Lewis' Exploring Oz

On and off the beaten track…………………….

Our Cape York Trip – Part 4

Posted by lewisfamilyexploringoz on September 29, 2011

Canal Ck water crossing

Canal Ck water no2

Canal Ck exit track

Hi Everyone,
We brekkied and finished packing up and then decided on a swim to wash off all the sweat and cool down a bit – the temp is averaging about 28 degrees during the day atm which is very nice! Our neighbors are also heading up the track too so we said we’ll catch up along the way.  We got to the first creek crossing, Canal Creek and met up with the Winging It Crew already. We got out to walk the creek and wait for others ahead of us to cross first. We saw some postie bikes here – Joel had been told there

Sam's Ck entry

Postie Bikes at Canal Ck

Sam's Ck water crossing

was a group of guys riding postie bikes up the OTL – gutsy move I reckon! They had a support vehicle for backup but they still had a lot of gear on their bikes as well! madness!! The approach to Canal Creek wasn’t too bad and we crossed okay through the crystal clear water. The track up on the other side though took a bit more consideration! By this time we were at the back of the Winging It Crew, like a tag-a-long.  We all stopped after the water and walked up the steep exit track. It had lots of washouts and boggy bits, some a bit like quick sand. Wade stepped out of the car in his thongs and straight into a bog hole and nearly lost his thongs – we dug into it and found it only ‘cos it wasn’t that deep:). Everyone

Kristina you ROCK!

managed to maneuver onto the track and with everyone on the same radio channel, listening and spotting for each other, we all made it up, safe-and-sound! Paul and Andy both had camper trailers and they did an excellent job of getting their rigs up the track! As a vehicle would come through, they’d park up and come back to help and watch the next vehicle drive through. It was quite an adrenaline rush and you’re genuinely excited when the others

Mistake Ck entry

Sand carving with the bullbar

make it through too, unscathed! A car shuffle saw us at the next crossing first up, which was Sam’s Creek. We pulled up, got out, checked out the water which wasn’t too deep but looked like you could get into some bother on some rocks on entry though.  Luckily we made it down, Joel took the right line and easy-peasy with Paul spotting for him upfront.  It’s so much easier with someone directing out the front as you lose sight of the rocks and entry sometimes when your dash is up pointing to the sky so you tend to rely on the UHF radio, hand signals and yelling:)) Me, I was across the water taking a million shots for Joel to look at later – I know he’s loving every minute of it! The kids alternated between the car and videoing – they were

Mistake ck water crossing

Cannibal Ck 90 degree bend

Cannibal Ck exit track

doing an excellent job too! We all made it through safe-and-sound and Kristina even drove their vehicle through this crossing – Woohoo, you go girl!
2kms up the track was Mistake Creek, very aptly named as we took the right-hand track which led to a round-a-bout, so we backtracked and took the left-hand track down to the crossing. We all got out and had a look and the even though the  water wasn’t too deep, the entry was steep and tight for us, with Joel carving out some of the sandy-sided corner with the edge if his bull-bar! Nice and steady

Bridge stability check

One wrong move........

Crossing Cypress Ck log bridge

and everyone made it through a-ok! By this stage our group of 5 vehicles has grown to 7, including the German family (Dirk, Sigrid and their 4 kids) we had met a couple of nights ago and a couple of young fellas (plumbers) in dual-cab who  happened to get stuck in-amongst us! We offered to let them go ahead but they said they were enjoying their “grid position” and our company too! I must admit it was a lot more fun doing the crossings with all these people.
Less than 2kms along the track we came upon

Joel and Paul checking for crocs:)

Bra fitted and ready to go

Logan's Ck start

Cannibal Creek – not sure about some of these names! We all got out again and trekked through the water, checking the bottom and the exit strategy. The kids jumped in for a swim while the adults were contemplating how to address this crossing. The entry was washed out a little and there were a couple of deeper sections in the water but you needed to do a 90 degree right-hand-turn in the water and then the exit track was full of washouts as well.  Joel decided to keep to the left so he could avoid the deep hole in the creek but still need to

