First trip for our camper, we travelled very west of here, to a place called Lake Boondooma . This is a man-made lake which has a huge area for camping. The camping is “bush camping”, off grid no power, no phone or Internet. The camper has power on board and we have a solar blanket to help charge the batteries. The camper has an 85 litre fridge/Freezer which allows us to take frozen foods. We took our two-man canoe with the idea of fishing and catching things called Red Claw, which are a native freshwater lobster. We had never tried seriously to gather these before although we have had the nets required to catch them. Getting there was half the fun as they say, we followed the GPS and it took us on a bit of a sight-seeing trip and in the end we had to go back to old fashion road signs and maps.
This is the first time we had put up the camper for real to actually live and sleep in it. We had put it up in the garden but we had taken best part of a day to do it, then to top it off some of the poles had jammed. Oh well we boxed on and I managed to rig up stuff so it worked and started to make a list of things that needed fixing.
The weather was really warm, it was more than 25 C and we are at the start of Winter. I talked to the camp owner about the weather we could expect, is rain predicted. They are forecasting rain around the weekend about three days away but she said they had expected rain for over six months and nothing had happened.
In the process of unpacking we realized we had forgotten to put our camp chairs, this was going to make camping a little uncomfortable. Fortunately, we had a couple of boat cushions we used for the canoe and with those on top of ice boxes we had make do seats. No backs though. With the tent up it was quite late so I cooked dinner and we retired early exhausted.
In the morning we got out in the canoe to lay our pots for the red claw, we were not sure where to put the pots and previous experience told me to put them close to the banks and in the weed. The Red Claw are vegetarians, and so the bait in the pot is stuff like melons and veg scraps. Weird but that is the way it is.
That done we headed into town to see if we could find some cheap camp chairs, but no such luck. The town was too tiny and they sold very little useful. Looks like we are sitting on iceboxes for the rest of our time.
The afternoon we go and check the pots, and bingo! We got three medium size little fresh water lobsters. Not enough for a meal but a start. We re-bait the pots putting them back in slightly different spots. We will leave them out overnight and check first thing in the morning. I popped the caught crustaceans into the freezer so we could put a dinner together with them.
The lake is a beautiful place to walk around and just spend time, I must say I spent a lot of down time just reading, and some hours writing but my laptop ran out of battery and my method of charging let me down. I have now fixed thaWe got fishing licences but the weather turned and the wind got up so we didn’t feel like canoeing up the lake to fish. On the Thursday morning we picked up a good number of Red Claw and before dinner we went out and picked up the pots again. The first three pots were empty, bummer. The third had about five in it and one as large as a small lobster. Perfect we had seventeen of these little guys. Enough to make a wonderful starter for the meal and provide a seafood topping for some steaks. Yummy and we are camping. Who knew we would find a ready supply of unlimited lobsters, for free for the taking. They are a pest in these waters and they breed and grow prolifically, a true secret of the bush.
That night it bucketed down with rain, that meant getting up during the night to make sure our rig didn’t leak, it came through unscathed, however our canvas was very wet and we needed to dry it out before leaving. I decided to pay for an extra night so we wandered up to the camp store to do this., here I learnt last night the heavens had dropped 40 mm of rain but where we lived back on the coast was a disaster zone. The radar showed huge rain storms followed by heavy rain and huge surf down the South East of Queensland. We had made the right decision to stay.
Saturday was fine but cold and we spent it in the car touring the area looking at other places to fish and put out Red claw Pots. It rained a lot the further east we went but the camp ground stayed pretty dry.
Sunday the weather was still cold but clear, so we packed up and headed home. Once we got home I checked the rain gauge and we had 120 mm in our garden which was three times the amount of rain we had at the camp grounds. The news was full of the huge storms that had devastated the eastern seaboard of Queensland and was smashing communities south to Sydney and eventually all the way to Tasmania. It was one of the biggest winter storms we had ever seen.