Harriet Point

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    • Day 67

      The home of the white Hilux

      September 1, 2021 in Australia ⋅ 🌙 23 °C

      We awoke to fog and high humidity. The RV overflow park was busy quite early with departures. The service it provides to short term travellers is outstanding. It's a safe haven and supplies nothing but rubbish and recycling and a flat sandy site. It's all we need and everyone watches out for each other.

      After a walk to admire the beach view (fog) we headed to town for the seafarers centre harbour tour. We chanced our luck getting an urgent oil change for the ute and Pilbara Toyota gladly did the work for us with no notice. Well done to those guys. They washed the ute too! The seafarers tour took us through the history of the organisation, how it began as a Christian based society and now is a massive non profit organisation supporting seafarers world wide when they land in foreign ports. They usually have full contact with the seafarers but due to covid the seamen aren't allowed off the ships at all.

      Pilbara Port has 19 berths and takes Panamax and Cape class ships. Suggest you research these behemoths. They are the biggest ships around. The ships come in on low tide and leave full on full tide about 36 hours later. The port is dredged and some of these ships have less than 25cm of gap between the sea floor and their bottom. It's all electronically monitored as well. A fleet of tugs help maneuever the ships in and out of the Port. The main players (BHP and FMG) each have their own tugs. 98% of exports from Pilbara is iron ore. By far the largest ore export port. This place has kept Australia from recession with well over 500 million tonnes shipped annually.

      We toured by boat right around the harbour getting close to the ships while the kilometres of conveyors feed the ore into their hulls. The automated trains bring the ore from the mines. The trains are 2.9km long and have 4 locomotives and 268 ore carrying trucks. The trains and the ore loaders for the boats are all remotely operated from Perth. No drivers or operators as such anymore. Still a lot of people doing maintenance I would imagine. In a week or so we will be inland near the mines so hope to tour at that end as well. Salt and lithium are also exported. Lithium is presently 700USD/ tonne and iron ore is 200USD/tonne.

      After lunch we watched a ship leaving also. There are about 20 ships waiting to enter the port.
      Back to our free camp after shopping and fuel. We have found Port Hedland most interesting and well worth visiting such a dynamic working town. Tomorrow we are back on the road south along the coast to Dampier.
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    Harriet Point, Q21896551

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