Friday, February 28, 2014

Port Augusta - a circle is complete

Today as we left Arno Bay the wind was giving a very strong farewell, but the closer we got inland the less the wind was pushing us along. Our first stop was in Cleve, which had some nice art throughout the town.

One of Cleve's murals
Yes, this is sheep country
These guys looked real until you got up close
Heading further north our next stop was in Kimba, which is the halfway across Australia point from Sydney on the Eastern shores to Perth on the Western shores. It is also home to one of Australia's "Big Icons". Kimba's "Big Galah" stands 8 metres tall and was erected in 1993 by the Venning family who still own the "Halfway Across Australia Gem Shop". One year as an April Fools Day joke an egg was placed in the nest, so we an assume with that evidence the Big Galah is female.

Kimba's Big Galah
 We thought we might stay at the free camp in Iron Knob, that was until we drove into town. Oh my I don't think so, we drove in and straight out and onto tonight's destination Port Augusta. If you have been following our "Aussie Adventure" from its beginning you may remember back on May 10th, 2013 we stayed here just prior to heading off on our expedition up the centre of Australia. It's pretty exciting that we have completed a circle. As I look back on what we were like then, I get a smile on my face, we were so new and green when it came to all this "on the road stuff" and we were so excited. 
As the Spencer Gulf winds into Port Augusta is become less imposing, but still beautiful
So as I sit here with the wind once again shaking poor Myrtle from side to side I feel a little sad that the Western Australia part of our adventure has ended. I have so many wonderful memories of the west that will stay with me forever. But we are still on the road for a few more months and tomorrow we head south onto the Yorke Peninsula to have some more adventures. Please continue to join me and I would love to hear your comments. 
Our Aussie Adventure reaches another milestone


My next post will be my 700th post. Wow when I first started writing my blog back on February 3rd, 2009 I never ever thought I would ever write 700 posts. So to celebrate my big milestone I would love to give away some gifts. As some of you would be aware I design and make jewellery. So over the next week everyone who leaves a comment on my blog or on my facebook post and mentions 700 will go into the draw to win a piece of my jewellery. There are three pieces in total. Please have a go and leave a comment.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Arno Bay

We arrived in the seaside village of Arno Bay yesterday and after setting Myrtle up, had another lazy afternoon. In 1863 this tiny village was originally called "Salt Creek Cove", then in 1882 the name was changed to "Bligh" after Capt. William Bligh. Then once again in 1940 the town had another name change to "Arno Bay". Back in the 1800's the town was a port that serviced local farming districts, importing super phosphate fertilisers and exporting locally grown cereal crops. Now it's main position is as a tourist fishing town. Hopefully it lives up to it's reputation and we have some luck in the fishing department. But not today as it's once again pretty windy. I think I have been caught by the fishing bug, I love grabbing my rod, setting it up (which I have just learned) and heading off to do a bit of angling.
This was a first - harvested, shucked and eaten with an hour!! Oh they tasted so nice :)
The Arno Bay Caravan Park is situated right on the foreshore overlooking the wharf. Last night it was so nice listening to the waves as they came crashing onto the shore. That's when it wasn't being interrupted by the guy in the van next to us snoring!! Boy he sure was loud!!
The view from Myrtle
This is a really lovely, clean caravan park. As you drive in there is a huge and beautiful rose garden with a sign "Belinda's Rose Garden" and park guests are invited to pick some roses to take into their vans. I couldn't resist these beautiful yellow roses. I'm not a huge rose fan but my late Mum and Dad had some beautiful roses and my Dad just loved yellow roses. The rose garden at Arno Bay is named after Steve the owners late wife Belinda who recently died from Asbestos related cancer. It's quite moving having her roses in Myrtle. There are even vases of roses in the amenities block.

They are not only beautiful but smell amazing

As we weren't going to get any fishing done we decided to head into Cowell to check it out. We also had to drive there to get petrol as the Arno Bay petrol bowser has been out of order since the earthquake two years ago. Cowell is a bit bigger than Arno Bay and had a really nice feel about it. There some lovely old restored buildings and from what I could tell they have a fairly production Art Group. They have started what they call "Crap Art" where, some lovely, some interesting painting are hung in the toilets around the town, from the public conveniences to the loo's in the pub. I love novel ideas like this.
The Visitor Centre is situated in a beautiful old building
The pub had some lovely stained glass.........

