07.09.2010 - 12.09.2010 18 °C
Mary was up and getting the washing done by 0630 as we had not been able to wash any clothes for the previous several days. It was windy and cold with a heavy overcast so drying would be a problem. However, the town’s Visitor Information Centre proved extremely helpful in signing off on my Nullarbor Links golf saga, printing out some urgently needed documents and some photocopying, all with a smile – and very inexpensive too!
As we enjoyed a warming coffee in town we all decided on taking the 3.6Km ‘coastal walk’ but, as soon as we started Mary and Maureen could not resist the temptation to collect more seashells. The sealed walkway made for an easy stroll down towards Pinky Point, however, when we almost there, Brian became unwell so we headed towards the local IGA store for some fluids to drink. In reaching the Thevenard IGA we passed a set of very large grain silos. Our slow stroll back to the CP was made more interesting, if sad, when we encountered a man in his forties in his front yard raging against the way the present Federal Government came about!
After lunch we managed to complete a few chores that needed doing – Mary updated her emails while I read a novel.
We started slowly today, and while I sorted out a range of issues related to mum’s estate with my brother, Noel, Mary managed to finally get the van floors cleaned up after all the mud and water from the Nullarbor experience. Those chores completed we all had much needed morning coffee and tea in the camp kitchen, where we decided on visiting the local historic museum after lunch.
Sadly, we couldn’t find this museum, so we decided to visit the local meteorological station for a free view of the 1500 weather balloon release. We were warmly greeted by Mark, the officer in charge, who entertained us with as much detail about his met work at Ceduna as we wanted. He showed us how the Australian weather mapping system worked and we learned a lot about how complex this is. Weather maps around the world are basically compiled only in Melbourne (for the Southern Hemisphere) and Washington and Moscow for the Northern. Having started all his computerised gear working to obtain the data we all moved outside the brand-new building complex to see the weather balloon being set free.
Mark asked for a volunteer to activate the balloon release, and Mary was very quick to do that. A simple operation and Mary had released the balloon while Mark quickly ‘shot’ laser beams at the balloon to ‘lock on’ so that all the data could be automatically sent back to the weather station for collation. Apparently most of the weather data is collected and made available, in real time, to airlines and moving aircraft. This point was highlighted by Mark when he told us that on the odd occasion the tracking device at the weather station ‘accidently’ changed its target to a passing jet aircraft resulting in impossibly high speeds for the balloon – especially if it tracked an RAAF aircraft on a training flight! A most informative experience for the group that day.
We then wandered around town in the lovely sunshine taking a few photos of various structures and the jetty. As I walked out along the jetty I chatted with an erstwhile squid fisherman. As we chatted we saw a large seal moving in towards the baits, much to the annoyance of those fishing there.
As we enjoyed dinner we were surprised by a loud clap of thunder, however, it was only one of those early season storms – all bang and no rain. We managed, eventually to get off to sleep in spite of the new and very noisy neighbours who arrived late.
Ceduna to Streaky Bay
A later start than planned however we enjoyed the lovely sunshine on our fairly short stage to Streaky Bay. (Called Streaky Bay because of the oily substance from kelp that surfaces in the bay and in certain weather conditions.) We made a brief side-trip to Smoky Bay for morning tea and what a very pleasant little village it turned out to be. Very photogenic.
We passed many large grain silos along the way, which was not surprising in view of the many thousands of hectares in wheat plantings this season.
When arrived at Streaky Bay CP we were greeted by that day’s weather forecast of 50Km winds. They were right – it blew mightily for hours, and we had no protection either as the van door was on the inward side, so no awning here. However, there was no real rain so we headed into the village to check the place out. Quite a lot of old stone buildings, some still in use as house or workplace. We took photos of a very large shark (model) that was caught locally some years ago. As we strolled back to the CP the next storm arrived and we just made it back to shelter. Enough, we all cried, and decided to take up the offer of King George Whiting ( a local delicacy) and chips for only $8. A bargain as they were absolutely delicious. Mary and Brian also decided on a serve of local fresh oysters. A pleasant evening for us all.
In the morning we all headed out on a 3 hour drive around the ‘Westall Loop’ roads. A gravel road in good condition took us to some great ocean views with wildflowers as a bonus. A most beautiful day to enjoy some of the wonderful creation here.
After lunch we boarded our car again and did the ‘Cape Bauer Loop’ of about 2 hours. A rough dirt road that was not very promising, however, when we visited Hally’s Beach to see the massive surf beating upon the rocky cliffs, and further along, we stopped at the aptly named Whistling Rocks and Blowholes, we were almost literally blown away, both by the wind (!) but also the blowholes and pounding surf. This was a trip highlight, even after seeing so many beautiful surf and cliff sights around the coastline. The ‘authorities’ had a brand new toilet facility there, but had not managed to build the bottom few steps – and we wondered how appropriate that they should do this immediately adjacent to the Whistling Blow Holes! (Well, we thought that it was funny at the time – unless you desperately needed a function facility!!!). We arrived home in beautifully fine and sunny weather to see why so many Queenslanders, in particular, love this spot.
Streaky Bay to Port Lincoln
A very pleasant trip through wheat fields and trees. Mary & I stopped for a pit stop at Port Kelly, and I noted the following plaque on the wall adjacent to our stopping place.
“In memory of all the beautiful plants that died here at the hands of my husband”.
Moving on to Elliston for morning tea we enjoyed a cold breeze and beautiful sea scenes. Mary noticed that many of the buildings had beautiful murals pained on their walls, so hopped out and kept snapping away.
Just before lunch we stopped at the old Lake Hamilton Eating House, a relic from the Cobb and Co days. A lovely little stone cottage, partly restored and with great lake views across the road. Our lunch stop was at Cummins Lookout, a memorial to a drowning from a sinking fishing boat some years ago. The sea views from the very dangerous cliff top took your breath away. We enjoyed lunch, especially as the walk up to the monument was rather steep. Travelled through tree-lined fields of golden canola and wheat until reaching Port Lincoln. Sadly, this part of the highway contained a number of galah and Port Lincoln parrot roadkill. Not nice. The hills all appeared to be glaciated limestone with some fields mostly rock with a few blades of edible green stuff for sheep. Our camp site was rather damp, reflecting the current weather in this region, however, all was managed in good time.
We awoke (were awoken by seagulls) to a sunny day and the fabulous sea view from the van door. We all drove into town to attend the local Baptist Church which dates from about 150 years ago.
A number of parishioners were away at a camp so the numbers were small but the welcome was warm. All visitors invited to share a lunch with the locals, which was also enjoyable.
We checked out the Visitor Centre and headed off to sightsee. Some spectacular shots from the Winter Hill Lookout on a perfect sunny day.