The first week
26.02.2012 - 02.03.2012 32 °C
We have finally arrived in Australia with our 80+kg of check-in luggage and big, thick coats suitable for the Swedish winter.....not something we will be needing very soon here in Australia.
The first week was incredibly hectic with so many things to do. We took delivery of our new Land Cruiser on Monday as scheduled some 5 months ago. Finally I enjoyed the reward for preaching and practicing on-time delivery for so many years in Atlas Copco. That was the easy part. The Quantum off-road camper's delivery was delayed one day, also not bad as it had to be shipped all over the continent from Queesnland, so we took the small delay in our stride. It was delivered to the Atlas Copco factory in O'Connor, Fremantle on Tuesday morning and the next task was to take it to be inspected for local WA registration. The first problem that I encountered was that a flat 7-pin connector was installed instead of the small, round connector that I ordered. Luckily, George Strydom's maintenance subcontractor (also a South African living in Perth for almost 3 years) was on site and he quickly solved my problem with an adaptor ('n Boer maak 'n plan). The next surprise came at the authorised inspection facility in Bibra Lake where the Quantum's towing safety chains were rejected as they were not stamped according to regulations. After several phone calls to the manufacturer and them insisting that their chains were stamped but powder coated that covers the stamps and that many Quantums were delivered to WA without any problems, we agreed that the chains will be sawn off and replaced with stamped chains to the satisfaction of the inspector and that the manufacturer will pay for it.
After finally taking delivery of a properly-chained and inspected off-road camper/trailer, we headed for Fremantle Village where we will live in the Quantum (and Land Cruiser) for the next three weeks, preparing for our Big Lap. We battled about 45 minutes to get the unique hitch unlocked from the Land Cruiser but eventually found what we were doing it wrong. Apart from the hiccups with getting the Quantum inspected and unhitched we finally got it set up and were very impressed with the quality, attention to design detail and how easy it is to set it up. Every little space is fully utilised and designed in such a way to ensure ease of operation and functionality. Well, that was until we attempted to rig the annex the next evening in gale force winds....not a good idea! The instructions were also not up to the standard of IKEA standard instructions (and I am fully qualified to make that judgement) so we battled for a long time to figure out what goes where. We abandoned the attempt and settled for a partly assembled half-annex and we will try the full annex next week when we have settled down and when we have a windless day.
The rest of the week was used to collect gear that was delivered at the Atlas Copco factory, assembling them and also buying other equipment accoring to our detailed plan. The recovery gear alone weighs "a ton" and is now neatly packed in the newly installed cargo drawer system in the back of the Land Cruiser. The cargo drawers are prefect for this type of expedition and I have a feeling that I will be very thankful for the decision to install them over the next months. The fridge slide is also very convenient to slide the big fridge/freezer out to get easy access. My decision to buy the biggest fridge/ freezer (95 liter) for the Land Cruiser to compliment the 82 liter fridge/freezer in the Quantum is also quickly proven to be good as both filled up very quickly after shopping.
We are now sort of organised and last night I installed the mobile broadband to enable me to post this first blog and we watched our first DVD on the camper TV, a locally produced film called Red Dog that travelled in the Pilbara during the 70's. We plan to visit his statue near Dampier in about a month.
The coming weekend is a long weekend in WA and we are planning to relax, enjoy Fremantle, an enchanting harbour town with lots of character and history. It is going to be very hot (35 degees) so I guess we will be going to the beach and if the wind is not blowing too much, maybe take the boat out for a couple of hours to our favourite spot at Carnac Island.