After packing up we headed into Francois Peron National Park. The first stop here was the old homestead of the station that was in the area until it became a park in the early 1990's. We let down our tyres here before venturing further into the park as we were instructed to do. As it turns out we didn't let the tyres down enough. At one point we got stuck in some deep soft sand and had to let more air out of the tyres before we could continue. A Swiss guy stopped to make sure we got going again, which we did.
Cape Peron was a lovely spot. As soon as we walked to the water we saw dugong and her calf. We had some lunch there before doing a 3km return walk from the Cape to Skipjack Point. This was great. Along the way, as we looked down from the cliffs into the water, we saw more dugongs, dolphins, rays, sharks and other fish. On the way back we walked along the beach rather than the cliff.
As we started the car to make our way either to a camp spot within the park or back to Fowler's Camp where we were a couple of nights earlier, we noticed the car running roughly and lacking power. We decided to mark a start and see how we went. There were points on the 51km trek out of the park, going uphill, that we didn't think the car was going to make it. We decided we had to get to Denham to find a mechanic. By the time we managed to get out of the park it was too late to find a mechanic so we set up the camper at the Denham Seaside Tourist Village.
First thing Wednesday morning we took the car to the mechanic, Paul, who pretty much recognised the problem straight away having seen it in another Kia Sorento only a few weeks earlier. There is a spot under the motor where sand can get in and under the timing belt. This causes the belt to slip and cause the timing mechanisms to get out of whack. The only fix for this is a trip to a Kia Service Centre for repair. Paul started liaising with Kia in Geraldton and there were discussion of us being towed there, along with our camper, for the required repairs. This will all be fine, and not hurt our wallets too much, if it falls under warranty, which expires at the end of October - just in time! If it is the timing mechanism all will be well.
We were hoping to be moved to Geraldton on Thursday but this did not eventuate as we didn't get authorisation from Kia Head Office until Friday. This means we'll get transported on Monday. Fortunately, Denham is a nice, windy seaside town so it wasn't too bad a spot to be stranded. There is only one street and we ended up walking up and down this a couple of times a day. We watched the Socceroos beat Qatar 4-0 at one pub and the Caulfield Cup at the other. We also watched a few DVDs. Unfortunately there was no tv reception on the notebook with our digital tuner.
We also visited Ocean Park which is an aquarium of sorts which shows marine life in Shark Bay. Paul the mechanic generously lent us his car to visit Ocean Park. The park had turtles, sea snakes, sharks, rays, crayfish, squid and heaps of other fish. We had a guided tour. It was really interesting to learn about a lot of the marine life we had been seeing in our travels the past few weeks.
Sunday afternoon Bill, the tow truck driver, came and picked up the car. He would be back the next morning at 5am for the camper and us.