Logan's Ck and we're underwater

Andrew and Kristina win best angle shot

leave enough room so he could still turn sharply as

Andy's tarp is rising up

our turning circle is less than it used to be due to the extension! Once again Joel did a brilliant getting through the water and navigating the washout exit too! I managed to get some rippa shots of everyone exiting, especially the plumbers who got one of their front wheels airborne coming out of the exit track! All the vehicles made it through with ease and it was onto the next one about another 2kms along. Cypress Creek is an old log bridge over a steep-sided creek.  On first look it seems a bit dodgy and we all wonder aloud which vehicle will be the one to stress it out and collapse it – ha ha ! We all

Paul's getting a wash too

Plumbers leaking out side of bonnet

Dirk looking very casual

got out for a closer inspection and Daniel and Wade jumped on the logs to see if any would dislodge. Luckily none did, so Joel decided on a line of attack and away he went, with Paul on the other side helping to line him up on the right logs. We’re probably the heaviest vehicle and we didn’t snap it and so all the others came over just as easily, making sure there was always someone to guide them onto the right logs! The campers looked a bit more tricky as there are more wheels to keep on the right track but Paul and Andy did a great job again

Everybody walked Nolan's Brook

Off to a wet start

Staying hard left as per plan

getting over safely! Another 7.7kms along brought us to Logan Creek which was by far the longest and deepest water crossing so far! Joel and Paul stripped of to their jocks and boardies (yes Joel was in his jocks and Paul in his boardies) and braved the water, finding a few deep, muddy, slippery spots along the way.  They decided on a left-hand-side course of action after much discussion! The water was waist-high in some spots and higher when they found the muddy, slippery patches:). There was no question, everyone was tarping up for this one! You

Swim god damn it!

Almost there....

All smiles now!

could feel the apprehension but it was overridden by the adrenaline and testosterone I’m pretty sure! Andy even borrowed the gaffer tape (duct tape) and taped up all his doors and seals just to be sure.  It was like watching the “Dukes of Hazard” as he got in and out of the car, through the window! Hee hee! I decided that if Joel and Paul had gone through the water they would’ve scared al the crocs away so I waded through in my bathers and top, holding the camera up high and praying there were no snappy snappies in the reeds on the sides waiting for me!

Spectator sport

RIP prado

Whew, made it through, no probs. All the vehicles were tarped up and just-in-case we put all the chargers and anything electrical or that didn’t like getting wet, into the plastic containers in the canopy and on the top shelf.  Joel was the guinea pig and took off in low 2nd gear and entered okay. He kept to his line and I watched in slight horror as the water came up and over the bonnet and up to the windscreen! He kept it going, nice and steady and made it out okay. It’s a peculiar feeling to see your car more than half-way under murky water! Daniel videoed from inside the car and you can hear the oohs and aahs as they made it through. Joel had the car ready with a snatch strap on the back, just in case any of the cars go into difficulty but every one of the other vehicles came through.  You could see the looks of concentration on the driver’s faces then absolute delight and lots of “you beauties” as they made it safely across. Everyone being tarped up helped tremendously, although Paul’s tarp dropped a bit coming out and Andrew’s did too, especially as he was slightly

Great finish everyone

Jardine ferry

more to the right and consequently deeper, on an angle, in the water! He looked particularly spekky in the crossing too on that sort of angel! All the vehicles have a snorkel and a lift so all were okay. Wow – what a feeling – only then did we realize that it was Logan’s Creek and Nolan’s Brook was still yet to come! Nolan’s is considered the tester of all the creek crossings, water wise anyway. While we were all “de-tarping” on the other side, a few dirt bikes joined us and then proceeded to cross the water on the opposite side to us, following the reeds and going through the mud to exit at a different spot to us. Unfortunately the mud was too thick and the exit just too steep and none of the bikes made it up.  They all stopped and helped each-other to lift the bikes up and out of the wet mud. Once we were all “de-tarped” we headed up the track another 5.5kms to the famous Nolan’s Brook! We all got out and this is the only crossing that everyone walked beforehand!  The kids had a swim while the rest decided which was the best line of attack for this crossing. There were quite a few

