Kimberley - Derby and Mowanjum July 6 - 21 2018
  after sorting out engine and parts and workshop there's not a lot left to do.

Apart from wait.

And visit the Mowanjum Festival.

Part of NAIDOC (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee).

As usual, we are confused. Its described as Naidoc Week.

And it starts next week.

  It seemed like all of Derby (population around 3,000) and tourists attend.

Wandjinas (cloud and rain spirits) adorn the top of the stage.

Hopefully we will see more representations of Wandjinas in rock art when we are on the move again.

  Music to begin.
  Then dancing.
  It seemed organised like a corroboree.

A story.

  Including a serpent.
  With opening by the WA Premier - a bit of a surprise to us.
  Then dancing.

Indications of various birds and wildlife.

Each dance lasted less than a minute. With much discussion in between as to the next dance. I could imagine that happening around a campfire.

  There is some significance to the coloured string decorations. Different for men and women.

I'll have to drop in at Mowanjum (the community has an art centre) and read the description.

Our host with the shed was ill but gave us a lift to the festival with instructions to call her when we were ready to leave.

Such is the nature of Derby that when chatting to the person sat next to me he put two and three together and offered us a lift back to our shed. And has since checked that we are comfortable.

  We moved to the West Kimberley Lodge and Caravan Park.

With a little planning a room in the lodge will be available when we lose the truck for a couple of days.

We've been walking from our shed. Everything we needed was within a 5km round trip. We figure exercise is good for morale.

From the van park we walked out onto the mud flats and along their edge.

Past a few modern middens.

  The bird life at the edge of the mud flats is plentiful.
  With heaps (that's lots) of hawks.
  Plenty of boab trees. This one amused us somewhat as it had obviously been left by the road builders.
  In the morning we walked to the CWA market.

We were too late for fresh produce. But we heard some music, and there were crafts.

CWA also have accommodation but once we realised we had the truck available while waiting there were other options.


In the afternoon to the edge of town again.

Derby is only a little above the very high tide mark.

Mud flats, a bit of grass, then trees and grass.

Plenty of 4wd tracks along the edge and onto the flats.

  This kangaroo had just been terrorised by a hawk.

It really didn't consider us a threat, but hopped away across the mud flats anyway.

The clutch kit and hoses arrived at Rocks Auto Parts. Rocky volunteered to deliver to workshop when he realised I was on foot. Gestures like that keep us relaxed and positive. And hoping that's how we behave.

Quite pleased as I didn't need convincing the clutch was heavy.

  The far side of Doctors Creek.

It looks a bit soggy to cross.

  Just a few of the many hawks.

Waiting for the sun to set.

  Another different honeyeater for our collection .....

a yellow-tinted honeyeater.

In the caravan park grounds.

  And a bower bird.
  There are rainbow lorikeets to remind us of home.

And red-winged parrots, which we haven't seen at home and have green wings (with a spot of red).

  Waiting, waiting, waiting .....

the engine didn't get to Perth on Friday, it got there on Monday. It should now be in Derby by Thursday.

And the Fitter now has a big job on so can't start until "at least Wednesday".

The slinky spring camera fails to turn on more often than not. Order for a new one "yes its in stock and can be shipped today" hasn't left Sydney. Tomorrow is another day.

My chest infection is knocking me about a bit. Not as bad as the woman in number 17 who's husband is in hospital with pneumonia. There are several people in the park who are in a worse position than us. We just have to wait.

We moved sites in the van park. Host thought we might like a cooler site. We'll move again on Saturday to a site not so shady - we've never needed 240v and our new battery charger doesn't keep up. Hopefully "goldilocks site" with sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon.

Our evening constitutionals continue. Tonight we headed across the mud flats again.

Guessing the spots in top right of pic are the broken bits that jam the lens movement. If I tap it in the right place it turns on ........

  Interesting patterns where the mud has dried on the flats.

To extract the pics from the camera meant remove the card and insert into universal card reader attached to computer with usb. I've carried that around for about 5 years and finally needed it.

  They are black kites.

The bird book says so.

  Having walked past this pair humpty dozen times I happened to glance up and think "what an odd shape for a branch".

Tawny Frogmouths.

  Heard before seen.

I remembered the sound from Millstream (didn't I do well????).

Blue winged kookaburra.

Bigger than at Millstream, or perhaps closer, or maybe just older. There must be more food near the coast.

There were two visiting the van park. In different trees.


The wheel nut marker did its job. I took the pic after I'd removed it. The nut was just finger tight.

The other nuts were not as tight as I prefer. I didn't need the extension bar to tighten them.

Just one wheel. When I watched the spring replacement at Newman it was occurring without wheel removal. Locating a new spring on axle and ends can be a bit difficult if only one side is jacked up. I wonder if the wheel was removed while I was away. Then again, maybe it was going to happen anyway. Just as well I noticed it .......

