Archive for April, 2007

by Pat
on Apr 30th, 2007

I’m A Certified Diver!


Well THAT was an awesome few days. I’ll go on about it in more depth tomorrow by for now let’s just say this: the weather was lovely, the surface was calm, the underwater visibility was over 30 metres * in some sites.

I saw sea turtles, reef sharks, lots of sea cucumbers, barracudas, nudibranch, clown fish (or “Nemos” as they appear to be called around these parts)… and more.

I also dove to 30 metres and did a night dive… alongside a dive where I took various photos (no idea if they’re any good yet – not checked the CD) and as such I’m now not just a PADI Certified Open Water Diver, but a PADI Certified Adventure Diver too.

This means I can dive independently ** anywhere I want in up to 30 metre depths – which opens a LOT up to me (Open Water gets you 18 metres…).


More tomorrow :-)



Feeling a bit dizzy due to Land Sickness…

Notes for Diver Folk:
* I KNOW!!!
** Well, with a buddy, natch ;-)

by Pat
on Apr 27th, 2007

Adding Insult To Injury

Well, following various emails and a few phone calls from my Dad (thanks Dad!), Fasthosts’ve finally got their fingers out of their arses and reactivated, two weeks after I paid for the service. Which is nice.

They also sent me an email to let me know that, due to my original payment being over two weeks late, they’re charging me an additional 20GBP fee.

I’m very happy. So much so that I’m going to provide Fasthosts some free mentions in Google:

I think Fasthosts are rubbish. I believe Fasthosts are shit. In my experience Fasthosts are bad. I’ve found that Fasthosts have terrible customer serivce. I would not recommend using Fasthosts. I don’t like Fashosts. Fasthosts smell of old women and eggs. I think Fashosts suck more than a prototype, EU-Maximum Suction Limits-breaking Dyson vacuum cleaner. Fashosts are great! Only joking, Fasthosts are actually shite. “Tell Me Why? I Don’t Like Fasthosts”. “I Hate Fasthosts So Much Right Now”. Strewth – A Fashosts ate my baby! The Good, The Fasthosts And The Ugly. The Fast(hosts) And The Furious (Customers). 2 (Much Crap Support From) Fasthosts (Will Leave Me) 2 Furious (For Words).

Ok, that’s my utterly ineffectual “sticking it to the man” session done, I’m off to get some dinner.



by Pat
on Apr 26th, 2007

Diving Is Great!

Just a quick one to say that, after my first day of my 5 day PADI Open Water Diving Course with Pro Dive, I am FULLY looking forward to tomorrow and even more to the three “on a boat on the reef, doing dives amoungst amazing fish, mammals and plants” days starting on Saturday.

Today was half classroom based (the morning) and half practical based (the afternoon), with a medical sandwiched in between. Excitingly, I passed the medical, but alas 2 of the 12 of us didn’t and had to go back to their hostels.

The classroom work involved watching information DVDs, going through the points made in a less cheesy American fashion and doing a couple of multiple choice quizzes. We even got some homework to do (although I’m not sure I’ll be any good at it as, well, it’s been a long time since I’ve had to motivate myself to study in my own time and, as you might know, I wasn’t all that amazing at that whilst at Uni. At least there’s no student radio station here, eh? ;-) ).

The practical part of things involved getting used to the diving gear in the swimming pool and doing such things as “seeing what it’s like when your air runs out”, sharing your buddy’s air / sharing yours with your buddy, descending, ascending and all that.

I wasn’t sure if I’d like it at first but I can safely say that I really enjoy being underwater with all the diving gear on. I guess I’m a bit of a water baby. It would explain my love of swimming underwater… and at least with diving I’ve got a mask on so my eyes don’t feel like they’re about to bleed for five hours after a long swimming pool sesh…

Bring on the reef!!

Right, time to go and get a nice $10 meal and pint at The Woolshed pub. I’m a classy guy.



P.S. More stuff about my time in Darwin, Cairns, Cape Tribulation, plus the full low down on the diving course will hopefully emerge next week.
P.P.S. I’ve got lots of stuff booked for the east coast – I’m now doing “Xtreme” river rafting on the Tully river, sailing (with more diving) around the Whitsundays group of islands, 4×4 driving on Fraser Island, surf lessons in Byron Bay and, of course, some theme parks on the Gold Coast. I might even do the Syndey harbour bridge climb when I get there this time. Wooh!

by Pat
on Apr 25th, 2007

You Owe Us 0.00GBP!

