Monday 27th January – Australia Day Holiday.
The wet season or the rainy season or monsoon season or cyclone season has arrived.
You know when it has arrived because;
It rains most days, often heavy rains but in short bursts.
The humidity levels suddenly jump to hover around 90%.
Once crispy bedclothes and shirts and things now feel like soggy washcloths and will not hold a crease or fold.
Bath towels remain damp and never dry out.
Dampness is everywhere.
Mould begins to grow on things such as leather shoes, belts and handbags to name a few.
A tropical low is hovering off the coast and likely to form into a cyclone within two days.
Tuesday 28th January
Geez it seems like a long month. In retrospect December seemed like a long month also.
Another work day but something is different.
The BOM website –Bureau of Meteorology – has announced the first Tropical Cyclone Watch – http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDQ65002.shtml . The tropical low is still a tropical low but expected to form into a cyclone tomorrow or over the next two days. A cyclone watch is issued. The watch is for coastal waters between Cairns and Proserpine. Strictly speaking Proserpine is not on the coast but Airlie Beach and Flametree where I am located, is in the Proserpine Shire Council area. A forecast tracking map has been issued and everybody is talking cyclones past and where they were and what the cyclone did and how much destruction and cost. According to the forecast map, if the low develops into a cyclone and tracks as predicted it will cross the coast around Innisfail to my north and will dump lots of heavy rain along the coast and inland where it is much needed. Should a cyclone form and not track according to predictions – as often happens – and moves down the coast, it could be several days before it will be a bother to me. I hope to be tucked up in our home by then. Once the cyclone is formed and named, the watch becomes a warning,
Wednesday 29th January.
Went to bed with the sound of rain on the roof of WWWGO and the sound of wind gusts whipping through the tops of the trees with an occasional gust rocking the vehicle.
Woke this morning to the same sound of rain, wind and rocking of WWWGO. I looked at the Tropical Low / Tropical Cyclone tracking map and so far there is little change to the predicted course except it is now moving more south. The destructive wind zone is extended to include the Whitsunday area. In other words, where I am. Destructive wind gusts to 120 Kph are expected to arrive during the day. I may need to take down the shade cloth and roll in the awning but I am loathe to do that as those items help keep the entranceway dry and or cool…when the sun shines.
I had no chance of going for my walk this morning as I see no point in getting wet and having damp clothes hanging around inside WWWGO where they cannot dry out. I could not do my other exercises as all the area under the awning, including the rubber mats, is wet.
It was a work day but we had visiting insurance reps in a training session all day. Tonight we went to dinner. The latest tracking map puts the TL to turn into cyclone on Friday and cross the coast around Ayr, south of Townsville. The danger zone is extended and Airlie Beach is in the path. When the TL forms into a cyclone it will be called Dylan. Hmmm! Our IT expert was called into the office this afternoon as our computer system went phzzt! The IT guy is a big hulk of a man. He breezed into the office in a hurry. His name is Dillon.
I excused myself from dinner as the wind was getting quite strong and this afternoon the Flametree Park was almost empty with only a handful of guests still here. They have rolled in their shade awnings and moved away from trees. So, in the dark and wind and rain at 9pm tonight I took in most of the shade cloth and rolled the awning in. I am still on an adrenalin rush and cannot get to sleep. I still have another shade cloth on the windward side of WWWGO but do not feel reckless enough to tackle bringing that in tonight.
For the first time since we began our WWWGO adventure I feel lonely, isolated and exposed.
A cyclone is born and heading our way.
Getting closer. Good thing we are battened down.
Thursday 30th January
I hardly slept during the night. Too tired, too much going on, too much noise, the wind in the trees is now a constant background noise.
This morning sounds like a fleet of trucks coming along the road behind me. I know it is the wind in the trees but the noise is something else. I was out at 5am taking in the final shade-cloth etc but still could not take down our storage tent which still has wet boxes I cannot store anywhere else. Returning from work in the afternoon I found nature blew the tent down anyway. At work we saw a large tree get blown down across the swollen creek at the back of the office.
Our staff from Brisbane and our Insurance Underwriter guests have car pooled as the Port of Airlie is closed as is the Whitsunday Passage, Hamilton Harbour, Abel Point Marina, Hamilton Island Airport and Proserpine Airport. They will drive to Mackay in the hopes they can get flights to Brisbane and Sydney from there. Shortly before they left they got a call to say all this afternoon’s flights from Mackay are cancelled. It will not be a very pleasant drive to Mackay and if the flights are already cancelled, then after DYLAN hits sometime in the night the airport will be closed for several days.
Dylan is now officially a cyclone and is moving southwest with the Whitsundays smack in the danger zone. It has now combined with a high from the south and is creating stronger winds and rain than being experienced at the eye of the cyclone. Flametree is littered with shredded trees.
