Woke to a lovely sunny morning. We drove the Landcruiser into the town to the Toyota Dealer for a service at 8.30am. They said it may be 2pm before it would be ready, but we knew we would have a wait so were prepared to do some more of the touring sightseeing while waiting. We walked along the foreshore following a ‘Self Guided Walking Trails’ brochure which we had checked out. The sea was amazingly calm and it was quite mild although we did have jumpers on because there was still a slight breeze coming off the sea.
We walked past the back of the Maritime Museum where there was a complete replica of the small longboat which Captain Pelsart and 45 other shipwreck survivors from the Batavia used to sail all the way to Djarkarta to get help after his ship had been wrecked on the Abrolhos Islands in 1629. It is amazing how small it was – what an amazing story of bravery and tenacity.
We have seen a few replicas of the actual maps these seaman had in use at that time. Although Asia and Africa and Europe are fairly well mapped, only a portion of the west coast of Australia and some of the Tasmanian coast were mapped.
We then sat for some time at the marina and watched a group of school children learning how to kayak. Quite amusing to see how long it took them to learn to paddle at the same time. It was nice and relaxing just sitting there too.
We then continued our walk and ended up at the Information Centre and found out that in 10 minutes time there would be a guided tour at the HMAS Sydney memorial just up the hill a bit. Mind you, it took us a little over that time to do the walk (getting too old for rushing uphill!!) but we got there in time just as the volunteer tour guide began his talk.
This is a most dramatic memorial – 645 Australian sailors lost their lives in this WWII sinking and the symbolic use of 645(steel) sea gulls flying was very well done. There are other symbols – a separated bow of a ship (all made of steel ) and a continual water fall over a map of the area where the ship was sunk – and finally discovered only in 2008. There was also a bronze lifesize statue of a woman looking out to sea – anxiously awaiting return of her sailor husband. Very well done indeed. While we were there Bruce and Linda turned up so it was good they were able to join the tour as there is only one per day.
The guide told us there are models of both the HMAS Sydney and the German Ship Kormoran at the Geraldton Airport.
We received a phone call to say the Landcruiser was ready so we did the long walk back to the Toyota dealership – took a while as it was the other side of the CBD. We then drove out to the airport to see these models. It was interesting to compare their sizes etc.
We then came back to the Van and had a quick lunch as we had rung Ian’s nephew Leon Thomas, who lives in an outer suburb of Geraldton, and had arranged to call in on him and his wife Kareena after lunch. Leon works in one of the mines around 800kms east of Geraldton but fortunately he was home for these few days. It was lovely to catch up with Leon and Kareena. They have 2 lovely girls – Mikaela (10) and Lexi (1).
They have purchased a 5 acre block nearby and plan to build. So when we left them we decided to drive out to see the block but before doing so we re-fuelled at the roadside stop on the way. Just as we left this petrol station Ian drove over something which made a terrible noise – it was a buckle of a binder strap – and unfortunately it caused a flat tyre on our front driver-side tyre. It was just outside of Leon and Karinna’s block where the tyre went flat so at least we did get to see the block. It is the first time Ian has changed a tyre on the Landcruiser so he was able to learn how to use the jack etc. We fortunately took out extra warranty on the new tyres, so hopefully it will cover this repair. We will arrange to do this tomorrow before leaving Geraldton.
We arrived back at the Van in time to have a quick tea because we are off to the Circus tonight. Will let you all know tomorrow how it went.
Love to all, Janese and Ian