Monday 25th February
We left Noraville and drove to North Rocks, an outer suburb of Sydney. We had WWWGO booked in to I&D Industries to find the leak in the roof hatch. Despite mid- morning traffic we had a dream run and the trip only took 90 minutes. We unhitched TERIOS and went for coffee and lunch at a nearby shopping mall while the guys checked out WWWGO for the leak. When we returned they showed us a photo of the leak entry point. It was hard to find and explains why I never found it. A tiny piece of a twig had fallen into the sealant when they were sealing the hatch last year. The twig rotted and the hole became a wick point for any moisture. They sealed the hole and we were ready to go. The drive to Bev and Pete’s house at Gymea Bay only took another hour so we parked in their driveway and I had a sleep until Bev arrived home. I was amazed at how smooth both legs of our journey were. Considering we were driving through densely populated parts of the Sydney suburbs in the middle of the day, we had an easy trip.
After dinner we replaced a clothes hoist in the yard. The old Hills Hoist was damaged by a falling tree branch in a heavy storm a few weeks ago. We also determined the cause of a sticking sliding door.
Tuesday 26th February
We woke to sunny skies which were not destined to last. Although it did not rain it was one of those typically hot overcast Sydney days with a north easterly wind blowing which felt full of grit and humidity. This morning Optus arrived to replace Bev’s faulty modem and she and I climbed onto the roof to check the TV antenna as all the Channel 10 stations have disappeared. We determined that in another storm on the weekend the antenna was swivvled on its access and now points in the wrong direction. An antenna man arrived in a short while and agreed with our findings and corrected the antenna direction. The CO-PILOT and I drove to a Camec store at Caringbah and found the items we wanted (a Wineguard antenna crank handle for WWWGO and some new BioPak Sanitiser Sachets for our on-board toilet)and at a reasonable cost. It was then on to Cronulla Beach where Donnis wanted to look for work shoes.
I parked near the beach, noting there was a 4 hour limit and we walked to the mall. 90 minutes later we were back at TERIOS and found an envelope under the wiper blade. It was a $99 fine for…wait for it…parking nose in and not tail in in the parking space. YIKES!!! What would it have cost if we had parked more than 4 hours?
P.S. Donnis did not buy any shoes.
Gymea Bay (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gymea_Bay,_New_South_Wales) is a leafy suburb in the Sutherland Shire usually referred to as The Shire, much as the Hobbits refer to The Shire in the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings books. Many locals still think it is the centre of the known universe and many have not ventured far from the area. Even driving all the way to the bay itself the suburb is well endowed with trees and bushland patches. Should a bushfire in the National Park ever get out of contract, this idyllic setting could be a fire disaster.
Wednesday 27th February
We left Gymea Bay about 10am and joined the Princess Highway on our way to Wollongong. On this occasion we decided to skip travelling via the usual long steep Mt.Ousley Road on which we need to be in 3rd or 4th gear and braking to maintain the required 80Kph down the steep road and instead travel through Helensburgh, Stanwell Park and the small coastal communities such as Coalcliff,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coalcliff,_New_South_Wales Clifton, Scarborough and Wombarra. Although the road is steep with some tight corners it is only a short road with spectacular views across the ocean as the road hugs the cliff line and the spectacular Sea Cliff Bridge. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_Cliff_Bridge
Prior to 2005 when the bridge was opened, the original road was often closed and vehicles damaged as heavy rains weakened the land above and large chunks of cliff would fall and or slide onto the road. Sometimes sections of the road would collapse into the sea below. In fact after a particularly bad landslide in 2003 the road was closed permanently until the Sea Cliff Bridge was built.
Not far below the original roadway and just above the high tide mark are the remnants of the original coal mine at Clifton.
An interesting aside to the above story is that the First Fleet arrived at Sydney Cove in 1788 and by 1796 it was still only a fledgling and struggling settlement. Imagine then, a ship runs aground on 90 Mile Beach and crew members trek north overland towards Sydney Cove. There are no towns or communities between the grounding and the nearest aid. After travelling for nearly 700Klms they found coal still have to find their way another 100 Klms to Sydney. The journey took around 12 months. They must have been a self -sufficient bunch! As a result of the coal being found the rich coal seams of the Illawarra were also discovered opening the district to coal mining which goes on to this day along many places in the Illawarra area.
We camped for the night at Errol and Nicoles at Corrimal. Heavy rain was predicted overnight.
Thursday 28th February
The predicted bad weather did not eventuate overnight but the time we were ready to hit the road at midday heavy rain and strong wind made driving a bit of a challenge but we continued along the Princes Highway as far as Gerringong where we took the coastal route through Gerroa and Coolangatta as far as Nowra and re-joined the highway there. Around Gerroa and Coolangatta we saw the destruction from the violent storms which ripped through the area on Saturday night. The same storm which rocked WWWGO while at Norah Head. We arrived at one of our favourite freedom campsites, Potato Point, late in the afternoon and set up camp beside the tidal creek. A walk along the beach in the strong and quite cold wind was invigorating. The daytime temperature had dropped 10 degrees since yesterday.
Friday 1st March
We drove another 18 Klms and arrived at Dalmeny Campground.
( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalmeny,_New_South_Wales ) The grounds are still quite boggy from all the recent rains but if weather predictions hold true the rain and wind should start to ease tomorrow. We caught up with long- time friends Judy & Ilya, while late in the afternoon other members of our group began to arrive. Although the wind was very blustery and cold it was quite snug inside WWWGO and we only needed a sheet on the bed.
Saturday 2nd March
Gradually the sun made more frequent appearances although the strong wind continued all day. Donnis and I took a beach walk to the next beach. Aaah it was wonderful breathing the salt laden air. More of our group arrived during the day and contributed wishes that the weather will start to clear overnight.
In the evening we attended a 60th birthday party for friend Judy N. Among the 62 guests were her 4 sons and the catering was carried out by husband Ilya. It was a theme dress up party and we were asked to come as sixties style hippies. Ilya made the comment that I came as a 2013 style hippie.
We had a very nice night and I enjoyed catching up with her family. Jude’s sister Gloria’s husband John is a professional musician and he set up a disco on his laptop and kept the night bopping along with music, games and music trivia competitions.
Light rain started at bedtime.
Sunday 3rd March
The morning started with the sun pushing the cloud across the sky and giving us a wonderful day with just a light southerly breeze.
After a couple of walks along the beach we linked up with our group and vegged out by sitting around and chewing the fat.
Tags: Clifton, Cronulla Beach, Dalmeny Campground, Geroa, Gerringong, Helensburgh, I&D Industries, illawarra, Mt Ousley Road, Norahville, North Rocks, Potato Point, Scarborough, Sea Cliff Bridge, Stanwell Park, Sutherland Shire, Wombarra