080. Day 85. Saturday 6th June 2009. A LARC a day keeps the doctor away…
Wake to a fine n sunny day. It is quite warm in fact.
We had agreed yesterday, if we woke to a fine day, a trip on the LARC would be in order. The LARC (Lighter Amphibious Resupply Cargo) is an ex Army vessel capable of driving on roads, is also a 4WD and can drive straight into the water and even handle small surf. Our destination was the Bustard Head Lighthouse, a remote location only accessible by foot from boats anchored in Pancake Bay to the north or Jenny Lind Creek on the southern approach. The lighthouse restoration society has volunteer teams of couples. All access to the lighthouse, including volunteer changes (once a month) food & other supplies is via the LARC which has to cross three tidal creeks in the 30klm trip along the beach. All land is National Parks controlled.
We were taken to the lighthouse and had a personal conducted tour by the current volunteer couple. It seems a few years ago some “vandals” smashed thier way through the lighthouse keepers cottages when the lighthouse was turned automatic. Even water tanks were destroyed. Official version was 15 year olds were responsible. Given that the propertyis very remote and the destructionwas so targeted it was suspected a paid group via Parks & Wildlife were involved. The property was reverting to them and they wanted no visitors to the area and for the land to be reclaimed by the bush. A long legal battle by the Lighthouse Association ended with a win, of sorts, where limited access was agreed and the original site allowed to be restored and the cemetary retained. There is a good deal of history here and if I had the time (and the money) would have bought the several available books.
After lunch at a private campsite we board the LARC and head to a tall sandhill where those energetic and adventurous enough try sand skiing. Foam boogey boards are used to lay on with heads raised and arms tucked in. Donnis and I tried it and scrambled up the slope several more times. I tried the steepest slope, which had, near the bottom, a hump that catapulted the skier airborne, finally skidding across the water when the tide is in or across the mud flats when the tide is out. The tide was out today and I was aiming for a record. Regrettably another intrepid enthusiast, also named Frank, beat my slide across the mud. We both had muddy clothes as a result of our competition.
This afternoon, as happens most afternoons at 4.30 or so, a group of hire motorcycles putted past. These are 125cc chopper Harley look alikes. They are on a group 60 klm run including sunset from the top of the hill with wedgies and sour cream as the culinary delight as the highlight of the sunset viewing. I counted 36 motorcycles in the cyclecade. The man who runs the hire bikes looks like an old surfer dude with long grey hair and big mustache, looking like a western movie star whose name escapes me. Sam something or other… I think. As this was our last day at 1770 and the last Saturday on the road we celebrated with dinner out at the Saltwater café They seem to have a monopoly and charge prices accordingly. $29.65 for my pasta and $24 for a little pizza for Donnis. Drinks? No you have to go next door. Next door sells drinks in cans or bottles. Wine is a bottle of red or a bottle of chardonay. Small bottles only. May we have glasses and some ice for the can of rum n cola? No you have to get those from Saltwater café. Under normal circumstances I would walk out but there was nowhere else to go and we had allowed our food supplies to dwindle. Oh, the food was OK. Not a large serve but nothing to justify the cost or lack of customer service. We opted to have coffee and dessert in the comfort of our MH.