Thursday, February 26, 2009

To the Eyre Peninsula

It's been a week since we left Kangaroo Island, and we've just made it over to the Eyre Peninsula. The roads have got much straighter and flatter and we're now in to long distance territory. Ahead of us is the Nullarbor Plain and the south coast of WA. While we've not gone through a time zone I'm also now operating on GMT+2 given the anti-social timing of the cricket from South Africa.

Our last night on KI provided for a great dress rehearsal for the west coast. I'm becoming increasingly worried that once we get to WA my photos will become dominated by sunsets. I'm already trying to work out if I'll have enough disc space as it's going. I'll need to be disciplined.

Cape de Couedic was the perfect place to see the sun set other than the fairly brisk and cool south westerly. Oh, and the beer which went out of date in August 08 which I'd picked up fresh from Vivonne Bay store only a couple of hours earlier. Not to worry, they replaced the beer the next day and I ended up having to inch back to our camp at around 30kph in the twilight to make sure we didn't break our 'no roadkill yet' record so it was just as well I'd only had one.

We popped by the seal colony on our way back to the ferry. Each trip to Seal Bay was sensational, and each very different. Of the 600 or so seals in the colony, around two thirds are at sea at any time. They stay out fishing, without sleep, for up to three days, and are regularly tracked 60kms or more out to sea. Pretty impressive, and probably explains why the ones you see on the beach are generally fast asleep. I'm not sure when the people who'd left their shoes at the top of the beach got them back, but it wouldn't have been until this little fella had woken up and moved well away.

We were both pretty sad to be getting off KI. There is certainly a powerful and comforting force in Island Time. It's a regular topic (and even more regular excuse) on Dangar Island. KI time did not disappoint and despite the reluctance to move on we both felt that the two weeks had been just about the right time given we're on a 12 month budget for the whole of our big island.

The almost half-way house between Cape Jervis and Adelaide was at Rapid Bay, a top little spot with a council run camping area. Apparently they have 5,000 people there during the holidays, which I found a little hard to believe given there were only two mens dunnies and the site was at most 200m by 100m, which would mean only 4 square meters each excluding cars, campers etc.

We rolled into Adelaide late on the Friday morning and dropped into the dive shop which had been running the boat Ness dived with on KI. Her dive computer needed a service so she'd given it to them to take care of but it hadn't come back from Dive Centre Manly yet (which was where they'd sent it - obviously if we'd known they'd do that we could have cut out the middle man). Hopefully we can pick it up at their other shop in Port Lincoln tomorrow.

We set up camp at the Adelaide Shores camp ground at West Beach, which is midway between Glenelg and Henley. The first night we walked up to Henley for a feed at the Henley hotel. The food was a little slow coming out which meant I had too much time to get full strength piss into me, including half a bottle of wine, before it came out. I woke up early on Saturday morning with that feeling I would be sick as soon as I was vertical. I put that moment off as long as possible but was inevitably proved right around 9am. No time to make it to the bathroom, I disgraced myself with a quick chuck in next to the car.

Anyhow, February/March is the time of course to arrive in the capital of the festival state. There was heaps going on but I really wasn't up for anything on the Saturday. We did go into town and watched some wicked skateboarding action but I was pleased Ness hadn't surprised me with advance tickets for Martin Martini.

I was renewed on Sunday and we hit the shops. Big time. I picked up a new camera which I am currently obsessed with. Let's just say Harvey Norman are lot more open to negotiation on price than I'd ever imagined. A little research and they ended up matching a website price from a shop in Sydney which saved almost 16 cases of VB. We also popped in to Rays Outdoors to pick up a tarp and some poles so we can generate some shade when there are no trees around to help us out. As you can see, and as some other campers rudely pointed out to us, our first attempt leaves some room for improvement.

I was still feeling good enough to drive back in to town in the evening for us to take in Tropfest. What a difference seeing it away from Sydney. No lines for the dunnies or the bar on the plus side, too many people walking in front during the movies and a noisy ferris wheel right next to us on the down side.

On the other plus side, we were back at the campground around half an hour after we left, and we didn't have to go to work the next morning.

We left fairly early on the Monday morning, via a new Woolworths with an exciting self-check out facility. If I'd wanted to work as a check out chick I'd be doing it by now, so personally I don't think it's doing to catch on like they hope it will.

Ness managed to get me out of bed to catch the awesome sunrise. Despite the old adage, it still turned out to be a stinking hot and clear day.

Our next stop was down at the bottom of the Yorke peninsula. We spent two windy days in Innes National Park for some more free camping courtesy of our parks pass.

We stayed at Surfers as the main spot was being refurbished with new facilities. It was set back in the mallee behind some dunes.

Despite the wind we both slept better than we had in a while. So nice to be back out of the city.

The beach was sensational, perfect fine white sand, aqua water, and just enough surf for the patient.

The wildlife was also fairly adventurous. Water is definitely in short supply down here and they also seemed to have fairly developed food tastes.

This one was busy polishing off a T-Bone, Xby style. And this little one was I think asking for the chance for a licker prize.

They were pretty cute most of the time, but some of the bigger ones got a little aggressive so we had to be pretty careful and keep a tidy camp.

Surfers was another west facing beach which gave me two more sunset fixes.

After only two days on the Yorke peninsula it was time to push on and for a while we were back in the familiar environment of the Flinders.

Rather than risk another sand fly munching at Port Germein we headed the short distance inland to Mount Remarkable National Park. Another almost brand new facility with hot showers. Again a wonderful night, topped off with nasi goreng mince dish from Ness.

Good wildlife action again, with a few goannas and some emu.

Today we had a big drive up the remainder of the Spencer Gulf and then down the other side on to the Eyre Peninsula.

The forecast for today was 42C with severe fire weather warnings. This meant total fire bans again. People are naturally pretty jumpy still following the Victorian fires. They even closed all the Eyre Peninsula schools today which was the first time they've done that. Thankfully things haven't turned out too bad. The wind didn't get up and while it was very hot when we stopped in weird Whyalla (very twilight zone, and we've met others here in Port Lincoln who thought the same), it's cooled right down here and it's not due to get back into the thirties for a few days again.

This little fella was walking around the Port Lincoln campsite. We're not quite sure what is is but it had feathers on its feet. It didn't seem to be able to fly so was maybe an escapee.

We've got four or five days here before the Nullarbor, including a stop at Coffin Bay for some of the best oysters Australia has to offer. And apparently they're only $6 per dozen. Yum Yum.

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