Wet and Woeful 12-19/06/11

Posted: June 19, 2011 in Oz

Right off the bat let me make two little apologies: first off for daring to suggest we might go around the US in anything but a Land Rover (the reason for this is will be explained below), and secondly for the mild rant about the comment situation at the end of the last blog. It was meant to be a piece of hilarious prose but unfortunately it came across to some as me being a bit miserable. I am, but only when it’s raining, cold, the Land Rover is broken, on days that end in Y etc…In this case I didn’t mean to be, so apologies. I’m grateful to all the people who take time to read my ramblings and am truly astonished that we are approaching the 50,000 hit mark. As I only have 6.5 friends on the facebook (one of whom is a dog named Graham) this is amazing, and I thank you all for taking the time to read, who needs comments as well? Sorry peeps.

Good news bad news time. The good news is that Megan has a job in London when we get back to the UK, a fact that will be of little interest to the majority of you but this means that the Land Rover will have to go and hence we can’t use it in the States. Why, you ask? because I got a little note from the Mayor of London saying that my vehicle does not meet the emissions standards of a new zone set up around London and therefore as of 2012 I’ll either have to pay £100 a day to drive it in London, or sell it. I know I’ve always talked about selling but deep down I never really thought I would have to. I had a little cry. Megan thought it unreasonable that I said we would have to move out of the London area, away from her family and new job just so I could drive the Land Rover. She doesn’t know me at all. So it actually came down to a simple choice; Megan or the car. I flipped a coin…..no, not really, Megan makes the best tea in the world and Harriet the Land Rover’s efforts are best described as oily. No choice really.


So, anyone want a Land Rover? Or better still, anyone want to come to Australia and drive a Land Rover back to the UK? I’ll put in 30 bucks of diesel to get you started. Oh alright then, 45.

Trip wise things are going well, although if you look at the map it seems as if little progress has been made. We left Flying Fish Point and drove an hour up the road to Cairns, and we haven’t done much since because it’s sunny, beer is cheap, we found a couple of really nice campsites and quite frankly, we can’t be bothered. Lying in the sun, reading (even found a Land Rover magazine), taking a dip in the pool, and drinking coffee with ice cream in it in cool little cafes is pretty much what we came to Australia for.


We really like Cairns. It’s a small city with that outback, relaxed feel to it. We spent a lot of the time on the waterfront lying in the park, which has a swimming pool, although they call it a lagoon, but it’s a pool in my book, and walking up and down the esplanade. The Aussie’s have got it sussed; people seem to finish work early and by 6pm everyone is out taking a walk, chatting to friends or having a family BBQ. It makes the thought of going back to grey, damp London a little hard to take at the moment, but whilst we are here we’re joining in, lying back and chilling out. It’s pretty awesome.

No trip to Cairns would be complete without a trip to the Barrier Reef. So on Wednesday morning we got up super early and went to the dock to meet the catamaran that would take us out and allow us to swim with the fishes. It’s not a cheap thing to do but not doing it was never an option, if you come here you have to snorkel or dive on the Barrier Reef. I was excited as we boarded and I was still excited right up until the time when over the PA system they announced that it might be a bit bumpy and anyone worried should take seasickness pills. The 3rd time this was announced I was already feeling queasy and we had yet to leave the dock. You see, even though I work on ships, and have done for the past thirteen years there is something about catamarans that doesn’t agree with my stomach. I have never been so sick as I was on a crossing of the English Channel on a fateful day in the summer 2001. Damn you inner ear balance! Memories of this came flooding back and this was probably the catalyst for my decision to take two seasickness pills, which sent me to sleep within a matter of minutes. I was awoken by Megan telling me we had arrived on the Reef, to wipe the drool from my mouth and get my snorkel gear on. Judging by the smell of sick around the place I felt justified in my overdose.


The Reef was amazing. To be honest you feel guilty for swimming there as it’s like swimming in an aquarium and at any moment you might be caught and told off. We went to one of the outer reefs and the sheer number of fish on display was astonishing. We are stopping off at Malaysia on the way back to the UK to do some diving and after the day we spent on the Reef Malaysia has a lot to live up to.


One strange thing about the Reef that I was not prepared for is that at low tide a lot of it is exposed. This creates a weird vista, like hundreds of floating Bonsai trees!


I can’t tell you about the trip back as I took another couple of pills and snoozed my way back to the dock. If anyone plans to travel on Irish Ferries via Rosslare to Pembroke please don’t be alarmed, there are no seasickness pills in my system when I’m driving, and I am wide awake… well, as much as you can be at 3am. It’s just those damn catamarans that have me making friends with the nearest toilet bowl.

Cape York is beckoning, so this time next week we should have exciting stories about croc wrestling, eating snakes and the seven hours it took to dig the Land Rover out of the sand. Ah Harriet I’m going to miss you……damn it Simon, no tears. Tea me Megan!




  1. David & Becky says:

    Best of luck getting up to Cape York – hope the old girl makes it. We chickened out half way up!!

    Sounds like you are finally getting the sunshine you were looking for.

    Thanks for the blog – always entertaining reading.

    David & Becky

  2. Katie & John says:

    We’re having sirloin steak, fresh picked portobello mushrooms, tomatoes and free range farm eggs all fried up for dinner tonight…. mmmm gotta love a home cooked meal!

  3. Graham Taylor says:

    Firstly, I hope you’re not referring to me as a dog! Secondly, you guys still look like you’re having a blast. Cairns is great this time of the year, we were there during the summer months and all it does is rain. Try and get to Cape Tribulation if you can, and also Port Douglass. We never made it to PD as we got stuck in CT after 9 inches of rain overnight and the creeks were too full to cross, but I’ve heard it’s really nice.

    Also looks like you’ll both be back by 3rd December in time for our wedding!

    Keep up the blogs and speak soon.
    Graham and Emma

  4. Thomas Moody says:

    Firstly your trip looks amazing, secondly I can’t believe it will have to end on a low note (as far as the Landie is concerned anyway); have you thought about dropping v8 into it instead? Instant exemption from the LEZ! 🙂

  5. robin welch says:

    Another great blog update guys, sounds like its all been worthwhile.

    Pleased to hear that megan has a new job (for her) but sad for you and Harriett, maybe with all the knowledge you have gathered on landy’s you can convert to electric with the burble on an mp3 player.

    Take care for now and watch the snappy crocs

    Best Wishes

  6. robin welch says:

    Sorry forgot to add,is that a body shaper or wetsuit?

  7. Paul and Cathy says:

    It’s taken a while for me to reply to this !.. bloomin technology!, now Uncle Ken’s got a lot to answer for, he’s the reason why I had to sell my Iveco 4wd Camper!, she was a beut!, but unfortunately Uncle Ken had other ideas, so out with teh Iveco and in with the Landrover!!

    I’d suggest if you are looking somewhere to live then outside the LEZ and commute in!, means you get to keep Harriet!

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