Information on this blog is raw and sometimes unverified reporting straight from the road by teams. The event will issue a media release for any events requiring an official notification.

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Sunday, September 18, 2005

Leeming Sungroper: Sunday 18th: to Darwin

6:45am meet at the airport. 7 degrees outside. 18 students, four laptops, three teachers, two satellite phones and a UHF CB antenna. Qantas handle us smoothly as a group booking. Fly to Darwin. Pick up bags off the carousel: students form a bucket brigade, sorting the teams bags (all marked with "group booking" tags) and ferrying them into a heap. Acqire two 4 wheel drives from Hertz, kindly paid for by a sponsor, McMahon. Step out of the terminal into a wall of Darwn heat: 34 degrees and humid. 4WD's are supposed to have rotating amber lights on top, and tow-balls on the back; but have neither.

Take one 4WD to Thrifty, pick up 22-seater bus. Meet Michigan Solar's team leader and their internet guy at Thrifty. Internet guy says he has a dish cooler than Onno's: 0.9metre dish but it's permanently mounted on the back of a ute, and auto-targets itself onto the satellite upon command. He says his company has built a second one and shipped it to New Orleans.

Students onto bus, then drive to Alatai apartments, in the north-east corner of the heart of Darwin, spitting distance from the Stuart Highway. A week from now we'll be racing down that road.

Team meeting, then the entire group goes to the supermarket for shopping. Supermarket is open: no southern-half-of-Western-Australia stupid inconvenient restrictive shopping hours here. Not that I have issues or anything.

In the evening, down to the Mindil Beach Markets. Food. Torches, firestaffs, poi and juggling balls to muck around with, though I don't play with any actual fire. Flaw in the Buddy System revealed: I am late back to the bus, and everyone has a buddy except me. Bus does not get far before this is realised. Embarrassment.

Return to Alatai. A couple of Nuna team members are in the pool. All of our students join them.

Today: pick up car, take it to Hidden Valley, debug.

-- Doug Burbidge