Friday, October 23, 2009

Dust Storm on the road to South West Rocks, NSW (22 September, 2009)

The morning of our trip to South West rocks, I woke early, as per usual before Paul, and looked out the window.  Hmm, a rather unusual glow was in the sky and there appeared to be an orange mist swirling around the campgrounds.  I decided to go to the cookhouse for some boiling water for our breakfast cups of tea, by the time I arrived there, I could hardly breathe; my asthma was kicking in something savage.  I realised the glow and orange mist was dust.  Having never experienced a dust storm in my 30 years in Australia, I was not too sure, what was going on.  Fortunately, we had packed up most of the van the day before, so we only had to breakfast, hitch up and do the last minute checks before we took off.  Along the road out of Port Stephens, I took these photos; it was all so very eerie.  The whole trip to South West Rocks was through the dust storm.  I rang our neighbour Fay, in Dee Why, who told me the sky was red in Sydney.  I assumed the colour in Sydney was the same as we drove through!  It was not until we saw the News that night that we realised the dust we saw was not red at all, compared to the red in Sydney. NSW had just experienced the worst dust storm for 70years.  The poor farmers, they never seem to be able to win.  If it is not an El Nino causing droughts, it is floods, and now the top soil on their farms has blown away. 
A lesson learnt, if the weather is not too good and we don’t need to be anywhere at a certain date or time, don’t go.  Wait until better weather.  So far, on the trip we have experienced gale force winds, dust storms, storms and heat waves, not too bad for being on the road for only a month!

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