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Woomera to Pt. Augusta - 12/22/2003
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Hi Everyone,

Well I got a sponge bath in the sink of the hall we are staying at here in Pt. Augusta , felt very good, it had been 6 days since the last shower and lots of sweat and dust since then, we all looked pretty rough.

It ended up we stayed/slept in Woomera until the morning of 12/17, even though we walked around 27K on the 16th. On the 17th we stayed in a roadside rest area and did the same along the way until we reached Pt. Augusta yesterday.

Woomera has been a major military site over the years both for the Australians, U.K. and the U.S.. It was a spooky place, presently almost empty and decorated throughout the town with missiles or other military hardware. It remains ready to house 600 military personnel on short notice for military exercises.

On the 19th a few people got sick, possibly from one of our jugs of water turning bad. It had algae or something growing in it, I spotted it when I went to drink out of my water bottle and saw all this stuff floating around. When I went to check out the jug it had lots of floating stuff in it and we got rid of it but it was already 3/4 gone. Everyone seems fine now.

Our numbers keep going up and down as people leave and others join. We had been up into the 40's or 50's and presently number around 20. We will lose another group of people when we get to Adelaide and probably also gain more. The core group doing the whole walk appears to be around 10. Several international walkers are still making arrangements to join the walk.

On the 19th Marcus' van died, the engine seized up, bringing us down to one vehicle. On the 20th though, Bilbo rejoined us with his vehicle, we thought he wasn't coming back until we got to Port Augusta, so the timimg was great. Marcus is looking into getting another vehicle, as the walk really could use 3, as we have 2 small trailers to pull and only one of the vehicles at present has a trailer hitch.

The weather has been quite unusual we have been told, while we have had a couple of hot days, it hasn't been as hot as normal. We have also had several days of rain, usually their is very little rain this time of year.

One night we had very high winds, along with the rain, while my tent held up fine, everything got wet. We had stuffed all our gear in the tent with us, so we were crowded in a 2 person tent but did this because we had no good shelter for the gear. But the rainfly ended up sticking to the inside wall of the tent on the gear side causing it to leak. Plus, a water bottle in one of our bags burst when we accidently sat on it.

One day while walking a 2 foot long lizard ran across the road as we passed by, Atsuko jumped thinking it was one of the many posionous snakes here in Australia. In one of the rest areas, we had 3 posionous spiders (they kill mice not humans but it would still hurt) sleep under our tent for 2 nights, you can be certain we kept our door/ zipper closed up.

This morning Atsuko held a meeting for everyone planning on doing the Japan part of the walk, to explain cultural differences and what will be expected of us. Atsuko herself, leaves on the 24th to go back to Japan to tend to duties/ preparations for the Japan part and to start the visa process for us. She will rejoin us again in Australia.

There has been outreach to the media but I haven't found it on the world wide web, otherwise I would give you the links. We have had at least 3 articles about the walk in Roxby Down papers, one has a picture of Gerti and me holding the walks banner. If I can find links I will share them. A Pt. Augusta reporter talked to some of our group yesterday. If you checkout the website for the Kunga women I gave in an earlier email (plus I think I have it in the links section), you can see pictures they put on their website of the beginning of the walk from the gates of the mine at Roxby Downs.

Today and tomorrow we will set-up an info table in the park in the center of town.

Not sure I'll be getting on the Internet tomorrow, so you might not hear from me again until Adelaide around January 8th. So I hope you all have a joyful and peaceful holiday season.

Love and peace, Jeff
International Peace Pilgrimage Toward A Nuclear Free Future.