Packed on like sardines

onlookers, some were camped here and some had gone through and were just watching the rest of us. Just prior to us getting here, a Prado and camper trailer had gotten stuck and “drowned” in this crossing! Like an hour or so before! We had always said that we’d come and have a look at it but if we had any reservations at all or it just looked too hairy then we’d give it a miss. There are just too many dollars invested in this car to just drown it for fun trying to cross a creek! Also that would effectively cut our trip very short too – and we didn’t want that! It didn’t look too bad, but there were definitely some deeper, softer areas in the water that we want to stay clear of. The entry and exits weren’t too bad either, sandy and not too rocky and not too washed out either. After much discussion we all decided to give it a go! The plumbers went first, lit up their ciggies, away they went, making it look easy, although the tray on the rear rose up and looked like it might float them off course. It didn’t and they were super stoked to be through. Paul went next with his camper trailer and did it with a big fist pump as they exited too! Woo hoo! Andy (alias Dukes of Hazard) went next – everyone was pretty pumped but a bit uncertain at the same time! He made it into the water easy enough and had another big cheesy on the way out too! Next was Joel, who had left his window down to hear the rush of water, but I don’t think he expected it to come in through his window though! Easy entry with the water well up  over the bonnet, splashing half-way up the windscreen and lapping at the door window! Yahoo,

Kids making a swing at Loyalty

another safely through with a big “Yeah!” Andrew and Kristina did a fab job as well.  Andy and Karen used Joel’s car-bra as their tarp had dropped coming through the last crossing, and they got the camper through easily too! The Germans were last and old Dirk is one cool cucumber; he looked so casual going through, nice and steady on the pedal and safely out the other side.
We all stopped on the other side for a while, reliving the crossings and having a good chat. The Prado that had “sunk” was parked up in the camping area, all un-packed and drying off.  The water was apparently up to the head rests in the car and it’s only less than 12 months old! -poor guy, people were asking him heaps of questions and taking photos (us included:)), but in the end it was his choice of where and how to cross that cost him quite dearly! He has become one of the statistics of Nolan’s Brook and we walked away, silently thankful that it was none of us! We did get a little water in on the passenger floor side but we mopped it up with a chux and will dry out the mat at the next camp. After a beer to toast, we all headed up the track towards the Jardine River, back tracked to the turnoff (as there aren’t sign posts anyway, you rely heavily on your GPS and maps!) and drove to the by-pass road.  We pulled over at the intersection for a very late lunch as we’re all starving!! At lunch there was much discussion about vehicles, gear, the crossings, other vehicles, etc – you get the drift! The mood was ebullient and happy! We lined up all the vehicles

Blurry group photo

for a photo-op! What a great trek up the OTL with some amazing people! We agreed it would have been nowhere near as much fun on our own!

One of the many sunsets at Loyalty

We drove the next 24kms on corrugated gravel up to the Jardine River Roadhouse and Derry Crossing.  We all stopped to empty out our rubbish into the bins provided and get our ferry tickets, which cost us $88 for a 6 sec crossing! Oh and a few souvenirs too. We watched the barge ferry across a couple of vehicles and a 4×4 bus too! When we lined up we were the 4th vehicle so we thought we’d be in the next trip but no, the operator called us forward, right up the front next to Andy. Then he somehow managed to squeeze on another 2 vehicles and Paul and his camper as well. I’m sure Paul’s camper was hanging on the back ramp as we went across! The ferry is basically a barge/large pontoon with sides with an engine, attached to either side of the river banks by thick, wire-rope cables, that work with a pulley system to pull the barge across and the river and back again! It took us a whole 6 secs to cross! Still I wouldn’t want to have to walk this river and test the submarine capabilities of our car or even think about how many crocs are in here!!  35kms later we hit bitumen just before entering Injinoo, an Aboriginal Community.  We had bitumen all the way into Bamaga and out towards Seisia, till we turned off to go to The Loyalty Beach Campground. What a beautiful camping ground, right along the beach. We asked about some powered sites and found there were several still available. They showed us an area where we could all camp together and we asked if they minded if we crash with them – the more the merrier they said! We found a spot right down on the beach with heaps of shade and enough room for all of us to share the power.  We set up camp and headed down to the “restaurant” for dinner as it is Sunday night and it’s fish-and-chip night! They have a bar and they kindly set up a table for all 17 of us – what a fantastic end to a brilliant day! We looked back through photos and videos of the crossings and each of the vehicles with loads of comments and laughter! The kids made a swing in one of the trees on the shore while we all ate dinner. It’s great to see them all happy too! We watched the sun set over the ocean and toasted to a successful OTL trek and making new friends. We heard some interred sting stories from some of the staff and had a great many drinks and laughs. Back to camp for hot showers and some sleep. An exhausting but exhilarating day! Whoo hoo!
Till Next time


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