Yes, I write to you from the other side of the world, in a lovely sunny city by the ocean, having just done two awesome Minjin Jungle Swings, to write a rant about a web hosting company.

Nothing to do with the Big Adventure really, but seeing as the site I used to blog before travelling is the one that is hosted on Fasthosts I don’t have much of an option.

A Bit Of History
Another domain I’ve got ( is used for my General Stuff ™ website for such things as Most Of My (and others-close-to-me’s) Email ™. I use Fasthosts to do the hosting – mostly out of laziness nowadays as I host other domains (such as with better companies.

At the end of March my one year web-and-email hosting period expired, so they tried to charge me for another year so as to keep it running – but the card details they had in their possession had expired.

So they emailed me. Probably. On an email address I’d forgotten about that forwards to a full account and probably just rejected. Oops. They may have phoned my UK number too. I didn’t check. Oops.

Luckily I noticed that they’d disabled the web component of about 2 weeks ago and so I managed to log on to the Fasthosts Control Panel, enter my new card details and pay my year’s subscription to a) reactivate the web component and b) prevent the emails et al being suspended.

I got a reciept from them confirming that all payments had been made. Problem solved.

Or so I thought…

“You Still Owe Us Nothing!”
A day after paying, I checked to find that its web components were still disabled. On going back to the control panel I was told that I still had payments outstanding. I went to the payment screen to be shown this:

Oh shit! I’d best pay that 0.00GBP straight away!

“Ok”, I figured, “this’ll resolve itself in a day or so” then forgot about it and got on with enjoying my travels. Yesterday night I found that this was STILL the case. This afternoon I received a text from home saying “Emails aren’t working – can you help?

Attempting to Get Customer Support
This morning I decided I needed to get this sorted out – there seemed to be no way to get my account activated via Fasthosts’ Control Panel – as every single option available to me just brought me back to the “Oi! You owe us money!” page (well, that’s a lie – if I was on the payment page and attempted to navigate using the page’s menus, it would just throw up errors as somehow it would try to access httpss://… genius).

I sent a detailed email describing my situation to the accounts department. I also mentioned that, whilst I could provide my account number, I could not provide my account “pin” as in order to get to this I needed to check my Fashosts Control Panel… which was locked out.

This afternoon I recieved the automated reply:

This is an automated reply and your query has not been seen by our Support Team.

We have not been able to process your support request as either your account number and support PIN were missing or incorrect.

Please re-send your request, including your account number and PIN in the first two lines of your email, remembering to include the “n” in your account number.

Brilliant. Fortunately the email suggested visiting a special page to have my details sent to me. I went there – and it worked! Sort of. The email I recieved pointed me to ANOTHER web page to grab my pin from.

Good news – from there I could email my account number and pin! Thing is… I did that 15 minutes ago and have received nothing.

In the mean time I’ve emailed Sales@. Then it’s onto POWER EMAILING.

Remind me in September to transfer everything away from Fasthosts, will you? Ta.


15 minutes later and they’ve now emailed the pin. I’ve emailed support again and this time I’ve been given a case number etc. Hopefully things should be on the mend now!

(Oh and I got a reply from the Sales Team. What was their advice? “Contact Customer Support, including your account number and Pin.” Awesome.

by Pat
on Apr 20th, 2007

1:40am Flights Are A Bad Idea

Particularly if you’re already tired due to a night out at The Vic in Darwin the night before, then do a (great) day trip to Litchfield National Park during the day and then go out in the evening prior to the flight.

Nevertheless, I made it on my flight from Darwin to Cairns… via Brisbane (hooray for the budget flight involving doing about twice the distance needed)… and am now in Cairns, feeling a bit better despite being awake for about 28 hours – as I’ve had a nice 5 hour sleep this afternoon.

I’ve noticed that I didn’t really mention anything about Darwin – well, it’s nice. Not a great deal to do, but the city’s clean, people seem pretty nice and the coast is lurvely (despite being somewhat inaccessible due to jellyfish). I spent about 4 days there and did such things as a) use the Internet (wow), b) visit the Museum and Art Gallery (very interesting, particularly the stuff about Cyclone Tracey), c) Walk around in the sun and d) sit by a pool at one of two hostels, occasionally doing some swimming. “d)” was mostly performed.

