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AUGUSTA - THE WIND AND THE LOCKDOWN



We waited patiently until Australia Day was over and the campsites had started to clear out before heading south with our new toy strapped to the top of the trailer.

 

Kayak on the Coaster
Kayak on the Coaster

 

Right on cue the sun vanished behind a large bank of cloud and not long after we were on the road, the rain started.

Luckily by the time we reached Bunbury it had cleared and all we were left to contend with was a very strong wind.

The Coaster isn't a fan of going head on into high wind and as we turned south on to Sue Road, the speed dropped back from around 90kph to 70.

We struggled up and over the hills and not long before lunch time we arrived in Augusta.

After a brief stop for lunch at Flinders Bay we went to check out Munday Campground where we had booked in and intended to stay for the entire trip.

The only worry during the down trip was the low coolant alarm coming on for a few seconds as we left Flinders Bay. It switched off again but on checking we found that a couple of litres of coolant had leaked somewhere. That was not good!

There are only ten sites at Munday so even if it was full, it wouldn't feel over-crowded.

As we had predicted, the campsite was almost empty and although we didn't have it entirely to ourselves, it was very quiet and peaceful.

 

Munday Campground in Augusta
Munday Campground in Augusta

 

The facilities were excellent with 5 nice combined toilet/shower rooms, a laundry, very well equipped camp kitchen and nice shady sites that all have access to power and water.

The good news is that if you don't need power then you don't have to pay for a powered site even though power is available. (Some caravan parks force you to pay for power if you are on a powered site even if you don't want it.)

The camp kitchen has a fridge, TV, sink for washing up, BBQ, toaster, microwave, kettle and even a pizza oven. We made good use of that for our first nights dinner.

There are a couple of chalets available for those who don't have their own accommodation and are reasonably priced at $100 and $115 per night.

The main priority was to get the coolant loss sorted out and a quick check underneath showed no leaky pipes or radiator. I did find that the drain plug wasn't fully tightened and perhaps under pressure, the coolant had leaked out.

I refilled the radiator and took the Coaster for a short run. No further coolant loss was detected so the plan was to gradually increase our driving distances over the following days and keep monitoring the radiator.

The weather was extremely windy so again there was no chance of getting the kayak out on the water.

The wind continued to howl and was even more ferocious than previous days.

 

Windy weather at Augusta
Windy weather at Augusta

 

We took the Coaster for a longer run to see how the coolant level would behave and thankfully there is still no sign of any further loss.

With a bit of luck we hoped to be able to make it home before having to check further into why the coolant was lost in the first place.

Saturday morning was still looking like the first chance to get the kayak out.

Well the wind didn't quite go away on Saturday but it did drop enough to get the kayak out in a sheltered part of the estuary near the Colour Patch store.

 

Testing the kayak for the first time
Testing the kayak for the first time

 

It was fine to paddle around and not particularly difficult but the problems started when the engine and battery were added. Combined with my weight, this dropped the rear of the kayak a little too low in the water and this resulted in water getting in to the rear compartment including the battery compartment where there are no drainage holes.

Starting the engine on low power was reasonably ok but trying to start it on high power caused the kayak to become very unstable, especially if there was a bit of wind and choppy water. Lesson 1, start in low power, get moving and then switch to high power.

The little electric motor did an excellent job of pushing the kayak along and it was faster than I had expected.

Once I had finished getting used to operating it Belle decided to hop in and have a go. Being much lighter she had no problem with the 'yak' sitting too low in the water and took off very quickly even on low power.

 

Testing the kayak for the first time
Belle trying out the kayak for the first time

 

Unfortunately she didn't realise how fast she was moving and that she had got out of the protection of the hill we were using to shelter from the wind. When she tried to turn the full force of the wind hit her and she just couldn't make any headway.

I could see what was going on through the zoom on the camera and quickly made my way along the shore.

Thankfully she knew to head to kayak back toward shore and finally made it in to safety.

I got to her position and turned the kayak round to paddle it back but even I couldn't make any gain into the wind so had to hop out and push it along until I was back in the lee of the hill.

Once out of the wind it was easy enough to get in and start paddling again.

We spent Sunday just relaxing and enjoying the view out over the estuary but in mid-afternoon we got the news that W.A. Was going into lock down due to a COVID outbreak.

We were already booked in at Munday Campground until Saturday so we were fine as long as the lock down didn't get extended.

After a nice meal of fish and chips we retreated to the camp ground to contemplate what the lock down would mean for the rest of our trip.

On our return to the campground we found that two large caravans had arrived and had ejected numbers of small children who were busy doing what children do, making lots of noise! The prognosis for the rest of our stay was not looking great.

After a quick trip into town to get some face masks (apparently everyone now had to wear them outside) we spent the rest of the day wishing that we were now anywhere but stuck in a campsite with a horde of screaming children. Worse still, the horde and its owners had invaded us from New South Wales. Covid capital of Australia!!!

The howling wind had also made an unwelcome comeback making using the drone or doing any filming impossible.

The trip had quickly turned into a large waste of time, effort and money.

The weather calmed down for most of the following day so we took the opportunity to spend some time relaxing and just absorbing the view out near Cape Leeuwin lighthouse.

 

Cape Leeuwin from the air
Cape Leeuwin from the air

 

We got our allotted 1 hour of exercise at Quarry Bay and had a quick look at the flow stone that has built up due to a natural spring flowing down from the cliff top.

In the evening I got round to filming a recipe for boiled camping cake that I have been meaning to do for ages but the rest of the day was, be necessity, pretty uneventful. (Check out our YouTube channel after Feb 27th 2021 for the recipe if you are interested).

 

Boiled camping cake
Boiled camping cake

 

The wild wind returned yet again and this time it brought with it some very unwelcome rain. As the solar wasn't producing enough power we had to plug in to power to bring the batteries up.

There was nothing to do but just hunker down in the campsite as the storm raged around us.

The wind continued into the next day unabated.

We made our way down to the beach near Colour Patch and settled down for the day as there was nothing else to do while the lock down continued.

At least we had a nice view and could hop out and walk along the beach for a WHOLE HOUR!

Wearing the mandatory face mask was just a little silly with nobody else in sight but there was no point in risking being fined.

The sun finally came out by lunch time and the batteries got a good charge while we just relaxed and watched the wind whipping up the water on what is usually a quiet waterway.

The following day was more of the same as we had no chance to do much else.

While we had been down in Augusta there had been no further sign of coolant loss from the radiator but by the time we got home, it had lost another 2 litres! More money to spend and more hassles coming up before we are able to get away in the Coaster again.

The only item of note on the way home was the police officer at the check point who recognised us from our YouTube channel.

 

 

updated February 2021

Go to the last blog installment go to the next blog installment

 

 

places to see on this trip:

Augusta

 

Quarry Bay
Flat Rock
Cape Leeuwin
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