Some places we've been and some places we're going.

Day 22 Karumba

Breakfast was at the Spiltmilk Caravan this morning.

I took Fergus for his morning mini-walk around an almost-levee created when the council bulldozed a bushy area next to the Park. Looking down it was very clear how different the areas are. The far end of the Park, is “the paddock”, there are no shady trees. We’re currently on a site which offers power but we’re not connected, we’re also in an area with trees and clearly designated spots. “The paddock” is also closest to the New Century Zinc processing plant noise, I prefer the Corella noise because that stops at night.

I’m quite amazed at how the processing plant operates. Until 2016 lead and zinc slurry came from an open pit mine site at Lawn Hill. At Karumba the water was removed from the slurry and then that concentrate was shipped out to smelters in Australia, Europe and Asia. Now, the mine site in Lawn Hill is being rehabilitated, they’re sending all the “tailings” ie what’s left after the minerals have been extracted from the rock, to Karumba in the original pipeline. Any residual zinc is extracted from the “dross” then the bulk of it goes back to Lawn Hill in the pipeline to be “stored” in the original Open Pit.

When I was walking around I heard blasts from loud hooters which we presumed meant a ship was moving out of the wharf area so we decided to walk down and watch it go out the river. We were close to the gate leading onto the mooring area when a man in high vis jacket came towards us. I thought he was going to warn us not to come any further but he was actually just going to the next trawler along. We asked about the noise and he said the Corellas were on the communication antennae and blowing the horn was a way to make them fly off. It didn’t really seem to be very effective. I think there’s a great opportunity for a Falconer to make money up here!

I wanted to look for some shells so we went back to the sandy areas we’d seen them before. There are a lot of places you can walk on sand but in most cases there’s not a big distance from water’s edge to dry grass and knowing that crocs are up this way it’s a little unnerving.

Our lunch today was extraordinary. Alex bought ONE KILO of prawns! He thought we didn’t have quite enough the other day so he bought twice as much. Luckily they were easy to peel and delicious but when we went down to the Sunset Tavern late this afternoon and checked out their menu and saw it was predominately either Steak or Prawns we decided we wouldn’t be going there for a meal before we left Karumba.

Today was a good one for seeing wildlife. On the way out of Karumba Point there is a boat washing facility and just beyond is a swamp that always seems to have water in it unlike others quite close by. We wonder whether the boat washing water drains down into the swamp, whatever the reason it’s a good spot to see birds. We’ve seen Ibis, Jabirus, Red-tailed Black Cockatoos, Stilts and Brolgas as well as the other regulars. Wallabies also came very close to our annexe this evening.

We learned today why so many properties here have been for sale for years and businesses close rather than get new owners. It’s all related to updated building codes and insurance. Most of the buildings here were constructed prior to the code being implemented for building in cyclone risk areas and because they don’t conform to the new standard no companies will insure them. People can’t get Bank loans to buy places without insurance. Apparently there were 8 offers put in for the Bakery which closed on the 26th but none of the potential buyers could get finance not even when they only needed partial finance.

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