Now I’m in Cairns and there’s lots more going to be going on:

  • Cape Tribulation / Port Headland Visit – Tomorrow Raf (from my Perth to Broome tour), James and Liz (both from my Heading Bush tour) are going to be hiring a car and heading up to that gorgeous area, staying overnight. Should be ace!
  • Atherton Tablelands – Again a hire car will be involved (although not sure who’s coming yet) and we’ll be enjoying the impressive views in the ‘lands
  • Kuranda Scenic Rail / SkyRail – A lovely scenic winding old railway into the forests, followed by some Koala holding at an animal park and then a trip on the world’s longest Gondola thing (a full 7.2km long) across the hills and valleys
  • Minjin – Not quite a bungy, more of a biiiig swing thing that you sit in. It’s at the Cairns bungy site and is run by the same folk who somehow convinced m e to jump off a bridge with in New Zealand…
  • 5 DAY LEARN TO DIVE COURSE! – On Thursday I’m going to be embarking on a 2 day classroom, 3 day “on the sea” diving course to get my PADI Open Water Diving license – and have an amazing time. It’s with Pro Dive Cairns, who a number of people tell me are the best (big thanks to Mr Gib for the recommendation!)

For now though, I’ve got some dried clothes to fold up and then some dinner to have. Live the dream ;-)



A bit tired

by Squage
on Apr 16th, 2007

Margaret River, Albany and Esperance Tour!


It’s been mentioned by a few people (including Pat) that my previous blog about Heading Bush might’ve been a tad no the long side. The words “War”, “And” and “Peace” were uttered. So hopefully this summary of Pat’s 5 day trip to Margaret River, Albany and Esperance will be a little shorter. If for no other reason than this being only 5 days, rather than 10. (In fact, looking through this I think that is the sole reason – Pat)

An Average Day on the Tour

  • Wake up at about 6am
  • Grab a shower (usually required in order to function at all – Pat, as you know, isn’t exactly a morning person)
  • Pack bags
  • Grab some brekkie
  • Check out of the hostel and get in the bus
  • Sing along to G’day G’day (see below)
  • See lots of stuff
  • Grab some typical tour lunch (i.e. some sandwiches)
  • See lots more stuff
  • Sing along to G’day G’day
  • Get to the hostel
  • Make and eat dinner
  • Drink a few beers
  • Get some kip

As you can see, it’s a very hard life this touring lark. And you think that working in an office takes it out of you.


General Highlights

  • A cool group of people and great tour guide (despite her love of “G’day G’day”)
  • Swimming in crystal clear waters
  • Sunbathing on gorgeous beaches
  • Taking in breathtaking views, occasionally from the top of hills and mountains

General Lowlights

  • Walking/climbing up the occasional hill and mountain (Hey, I actually enjoyed that! – Pat) That’s not what it sounded like when you were half way up them… (…true – Pat)
  • G’day G’day. Every day. At least four times. Because Pat made it obvious he didn’t like it, which kinda inspired Emma Jane (our guide) to play it more. (Psst, secretly I think Pat liked the song, given that he’d always sing along to it…)

Daily Diary

Day One (Thursday 22nd March) – Caves, Fudge and Fire Twirling

  • Pat woke up tired after a rather crap sleep (mmm, hostel between two night clubs anyone?)
  • Following trekking down the street to get to the bus in time, Pat was really happy that it turned up 30 minutes late…
  • Once on board, Emma Jane (EJ) explained about the tour and got everyone to write their names on the windows by their seats – it proved to be a really good way to learn everyone’s names. I’m still a fan of the McDonalds-style name badge myself, but that’s just cos I think it’d be funny seeing Pat with one on.
  • EJ played some amusing tunes, such as “Come To Australia (You Might Accidentally Get Killed)”, “Bloke” (an answer to Meredith Brookes’ “Bitch”) and Pat’s Favourite Song In The World ™: “G’day G’day”. It goes a little somethin’ like this:

    G’day G’day
    How ya goin’?
    Whadda ya know?
    Oh strike a light!
    G’day G’day
    Oh how ya go-o-o-in?
    Just say G’day G’day G’day and you’ll be ‘right!

