I’m writing this on the Spirit, the big red and white boat which is bringing us back to Tasmania, while our little red and white Andante battles the southern ocean with Kevin and Deb. We will only hear by phone call when they’re back in range that they’ve made it to Tasmania, as they have no other channels of communication. Well, they do have but we hope they don’t use the HF radio call in a mayday!
Col and I have had a fantastic week getting from west Australia to Melbourne, we crossed the Nullabor, looked for shells on the Coorong, looked at the magnificent rock forms in the Flinders Ranges, met up with lots of good folks in interesting places… Gordon in Mintaro (????) a tiny town in the Clare valley, SA; Ken and Katrina in Port Macdonnell, Dave and Eleanor in Portland, Loki in Geelong, and Sue just as we were boarding the boat.
We travelled in fine style, in the ford station wagon Emmy-Lou. She doesn’t like sand – at all – we got bogged in Bremer Bay; but apart from that kept us in motoring and camping comfort. We camped just outside Eucla in the scrub, and also outside the Coorong.
Highlights for me were the magnificent Flinders Ranges. We were delighted by the park like setting of scattered river red gums and native pines, followed by gently rolling, rounded foothills, which were immediately shadowed by magnificent purple, red and grey crags and escarpments. We stayed in the Hawker hotel, saw the pathetic cemetery at Cradoc and the ruins of so many settlers dreams doomed by the Goyder line’s accuracy. There is no much amazing beauty in our country.
Many people have commented that perhaps we should have done the true grey nomad thing, but we had eschewed it on the grounds that there are always too many other campers in the places we want to see. We want to see bits of this country that aren’t fenced, sign posted or forbidden. So Gordon decided that if we weren’t grey nomads, we were “nay gonads”. Nomination for the spoonerism of the year.
Which brings me to the topic of penis envy. Penis’ are fun things for sure, but I don’t usually wish for one of my own – but men have a huge advantage in the pissing stakes while at sea. The Andante has railings or bulwarks at a convenient height for most blokes to hang it out, and pee away. Occasionally they might get a bit of their own back if the wind is wrong; but that’s about it. If the conditions are too bad or if they’re in bed – they can easily pee in a bottle.
But women – we can’t pee over railings or bulwarks, and hanging your entire rear end out over the dive board is only suitable in very calm and private conditions. You CAN pee into a bucket and tip it over, but again this is only when the going is good. Otherwise, one needs to develop the fine art of balancing on a moving floor, while holding a bottle with a wide enough, but not too wide neck into your crutch, and then making your bladder release! This is not easy, or fun. And when the going gets really rough, there is always the backwash issue, as well as the constant anxiety about crying over spilt piss.
So I thought I was an accomplished pee-er under trying circumstances. But… the bush camp outside Eucla had me with my first case of real penis envy. We were plagued by thousands of sticky flies as it was thunderstormy and really humid. I squatted to pee (which as you can imagine, exposes a fair amount of white flesh, and opens various orifices) and was immediately crawled onto, into, over by hundred of these little flies. You can’t wave them away because you’ll splash through your own pee, and there are few sensations less pleasant than needing to pee while flies are crawling up your bum!
I won’t complain again (she lies) and I challenge anyone to relate a worse peeing experience.
Tomorrow we’ll be home, soon the Andante will be there – and Col and I will gather ourselves and makes decisions about our boating future. Watch this space.
and hope everyone who has been reading this has a great Christmas.