20 May, 2007
All is in readiness for our great adventure on the Gibb River Road. We've booked a 4WD camper from Apollo, which we pick up in Darwin. We've mapped out a likely route (see the map, click on it to enlarge), although we've got no idea how long we'll spend on each sector. We plan to do the loop anti-clockwise, but that will depend on whether they've graded the Gibb River Rd when we set out.
Mobile phones will not work outside the towns, but hopefully, they will still take messages which we can get when we return to civilisation. We had planned to rent a Globalstar satellite phone, but I heard that the service was poor because the satellites were out of order. On checking with Globalstar, indeed 8 out of the 42 are broken - more are being launched, but not in time for our trip. We ruled out another system, Iridium, because it is too slow for data transmission (to update this blog!). But intensive research turned up an "rbgan" from a Dutch based organisation, Inmarsat. An rbgan uses dedicated satellites which are functioning well, but they transmit data only (maybe Skype will work?). But anyway, we went for this option because our main need is to collect email & do this blog. Let's hope it works. Rental charges are more or less the same as for a satellite phone ($17/day) and the transmission charges are $17/MB, so please do not send any jokes or images while we are away!!!
As of today, we are coming to terms with how we will plan food and meals. The camper will have limited storage & refrigeration. We expect fresh food to be in short supply. We have to watch the border crossing into WA, because you can't take nuts, honey, fruit or vegies across.
Stay tuned for the next installment...