Feb 27, 2009

Streaky Bay - Elliston

At Streaky Bay we booked into the waterfront Caravan park, presently the only Caravan Park but plans are underway for an additional park to be built. The park was around 3/4 filled and we were 'lucky' to get a site at the end of a row [we like corner blocks] and had plenty of space, that was until another caravanner had set up in the wrong site and was asked to moved 2 places down next to us, that's OK ... we are not that bad to live next too, but these people wrote the book on anti-social attitudes and we barely raised a grunt in acknowledgement when we said hello, oh well each their own.

We did have a guy walk past and strike up a conversation about Effy's and then BT's as they do, this bloke turned out to be a BT and Effy owner and local of Streaky Bay, his name was Terry [Trance his nickname] a nice enough bloke and easy to chat too, at 1st i thought he may have been another BT Streaky Bay owner whom we had been given his contact details, Loyd and Heather Smith, Trance knew these people and gave us directions on where they live. We decided to go to the Streaky Bay hotel for lunch as we had heard the meals were good value. We can 2nd that as we had the most scrumptious meals, I had a mixed grill which was XXL and all for $16 and Vickie had a Chicken Schnitzel with bay sauce which also was very large, the bay sauce consisted of 8 - 9 prawns in a seafood sauce, Vickie loved it.

Little did we know that we would be back there again later that night, after lunch we went and visited Loyd and Heather, we had heard from John and Wendy Standing who had met them previously that they were a nice couple and again we can vouch for that. Very easy to talk too, we had the ownership of the BT's in common but also many other things and the chat came easily. Heather suggested we meet again later that night for a meal and that bought us back to the Streaky Bay Hotel again that night. This time Vick had a Thai stir fry and i had King George whiting & chips, the meals were dearer but equally as lovely along with a great salad and hot vegi bar. A few beers and good company it was a lovely end to the day.

Our plan was to leave town the next day and head to High Cliff which is on the tourist route on Wallend Way, 20ks out from Streaky Bay. We were pleased to be back on the road and leaving caravan parks to those that like & need them. We have previously stayed at High Cliff and knew exactly where to go and how to tackle the track to give us a camp site right on the edge of a cliff overlooking the bay. We have seemed to have struck the low tides during the best part of the day and the bay was not the best for rock fishing but we walked and explored the area with Vickie searching for shells.

We stayed 2 nights at High Cliff but on the 2nd day we had a call from Heather warning us that the forecast was for high winds and 44c temperatures, all the schools on the Eyre Peninsula had been closed for the day, bunch of wimps we thought, but it was the threat of bush fires that caused the caution and after the recent Victorian Fires we can understand the reasoning. As it turned out the temp only reached around 40c and the winds were predominately in the morning, during the day i told Vick i was going to cool off, she seems to recall me saying 'going for a swim' anyway off i went ...... and as i do i got interested in something and walked along following a track, the track went along the cliff edge right the way to the area named after 'High Cliff', i didn't realise i was gone for a while and when i made my way back to the van i couldn't find Vickie, so i went down and sat in the water. After a few minutes i could see her walking back along the beach and it wasn't until she got closer that i could see she was crying and very upset. Poor Vickie had came down to the beach after i left and couldn't find me, she had searched up and down and got to the point where she was screaming my name, all this made her more of a panic as she thought i had either drowned or fallen off a cliff. She walked to another camp a Klm away and with tears in her eyes asked the campers if i had been seen, it was about this time that they spotted me on the beach back to our camp. I had some apologizing to do and it was very upsetting to see my beautiful 'babe' so upset thinking she had lost me ....

Tuffing up and getting over all that we battened down the hatches as the heat increased along with the wind and flys, it became uncomfortable so we did what all tough campers do, retreated to the van after starting the generator and having the A/C on. The next day we packed up and left taking a slow scenic route along the Wallend Way, we have been along here before so we only stopped at the places we had not previously visited. At Smooth Rock we came across a guy walking up the track, Patrick and his partner Barbara were from Switzerland and had a flat Tyre in their car, he had attempted to change it but the car they had bought had the wrong wheel spanner. We took him back to his camp and went about swapping over the wheel and pumping up the flat which appeared to be a slow leak, they were a lovely couple and we were only too happy to help. I am a great believer in 'what goes around comes around' and enjoy helping where i can.

