Sunday, 23 September 2012

Carnarvon - 18/09/12 to 20/09/12

As we packed up at Quobba Station we had a brief shower of rain - the first rain we have seen since SA some 3 months ago. It was a short drive into Carnarvon and we were set up well before lunch time. We then did a big shop as we were near the first decent grocery store (ie Woolies) for some time. That afternoon we headed out to see the farming area around the town. Carnarvon is a huge fruit and vegetable growing area. This is for a number of reasons, good water supply from the local river, good soil and good weather with little variance in the weather all year around. Day time is nearly always around 24 degrees, regardless of the season. We bought a little fruit and veg from local stalls set up beside the road.

Carnarvon is also a fishing town and we ventured out to the port to buy some fresh seafood for tomorrow night's dinner; green prawns and some fish straight off the boat.

On our second day there we did an organised tour of one of the local fruit growing orchards, "Bumbaks". Very informative one hour. We found out that the local river, the Gascoyne, is an upside down river in that the water lays in the sand bed below the surface and is retained in there by a lower layer of clay some 18 metres further down. They pump the water for the farms out of the sand. It's the usual story with farming, harder and harder to make it profitable. Some years ago there were around 120 plantations in the area. Now there is only 28 ."Bumbaks" have had to diversify to survive. They have done this by running the tours and by setting up a shop where they can use all the surplus product they grow in some fashion. When they sell direct to the markets, they can only move the product that has no imperfections. Now they can use this fruit in other things they produce themselves such as smoothies, ice creams, jams and drinks. To confirm that they know what they are doing we sampled some of these after the tour.

We also ventured out to the One Mile Jetty and walked out to the end. This is now not actually a one mile walk as the last couple of hundred metres has been closed off due to damage. A beautiful old jetty but it needs a lot of work done on it to save it. There is an old train that also takes you out along the jetty, but we chose to walk. You could see lots of mangroves off to the side and fish hanging around underneath. Not surprisingly it's known as a good fishing spot and a few fishermen were out having a go. Back on land we visited the local museum and, among other things, watched a doco on the HMAS Sydney II which was torpedoed by a German ship off the coastline during WW II. All 645 crew on board were killed and there appears to be some controversy as to why there were no survivors.

That night we again caught up with Simon, Fiona and the boys who had checked in to our park and actually camped right beside us. The boys had fun catching up and all watched a video while us adults enjoyed a few quiet drinks. We won't see then again from here as we are traveling in different directions, so we all said our good-byes next morning.

Front yard of a local house. I am guessing they have very few break ins.

Boys inspecting banana tree at "Bumbaks"

Boys and Vicki checking out ice creams and smoothies at "Bumbaks"

Driving across the local river

Heading out along One Mile Jetty

The train ("The Coffee Pot") that also runs out along the jetty

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