Saturday, July 21, 2007

Day 9: Port Augusta – Woomera

Arrived early in Port Augusta central. As I mentioned above, I’ve spent a bit of time in Port Augusta over the past few years during visits to the Baxter detention centre. My time here has always felt weighty – the usual routine was to spend the morning with asylum seekers at the detention centre, race in to town for lunch, spend the afternoon at the detention centre before a quick dinner and, when possible, an evening visit to the detention centre. This usually went on for two or three or four days, punctuated by nights alone in a motel. I always found it exhausting and wondered how some of the local people maintained such a commitment to visit detainees at Baxter every week or more.

But paddling into the little harbour brought at different perspective: it was really quite beautiful: yachts floating gently on the water, massive timber poles of the docks, the small sandy beach with a children’s playground beyond it.

After an hour or so drying out our gear, my family arrived with the car and trailer. Nadine, Tenzin and Annie will be with us for the next five weeks as support crew – and hopefully to have a bit of fun too. It took us hours to pack the trailer. And yes, it – the trailer – looks terrible. I have decided not to look at it too often – merely looking at it makes me sick to the stomach. I’m not sure how far it will get us now. I have a vision of us stranded in the desert with four 5 meter-long kayaks on an irreparable trailer. It is not a happy image!

By the time we set off for Woomera, it was approaching dusk. The evening sky in these parts are nothing short of stunning. Blue-white turns to yellow to pink and then red. We drove through Woomera and camped just out of town.


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