The noise of the wind in the trees tonight sounds like jet planes taking off. I noticed most of the wind here seems to be up high. Perhaps the hangars along the side of the airport is deflecting the wind upwards.
About 9pm it became calm – no wind, no rain. I closed the windows, turned on the AC and went to bed. I was suffering from lack of sleep from the night before and despite the eerie calm outside and what might be ahead I was ready for sleep.
Que Sera, Sera
Friday 31st January
I woke at 3.30 am and although there was a wind and some rain, it was nothing compared to what had gone before. I was in one piece, so was WWWGO and so was RALLYE. Back to bed until 5.45 am. Tropical cyclone DYLAN crossed the coast at…3.30 am at Hydeaway Bay about 30 klms north of Airlie Beach in the Whitsunday area. Both WWWGO and RALLYE are covered in a layer of green…shredded leaves from a myriad of trees. The wind is picking up again and the rain is also building but at least I am in one piece. Later in the morning I will see how the rest of the camp and Airlie Beach survived.
Went to work with some wind and rain still reminding us DYLAN has not gone away entirely. By midday there were small patches of sunlight and it has not rained since I arrived, sodden, at the office. Hard to believe we had a cyclone last night. The next few days will be cleanup for many people.
It stopped raining about midday and the wind has gone. It is calm. The sun made a few brief peeks through the clouds and by 6pm humidity was at 91%. In that sort of weather you begin to perspire even sitting still doing nothing!
In case I have not mentioned this before, I am waiting to move back into our house. Tenants are due to leave 3rd February but each time I drive past the house, their junk in the shape of old cars, boats, parts of boats, trailers, motorcycle and goodness knows what is in the shed is still sitting around the yard. I called on my neighbor who reports some minor activity during the week when something was moved from the back yard. I know they have until the 3rd (but legally I have to allow a further 72 hours in case weather prevents them from moving by that date) but I am just anxious to move in and have been counting the days since we gave them notice the first week of December. I expect I will partly live in WWWGO and partly live in the house until I can clean the house and start sorting through our furniture in the garage storage area.. I am concerned what condition our mattress will be in and our wonderful Parker Teak dining table and chairs may need the chairs re-upholstered and old teak oil stripped and re-oiled. Until I can get in and sort through I have no idea what I will find.
Saturday 1st February
The sun made a few more appearance today. In fact enough sunshine to encourage the airport and harbours to open with air and waterways traffic back to normal. In fact more than normal they have a backlog of island guests to transport. Pioneer Bay looks like a green millpond. Not a ripple anywhere. It is hard to believe a cyclone passed through here yesterday. The skydive planes are busy with lots of people wanting to have their adrenalin rush jumping out of a perfectly good airplane.
I spent the day doing a load of washing and drying and drying out all our spare towels which were stored in the little tent and were soaked. I also dried out everything else which was waterlogged. The sun stayed out long enough for most of them to dry.
The park owners and staff are busy cutting the grass and picking up fallen branches, palm fronds and shredded leaves.
I cleaned the layer of leaves off both vehicles. How did so many leaves get jammed into crevices on the vehicles?
I had a beer with park neighbor Gary, a builder and roofing specialist. Today he saw three cars with trailers loaded with junk come from the direction of our house. We talked about the possibility of him building a privacy screen in the carport and using a pressure cleaner to clean the roof and guttering.
I have ordered a TV, washing machine and refrigerator to be delivered when I am ready to move into the house.
The countdown has been on for 60 days but we are now in the final few days and the tension is like, is like, umm err, like the tension I child gets when it is Christmas Eve and he/she is waiting for Santa. Come on Santa bring me my present already!
By dinner time rain was falling again although there was no breeze. Humidity is at 89% so air conditioning is needed to get a good night’s sleep.
Sunday 2nd February
It rained all night. It was still raining when I woke.
The excitement mounts in me. One day this week, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday perhaps Friday I will have my house back.
I can have a shower without having to walk 100 metres in the dark and rain and put up with a wet floor left by somebody else.
The toilet will not have to get wiped clean before I use it.
I will have privacy in the bathroom and toilet.
I can iron my work-clothes without having to carry an ironing board cover, iron and clothes 100 metres and iron in a room with a couple of clothes dryers pumping heat into the room.
I will not have to ensure windows and doors are closed every time I leave.
The pantry will no longer be heated by the sun on the walls and roof and melting everything inside.
I love my life on the road but I love the stability of my own home.
Perhaps this year I can confine travelling in WWWGO to weekend camps once a month. For all other travel I can use RALLYE (or a train or plane) and motels.
That is all I have to report this week. I am getting excited about moving into our house one day this coming week.