Cape Le Grand is just so Grand!
We can’t seem to ppppulll ourselves away. We haven’t left! We were meant to stay just 3-4 days and we’ve been here 2 weeks!We are camping as close to the beach as allowed and every morning we look out over Lucky Bay taking in the the turquoise colours wrapped with pure white squeaky sand with friendly Roos hopping about. People come and people go, but we just stay! We are on a different schedule squished between the “grey nomads” and “holiday” people. After school and work we head right down to the bay for some afternoon delight. The weather is windy and brisk and it’s about right now I wish I could kite surf as it’s perfect weather for kite surfing and wind surfing but shit for surfing. Boogy boarding is the bomb though.
We’ve seen the other bays as well like, Hellfire Bay, Cape Le Grand Beach, and Thistle Cove which are all very nice as well, but our favourite camp spot and bay is Lucky Bay!
Many people wonder about Stella and how she’s doing… her brothers question. I had my older son, Connor, concerned that we were going to be “lazy parents” and Stella’s entire trip of 365 days and long drives would be nothing but movies, mind craft and IT. And then I had the other son, Ethan, who is very IT, wonder how she was going to cope without having IT on tap!? I too wondered about Stella and how she would do being as the only “child” with no organised sports, dance class, siblings to interact with, and no “play dates” after school with her friends every day (yes, I had a play date nearly everyday after school for Stella as I just think there’s a lot to learn by having other kids around and not being smothered with adults as her “friends.”) The boys are really great with her and carve some time for her when their schedules permit…but …on this trip, she’s trapped with just Mom and Dad! I was a little apprehensive as to how to keep her entertained. Much to my surprise, it’s all working really well! In fact, we have all bonded differently with each other with so much time spent together.
Stella is changing and becoming more independent. She helps me do the dishes as we carry them to the camp kitchen or boil water. She is trying her hand at cooking basic things. She can walk up and buy her own lunch at the counter as well as ask an adult for silverware or ketchup in a restaurant. She can walk to the bath house and have a shower by herself and even get out of the tent in the night to go “wee” in the bushes by herself. None of these things were possible before the trip.
We go to the beach every single day. And we both are making small strides in the switching of “mum to teacher” hat for schooling-that is our biggest challenge thus far with each other. I’d like to pull my hair out on most days! Teaching your child, one child, is far more difficult than teaching a classroom of 23!
Geoff is also spending some much needed “Daddy-Daughter” time. We all go fishing at night just before dinner (it appears Dad is “fishing” and Stella is the only one “catching.” Shhhh….) 😉 He teaches her how to bait a hook, cast and take the fish off. He gets her to help him with projects on the Troopy and takes her on hikes …just the two of them …leaving me for some much needed alone time to read my book (I’ve read 3 books in 3 weeks, which is a rarity for me in “normal” life) and, also, get over the struggles with the day-to-day minutiae. We certainly aren’t in any kind of rhythm, and even me, spontaneous roll with the punches kinda girl, is starving for rhythm, bit of planning and organisation.
Each of us know this is not just a holiday or temporary. We’re in it for the long haul of 365 days on the road. Therefore, there is a transitional period for all of us: the comforts of your home, established, long-term friendships, simple things like a bed, power, refrigeration, weekly/monthly social groups, absolute no routine, very limited toys or anything for Stella, and the things that should be simple like laundry, Ice, dishes, Ice, running water, Ice, light, Ice, power, become really hard work after time. It’s not easy and what I have found is it is much more difficult to sleep on the ground for long periods of time after 40 then before 40!;Adelaide…I don’t know the likes of you yet, nor quite how far away you are, but I can’t wait to see you and get a roof top tent with a 70cm mattress…oh it shall feel like heaven I’m sure! I don’t want to know what I sleep on at home, but anything is better than the 4 inches now! These things are the dark side of the trip… and I feel a bit “bi-polar” with the ups and downs right now, but as always, the good shall out weighs the bad or we just wouldn’t do these things at all. It just takes time. We’ll find our new normal, and press on.
And as for Stella, she is learning her new normal too…. and thriving on the things she never knew were possible!
Reorganization: a constant struggle!
We are constantly organising things and sorting through things. We have too much stuff!!! We are struggling most with where and what to take along. It’s been over two weeks and thing are rising to the top as to what is important. We find we wear the same clothes and shoes all the time which means the other outfits must go and narrow it down even further. We now each have just 1 small basket of clothes. I was surprised Stella found it easy to get rid of 3 pairs of shoes and heaps of clothes as normally she can’t part with anything out of her drawer and squeezes herself into her favourite things and says “nope” they still fit.
There’s been a constant current of things flowing through the post office, to school and back and forth from Connor to us. It’s an hours drive to the post office, so we make a day of it and even have stayed the night on a Friday night in a hotel as we didn’t feel like driving back to camp after a long week’s work. We do get reception when in town. Stella also taps into that internet highway-Stella has learned the new art of texting!! She reaches out to her friends via text when we are in town. It’s amazing how quickly they learn. Her friend, Isabelle is already great at texting and Stella asks, “how did she get so fast, mom?” Geoff usually has internet whilst we are in the Bush camping but it’s all on his gear: his computer and his phone. We do have a SAT phone that has unlimited texting so I’ve been reaching out via that when I need to. It’s pretty clunky and the user interface is old school where you have to text “aa..bbb” one digit at a time.
The post office is the way to go! We sent a huge crate of things back and Connor has sent boxes of warm gear and things I thought I packed and did not. Warm weather gear got left behind. It was under $50.00 to ship our warm weather gear which saved heaps from purchasing new. Geoff even had his circular saw sent to build some organisational shelves and bedding in the back of the Troopy. We’re getting organised bit by bit. This is a constant struggle…organisation and the battle between too much stuff!
We donate the things that we have “2” of …two sugars, two honeys, 3 olive oils, Just need one of everything and buy again when you run out. No bulk purchases and everything small. Also, everything stored in zip lock bags to avoid the weight and less space without the wrapping.
The car has been tuned up too! We had it serviced in town before we go on the Nullarbor. Oil change, hand brake was dodgy, wheel alignment (there were some dodgy parts driving the hour back via the beach).
The Beach drive: Esperance to Le Grand Beach
There are two ways to get back to camp: via the country side where you will see Emu’s and Roos or the beach side around the bay. Each one is the same time, one hour, but the country drive is 60Ks and the beach drive is 21ks. We are not experienced with 4×4 beach driving yet but figured we have to just “do it” and put all our safety gear into action if we get stuck: 18 psi, tic, tracks, tic, air compressor, tic, snatch straps, tic, shovel, tic, winch, tic, high jack, tic, first aide, tic, sat phone, and a fire extinguisher if we need it! It wasn’t the best of days to go…bit of rain and the tides were average, neither low nor high but we did see tracks from other cars taking the route so this was a good sign. One thing we thought best was to stay away from the waters edge so when the tides did come up we wouldn’t get “stuck” and ruin the car. High tide weren’t expected for 3-4 hrs.
Everything was a bit average…I think all of us were a bit white knuckled with the tied rising and high tied in several hours, the rain, and a bit boggy. We were half way through, nothing but silence in the car wondering worst case scenarios individually. Every now and again when we would go through a rough spot there were yelps of being tossed about. Half way through Geoff broke the silence and asked if we wanted to turn around. A quick retort back, “nope… press on…we are half way through. No since turning back now.” It was a rough, jostling trip along the beach at 40 clicks. We quickly found out if we stopped to put it in low gear we would get bogged. We didn’t stop again! When we found the exit of the bay we all high fived each other and breathed a big sigh of relief! The Troopy did far better than we did!