Gretchen, Tuesday 17 October 2006
Setting up camp in the Nullarbor desert is a whole new experience. We sleep in â€˜swagsâ€™ - single person tents which come with a three-inch thick mattress, so even sleeping on the ground is comfortable. Putting the swag on a camp bed is a whole new level of luxury! The swags also close up completely to prevent bugs from coming in to say hello.
Phil generally digs a fire pit while Caroline, Martin and I gather wood from the local trees (although Nullarbor technically means ‘no trees’, there are still a few hearty ones around that we can tap for fires). These are dead trees and they come apart easily by hand.
To make dinner we use an iron ‘plate’, half of which is a solid piece of metal and the other half of which is a grill. Frying is done on the solid side, while the grill side is used for boiling water and cooking in pots.
The BBC filmed us setting up, and also had Iain help us for the documentary. The picture shows the finished product with our swags unrolled.
We tend to get to bed around 8pm, in part because we’ve worked a hard days work, but partly because we also get up with the sun, which rises around 5am. Itâ€™s fantastic to see the stars in the southern hemisphere. We’ve now seen the Milky Way, as well as the small and large Magellanic clouds, which are not visible from the northern hemisphere. We’ve also seen Mercury and Jupiter.