    Apparently it starts to grate after the 30th time…

  • First stop was the Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Centre. Unfortunately one key attraction wasn’t at the shore so this was more the Bunbury Coffe And Croissant Discovery Centre for Pat.
  • Some more driving and it was a traditional “Aussie Tour” lunch (i.e. sandwiches) by a 1.8km jetty:
    Busselton Jetty Postcard Picture

  • Then onto Ngiligi Cave. Some facts about Ngiligi Cave:
    • It’s 37m below ground at its deepest point
    • There’s not much headroom in places
    • There’s a claustrophobia-inducing pipe/tunnel for people to climb in/slide down (Pat did, despite being somewhat nervous due to the lack of light or space)
    • There’s a huge cavern with acoustics so good that one of the Australian Symphony Orchestras has played there!
    • There’s lots of CO2
    • There’re a lot of steps
    • Getting up out of the cave is quite tiring due to the above two items (oh, and what with Pat being an unfit sod)
    • It’s very pretty:

    Cavearama Pat In The Caves
    Cool Lighting

  • Following the cave, a visit to Rivendell winery (owned by a big Lord Of The Rings fan) was had, including some wine tasting and the inevitable post-wine-drinking purchase of a bottle of wine for Pat (it’s the best of strategies, it must be said: get people a bit tipsy so they reckon buying more alcohol is a great idea regardless of the fact that their only storage is a rucksack…)
  • Margaret River was next. Pat was expecting a huge, bustling sea side town. What he found was a long, quiet street with shops on. About half a k from the beach. Funnily, he wasn’t too fussed as:
    • There was a fudge shop (with free samples)
    • There was a sweet shop, run by a lady who was brought up in Romford

    Needless to say, some fudge and sweets (apple bonbons, ho yes!) ended up in Pat’s pockets.

  • Finally we ended up in our hostel accommodation near Pemberton. These were basically a couple of shacks with a few dorm rooms in. Each bed had thin blankets and no room had any heating – but hey, it’s Australia so heating’s not exactly needed!
  • A BBQ meal, few beers and watching of EJ doing fire twirling later and it was off to sleep for Pat:

    Emma Jane Plays With Fire

Day Two (Friday 23rd March) – Trees, Elephants and Bad Singing

  • Hang on, did I say something about Oz being too hot for heaters? Well, I lied. Pat was fur king cold last night and was bloody glad to get in the shower, put a jumper (yes, a jumper!) on and get in the heated bus!
  • First stop of the day was at the Bicentennial Tree in Warren National Park. It’s a rather old tree (not sure how old mind (…sigh… – Pat) and rather high – 73 metres in fact!
    That's As Far As I'm Going, Thanks

    The idea is that you climb the tree via the pegs that spiral the tree, ladder-like. Pat didn’t do it. Why not? Well, Pat’s drawn a diagram to help expliain:
    Tree Climb OF DEATH

    Still, he felt annoyed at himself for not doing it, but wasn’t too cheesed off as, well, in his eyes it justy wasn’t safe (even though a 60-something year old lady managed it without any issues… (Oi, did you do it? – Pat) No, but I’ve got no legs. (Smart arse… – Pat) Ah thank you.

  • An hour of driving later and we’d managed to break the land speed records and end up in the northern hemisphere:
    Blimey!  We Came Quite Far!
    Ah ha ha. Ha ha. Ha. Ahem.

  • Shortly after that , another high-tree based activity was encountered – and this time Pat took part:
  • The Tree Top Walk in the Valley Of The Giants took Pat and the gang high up through the magnificent Tingle forest on some cool walkways:
    Pat On The Tree Top Walk The Tree Top Walk
    Tree Top Walk: High Congratulations!  Now BE CAREFUL!

    Once back on Terra Firma a wander around – and through – the bases of the trees was performed:
    Group Shot! Liz Notices The Camera

  • Some lunch and a stop off at a place that made (average, frankly) honey wine and ice cream later and it was to the Elephant Rocks.
  • Why are these called the Elephant Rocks? It’s down to yet more exciting Australian history, this time courtesy of a man named (you’ll never believe this) Sir James Elephant. He and his crew saved a fleet of British ships during the early colonialisation(?) of Australia, when in 1861 he docked his ship and directed his crew to create an enormous bonfire on top of a set of huge rock cliffs, which they kept alight constantly for almost 4 weeks. This acted as the earliest recorded lighthouse in Australia – and possibly the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Or it could just be because the rocks look a bit like Elephants:
    View From An Elephant ...Can You See Why?