  Its Friday the thirteenth. Exactly three weeks since I cooked the engine.

We now have a replacement engine, clutch kit, spigot bearing, hoses, filters and fluids waiting at the workshop. Earliest work will start is next Wednesday.

Juggling a site in the caravan park, which is full every night, and a move into a cabin when we need it is becoming easier as date gets closer. All made easier by helpful park owners.

In the meantime the new camera arrived. An upgraded version of the old one ...... 18.1 Mp instead of 16, bigger and better resolution screen on the back, better resolution eyepiece, faster processor, faster focus, built in charger (no need to remove battery), standard usb cable, a little lighter. Same 60x zoom lens. Buttons more or less the same but menu changed quite a bit.

All of those little things seem to add up to a very different camera. First pics are sharper, I'd go as far as to say everything is sharper.

The old one must have been getting tired.

This pic is of one of the tawny frogmouths (they haven't moved far) at full zoom.

  Of course the problem with a new camera is it requires testing.

The faster, more accurate, focus seems to make a lot of difference to what can be captured.

The improved eyepiece makes it easier to find the subject. It won't be long before I get the hang of birds in flight, there's an extra fast focus setting.

  We've walked along tracks and roads in most directions from the van park several times.

But there's always something new.

A non-breeding Pheasant Coucal.

We have one in our garden at home in Qld, but its very shy and we've generally failed to get a reasonable pic. Its common.

  A little late for the tide, its been and gone.

But the dark patches are wet.

And muddy.

  One of the many deep channels.
  It fed this larger shallower area.
  The following day the tide is later, and we are earlier.

That deep channel is now full of water.

And becoming fuller.

  A big mudskipper methinks.

What else would be out and about on a mud flat?

  And a little one.
  They were playing in that larger shallower area that is now a bit bigger and a bit deeper.
  Time to beat a strategic retreat.

Just in case I misread the tide times.

A little higher than yesterday. Tomorrow will be a little higher again.

There are no tides due that will cover all of the flats.

and just to remind us that the water is moving quite rapidly ..... though not quite as fast as horizontal falls it is quite deceptive

Full Size Video

  While waiting, waiting, I decided to tackle the leftover from the near fire in Nepal.

About 5 years ago.

I originally put in a by-pass .... that big black wire and big red wire...... from heater fan power fuse to heater fan and aircon ..... while cutting the original, melted, wire. Which meant I had to remember to turn fan and aircon off whenever stopped.

I totally failed to find a circuit diagram that fits, or trace the fused source of power for fan and aircon control circuits.

So today I added the relay (bottom center) in the by-pass, switched by the ignition.

I've removed the reminder note stuck to the dash.

  A grey-crowned babbler.

As we've observed on several occasions, they move in small packs.

We hear them before we see them.

  Another trip to the mud flats.

A bit more to the east than previously. I spotted a couple of vehicles and people having barbeque a couple of days ago.

Too far to walk, but fun trying.

This little bird kept me occupied for quite a while.

The only bird life I've seen near the water.


Its easy to see how the mud dries, the water finds its way into the cracks, the cracks become bigger, and eventually there are channels.

Today I discovered that once wet the mud is sticky. Very sticky.

  could be a lake, anywhere.

Only you and I know the tide will start going out shortly.

To put it in perspective for me. The tidal range in the village I grew up in is about 5.9m. Today at Derby the range was 11.7m. Though I really only see the last 500mm across the mud flats.

  The rounded, rusted on, nuts on the exhaust manifold that discouraged me from taking the head off.

There has been a small leak for a while, but most of the oil has appeared from the rocker cover in the few short times I've driven since arriving in Derby.

All good for tomorrow morning. Accommodation sorted. Engine and parts available.

Caravan Park owners (West Kimberley Lodge & Caravan Park) have been most understanding and helpful. Our site was rebooked within a couple of hours ...... the park is full most nights - a tribute to scheduling as people want to stay different numbers of nights.

Hopefully all the electrical plugs on the replacement engine match the old.

I've taken a string of pics of the engine so as to remember where everything fits. Just in case.

I also spent a couple of hours this morning adjusting the drum brakes. Not difficult, just tedious. Handbrake is harder and will have to wait.

Tomorrow will be "waiting, waiting". Estimate is back the day after ..... with the usual provisos about nothing going wrong.

  T-Day. Wednesday.

Transplant day.

Engine waiting in workshop. I drove straight in as arranged at 8am. All ready. I can't imagine that happening so easily in a busy workshop in Brisbane.

