Sunday 14th – Fowlers Bay to Streaky Bay

We had a later start this morning, due to a 6:30 sleep in (Sunday!) and Bill having to do the essential maintenance on WAIT AND SEE – grease, checking oils and water etc –that he couldn’t do yesterday when we arrived at Fowlers Bay. The talk along the Eyre Highway today has been about the gale yesterday – ours was a sand storm at Fowlers Bay and from Nullarbor to Burra there were huge dust storms. At the Fruit Fly Quarantine Station at Ceduna, officer Geoff warned us of 40knot winds forecast for this evening. The winds were 90km per hour at Ceduna. Streaky Bay is a little protected from the westerlies, so we’ll see what it’s like later today.

This morning was casually busy in our cabin at Fowlers Bay. Bill was outside working on the Bradfords, I was cooking eggs for breakfast, Ollie was busy with his usual job of getting the thermos flasks filled for the day, and Barry was sleeping. Bill thanked Ollie for the wonderful breakfast and Ollie accepted all accolades – until he was sprung.

Ollie has been in withdrawal today, as the Penong General Store didn’t have any souvenir tea towels. Barry is real pleased about this because he reckons the cubic metre of tea towels Ollie already has is taking up too much room in the back of WAIT. Rosalie is getting desperate because she has used up her memory card on the digital camera, and Barry is making phone calls home because the power is out on the farm and Joanna can’t get the generator started. Robert is mozing along and doesn’t get involved with all this hi-tech stuff. Bill of course by now knows everybody from Esperance to Ceduna and is right at home behind the wheel of SEE. His right waving hand has worn out.

Right now it is mid afternoon and I’m writing this in SEE as we drive down the west coast of the Eyre Peninsula. This is new country for all of us except Barry. We have driven about 70km from the Eyre Highway and are driving over endless long sand dunes. The road is bitumen and in good condition, and because the heavy trucks don’t come down here, it is smooth and even. It is nice not to have to brace ourselves every time a road train passes us. There were many on the Nullarbor moving machinery and equipment up to the mines in WA, and the vortex of wind as they passed us would buffet the Bradfords around a fair bit.

Time: 6pm. We have arrived at Streaky Bay after losing WAIT at the turn off. She had lost oil pressure again and as we came back to check, we were greeted with: “WAIT has failed to proceed.” All three vehicles are losing oil at high speed, and the fellas reckon it’s because the Bradfords are being driven constantly in excess of 45mph. It is thought at 50mph over a distance of 250km, with a tail wind, that at that speed the motor revolutions reduce the vacuum in the crankcase, and cause the oil to be forced out the breather. They have come to the conclusion that Bradfords were not meant to be driven at that pace over that length of time. To back this argument, at 40mph over the same distance, they are using no oil. The real problem arises that at high speed, oil pressure disappears without you knowing it, unless you are looking constantly at the oil pressure gauge. We may need to fit an oil pressure switch connected to an alarm.

And Streaky Bay is magnificent. We are on the water, overlooking the Bay, and all we can hear are the birds.

Susan, Bill and Barry