Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Desert Mums – Update May 11th

Day 7... walking... not quite so far today... but still walking..

What an amazing day!!!
Today, the Desert Mums drilled for water in the middle of the Simpson Desert and found it after about an hour of drilling (mostly by the trusty Andrew and Denis), and never have the whole crew been so excited to hear the splash of water at 12 feet down!! The water was drawn to the surface in a small bailer, bit by bit, and emptied into a container. Apparently, it tasted even better than Adelaide water, or so they are saying (could be delusional under that blazing desert sun……but then, Adelaide water is not hard to beat).

WATER...in the desert??? This entirely explains Den’s detour for the scenic route to Birdsville. Almost 22 years ago, Denis made a solo and unaided crossing of the Simpson Desert by foot along the route the Mums are now walking. It was essential for his survival that he found water as he could not physically carry enough to sustain him for the period of his journey. Access to water allowed the aborigines to survive and maintain their nomadic existence in this harsh terrain. Given that the aborigines walked out of the desert in 1900 enticed by the lure of the white man’s civilization, the location of their wells was lost for many years, ultimately covered by sand drifts. Explorer, David Lindsay chronicled these sites in his journals when he explored the Simpson in 1886. Denis was able to re-discover their locations following the information contained in Lindsay’s accounts, and successfully drilled for water which enabled him to ultimately walk into Birdsville. (A few weeks ago, he packed his original drilling rods. bailer and rope under the folded back seat of the vehicle, and thus emerged his plan to give the Mums the experience and thrill of finding water in the Simpson Desert).

The girls’ enjoyed another lunch stop with the heat and the flies (by the way, apparently flies don’t like cream cheese spread, but love salmon and Nutella). The girls should try out the flies on Rice Cream – Den had 80 tins to go with their tinned fruit for dessert, but everyone hates the stuff. They’ve only used 6 tins. Perhaps the flies could carry the rest away (and stay away).

The Mums were really excited to see their first salt lake (anything firm and flat) and the salt tasted like...well, salt...well sort of a cross between chicken and fish (flavoured salt maybe?)

The Mums have left the WAA Line and are now 2km north on top of a sandy dune on the Knolls track.

Blisters, sore backs and painful knees are boring, so let’s just say that the Mums are full of determination and now have some really good mud, which they saved from 12ft down, for their faces – which they hope they will not be too tired to use tomorrow night.

The Desert Mums are on a pretty strict diet (anything that doesn’t need refrigeration qualifies, which doesn’t leave a huge choice). However, Kathy (videographer), has found another source of protein after she continually snorts, inhales and swallows copious amounts of flies. Perhaps a new commodities export to Canada?... er, perhaps not.

It was a late night into camp due to the time taken out for drilling today, but they have put another 20km under their belts. They are looking forward to a good night’s sleep…..and to yet another day tomorrow to conquer the desert.

They are still searching for a camel that’s alive. I guess super dry deserts are not very sustainable for life! (unless you have drilling rods).

‘Til tomorrow - The Desert Mums send their love to everyone.

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