  • Next to these was the picturesque Green Pool, which was set to be the swimming point of the day. Alas as the sky had only just cleared up and started warming up, most people declined from entering the icy waters. Pat decided he’d make up for wimping out on the Bicentennial Tree by leading the way into the water – with Sam, EJ and Liz following suit. It was apparently great fun, with lots of jumping/diving from some rocks, but Pat did mention something about three Adam’s apples afterwards…
  • No wonder it was cold, mind:
    We'd Come *Quite* Far South...

  • Some more pretty sights were seen in the afternoon:
    The Gap:
    The Gap
    The Natural Bridge (which apparently could fall down any day…):
    The Natural Bridge
    Some amazing coastline next to the Natural Bridge:
    Coastline By The Natural Bridge
    Some blow holes (which made a hell of a racket, but only sprayed what looked like steam up through the small cracks):
    The Blowhole!

  • Then it was onto the night’s destination: Albany.
  • After a drive around the town (which took all of about 2 minutes) we checked into Albany Backpackers, which was a great deal better than the previous night’s accommodation as a) there were heaters and b) there were proper sheets. Makes a nice difference, that.
  • A (lame) included curry meal later and the gang went out to the local pub to enjoy some bevvies:
    Evening Drinks!
    Before Hannie, Margie, Sam, Stefan and Pat headed next door to a rather shady looking bar that was providing some high quality musical entertainment. Oh no, wait, it was Karaoke night.
    Alas Drinking Leads To Karaoke

  • Disgustingly (Pat was in a state of shock for quite a while) they didn’t have Love Shack, so Pat, Sam and Stefan ended up doing The Time Warp (despite only Pat knowing how it went) and Pretty Fly… (despite only Pat knowing how it went). The latter was a little difficult as it consisted mainly of shouting at a high pitch. Apparently people loved it though. That’s what Pat said anyway. Personally I imagine the pub was on the empty side by the time he’d finished “singing”…
  • Pat stumbled to bed tipsy at midnight only to be woken by Hannie and Margie jumping onto his bed saying “niiight!” and Sam gifting him a dead mouse named “Mr Bo Jangles”.
  • I’m still convinced that he imagined it.

Day Three (Saturday 24th March) – Hangovers, Knackering Climbs and Great Views

  • What Pat needed this morning was a nice lie in. What Pat got was a 6am rise and a walk up a 750m mountain. I’ve no sympathy for him. Mainly because he knew about this before he started drinking the night before.
  • Nevertheless, Pat and the gang (three of whom (you can probably guess which) were also sporting fine hangovers) were taken to the first stop of the morning at 7am, which was at a viewpoint over Albany at the top of Mount Clarence:
    Sunrise? At Albany?  Yes Please!
    My Fave Albany Sunrise Shot

  • A short drive and an easy walk on a promenade later brought them all to a lovely looking Albany beach (and a jetty, whereupon a woman from Sydney who’d decided to sod work and sit by the beach for 3 months was sitting doing some fishing – Pat was impressed):
    Albany Jetty More Albany Jetty Entertainment

  • Then it was onto the Stirling Ranges for the Kill Or Cure™ hike up Mount Trio; a nice 750m-above-sea level mountain.
  • Amazingly, despite sweating bucketloads and feeling like he was going to die on about 5 occasions up the mountain, Pat was one of the first few to the top of the mountain (taking about half the normal time, apparently!) and by the top his hangover had totally vanished – replaced by a) a great feeling of achievement:
    The First Four Up!

    And b) a sense of awe at the sights:
    Rocky Bit Of Mount Trio Western Australia: Quite Flat

    I also decided to take a breather (hey, sitting in a rucksack can be hard going!) and enjoy the view… and as usual I couldn’t help but attract the ladies:
    Thekla Loving The Squage!

  • Funnily enough the trek down wasn’t so hard (despite lots of loose rocks and uneven steps) and when it came to lunch it was rather wolfed down!
  • For the driving-based afternoon (5 hours straight, with a couple of loo stops) Pat sat in the front passenger seat of the bus and spent the time chatting with EJ about Visas, jobs, hobbies, Australia, home and of course annoying Australian songs to do with traditional Aussie greetings… he enjoyed the chinwag and both were impressed that he didn’t fall into a semi-hungover sleep at any point! They were less impressed at the number of locusts on the journey:
    Locusts: Attracted To Buses