.........and a succulent pig on a spit for tonight dinner

The novel idea of "Crap Art".......

........ was a great idea

Yeah no cooking tonight. The caravan park had a Fish n' Chips night. For just $12.00 you got 2 pieces of local King George Whiting. 2 local prawns, home made chips and some yummy salads. It was quite a big meal - you can't beat $12.00

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Coffin Bay

We are now in Coffin Bay which a little township located on the bottom point of the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. It has a population of around 650 but during holiday season and Easter that can grow to around 4,000. I'm so glad it's not the busy time at the moment. This area is famous all over Australia for its oysters. Some say they are the best in Australia, they are pretty good but in my opinion I think the Tassie (Tasmania) oysters are the best. That doesn't mean I won't be eating as many as I can while I'm here. I'm quite tired tonight and my brain can't think of anything to write, so I might just share some photos I've taken over the past few days.
Mmmmmm Seafood

I'm not sure why but Coffin Bay's golf course has black greens??

As we finished fishing today we were treated with a beautiful sunset

Australia's famous racehorse Makybe Diva

In 2005 Makybe Diva became the only horse to win the Melbourne Cup three times

This Whale tail art in Elliston gave me a giggle

Port Lincoln wharf

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Now that's a Fish!!

Today is our last day in Streaky Bay. I have liked it here, it's a nice little village, public spaces are covered in lush, soft grassed areas, the streets, wharf, in fact everywhere is very clean. There are also some beautiful old houses and buildings.
Fishing is very popular in this area but we haven't had any luck, but back on April 26, 1990  a young 21 year old Dion Gilmore did very well on his fishing adventure. On that day he landed a 1520 kg (3351 pounds), 5 metre (16.4 feet) Great White Pointer Shark!
Prior to getting here I had read about the local service station having a replica of the shark on display. As we entered the room it was located in we almost jumped out of our skin as the lights were out and the great huge mouth and set of teeth was looming in our faces. It is huge, and would be such a hard fish to reel in. Then later in the day I found this photo of the catch on the back of a trailer.
Wow it is huge!!
Excuse my language.... but this sight frightened the crap out of both of us

The replica of the 1520kg Great White

Now that's a FISH!!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Westall Way, Point Labatt and Sealions

Today we went on what started out to be a short drive and ended up being a whole day drive. Our first drive was on the Westall Way Loop Drive, just south of Streaky Bay. First stop was at what was called "Smooth Pool" but it didn't look to smooth to me. Very pretty with it's amazing ancient rock pools but not smooth.
Smooth Pool - not to sure about the smooth bit!
Then it was onto Point Westall, with an ocean calmer than we had seen in quite a while.

Point Westall
Next was onto the "Granites" with their lichen covered rocks.
It wasn't hard to know when we had arrived at Tractor Beach by the old rusted tractor.

The entrance to Tractor Beach
After a bit of a drive along the Point Labatt Sealion Drive we reached Point Labatt to look at the only permanent colony on the Australian mainland of Australian sea lions (Neophoca cinera). From the viewing platform you can watch up to 50 of one of Australia's most endangered marine mammals and the world's rarest sea lions and New Zealand fur seals.

A small portion of the sealions and seals
Then to cap of a pretty good day we arrived at "Murphy's Haystacks". Murphy's Haystacks are ancient, wind-worn pillars and boulders of pink granite estimated to be over 1,500 million years old. The actual name of these rock formations are Inselbergs. They obtained the Murphy's Haystacks name when an Irish traveller in a coach saw the formation in the distance. He asked how a farmer could produce so much hay. As the farm was on a property owned by a man called Murphy they became Murphy's haystacks. It didn't matter to me how they got their name they were pretty spectacular.
The only word the describe the sight is ........

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Cape Bauer Loop Drive

Today we went for a drive around the Cape Bauer Loop drive. The scenery along this part of the Great Australian Bight is both rugged and spectacular. Before heading onto the loop drive we went and checked out the Back Beach to see if it would be OK to have  fish. Unfortunately no, it was way to windy, but the view was beautiful.
Back Beach
Along the loop drive our first stop was at Cape Bauer, this coastline is so rugged you had no hope of getting down to the beach but oh my it was a wonderful sight.

