The rocking and rolling of the tracks had meant the whole drawer unit in the back of Alby had bounced and slipped forward.
The turn-buckles had not been sufficient to hold it all in place under load and with the pitching and rocking of off road travel. So The Driver became the Bush Mechanic and with some ratchet strap ingenuity, had the drawers securely fastened in place once more.
Only a short drive down the road (less than an hour) and we arrived at Munglinup Beach. There is a private caravan park at the top of the hill, but 10km further down and there is a Shire-run campsite with long drop dunnies.
Nestled in amongst the trees we picked a private spot, offloaded the tinny and set up digs for a few days. Finally we felt like we were at the start of our adventure.
Munglinup has a great little bay protected by a reef line. Even though it was windy, the bay was that crystal south-coast blue. Winding tracks through the scrub took us down onto the beach further west of the main bay. Some wheel ruts headed west so we followed them until we popped out on the sandbar separating the estuary from the coast. This sparked the idea of a spin in the boat, which was waiting for us back at camp.
With the QE3 set up on the LBT trailer, we headed upstream to a launching spot on the edge of the Oldfield Estuary. The Munglinup River runs into this estuary and we decided it was worth exploring.
The QE3 started like a dream as we set off towards the coast. The estuary was a bit windy, but there were plenty of sheltered spots. Despite our best efforts to find some bream we determined that there really wasn’t much alive in this waterway. There were very few birds around either. Instead, we enjoyed exploring the little coves and bays within the estuary followed by a long blast upstream right up into the upper reaches: peaceful and serene.
It was time to Christen the Cobb, so we set up getting ready with vegies and a meat loaf from our butcher back home. Imagine our delight when we took the lid off the Cobb after an hour and were able to sit down to a nice hot meal. This thing is so easy. Minimal preparation is needed and then you set and forget. The windbreaks we have for the camper’s stove were perfectly suited to making a surround for the Cobb. We’ve read that you don’t need to make a windbreak but our sense it that the Cobb can maintain a more consistent temperature without cold wind blasting around it: seems to work for us.
Next morning the unthinkable happened. We have done this twice before and could not believe that we had done it again – we flooded the camper! It goes like this.
The tap in the sink has a stupid little lever to turn on and off. It leaks. Sometimes when we are closing up the sink and kitchen, we leave the tap on, turn off the water pump and let the water lines empty. It’s possible to then forget to turn off the tap, and as the lever doesn’t clearly show if the tap is on or off, it is a mistake we have now made three times.
When I turned on the water heater and water pump in the morning to have a shower, it seemed odd that there wasn’t much water pressure. Surely we weren’t through the first tank of water already? How could we be, it was only Day 3. The Driver got out of bed and went to investigate. He found water dripping from under the camper near the drawbar – but it wasn’t dripping from there.
Once again, the sink drawer was completely full of water and overflowing in under the bed. Water was running down under the chassis and dripping in all sorts of places. We couldn’t believe that we had done it again. And so the next few hours were spent mopping up the water from in under the bed (more difficult than it sounds), emptying out the drawer and drying all our utensils.
The Driver also found trouble with the fuse for the hot water so it was a pretty frustrating morning. Never mind, we got it all sorted and back into holiday mode albeit with about 50 litres less water. A new tap and fuse were on the list for when we returned home. We pumped the water from the bladder in the car to refill the camper knowing we could refill everything when we passed through Esperance in a day or so.
Today was a day for exploring so we headed east on some sandy tracks spotted the day before. The tracks took us in all directions to rocky headlands and sandy bays. Out of the comfort of Alby’s air conditioning and the sand was scorching underfoot, but once on the beach the temperature dropped a good few degrees.
Washpool Road (read: sand track) took us along the coast for several hours. We stopped and chatted with a fisherman and another local guy cruising around on a quad bike, which resulted in some tips for local fishing spots. This coastline is just magical with no two areas the same. Back on the track, we then cut north-east up through the nature reserve, onto Springdale Road and back down to Munglinup Beach.
The evening was spent reading and catching up on some work so as to be ready to fire off some emails on Monday morning.