Friday, August 26, 2011

Hitting the dust again

On Sunday morning we decided that if we didn't pack up and move south we might just head to the administration office and look for a job and stay in Weipa for a few months! Facing the dusty corrugations again wasn't that appealing.

We packed up and hit the road and travelled over 500 kms to Coen. There was very little between Weipa and Coen (and certainly no towns). We had initially thought of staying at Meluna Station but after our experience at Moreton Station were dubious so continued on. I have already mentioned in the earlier post that the first 40 kms from Weipa the road, although dust, is quite good but it soon deteriorated back to the "normal". There are short stretches of tarseal and when we saw the sign "15 kms to the next tarseal" we both breathed a sigh of relief. These tarseal sections were 5-10 kms long (we never actually recorded it) and were always welcome. On one of these tarseal sections we saw a very large road train (with 4-5 trailers) taking a break. Were we pleased he had stopped! The dust from oncoming cars was sufficient to cause us to loose vision and often we had to pull over until the dust settled. The dust from trucks and road trains are worse so we were pleased this one was stopped.
We continued south on the Peninsula Development Road until we arrived just north of Coen. We had seen a free camping area called "The Bend" as we had travelled north so decided that would be our stop for the night. We soon realised how popular this area was as there were at least ten other groups already set up when we arrived and more arrived. We set up camp and as there were no crocodile signs we were able to go in the river. Coen is mainly an Aboriginal settlement and there were a number of the locals down at the river fishing. It was great to see the children throwing in their line. They had chicken necks on their hooks but we didn't see them catch anything bigger than a sardine sized fish. These small fish were plentiful and we could see them in the clear water. The reflections on the river were lovely.

We were invited to share a campfire with a couple from Geelong who were camping in their camper trailer. It was good to have company and it was very pleasant sitting outside in the warm evening beside the river and fortunately no mozzies. We have not had an issue with mozzies at all during our trip.

The traffic on the road basically stops after dark but for the road trains and there seemed to be a number heading north. Our friends from Geelong told us that they had been told that there will be more road trains than normal as seventy transportable houses were being trucked to Weipa to help with the housing shortage. Fortunately we didn't meet any of these on the road so possibly the majority were travelling at night. We could only imagine the dust that would be created.
 Fishing at Coen
  River view at The Bend in Coen, where we camped
 Reflections on the river at Coen

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