Cape Bauer
Then it onto the Whistling Rocks and the Blowholes. both these locations are easy to get to with a 360mtr boardwalk and viewing platforms. I wouldn't say the Whistling Rocks actually whistled it was more like an extremely loud whoosh as the force of the waves rushed up the cave. The power of the ocean always excites me. The blowholes was a little disappointing as the ocean wasn't rough enough for them but the sight was still spectacular.
Whistling Rocks
Blowholes - without the water spout
These huge holes beside the lookout were pretty amazing
We then headed back to Streaky Bay to try a bit of fishing on the wharf. Prior to leaving this morning we asked the girl in the caravan park reception what sort of fish you could catch off the wharf. She told us a couple and then said "hopefully you don't get to many shitties"!! We said what are they? She couldn't remember the correct name and said "oh we call them shitties because they taste terrible". I think you can guess what we caught, yes your right - Shitties. Oh well at least we can use a couple of then as bait when we go crabbing tomorrow.
Streaky Bay Wharf
This baby was doing an awful lot of complaining

Streaky Bay, South Australia

Bugger, I typed all of this post last night and it didn't upload so I will have another try again!

Our drive from Smokey Bay to Streaky Bay was certainly a long drive - NOT! It was all of 73kms (about 45 miles) but we still had a lazy day after packing up and then setting Myrtle up again.
Our Streaky Bay home
We are staying at Streaky Bay Foreshore Tourist Park which by the name implies we are right on the water. I've already been told we should be able to get some more crabs off the jetty here. Apparently they had a huge down poor on the same night we did in Smokey Bay.
A local said all was OK but the Pub got flooded, instantly Shane asked if it was still open!!

Our view from Myrtle - as you can see the tide goes out a long way

These guys always know where to get an easy feed.
As soon as someone heads to the fish cleaning area the pelicans arrive not long after them.
  Streaky Bay is another small coastal village with a population of around 1200. The main industries are the growing of cereal grains, fishing and tourism. It was named by Captain Mathew Flinders because of the streaks in the water across the bay, which were caused by the reflection of light and seaweed.
I love these guys
....sometimes they look like they are smiling

Friday, February 14, 2014

Smokey Bay, South Australia

The Nullabor greeted us with a beautiful sunrise as we said goodbye.
Well we survived the Nullabor and as we drove into the first town, Ceduna the outside temperature (according to the cars dashboard) was 46c (114F) yes you read right!! All I could think of was how hot we were going to be putting Myrtle (our camper) up!!.

It's hard to see but it really does say 46c!!!
We drove on through Ceduna and finally arrived at our destination for the next few days which is Smokey Bay. Yeah the temperature had dropped to 44c !!!!!! We have booked a total of four nights here, we actually wanted more but they are booked out. Apparently all along this coastline it gets very busy at this time of year with all the people who like fishing coming here. Anyone who knows me know I just love oysters and I am very excited this peninsula is a popular oyster breeding area. So my first stop was at the local oyster sales. Now I love oysters but nothing beats a freshly opened one. I was in heaven.

Mmmmmmm Oysters
The last few days have been fairly warm, but certainly not as hot as the day we arrived. Yesterday was a hot windy one and we spent the day on the Smokey Bay wharf doing some crabbing. This is the first time I have tried to catch crabs! We had our nets ready, bait which was fish carcasses from the local fishermen and of we headed down the wharf for a new experience.

Smokey Bay wharf
We were told to check the nets every five minutes or so but I just wanted to keep pulling it up to check. They have to be a certain size and you cannot keep the girls as the all have eggs. It wasn't long before I pulled up my net and low and behold I have a pretty good sized crab in there. OK now how do we get this thing with big claws out of the net? Between the two of us we managed. By the end of our session we had 10 blue swimmer crabs for dinner. I was a bit concerned how I would know what the girls looked like but after getting a couple it was easy to distinguish them apart. The boys are bigger and a beautiful blue colour and the poor girls are brown and really not that attractive.
So dinner last night was chilli crabs and they were oh so yummy. Seeing I had never cooked crabs before I was pretty happy with how they tasted.
I was pretty pleased with my first attempt of Chilli Blue Swimmer Crab
Then just as we were finishing up the rain started and didn't stop all night. Quite a lot of areas in the caravan park got a bit flooded, it was a bit amusing watching all the older ladies wading through the puddles to get into the toilets. The rain has stopped now, but we are just going to have a lazy day at the camp as we are moving on tomorrow.