  • It was a little evident that Pat was still a bit worse for wear as he attempted to explain the effect of the clocks going back – and us also not needing to leave until 8am (as we weren’t going to be doing that much driving)… he managed to confuse the people who didn’t know what was happening, the people who previously thought they did know and himself. I’m surprised he didn’t take up a career in teaching…
  • Once in Esperance, it was a quick stop off for some alcohol (Pat almost smashing his strongbow bottles on the floor of the bottle shop (I think it might’ve been fate trying to tell him something)) and then onto the hostel for dinner.
  • Following the night before, the evening was a low-key affair so after some lasagna and chips, Pat and the others just sat around the big dining area (which looked somewhat reminiscent to an old school dining hall) and headed back to the huuge dorm (where just about everyone was sleeping) for some well-needed kippage.

Day Four (Sunday 25th March) – French Impressions, Drip Castles and Sammy The Seal

  • A nice lie in until 7am, or 8am, or 6:15am, or whatever time it was in “New Time” was just the ticket and Pat felt a hell of a lot more awake than the previous day.
  • Today was definitely the best of the tour – not only because we were returning to Esperance in the evening and thus didn’t need to pack anything up, but also because it involved some fun climbing, awesome sights and serious chilling out on beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters.
  • If you’re the jealous sort, I’d stop reading now. In fact, I guess I’d just stop reading until some time in mid September, where this blog will be full of Pat bitching about having no money and being back in cold, rainy Essex (La la la, it’s a long way away, not listening… la la la… – Pat)
  • First stop was at Frenchmans Peak (a mere 262m above sea level). It was a cool looking thing:

    Walking up it was much, much easier than the day before due to a number of factors:

    1. Pat was sober
    2. It was about a third of the height
    3. It was an angled rock surface, without loads of bloody stairs
  • Pat, Sam and Liz lead the way to the top, powering up many of the damned steep areas (Pat’s logic was that it was easier to run up them than walk as you gave yourself more momentum… I guess when you’ve got the, ahem, momentum Pat has, it really makes a difference (Look who’s talking, you big round thing! – Pat) Ooh, bitchy!)
  • Once at the top (15 minutes rather than 40 minutes as guided), some panoramic videos were taken (definitely not accompanied by childish French impressions along the lines of “Haw hee haw, diis ees tres manifique, oui oui oui, baguette”, no) and some tasty shots too:
    View From Frenchman Peak
    The Bus

    Pat was quite pleased to be up there:
    Quite Happy To Have Reached The Top

    Once everyone else was up there, a nice group shot was taken:
    The Western Exposure Team At The Top!

    And on the way down we had a wander in the rather cool cave, which cut all the way through the mountain:
    Pat And The Cave

  • Following a climb down, it was on to the beaches! First one was called Lucky Bay, which looked rather tasty:
    Lucky Bay!

    A nice swim later and after Pat showed people up by using EJ’s “Pois” in an incredibly coordinated fashion (i.e. hitting himself in the face, getting tangled and giving up slightly red-faced), we moved towards Hellfire bay – saying hi to a couple of locals first:
    Friendly Neighbours

    Hellfire Bay was just as pretty as Lucky Bay:
    Hellfire Bay Is Quite Nice

    And featured its own friendly locals:
    Hey Mr Lizard!

  • Whilst dinner was on the go, Sam, Liz and Pat sat on the beach playing with “drip castles” (something Liz’s father had told her about years ago). They’re quite fun, actually, and go something along these lines:
    1. Dig a hole in the sand until you reach the water
    2. Scoop sand from the watery bit and drip it bit by bit on a flat bit of sand by the hole
    3. Repeat until you get a “tower” of dripped sand

    Easy and quite fun. Especially in competitions to see who can build the highest (they get a bit thin and fragile as they get higher…)

  • After some tasty burgers (veggie ones, of course) there was some more swimming and lying in the water thinking “Ah, this is the life”… the proceedings marred a bit when Emily managed to get a fly in her eye, which proceeded to bite/sting her inner eyelid twice before buggering off!! Luckily, despite some swelling, she was ok and it had calmed down by the next morning. Still, bloody scary stuff at the time!
  • After some more swimming, sunbathing and general lazing about, we headed back to Esperance and then out to see a local celebrity – yep, a guy from a local station in Esperance called Graham Torrington (you’ll not have heard of him, he does this love songs show on Today’s Best Mix- Esperance FM). Ok, ok, it’s actually a Seal. Not Seal, but a Seal. Called Sammy:
    He loves the crowds! ARRWW ARRWW ARRWW

  • Later on we went along the Great Ocean Drive, saw some kite surfers:
    Wind Kite Surfer Dude!
    A windfarm by dusk:
    Windfarm At Dusk
    And Twilight Beach – at twilight!:
    Silhouetted Windmill

  • Once back in the hostel it was a tasty rice, pasta and BBQ’d veggies meal and another pretty early night. I think Pat’s getting a bit old.

