Day 2…

TITLE: Preparation (more)

I slept for six hours straight without moving, it was as if the bed had been remade with me in it. Good thing too because we had a massive day ahead, but first, breakfast. Fuelled on bacon and eggs we took a walk along the esplanade and then headed down to pick up the 4WD.

It was waiting for us, loaded with camping gear and a recovery kit. There was no room left! The manager offered us a roof top bag which we jumped at. He handed it over and left us to it. Goncalo and Jason set about securing it on the roof. After ten minutes I went and got the manager who seemed a little perplexed that two blokes couldn’t work it out – they would have, this was just quicker. Back inside I filled out all the paperwork and signed the umpteen pages of terms and conditions, all the while being reduced to the vulnerable tourist he clearly saw me as.

“See this?” he asked, pointing to the scar on his forearm. “A croc did this.” he said. “I went down to the river and never saw it coming, you won’t, you don’t see them, they see you though.”

“Right.” I said trembling as I scrawled my initials across the pages in front of me.

“They look for patterns in your behaviour.” he continued. “Never repeat the same actions at the same time of day, they’ll catch on, they’ll be watching you.”

“Okay.” I said, racking my brain for something to say to change the topic.

“How many kilometres will I get to a tank?” I asked

“About 1100,” he said and in the same breath, “it’s their breath that’s the worst though, the SMELL, I’ll never forget that smell.”

“Okay all done.” I said backing out the door. “Thanks.”

We decided it would be best to leave the seats down in the 4WD, for extra space and because after those stories I was adamant I would be placing my belongings in a tent and sleeping in the vehicle. They wouldn’t go down and our illustrious crocodile guru couldn’t help us either. He did however call a local mechanic and point us in his general direction.

Seats flat, or close enough, a couple of spare fuses and a “she’ll be right” from the mechanic and some confidence had been restored.

Back at the Mantra it was time to put the signage on the vehicle, Eye Spy signage in Hobart did an amazing job, nothing was too much trouble and the result was exactly what I’d hoped for. It just took us a while to put it all on! We wanted it to be perfect and so an hour and a half later we’d done one vehicle. Jason’s ingenious idea to spray soapy water (brought all the way from Burleigh Heads) saved the day, we’d still be there now if he hadn’t. With one vehicle complete I suggested Goncalo (affectionately now referred to as Fred) and I go to the supermarket to gather supplies for the journey while Jason tackled the other vehicle – marginally easier to do alone.

Upon arriving at the supermarket we grabbed a trolley and began working our way through the list. Water was first up and after loading 75 litres into the trolley we had to go back for another.

Second trolley over flowing we headed for the check out and manoeuvred our way across the road to the car. With the shared shop done it was back to the supermarket to get snacks. What road trip would be complete without chocolate – this took pride and place in the fridge, and we’ll have no shortage.

At the Mantra we took five before thinking about dinner, given we’d been too busy to stop for lunch we were pretty hungry. Fred stayed behind to catch up on some work while Jason and I walked back down to the Marina for dinner. With Barramundi on our minds we looked at the menus out front and made a decision.

“Sorry, we couldn’t seat you until 9.30pm.” We were told. We were kindly recommended a couple of other places nearby and phoned ahead to both, it was a case of third time lucky at a restaurant quite literally two minutes walk from our hotel, we’d walked off dinner before dinner! Never-mind, the barramundi was worth the wait.

TIP: The soapy water from Burleigh Heads is simply the best in the country.

KMS: 8 today

TRACK: Angus & Julia Stone – Main Street


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