and claws and drills that fill metal millipedes with more metal and the scum off pond floors. White marquee mountains scraped and sold for table tops and cupboard stocks. Well at least that was what I saw driving through.

There’s definitely some money being put back into the town, trying to beautify the place by twisting iron ore into flowers. We had coffee in a disused train, spent some time in an art gallery where Bodhi threw a rock and nearly destroyed some local art. We wandered the streets and happened to see Phibs graphing an awesome piece on the visitors centre. Of all places to bump into someone famous. I was a little star struck but managed to get a tangled “Love you, I mean I love your work. Thanks for all the beauty.” Red-faced I skulked away. Didn’t need much more from a day, I was satiated, but we headed to a park on the Port so the boy could stretch his legs, he’s like a chubby whippet, needs a few runs around the park everyday. We met a lady who worked on the Port. It runs 24 hours a day, it’s a small channel, not equipped for such traffic so a captain has to be flown out to each cargo ship and navigate the way in and after unloading tug boats at each side will escort the big buggers back to sea.

Somedays we find ourselves in such different places. One night we drove a fair way down a dirt road and camped near a river with no-one in sight and the next night after circling hours around Karratha looking for water and a place to stay we end up on the side of the highway counting carriage cars and road trains. It rained for the first time in months, the sky lit up like New Year and the thunder shook us from a deep highway slumber. Strangely serene the hum and vroom of hard working engines.

We followed those sounds south to a truck stop where a young guy dressed all in green was trying to hitch a ride. Jacob and I had both finished saying to each other, “Nah, not again. Not today. Not with a sleeping baby.” When we asked him where he was headed. Armed with a ukelele and a big grin he put his bags in the back and stuck with us on a jagged detour through corrugated roads and salt mines and towns that had been wiped out by 3 cyclones, 2 bombings and a fire in July. He was from Argentina and had big plans about saving small communities in his country. He’d been on the road for 6 years and full of funny stories. He could’ve stayed for one thousand and one nights, turned out we only had him for seven.

We stayed by a riverbank our first night, then travelled to Exmouth which is meant to be some of the best fishing in Australia, but maybe they meant most fish in Australia, or the smartest fish in Australia because we certainly saw a lot of fish but none wanted a nibble. But oh how Jake tried. He swung that stick morning and night, in low tide and high, dangled his bait into the abyss and every night we’d eat beans. We stayed at Cape Range National Park, the most beautiful place I’ve been to so far. Hard to describe without sounding like a holiday brochure but absolutely pristine beaches, snow white sand and croatian clear waters, with so much coral and sea life a short flipper kick from shore with only about 10 people around to share the splendour. It was magical and perfect timing having a travel buddy so Jake and I could be swept by the drift loop current and goggle at parrot fish and turtles and translucent long toms while Luli hung out with Bodes on the sand. Time felt lost for a little while but unfortunately we had to say goodbye to our new friend, dropping him at the next big intersection so he could make his long ride to Perth and we 3 wondered what was next.

Oh yeah, and somewhere along the way there was a stowaway, a mouse.

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4 thoughts on “The Stowaway

  1. Gemma NO MORE HITCHHIKERS the van’s looking good the places your’ve been sound wonderful just glad your safe and well Love to the 3 of you xxxxx

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  2. love reading your stories!! 🙂 xoxo

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  3. Finally i quit my day job, now i earn decent money online you should try too, just search in google
    – bluehand roulette system

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