Day Five (Monday 26th March) – Wave Rock, Dead Dogs and Driving. Lots of Driving

  • Following the nice lie in on Day Four, today was something of a shock to the system. Even if the clocks have just gone back an hour, 5am is still 5am.
  • After falling out of bed and mumbling incoherently for a while, Pat and the gang packed, grabbed brekkie and made their way onto the bus and Liz and Pat took position in the front and next-to-front seats for the day’s journey.
  • Today we needed to travel about 700km. Today was mainly spent in the bus. Still, it went quite quickly and there were a couple of stop offs on the way:
    1. Wave Rock
      It’s amazing what the forces of nature can do to relatively soft rock. They can turn it into odd ball-crater things:
      Big Boulder Fun!
      Or even into huge surf-wave objects:
      Everybody's Goin' Suurrfin!

      Wave Rock was pretty damned impressive to see! And of course, as you can see, Pat couldn’t resist the cheesy tourist photo either…

    2. Dog Cemetery
      One group wrote in EJ’s tour survey form that this was the highlight of their tour. It’s a selection of graves, about 2km from a small town, with dogs in. I think that group might’ve been on something. Either that or EJ had hit them all on the head repeatedly for the rest of the tour and finally tired just before arriving. In other words, it wasn’t that exciting. It was shocking though:
      We couldn’t believe that he’s finally gone…
      Also, there was a chair by one of the graves, which was quite sad to see as you could imagine the dog’s owner sitting on it, staring lovingly at the grave for a long while and wishing that his life-long pal was still around to keep him company. Aside from that touching moment, Pat, Sam and some other folk spent most of the time looking for the best dog names.

    3. Toilets By A Kid’s Play Park
      Not normally a highlight of any day, but this was particularly funny as EJ dragged a few of us onto a three-way see-saw, and then proceeded to have a go on one of the springy toys. This went well at first…
      Emma Jane Manages To Look Quite Dignified On A Kid's Park Thing...
      …then not so well:
      ...Then Fails.
      Pure class.

    4. Finally after just a bit more driving we arrived in Perth – the entire bus being directed to do the actions to “Home Amoungst The Gumtrees” (ask Pat when he gets back) whilst at a set of traffic lights, much to the amusement of many other drivers – and dropped everyone off.
    5. A big set of hugs later and Pat was back on his own (well, aside myself) and checked into good ol’ Globe Backpackers. I think he’s ranted about the cramped, dark, hot conditions already so I won’t go into it again.

All in all, a great trip with some cool people – Liz and her mate Melissa are in fact up with Pat here in Darwin, so that’s pretty cool – and it must be said that despite not even being an Aussie (she’s Oirish born and bred) Emma Jane was easily one of the best tour guides Pat’s had. Despite her love of that bloody song…

Right, Pat’s bugging me to go and do something more fun than be in a net cafe so I’d best be off. Til later… byeeee!


by Pat
on Apr 15th, 2007

Woooooooah We’re Half Way The-ere!

*ducks fader*

Ahem. Yes.

I’m now half way through my Big Adventure!* In fact, as of today there’s exactly 5 months left.

Doesn’t really seem that long in some ways, but when I think about how long the past 5 months has been I guess it is, really. I guess that’s what happens when you spent time doing loads of cool stuff. I won’t bore you with yet another “Hey, wow, what a X months, I’ve seen so much etc etc” post because, well, you know the score already. Thus far, this trip has been the best thing I’ve done. The end.

I just hope that in 5 months’ time I don’t fall back into the old routines. I somewhat doubt that’ll happen though as I’ve realised that there’s more to life than that – and whilst money doesn’t grow on trees, there’s no reason to just accept a life that you’re not happy with just because it’s easy/low risk/”secure”/”the norm” etc.

Anyway, I’ll not preach (for now, at least).

Thanks to all of the people who I’ve met that have made this trip great. Thanks to those back at home who’ve supported me through this (family and friends). Here’s to another 5 months of fun – and to a great reunion when I get back home!

