DON’T TRUST THE CRUST
Last week I ran a skipper’s ticket course in Port Hedland and as soon as these two blokes came into the room, I knew we were going to have a good day, as the banter between them started immediately. One, Tristan, the manager of the Landing Resort in town ( more about that later ) and the other, Colin, an Irish electrician ( ha ha, no Irish jokes please ). The guys had access to the owner of the resorts six metre boat and recently entered a fishing competition, so thought it a good idea to get a boat licence. Colin had spent some time on boats but Tristan, being originally from Hay in western NSW, had never skippered a boat. Another guy in the group that day was very nervous about the theory test, but we managed to calm his nerves a little with my stories and their accompanying jokes. There was much anticipation when I revealed their theory test marks, not necessarily about passing, but to see who had got the better score. As it turned out, Tristan and Colin both got 39/40, so no WWIII there. Anyway, we progressed onto the practical where they both lived up to their theory score and performed very well. As we departed, Tristan invited Viv and I to dinner at the Landing Resort, a $20 per person smorgasborg, all you can eat, open every night 5-9pm. We turned up about 7pm and it was obvious the boys had been celebrating their skipper’s ticket achievement well before we arrived. The food was excellent, plenty of laughs and we discussed the possibility of Viv and I staying there for future Port Hedland gigs. With over 500 new rooms at very reasonable rates, gymnasium, excellent food, free Wi Fi and ample parking for vehicles, trucks, boats and vans, The Landing is definitely worth checking out if you are ever passing through or staying in Port Hedland.
Three days later, Viv and I drove back in the afternoon to have a look around The Landing in the light of day and then Viv suggested we check out Redbank on the way home. I was a bit sceptical at first taking unknown dirt tracks alongside tidal mudflats with the boat behind, but went in anyway. As the track started to narrow and the telltale darker colours of previous high tides began to show, it was time to turn around and get out of there. I just finished the large turning circle when the front of the truck broke through the ‘crusty’ surface and we were now stuck in mud. Ummm! After an hour or so of shovelling, lowering tyre pressure and trying the max tracks that got buried a metre under the mud, it was obvious we were not coming out without another vehicle. It then dawned on me that Colin had previously mentioned pulling numerous people out of bogs and was almost making a career out of it on facebook as he reckoned there was at least one a week. So I made the call and in no time Colin turned up complete with crane straps and the dry comment that in these parts you, ‘never trust the crust’. He was soon followed by Tristan, resplendent in blue shirt and purple tie, who was not going to miss out on the action. Fortunately we had not buried the truck further with crazy attempts to drive out, but I was still a little surprised that the Sea Soaring truck was yanked out on the first go by a ‘trusty’ landcruiser. High fives all round, the promise of a carton of beer to be delivered the next day and the boys were on their way.
To answer last week’s question, a strong wind warning is 26-33 knots. This week’s question is, ‘How many carriages does the BHP Billiton ore train typically carry?’
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