Brett's list of bits - stuff and things as well as things and stuff...
Canteen 2002   
April 27, 2002
We take the kids from CanTeen on a trip north to Grey, rescuing some kids who did a dumb thing along the way.

West Coast 4x4 (in conjunction with a few other Perth-based 4WD clubs) arranged a weekend with the people from CanTeen. Basically, the idea is to take everyone on a trip up through Lancelin and Wedge to Grey. Although this sounds pretty basic, there was a huge amount of organizing to do, so full credit to Froggy, Ed and the whole crew at CanTeen...

Our drivers for the weekend were: Day One

First, here's a picture of the whole group (bar Wayne who was coming from Armadale and met us at CanTeen) in Balcatta nice and early at 7AM sharp. (Hint, hint Froggy. :-] ) Anyhoo, after this we drove down to CanTeen, picked up our passengers, luggage and other stuff and headed for our first stop at Yanchep. While most people travelled in comfort, I had the roof off of my car (it being a very nice, fine day) but I don't think the girls in the car were prepared for the cold nor the wind. (Sorry about that.)

While the CanTeen crew went off and did some canoeing, we had ourselves morning tea. Next stop was Lancelin. We all had lunch and then our illustrious trip leaders worked out how we were getting to our next destination - Wedge. The beach was looking good until Froggy tried it out and it was a little too boggy for the rest of us. So, while he headed up the beach, we took the inland route until we got past the soft patch.

On the beach, we were soon stopped by an Air Force sentry who informed us that the U.S. Navy was about to commence a bombing run, so we had to take a detour around the whole area. And sure enough, we did see some F/A 18's making some runs across the beach into the bombing range.

I should point out that there was no notice at all in the usual places that the beach would be closed this particular weekend. Very annoying...

The first photo here is from Lancelin, the second from a comfort stop after we had made it around the range. At Wedge, we started a little jaunt around the dunes when the plan (already moderately astray due to our Air Force and Navy friends) went right out the window.

We got a radio call from a guy who had found some people who had badly damaged their vehicle and (more importantly) themselves. Whilst travelling over the dunes at a speed yet-to-be-determined but believed (by us) to be in excess of 80 km/h, the driver did not see a large drop-off and the 4WD became airborne. The pictures below bear testament to the fact that "soft" sand isn't necessarily so. Please note that I only stopped to take the photos after we were sure the occupants were safe and being cared for and we had contacted emergency services.

Always wear a seatbelt.

I'm not saying they wouldn't have been hurt had they been wearing their seatbelts but it would have been lots better for them even though they wouldn't have been able to drive home. The important thing is (I guess) that they survived.

Luckily for them, we had a nurse and several first aid kits on board. After first aid had been supplied, we made a decision to send the CanTeen crew off to Grey, while Meg (our nurse), Ed and I stayed behind to help out. Ed and Meg had many conversations with the emergency services and eventually we loaded up the injured and took them into the medical post at Wedge for some more qualified people to look at.

As it was getting late in the day and the injured needed a higher level of medical care, Ed and I were volunteered to take them into Lancelin as there was no ambulance or other transport available from Wedge.

Luckily the bombing had stopped so we headed off down the beach towards Lancelin. We hadn't gone too far when we had to stop because the beach was blocked by a guy stuck in the sand. Ed discovered that his tyre pressures were around 40-50 psi - I am not making this up - and he was there without a tyre pressure gauge. We helped him deflate his tyres (in a hurry) and he drove out of the way without incident.

Things were going pretty smoothly until we hit the soft patch of sand just outside Lancelin that Froggy had been through before. Ed (being in front) went on ahead and ended up pretty much sideways across the beach due to the steep angle of the sand and its extremely soft nature. I was stuck a little way back but managed to claw my way out up onto the (just) harder sand. So, he did the sensible thing and let his tyres down to about 10 psi while I did some digging. I should mention at this point that it was completely pitch black - evening had made way to night.