I figured the critical bit would be if the fuel pump was different with different electrical connections. Other electrical connections are for sensors which are relatively easy to change. Both pumps are Zexel. Zexel is the Japanese subsidiary of Bosch. The engine looks in cleaner condition than our engine did at the same km. The engine number is newer, a 4D34Lxxxxx whereas old engine is 4D34Kxxxxx, but only a few tens of thousands between them. I suspect ours had lots of hours at low speeds before we purchased it. We really won't know until the new engine starts, but all the indications are good.

The engine supplier told me they had tested the engine. I think it must have been tested while in the original vehicle - wiring has been cut on the loom side of connectors.

Estimate completion tomorrow afternoon. With all the usual provisos. We are feeling positive. Though of course lost without our home!

  Plans, by their nature, are flexible.

The engine mounts were different, plastic bolts on the radiator were a bit stubborn, there are lots of brackets holding things together, the rear mount for the cab had to be removed, the priming pump on new engine leaked, and so on.

The turbo on the replacement engine was in worse condition than the one on old engine. Looked like a bit of oil weeping and a bit of exhaust that got through to the inlet side.

Bolts to remove old turbo were seized. So full circle .... swap turbo and manifold.

Even in the workshop removing exhaust manifold from old engine meant cutting nuts and studs.

I'm so pleased I didn't try to remove the head at the side of the road as the truck would have been immobilised. I would have made our bad situation worse.

Many black kites on a power wire.....

  At last, a very shy wren.

They are very hard for us to get a pic of.

  Next to the caravan park is the Norval Gallery.

These are part of a "not for sale" collection of carved boab nuts.

  A most interesting gallery, with a bit of everything.

Including alternatives to the dot paintings.

Shades of Bradshaws.

  It took 3 1/2 days to replace the engine.

In the meantime we relaxed and walked and took pics.

A black kite. We are enjoying the new camera. It does seem to focus better faster.

  For about two weeks we've tried to catch a pic of a yellow white eye.

Lots around along the edge of the mud flats, just hiding in the thick bushes.

Just very small and well camouflaged.

  At last.

Saturday morning.

The old engine.

The new one started first time. Test drive and everything operating well. Even the oil level check switch that saves us tilting the cab to check the oil every morning.

A bit of an anticlimax really. There was so much that could have gone wrong that didn't, while the unexpected that occurred took only time rather than stopping the show.

But once the decision to replace the engine was made it was mostly time and waiting. Waiting, waiting. No matter how hard I tried it was mainly a serial process, complete one step then start the next. So while it could have been possible to order the engine as soon as problems occurred in practice it was a week before we reached Derby and could have a face to face conversation with Fitter on how to proceed. And by the time the engine arrived a couple of days after the estimate our Fitter was otherwise occupied.

Once transplant planned and organised sorting out accommodation and waiting occupied us. As time went on our confidence increased and initial anxiety caused by the thought of major repairs so far from home faded.

Having the truck available for living in while waiting was a bonus. The initial shed accommodation gave us time to find our feet in a strange town. Then a small caravan park that could juggle a site for us at a very busy time and a cabin as we needed it. Plus be very friendly and helpful.

The 5 km walks (there and back) around Derby kept me a little healthy. The worst fears of the chest infection didn't eventuate and it was short lived.

In a grand scheme of things 30 days from whoa to go for a remote recovery and an engine replacement is probably as quick as it could reasonably happen. We don't know if it would have been quicker or easier with the assistance of a motoring organisation or not.

  So Saturday evening we drove to the wharf.

So easy to say now that we are mobile again.

A couple of wood swallows. There were hordes on the wires.

  But most importantly fish and chips. More precisely, battered barra and chips.

It was 1978 in Derby that I first tasted Barramundi.

What a strange world.

  Derby is a pleasant place.

We normally skate over the top of towns and disappear into the sunset.

Having a problem with the truck meant we met the residents in a different way.

From our first request for help at Mt Barnett through spare parts, accommodation and workshop we couldn't have wished for a better place to have a problem nor better people with whom to share it.

So many thanks to Jodie, Vanessa, Rocky, Brian, Pat and Shaun (van park) and Keith.

Even something as simple as walking along the main street was pleasurable. A comfortable town.

  The tide is almost in, but there's a fire somewhere over the horizon.

Tomorrow we'll do a big shop at Woollies then set off towards Geike Gorge.

Kimberley - Geike Gorge, Galvans Gorge, Barnett River Gorge July 22 - 24 2018

Kelli and Karl Tue, 10 Jul 18 11:27:32 +1000
We have been wondering how you got on. Shame it meant a new engine. We hope you get back on the road soon. We're sitting having a coffee in Kununurra, ready for a few days of relaxing!

Julian & Ali Thu, 12 Jul 18 10:56:46 +1000
thanks K&K. Enjoy the relaxing. As well as the engine (may arrive today) we have a new camera on its way. Otherwise "waiting, waiting".

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