Monday, March 15, 2004

Last Week

It has been almost a week since I last wrote about anything, so will have a go at telling you about this past week.
As you may already know we had a fair bit of rain around the place last Sunday night, and my major concern was my road out, that was cut at Miralga Creek by a 50 metre wide river, that has since gone down and when I checked it out on Thursday, someone had been through, I know this because firstly I could see the wheel tracks as the vehicle had come out of the creek, but it was his fire that really gave him away and the used tea bag along side it, I checked around and he was a big bloke judging by his huge footprints, I followed his tracks up the road to see where he had gone, he never turned off down any of the farm tracks, and carried on past the turning for my camp, I followed on and he carried on down the hillside road past the air strip, I would hazard a guess he was out prospecting, always a good time after the rain has stirred things up a bit, I left the track then, having done my Crocodile Dundee bit, and went back to have a cuppa myself.
I jumped a bit forward a bit then, after having 126 ml in the rain gauge on Monday morning I stayed close to the Camp on Monday, knowing that the roads would be soft and to drive on them would only do damage, I just did the normal things that have to be done in a camp on a daily basis. It was Tuesday lunch time that I judged the roads to be dry enough to go a bit further, so I drove down to the old Dresser mine, where I have a water bore, to check that out, the road to there was a bit rough, scoured a fair bit in some places, almost cut in another, but passable, still a little bit of water trickling across the road in that spot but managed to go through alright. When I got to the Dresser mine, there was a huge bundle of drift wood, trees, branches and old vegetation wrapped around my water line about 500 metres from the pump, and half way across the road, I maneuvered around this and carried onto the pump. Now the pump had been inundated during the storm and this was also covered in debris, mainly leaves and small twigs, I cleaned all the debris away, checked out the engine and air cleaner, you know, oil, water and that sort of stuff, made sure the electrical boxes and stuff were dry, and gave it a kick in the guts. It started and was pumping, so that was one hurdle taken care of, I then went to where the line was all mixed up with dead trees and the like and it was pumping through all this, so I went back to the camp to see if it was pumping that far. I got back to the camp and there was no water coming through, but remembering the great CY O`Connor, (he was the engineer on the pipe line to Kalgoorlie about a hundred years ago, and committed suicide when the water never came through on time to Kalgoorlie, it came through two days later) I decided to have a cup of tea and wait a while. After about half an hour and it still had not come through, I realized that there was a fair chance that the line must be broken somewhere. I set of down the pipe line track, which is a rough old track and different from the road, I went a mile or two and could see the pipe coming across the road and disappearing down a creek that was well scattered with trees and shrubs, the water line had broken at a join and was about a hundred metres down the creek and had managed to wrap itself around every tree and bush and rock on it’s way down, and it was the same on the other side, with the water coming out in a small pool that was left from the flooding of Sunday night. After turning the pump off I came back to the break and after a few hours of struggling and swearing and generally doing my block, I had the two ends of the pipe pretty close to each other and ready to be joined, but decided that the morning would be the best time to do that so retired for the day.
The morning came and after checking out the camp and filling the fuel in the generator I set off to find some fittings and some tools to re connect the line, I looked in all the likely places and eventually found a couple of fittings on a bench, then I went searching for a C spanner, a home made tool that is used in connecting these fittings, I found three but they were all a bit big, but I could make the smaller one do the job, I also found a saw with a bit of a bent blade and took that because I had a kink in the line that I needed to cut out, armed with all this equipment I returned to the break with my little tin of grease and set to work. The task of joining poly pipe is not rocket science, but is also not easy with just one pair of hands, the trick is to use plenty of lubricant on the O ring and slide it over the end of the pipe then slip it into the female part of the fitting, tap the ring cover in and then slide the threaded bit on and tighten, I managed that but could not get it tight enough with the one C spanner, so I returned to the Mill and after hunting in the workshops for something to use, was just on the point of making another C spanner when I found a set of stilsons in the mill, back I went and finished the job of tightening, went and turned the pump back on and in no time had water to the camp and no leaks, so settled down to some lunch feeling knackered, filthy dirty, hungry and satisfied with a job well done. After my lunch, I went down and unthreaded all the debris away from the pipe, this was not so easy as there were some fair sized branches in amongst it and had to use the Toyota and some rope to get it all untangled, having to pull in about six different directions before I had it all sorted out.
I spent Thursday doing mundane things and then went to Hedland on Friday. The Hedland trip was a breeze and I picked up my few provisions, had some fish and chips for my lunch, got my photos downloaded and returned home with a few iced coffees under my belt.
It was Saturday before I had a chance to go and check the roads out at Mickeys find, what I found there was a bit of a surprise, the main haul road was not there any more as such, there must have been far more than 126 ml down there, the creek that runs alongside the hall road had decided that it was easier to go down the road, and driving along the haul road was just like driving down a dry creek bed, the roads up to the benches had all been washed down this creek, I managed to get round to Breens old copper mine, but no further, there was a reef where the road used to go that was about three foot high and there were samples in bags strewn for miles down the creeks and along the sides and out in the countryside where the water had carried them during the flood, I retreated back to the camp to have a well earned cup of tea, and to ponder on the situation.

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