His next attempt to drive out resulted in the bead breaking the bead on one of his front tyres - he wasn't going foward any more with that. So, with his expert guidance I reversed down along his tracks and snatched him out in a series of maneuvers.

Now, I don't mind saying that I was pretty worried at this point - reversing down onto a highly sloped beach, into very soft sand - at night. And I told Ed that I was very nervous. But, he was confident we could do it and with his guidance it all worked out well. (phew) No photos though - we still had injured people in the cars and we needed to get them into Lancelin.

Luckily, the bead on the tyre was still seated on the rim so we pumped up the tyres enough to get ourselves into town.

After dropping our passengers off at the medical centre, we drove back along the beach (bypassing the soft bits) to Wedge. Along the way, we found another not-quite-so-soft bit that had us sideways using opposite lock to keep going the way we wanted. At this point, Ed made the decision not to use the beach to return back the next day.

After Wedge, we proceeded to Grey. As neither Ed nor I had been there in many years, we received guidance from the West Coast crew already there - they could see our lights from a way back and told us how to get into town. Froggy promptly told us to drive into a driveway (which we did), but it turned out that it belonged to some other people who were confused about our arrival.

Some moderate language ensued, we found Froggy and made it to camp. Phew - the end of a long day.

Day Two

The next morning, we broke camp and headed for the dunes outside of Grey for a bit of fun - safely. After burning around for a while, the CanTeen group had some fun surfing down the sand dunes. Of course, it's very important to be careful and not to fall off of your surf board, but someone always does. Jane took a bit of a fall and may have broken a rib. Hope you're ok!

After this, the CanTeen crew had a group session so we amused ourselves telling stories about the day and night before... We followed this by a nice long drive around the dunes - doing some tricky descents and ascents. Then, back into Grey for lunch. We dropped off down to the beach and enjoyed some excellent finger food (thanks Antoinette). After lunch, a short photo shoot, then back to Lancelin to pump up tyres and then onto Perth. We were a bit late getting back, so unfortunantely had no time to play in the dunes at Lancelin but luckily all the parents were still there waiting for us in Perth.

Thanks to Ed and Froggy for arranging the weekend from the 4WD side - it was great and I'll be reserving my spot for next year right now.

Funny bits:

While I find this funny, Ed doesn't. He leant his chair so that the girl with the broken toe had somewhere to sit while help came along. While we were packing up to go, I assumed it belonged to the occupants of the wrecked car and put it in their car. So, on the way back down on Sunday, we stopped by to get it back out of the car, but it had already been towed. Whoops. Sorry, about that Ed...

For some reason, my UHF set seems to be more sensitive than others in the group. While we were on our way down to Lancelin from Wedge, I overheard the rest of the group (who were supposed to be at Grey by that time) talking to Froggy who seemed to be lost. This amused us no end...

When I was snatching Ed out of the sand, it took several goes before we made it back on to relatively hard sand. But every time the snatch strap snatched (so to speak), my car bogged down and stopped while Ed started moving. He was encouraging (and I use the term loosely) me to keep moving but each time I had to back up a bit and get out of the rut I had formed when I stopped. Sometimes continual motion is not as easy as it seems.

Broken bits:

During the recovery on the beach at night, we managed to wrap Ed's snatch strap around his rear brakes. Scratch one snatch strap. Needless to say, he was moderately annoyed about this.

While we were driving to Grey late at night, I felt a thump from the rear of the car. After investigating, I found that the steel clip that is bolted to the car to hold the spare wheel carrier in had pulled itself and a large chunk of metal out of the back of the car. Whoops. Oh well - amazing what you can do with luggage tie-down straps.
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This is where they launched from
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And this is where they landed
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As a rule, cars don't fly well
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Always wear a seatbelt
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Trying to get a photo of the sand flying
And not succeeding
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I'm always good at colour co-ordination
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