On The QT

Aussie Adventure Day 17

Blogger: Pat Lynch

Day 17 -Trying to make Progress on the Seismic Line – July 18th

Up at first light. As we lost time, it may now be a day later before we get back to Perth. It was 1 degree during the night. Rob changes a tyre and Nick finds that a tyre of his went down overnight. We are ready to part at 7.40. The land is now flat and easier going. We head to a hill range about 3km away that Rob wants to see. When we get there, Rob has a puncture.

We plug it and hope it will hold. We plan our route for today and try to make progress back to civilisation. A path that we found yesterday is no longer visible to us and it would have been a great help to get us home. My beard is growing well at this stage, after 12 days I would pass for a natural Santa Claus. It would be great now to have a nice hot shower and a complete change of clothes. I see the black under my nails from changing tyres and I think how difficult it must be for homeless people to keep their appearances in tacked when they do not have the basics that we all have become so familiar with.

We bush wack until 9.15am. One of our parties stops for a bog and the first vehicle drives on. We expect to have to drive like this for about 28km and it is tough going, particularly on the stomach muscles. We stop for coffee at about 9.30 and we thankfully found a path which is well used. This will save us a lot of time and make the journey more pleasant. Rob lets me drive and it is a fantastic feeling driving on the path with has not been used for perhaps 6 months. I pass over two sand dunes and the vehicle handles very well. At 11am, we hit the Seismic Line which was put in by the oil companies in the 70s. They went on for 100km and are straight with no turns or twists. They go straight over sand dunes. Oil companies brought heavy equipment for drilling at that time and some wells were drilled and capped. They were not thought to be commercial at that time. We stay on this straight Seismic Line for 6km and then turn onto an old track created by Rob in 1995. We loose it after 1/2 km and we head onto a new track to a water well which is basically a spot on the map. It takes us about 10km of easy driving and we find our destination but it is a dry hole with nothing here. We head back to the Seismic Line and join it quickly. At 12.45 we decide to have lunch and then head 18km on the Seismic Line. In effect, we are heading South, South West to get back to civilisation. The road is rough at times, particularly as we climb. It acts as a runway for rain water and it shapes gullies into the road. I see a group of 6 Emu’s, like Ostriches  running in the distance, too far away to take a picture. At 1.45 we as the lead vehicle stop to allow the others to catch up and it gives us a chance to stretch our legs. We drive on then and sometimes we have to go off the track because it is too rough. At one stage there is a high gully in the road, created by rain.

 At 2.30, we have reached the intersection of the Seismic Lines. We came off 146 degree. At the intersection, which is now overgrown. There is an IRM stake with the letters Int N83 6/3. There was also a drill hole where they used their equipment to test the ground underneath to establish if there possibly would be oil or minerals down there. There is a bunch of wires coming out of the 6 inch diameter pipe from the ground. We now move South East on the next Seismic Line and we are heading towards the Gibson Desert and our next destination is 12.5km away. There has not been a single vehicle on these paths for many years and we have to bush wack many scrubs as we progress. I am possibly the only Irish person to travel these paths, except for some of the work crews in the 1980s when the paths were first cut. We see 6 camels who look at us with amazement.

We branch off the Seismic Line and we head to a water well which is 10km inland on a track. Within 2km, we get our 6th puncture. It is changes quickly and within 10 minutes we are on the road again. The sun is sinking fast and we are forced to set up camp 2km from our destination. Its all hands on deck to repair punctures when we get to camp while we still have some daylight. There is a lot of timber in the area and we get a great fire going. Steak, potatoes, carrots, onions, red peppers….what a feast for dinner! Everyone gets a full potato tonight. I have noticed my stomach has lightened up since the start of the trip, this is mainly due to the exercise and perhaps a little less food. As the fire is excellent, we have a late night tonight at 10pm. It is cold getting into the swags but once inside, it gets nice and warm. I stare at the sky and see a few shooting stars in the space of a few minutes and drift off to sleep. I wake a few times during the night and check how early or late it is by the light coming from the camp fire.

More outback adventures tomorrow


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