During the Wet season there was undoubtedly plenty of rain, and our block of 250 acres had two creeks running through it – the picture above is one of them, and below is a picture of the same creek further down the road and around the corner where it got adventurous sometimes, as you can see.
Sometimes, the middle of that crossing was deep enough for the water to go over the headlights of the Land Rover.
At the time that we moved there, there were supposedly no crocodiles, but “Freshies” soon moved into the local lake, causing some concern.
Freshwater crocodiles are not as dangerous as the saltwater crocs (known as “Salties”), but they can still be quite large and they can still bite. Don’t let the two names fool you, either, you get plenty of Salties in freshwater creeks and waterholes. As Salties include Freshies in their diet, they tend to follow where the Freshies go, so we knew it was only a matter of time before the saltwater crocodiles turned up.
Despite this apparent abundance of water, securing a water supply was an important concern. The whole area became bone dry for half the year in the Dry season when there was no rain at all. The lake remained, but all creeks in the area dried up completely, including ours.
For the first little while we tried buying water for our consumption, but that clearly wasn’t going to work. We needed a supply to cook and to clean with, not just to drink. A water tank on the top of the hill was the way to go, as its position would give us good water pressure when we connected it to our campsite now moved lower down.
As you can see, the backhoe was already proving its worth. An empty tank is very light, but it had been delivered right to our campsite, and rolling it up that steep hill was another let’s-not-go-there moment. The backhoe made it easier.
We cleared the area for it of stones and sticks, but nevertheless set the tank on sheets of corrugated iron to prevent any stones or sharp sticks just below the surface from punching a hole into the base once the tank was filled.
When filled, we could test the level of water inside by tapping on the side at different levels and waiting for the sound to change from solid to hollow.
But first, we had to get that water in there.
Fortunately, Greg had a plan…
We decided that we could run a hose down to the creek and pump water up with… Yes… um… that is a hand pump Greg is holding, which rather shows just how naïve we were about the whole thing.
First, the hose had to go in place. That took some doing as you can see from the next batch of pictures.
Greg rolled it out from the top of the hill downward. At least we were sensible there. It was actually a long and tiring job, both of us taking turns.
We went down the driveway I had put in…
…And into the long grass…
The attempt failed miserably. The pump managed to force water up the hose maybe twenty feet and stopped. We simply didn’t have the equipment.
We needed – and got – a diesel pump to do the job for us. That was so heavy, the only way I could get it onto the back of the Land Rover was to build up the momentum of my swing. Even then I barely made it. Yes, I could have used the backhoe, but my swing was faster, so long as it worked.
Here’s me driving the backhoe one weekend when Greg was home to take a couple of shots.
The hose shown in the earlier pictures was shifted off the road and I soon dug a trench for it to protect it from quolls, nocturnal carnivorous marsupials – very cute, like a possum, but with teeth like a canine (I’m sorry to say I cannot find any pictures of them that I took, but the Internet has some). The little buggers chewed holes in the hose, losing overnight what water we had collected. That not only meant redoing the water, but replacing sections of hose. The trench was essential.
The backhoe was too cumbersome through the trees and I wanted a very narrow trench. That task took some days, so I did it with a mattock, all the way from the tank to our camp (about half a mile).
Here’s another of me in the backhoe, heading off to do something.
As for the water situation – It took some organizing, but in the end, we had cold water on tap at the campsite, plugged into the caravan, which still had its sink, and into a shower drum, a 44 gallon drum that we’d fill with water and light a campfire under about an hour before Greg would shower – the water was about the right temperature then. That was luxury! I must see if I can find those photos…
Have a great day, everyone. :D