Garig Gunak Barlu National Park (Cobourg Peninsula) June 21 - 22 2021
  we've noticed the lean to the right becoming worse. With a concern about the potential for yet another broken spring.

Investigation suggests the pad between the top (main) leaf and second leaf has moved forward (left in the pic), causing a bend in the main leaf where there shouldn't be a bend.

The springs are parabolic. The pads keep the leaves separate while allowing them to move relative to each other. The reduced friction, conventional leaf springs have the full length of each leaf in contact so lots of friction, allows a softer feel to the same length spring.

But comes with downsides ....

Diagnosis first. Its taken a few days to work out what is happening. How to repair later. A different thought process.

  We visit the ranger station at Black Point.

Very informative we spent a couple of hours there. Asking interminable questions, stored up over weeks with noone informed enough to answer them.

We are now experts in the common dragon fly, and how to tell the very different male from the female ......

Having realised that the campsite is not full, that all permits have not been allocated, the decision to stay an extra week took about the blink of an eye.

In between all the questions the extra week was organised.

Most unusual, in our normal experience the ranger offices refer such requests elsewhere. Perhaps not surprising, we have heard nothing but good reports about the rangers in this park. Happy to confirm.

  A passing white bellied sea eagle improves our day, if that were possible, some more.
  Something has niggled at my beleagured mind for many a day. I see "crocodile safety" signs. And now, next to one, I see "animal safety".

I guess they really mean "human safety".

  Ali and I decide to set off on another epic bush bash.

Around the wetlands south and east of the campsites.

There's a 4wd track around it. We figure if we take a shortcut we can knock a few km off. Peter and Margaret volunteered to drop us off part way round while they drove.

The track is through the "generator area" campground.

We met a red-tailed black cockatoo.

  With his slightly speckled mate.
  And we think junior.

We disturb a small flock at the airport each time we pass, but are unsuccessful at taking pics.

  Varied, but strangely empty of birds. Save for a few egrets.

The land has not yet dried enough to force the birds to congregate.

  The track passes near the billabong. Many animal tracks give us access to the bank.

The 4wd track leaves the billabong and heads south west from the south west corner to meet the main road near the Black Point road. We will hopefully follow the edge of the billabong north and avoid several km of walking on road.

  We begin to realise how large the wetland area is.
  This spot we mark the coordinates.

A future dining out spot?

  We hear them, but the flycatchers are somewhat elusive.
  We leave the 4wd wetland track about 400m before the main road and head north.

We follow the edge of the billabong, about 30m into the bush, keeping the water on our right.

We are hopeful as we cross a small grass covered sand dune, but after a couple of km we find ourselves pushed increasingly north west by the water, through heavier bush.

We then see a small patch of water to our left.

Discretion is the better part of valour. We are feeling tired and don't want to find ourselves trapped. We retrace our footsteps to the 4wd track.

This of course requires some effort, we notice we are stumbling a bit.


  A long drag up the main road to the Smith Point turnoff.

We drink our remaining water and refill, several times, from the bore.

Ali stays at the bore while I, walking faster, return to our campsite.

I pick up Ali in the truck.

Peter and Margaret had realised the 4wd track was a long way round so made another circuit some time after they had dropped us off. They must have driven past while we were bush bashing.

A diesel leak prevented another run. The radio reception was poor.

But all's well ...... and nice to know we have a back stop - it doesn't make us more adventurous, but we feel safer should things turn really bad.

  Next day a day of leisure.

The weight taken off the spring by jacking between axle and chassis. A crow bar and heavy screwdriver to force leaves apart. The delinquent pad removed.

The "lug" that sits in an oval hole in the spring leaf is still intact. A sigh of relief.

The lug is a bit distorted and needs a sliver removing to make it fit the hole again. I lost track of the orientation as I removed it. The right edge in the pic has a slight overhang, the left edge worn to about a 45 degree angle.

Thoroughly clean pad and leaf, and apply some superglue. There is not much load trying to pull the pad out of its location. Its mostly in shear as the leaves slide against each other. The lug is designed to stop that movement.

  The gap between the bottom (4th) leaf and the override leaf, where there was none previously, suggests a degree of success.

Not as big a gap as on the left hand spring but a big improvement on no gap. It will probably settle a bit differently after driving.

There remains a slight residual bend in the main leaf where the pad had moved to. Time will tell whether I need to replace the spring.

I would be a tad happier if the pad sat a little more towards the end of the leaf it locates in, more under the pin that holds the spring, more like the other side spring.

Particular attention to be paid during the daily inspections.

  We are eating dinner outside, with the mosquitoes only arriving at dusk and the sandflies remaining close to the ground. Insect repellants seem to help. As do the breeze and cooler temperatures.

A hasty retreat inside as the sun disappears. Contact spray on the insect screens and airborn spray to keep everything else at bay. So far not as bad as Malabanjbanjdju and really no worse than most places.

Garig Gunak Barlu National Park (Cobourg Peninsula) June 23 - 25 2021

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