Our plans for an early start to the Mitchell Falls are put on hold and we decide to head on the Kalumburu where the map claims we can get fuel and the tyre repaired but only on weekdays. Today is Friday.
The road starts well but quickly gets rumpy and we arrive at about 12 noon, it has to be said the Kalumburu is something of a disappointment to us all. The local cafe and garage are incomprehensibly closed for lunch so we ask a local about the best local picnic spot. This turns out to have some lovely old shade trees, a dog ransacking a green wheelie bin and a wrecked car surrounded by broken glass. A garnish of litter has been added to complete the effect.
Moving on, we have a picnic lunch in the garden at the Catholic Mission which is very pretty and talk to one of the volunteers working there about the place. Clearly there are a lot of problems in Aboriginal communities, which I think we all find very depressing, we had hoped for so much from this visit. This lot of Aboriginal people appear to have been dumped at the end of a very long and very rough road so they can be forgotten. You can only echo Bill Bryson's advice, “do more, try harder, start now”.
Even when open, getting the tyre fixed prove not quite as simple as we had hoped, they have a very long lunch break and are as slow as a wet week, I expect they have a lot of those here in the summer. The man in charge of tyre repairs, Xavier is a local aboriginal and once he finally is tracked down he sets about the job at great pace but hits a problem late in the play and decides it needs a new tube. One of the volunteers disagrees and Xavier gets the hump and wanders off with other things to do. Luckily the volunteer seems to know how to finish the job, I hope we don't need the tyre as I have little confidence in either of them.
By the time this is all done at 3pm we are more than ready to drop plans for staying at the shade-less beach where you cannot swim due the the presence of 'salties'. I figure that I've seen a good share of pristine beaches and another 30km does not hit the spot.
So back we go, retracing our steps, to the Mitchell Falls turnoff camp site. On the way we see a dingo which sort of makes up for what seems to have been a long and senseless day of more truck repairs and driving.
We zip through the King Edward ford again, pretty much on dark, and with much more confidence so that we can have a swim and set up camp, somewhat randomly as we can't see a thing.