All the best,


* Well, technically this happened on Thursday – and I only just realised that later in the evening in time for a celebratory beer, sitting on a kerb outside Cable Beach Backpackers. What a way to celebrate, eh? :-)

by Pat
on Apr 15th, 2007

My Week In Broome


How’s things? I hope your doing well where ever you are right now (and enjoying the – shock – heat and sunshine in glorious England if you’re there). I’m all good here, which probably won’t surprise you that much :-)

This week has been pretty chilled out, even despite the somewhat hot and humid state out here.

Typical Broome View #1To be fair, the heat and humidity has really aided the chilling out as most of this week I’ve been feeling too lethargic to bother doing anything constructive aside from sitting by pools, sitting on beaches and swimming in pools or the ocean. It’s been such a terrible week. :-)

What’s been pretty cool is that folk from my 9 day tour have been hanging around for much of the week so I’ve always had company to chat to whilst sunning myself or drinking a couple of bevvies of an evening. Alas they’ve all gone now – but Liz and Melissa from my Esperance tour are here still so I’m hanging out with them now! And to think that before I started the Big Adventure I thought I may end up wandering on my own for weeks on end.

The highlight of the week was probably hiring some scooters from the superbly named Broome Broome car/scooter hire place. We did this on Monday and spent all afternoon, evening and the next morning pootling around the place, checking out some tasty beaches and even going for drives along the beach! Fully awesome. Here are the beasts themselves:

Wild Hogs!
Wild Hogs Hit the Beach

Oh yes. There’s at least 50cc between the 4 of them. Still, at a top speed of 65kmph (downhill with a tail wind and no food for a day) they were more than adequate to get around the small town and surrounding roads.

There was a minor mishap when, after trundling along a couple of less, er, tarmac’d roads (i.e. b-u-u-u-u-m-m-m-m-m-p-p-p-p-y-y-y-y-y-y dirt tracks), the mud guard at the front of my scooter came loose and eventually snapped off. Luckily the Broome Broome guys were easy going about it, saying that it was a loose bolt and I shouldn’t have to pay for it. Winner!

The Kimberly KlubAside from that it’s, as I say, mainly been chilling by pools/on beaches… including sitting by a pool in a hostel I wasn’t even staying at (how rude!) ‘cos it was a bit bigger and, well, one of the four of us sitting by it was actually staying there… it’s called the Kimberly Klub by the way. If you’re ever in Broome I recommend staying there as it looked tasty.

I stayed in Cable Beach Backpackers, which was really chilled out and had nice air con’d rooms (you have to request that though!). The only real downer was that it was out of town a bit and the buses aren’t that frequent. Not an issue when you’ve got a Wild Hogs style scooter of course. Oh, speaking of Wild Hogs, check US out at Broome’s open air cinema:

Wild Hogs!
Barney and I looking so cool.

There’s a whole load more photos from my week in Broome at This Here Location.

Right, that’s it then – off to Darwin this afternoon! At some point I’ll kick Squage up the ass to get those blogs about the 5 day and 9 day trips done – there’s lots of cool stuff that happened, so I’m sure it’ll be worth the wait. Probably. :-)

Take care,


What? What do you mean “What did I see at the open-air cinema?”. Oh, er, nothing. I saw nothing.


Not. A.Thing.

Definitely not something that would go against what I’d said in this post. No.

N.B. Cinema is ruined for me forever. I’m not kidding.


by Pat
on Apr 8th, 2007

Happy Easter!


Happy Easter to you! Hope you got lots of eggs / enjoyed mass this morning (delete as appropriate).

Having just finished a wicked 9 day tour of the west coast of Oz (from Perth to Broome) I’m now in an Internet cafe with some of the guys and gals from the tour, checking emails and uploading photos. We really know how to live the dream in a hot, sunny and beautiful place, eh? :-)

Anyways, just a quick one to say I’m alive and well, have done some ace things in the past week (such as snorkeling amongst sharks, manta rays and coral reefs, plus shimmying along rocky ledges five metres above water, abseiling (backwards and forwards…) down cliffs and diving into deep natural pools in the base of impressive gorges) and am definitely looking forward to a week of chilling out on the beach. And in Internet cafes, natch.

Hope all’s well with you. Til’ the inevitable huge blog updates from Squage in a few days – toodles!