Report A Fireball

Luke Crosses the Nullarbor, Day 15

The weather in Australia has turned cooler again, and we’re set to start hunting down some more meteorites. To give you a taster of what that’s like, here’s some more of Luke’s blog from a recent trip … (the story started with On the Road Again)

So, we can’t go back to the fall site. But we do need the data from two cameras further north – Mount Barry and Lambina (pronounced la-min-a), to accurately triangulate another fireball that had fallen recently. We restocked some vegetables from the shops, dropped Martin at the airport, and fixed our flat tires. Lambina is a 4 – 5-hour drive north and it was already midday. The guys who were off to Lambina would be lucky to get back by midnight.

We split the team: Phil took Ellie and Rob up to Lambina, (remember how to say, it is important because people care about it deeply – it’s not lamb-bina it’s lamina) and Sarah, Trent and I went up to Mount Barry. I had the sudden realisation that I was actually the only DFN employed person in my group and was therefore the kind of ‘leader’ which suddenly heaped a load of responsibilities on me, but luckily Sarah was with me last time I was out here when we built the Mount Barry camera so I wasn’t totally flying solo! We headed towards the station and found the road had opened – at least for 4WDs! I was in the Land Cruiser with only a pile of vegetables for company. This was the first time I’d driven the cruiser and by God, it’s a bone-jarrer! I felt every bump and it was significantly harder to control!

We started playing Animal, Mineral, Vegetable (otherwise known as 20 Questions) over the radio until I decided that the road required more of my attention. The others then played “Guess what is on the radio?” ( … It’s sport. Let’s guess what sport? Ok, let’s guess who is playing. Oh! Australia and New Zealand. Now who is winning? …) This, apparently, took a full hour of radio listening to establish.

Still, we made it up to Mount Barry station and popped in to see Tony and Jackie. We discovered from them that our earlier radio transmissions had been picked up by everyone in the surrounding 100 km. This made me very self-conscious about what I had said during 20 Questions …

Anyway, we had just enough time for a lovely cuppa tea with amazing homemade biscuits and discovered that Tony and Jackie will be appearing in Robson Green’s Australian Adventure – airing on the Discovery Channel on the 12th Nov. Too soon, we had to leave and head down to the camera site. Luckily, this camera’s internet connection works perfectly and all we had to do was exchange the full hard drive for a fresh one. I climbed onto the roof of the cruiser for better sat phone reception and called Martin (back in Perth) to turn the camera off remotely. The camera beeped, signalling that it was off. I felt like some bizarre puppet master barking orders from a pedestal and watching my minions (Trent and Sarah), unplug the camera, change the hard drives, and reboot the camera. Martin, on the other end of the blower, confirmed that it was all ok and we set off back for Coober Pedy. When we got there, the road back to our original area was open again – a minor miracle! We got back and tried to sort out the food and make dinner ready for the other group. They arrived at around 11 pm and we put a hotdog in one hand and a beer in the other. All was well.


Luke’s adventure continues in Luke Crosses the Nullarbor, day 16

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