Derby

The Prison Boab Tree at Derby

The Prison Boab Tree at Derby

A nice touch this morning at the camp site, the site caretakers went around the camp site handing out mini Easter eggs on their quad. Chocolate for breakfast ? That’ll do nicely 🙂
Another hot and humid day today as, according to weatherzone we were in the hottest part of Australia today with a high of 38C and humidity at around 80%. Not being used to that sort of heat doesn’t make you feel much like doing anything other than driving where with the windows open you can at least get some sort of cooling breeze.
We’re establishing a coping strategy at the moment which works quite well. We start with tea/coffee in the morning in our insulated mugs – it’s strange how refreshing a hot drink can be even in these temperatures. Those keep us going for about an hour on the road by which time we try and find a roadhouse that sells cold bottles of pop that will last us another hour. Pam puts our water bottles in the fridge, full of water and/or orange juice and they come out when we run out of coffee/pop. The final defence is a bottle of mineral water, also in the fridge. We’re easily getting through 5 litres of liquid a day, each, at the moment.
Today our little drive took us 288km to Derby, a small town near the start of the Gibb River Road. Along the way we refuelled at a roadhouse and thankfully the diesel stayed in the tank again so we’re pretty confident now that any leak we have is very minor and won’t cause us issues. The fuel gauge also seems to be working properly on both tanks so we’ve not upset the sender unit on the main tank.
On the road into Derby we crossed a number of rivers and the notes on the HEMA maps make you realise you really are in croc country now. One of the river crossings had a note against it along the lines of “camping and fishing is popular alongside the rover here but there are large numbers of salt water crocodiles so take care”. We didn’t stop for a swim.
On the outskirts of Derby is a very old boab tree that we stopped to see, although we didn’t hang around in the heat too long so a bit of a flying visit… We couldn’t figure out from any of the information how old it is but it’s impressive. Sadly in it’s history it has been used as a kind of land mark and was used as an overnight stop for Aboriginal prisoners being walked in chains to the nearby prison or to Derby for sentencing in the late 19th century. Hence it is known as the Prison Boab Tree.
Once in Derby we got booked into the camp site first and then headed into town to stock up with provisions at the super market and the bottle shop. We also pulled some more cash out of an ATM and will get some more tomorrow as some of the more remote roadhouses only take cash.
All jobs done we set up camp just in time to watch the China F1 Grand Prix live on channel ten. Another poor showing by McLaren with JB finishing out of the points.

F1 on the iPad, a bit of shade from a tree, chilling at the camp site.

F1 on the iPad, a bit of shade from a tree, chilling at the camp site.

If you look closely at the pic of the camp site you may be able to make out a fence with some long grass behind it… Apparently it’s the crocodile fence, used to keep the salt water crocs in the estuary in the estuary and not in the camp site. I might make extra certain there’s nothing below when I climb down the ladder from the tent though.
Tomorrow we’ll top up the fuel tanks again, hit the ATM for some more cash and then head onto the Gibb River Road. Our first diversion from the road and our first night’s stop will be at Windjana Gorge. Apparently it has a large population of fresh water crocodiles so, again, no swimming but maybe some photo opportunities.
We’re not expecting to have any form of phone/internet coverage for a while now. Updates to the blog and our posts on Facebook are likely to become very sporadic as a result. Don’t panic if you don’t hear from us for a while, we have the sat phone if anything goes wrong !

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