Tuesday 20th August.

We haven’t been able to do any sightseeing yet, not that we had any plans anyway, due to mechanical problems, so here is the story:

I had a small job done on the car at Townsville; replace the fan belt tensioner, as it was suspect noisy, by a mechanic by the name of Kenny’s. Further into our travels from there to Rollingstone I was experiencing overheating problems until I found the radiator fans were unplugged. I guess it was them that failed to reinsert the connection, so needless to say I won’t be using them again. Further again into our travels, up till Mission beach, I experienced trouble running on gas so we have been running on petrol until reaching Cairns. A check on the gas problem revealed a coolant leak in the gas conversion chamber that was, as told by the expert, a direct result of the overheating problems. This is at present not a happy chappie, and intends telling them what I think when next in Townsville.

I rang an old workmate, Hoss, on Sunday as he is supposed to be in the area soon, and it turned out that he had been in the area for a week, and would you believe, staying in a park about 2-3k away from us. They have since left Cairns and are doing a lap of the tablelands. They will be back in Cairns next week so we will catch up with them then.


Saturday 17th August.

I seem to have done it again: several days between putting words down. I think the problem is that when one is just relaxing and enjoying the surrounds the thought of writing doesn’t enter ones mind. Its not that I have been too busy, or even doing nothing for that matter, we have now been in Cairns for six days and it seems like we only just arrived. We don’t seem to have done much since being here, but I can’t really remember having any time with nothing to do.

The awning modifications appear to be ideal, some rain yesterday and it tightened up, due to being wet, and reshaped itself to the new support method and looks a treat.

Linda bought a new vacuum yesterday because the old hand held battery one seems to be failing. The new one is 240v and also a small hand held model and when Linda first turned it on it nearly jumped out of her hand with the extra power, and as a result Linda nearly jumped out the side window. I then proceeded to pull the old one to bits to see what I could do to revitalise the battery, but when I saw inside I noticed the battery was a sealed lead-acid type and it should be in as good a condition as it was when new. It turns out that after dismantling the upright section of the machine and giving it a good clean and lubrication the vacuum is now as good as new. It’s no good thinking of keeping it as we now have a new one, and I had already promised it to the management of the units, to save throwing it out, so I now have to keep my word.

After receiving several bogus emails with worms, viruses, recently it really sank home that I should get myself a decent virus checker. A friend we met at Townsville, quietly shh, gave me a copy of his checker and it was this that discovered all the viruses, but the problem was that I could not register it to get updates because I did not have the product code and had no idea of its format. The only alternative I could see was to purchase one of my own, done yesterday, so I can keep in touch with updates. Even though it is not correct to load this onto more than one machine I intend loading it onto both laptops. I do have a couple of ideas on how I can get the updates on to both machines, but trial and error will reveal if this is possible, even if it means copying files from one to the other.

We still have not heard from Narrelle as to whether she will be coming or not, but we will no doubt find out. The problem she is having is converting her short-term visa to a long term one. It turns out that her planned trip back here coincided with the time that she must convert her visa, she was aware of this, but the powers to be now tell her that the process is going to take longer than originally planned. This itself presented the problem because with her application she had to submit her passport, without which she can’t leave England. She could cancel her application, but it would mean that during her visit back to Australia her short-term visa will expire and she won’t be able to return to England. She is at present leaving things to take their coarse and praying that her pleas with bureaucrats will result in them processing her application in time. The rest is just to wait and see. She can cancel her flights up to 48 hours before she is due to leave and still get all but 300 pounds refund.

The saga of getting a shipping container for storage of our furniture is now complete, as a purchase was made, with Paul’s assistance, and is now on his block with all our furniture moved into it. We will have to come up with something to present to him for his efforts when we return at Christmas.


Tuesday 13th August, (Cairns).

We are finally at Cairns, arrived yesterday, and we are both surprised that we have the feeling that we are home. I’m not sure whether this is due to the fact that this is a magnificent place to be at this time of year or if it is just that we have both been waiting such a long time to be back here that this feeling would seem to be natural.

First priority today was to seek assistance with a problem with the gas system on the car. A problem has appeared over the last couple of days that has led me to believe that I picked up a bad supply of gas at the last fill, as the reservoir chamber has been continually filling with fluid since and causing the engine to not function while switched to gas. A visit to an auto-gas mechanic today revealed that in fact the problem was a coolant leak into the chamber through a worn seal. On the way up from Townsville I experienced an overheating problem that was put down to the fact that a mechanic who worked on the car recently neglected to reconnect the plug for the electric radiator fans, which consequently resulted in a lack of air flow and overheating. The only ones I consider could have been responsible for this problem was Kenny’s garage in Hugh st. opposite the caravan park in Townsville who replaced a possible faulty fan belt tensioning pulley, that turned out not to be the answer for that problem anyway. So the recommendations I was prepared to give them in future, if necessary, will now not occur, rather the opposite will. The repairs on the gas system will also overcome another minor problem I have been experiencing as well, so it will not be a complete waste of money for repairs. I will have to now endeavour to find Kenny’s phone number so I can ring them and let them know what I think.

I have also commenced another modification to the awning by placing support rails from the caravan to each corner that will rid the need for the centre poles in the ends of the awning. I completed one end this afternoon and am quite pleased with the results to the extent that I wish I had thought of this modification ages ago. Other benefits of the mod are that the awning will now not sag when the end pieces are attached, and the awning now looks much more even and straight around the edges.

Mission Beach

Sunday 11th August, (Mission Beach).

We have somewhat changed our ideas of Mission Beach, due to the realisation of several reasons. The weather has been a bit of a setback, the area didn’t live up to expectations of other traveller’s comments and we are at present only wanting to be in Cairns.

We went for a walk today along what was going to be a 3.5k flat, even, track alongside a beach around to Kennedy’s bay. It turned out to be a good walk, but it was anything but flat winding its way up and over hills and around rocks that blocked beach access. The most fascinating thing about this walk was the fact that the track wound its way though a rainforest terrain that was right up the edge of the coastline. We have heard of the term ‘Where the rainforest meets the reef’ before and at the time it referred to Cape Tribulation area, but I would think that the term is much more applicable to this area that that one.

Linda and I had a sit down this morning to discuss our future travel plans and with a problem Narrelle may have getting here, more about that later depending on the result. We have just about convinced ourselves that we would prefer to return to our beloved Tassie for at least a couple of months each year to see the family regularly. We will see what eventuates with this idea over the next few weeks.

In the meantime it’s off to Cairns tomorrow.

Mission Beach

Friday 9th August, (Mission Beach).

Mission Beach, as we have found out, is close to a town called Tully and this town has the reputation of being the wettest town in Queensland. At the moment the area is living up to it’s reputation as it has poured all day. We had a drive around the area today and have somewhat revamped our ideas of the district as there are a few bush walks to do, but apart from that I get the impression that most people do in fact just come here for the peace and quiet and the beach.

Linda has made the comment that this area is very similar, but on a smaller scale, to Airly Beach, which I made comments about earlier. As far as businesses the only concern is the tourist dollar, but I have decided that this is not going to worry us and we are just going to enjoy our stay here before we move on to Cairns, wet or dry. We are hopeful of a sunny day while here so we can do some of the walks and get some decent photos.