Archive for September, 2008

“Coco” succumbs to Poison Bush

September 24, 2008
Russ and Ros are now approximately 2.5 days out of Kiwirrkurra, an extremely remote settlement 680km west of Alice Springs.
They and the camels are all travelling well but "Coco" has suddenly taken ill (not seriously) with another suspected bout of Gyrostemon ramulosus poisoning. Both "Jack" and "Euco" have made a complete recovery.
The days are long and fortunately have not been particularly hot as yet, but they will pay for this in the not too distant future with an unwelcome run of scorchers. They are out of trouble now with frequent watering points dotting the remainder of their journey, all the way to Alice Springs.
Russ and Ros would like to send a big thank you to Ivan, Blake and Kim from MBL Contracting who treated them to a feast of meat, sausages and beer, and great company, out in the middle of nowhere, at a time when they really needed some friendly company. Thanks guys!!!! (and gal) 🙂
Also, a big thank you to Ken and Nellie who have sent all of Russ and Ros’s pictures to the home office after meeting them along the Canning, saving all the pics onto their own computer, and making the effort to transfer onto a disc and sending on. Thanks heaps Ken and Nellie!!
All is well and spirits are high, but we cannot tell you if Esther or her camel is OK south of Well 33 after one of her own camels fell to the Poison Bush ?? Can anyone advise??

Now heading east !

September 10, 2008
Russ and Ros (and Esther) arrived at Kunawarritji community (4km from Well 33) on August 21 and departed east on September 9 after a long struggle with the effect of camel poison Gyrostemon ramulosus on two of their camels, "Jack" and "Euco".
This plant is thick about Kunawarritji. It contains a cyanagen poison which when eaten releases cyanide which can quickly kill. Symptoms include bottom lip quivering, vomiting, body tremors and inability to stand and frequently results in a quick death. Camels that are not immediately killed by this plant usually survive but the recovery period is quite long.
Russ and Ros were aware of G. ramulosus but it seems both camels had eaten a small amounts without them knowing.
Camels love this plant and this period was an extremely dangerous time for the camels, and the expedition. The camels could not be hobbled, and could only be tied to trees, so their hunger grew. At any opportunity they would snatch at anything within reach, particularly while being led about, and if they escaped from their tethers they would almost certainly have been found dead within hours.
The Kunawarritji community consists of about x60 residents and includes an office, a small shop, a health clinic and a small school. Service personnel include a nurse, x2 teachers and a community coordinator.
Russ and Ros would like to thank Horace and Paul for their fantastic efforts to keep the tethered camels fed and their interest in keeping the Expedition going. They actually left the community on August 28 and walked the 4.5km out to Well 33 proper ("Euco" only just made it!) where they had better feed choices for the camels and access to water.
The price of fuel at Kunawarritji community is $3.20/litre !!
Esther Nunn has headed south alone but news comng back to Russ and Ros informs them that she too has one of her three camels affected by the poison plant and is awaiting its recovery before moving on!
It is now mid-September and the days are hot, very hot, and Rus and Ros will now have to contend with this additional hardship. Their next stretch out to Jupiter Well is about 220km of waterless terrain and if the days remain as hot they will struggle to make this distance without some hardship. The many delays will now burden them with additional problems related to the rapid onset of summer.