What a VIEW when your doing business :-)

Another quaint place was Sceale Bay where it must have the most photographed public toilet in existence, well maybe not but it's worth a visit even if you don't need to go ... so to speak.

We stayed the best part of the afternoon at Venus Bay fishing off the jetty, we did OK with a mixed bag of trevally, Aust Salmon and one Tommy Ruff [Herring] more than enough for a couple of decent meals. There was a great fish cleaning bay with resident Pelicans just hanging around waiting to do the garbage disposal thing, At Venus Bay they wouldn't have much of a smelly bin problem with these big boys & girls doing the cleanup job.

We spent the night camped 4k's off the road at a location over looking a very fishy looking beach, i gave it a go the next morning but the weed was causing havoc with the line & bait so we again made the move and went and checked out Talia Caves which was an interesting place watching the waves crash against the smooth rocks.

I was in awe thinking what size waves must hammer through the rocks & channel to have made the cave what it is today. We met another vanning couple in the car park, Pete & Dawn from the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria they were doing a similar trip to us except in the opposite direction, we exchanged 'travel cards' with web site details, theirs was www.wereaway.com who knows we may meet up again somewhere in the NT.

Along the highway we came across the small town of Colton, not much here but there is a bakery of sorts, a tiny property off the side of the highway sells fresh bread and if your lucky sticky buns, when we got there all we had a choice of was bread & rolls so we bought both.

We are now at Elliston, staying in the van park close to town. We have hit the bakery for lunch and been for a touristy drive around the area along with a walk along the jetty, we love SA jetty's. This afternoon i spent the time giving the Effy a bath and general sorting out the gear that gets put back in the wrong place, tomorrow we may do something different and go fishing.

As usual more photo's can be seen here

Feb 22, 2009

Fowlers Bay - Penong

We stayed at Fowler's Bay for 4 nights, we shared the fishing between the jetty where we caught squid and around the corner at Scott's Bay where we got into some nice KG Whiting, Along with Clive and Claudia we went for a drive along the beach at Scott's looking for some salmon, came across some guys who had caught a few so we stopped and gave it a go, Clive was a bit close to the waters edge and had to move his Landrover Discovery for the rising tide, it got out but only just, with the wind not letting up much we decided to head back to Fowler's for happy hour, the mighty Effy just cruised out of the soft bog but not the Discovery that went down

Clive digging, Claudia supervising

The F250 to the rescue

Sunday Clive and Claudia left to head further West and we also packed up and left to head further East, we stopped in at Pt Sinclair 21klms out of Penong, this is also the area for Cactus Beach a world renowned surf beach with a left and right hand breaks, when we visited the surf was almost non existent and the camp ground didn't look very attractive so went around to Port Le Hunte which is a real Jewell, we arrived around 9.30 am and had the place to ourselves for about one hour until about 15 or more cars turned up, they seemed to be all locals and a mixture of an open air church service complete with hymns at one end and other people with esky's the other. As the day ended we chatted with a few of the locals and we asked about the Penong Cemetery that we have visited a couple of times in the past, the 1st was when we went to Qld to pick up our Kedron Caravan and we saw a service being conducted and we thoughts we would check it out on our return journey a few weeks later, we found the grave and when we left thought we had the name of Les in our mind as the next time we drove across to pick up our Bushtracker we stopped and revisited, but we couldn't find a recent grave with the name Les, so that brings me to our conversation with the locals, it turned out the chap we had confused the name was Sydney, [my Fathers name was Lesley Sydney] so that's where the confusion lay.

Another grave we had seen before was of a young boy that had been taken by a Great White Shark, as it turned out this happened at Pt Sinclair and their was a memorial plaque erected there along with a safe netted swimming enclosure, the locals had indeed made this place one of special significance and remembrance. Having lost our Fishing Mate 'Guesty' to a Great White in December 2008, i toasted to both of these victims with the Guesty Stein.

The rest of the time spent here was relaxing, swimming and fishing off the Jetty, we didn't do to good with a few squid and a couple of Blue Swimmer crabs that we let go. The water was crystal clear & truly a beautiful place.

We are now at Streaky Bay, and yes the wind has returned, we [Vickie] will catch up with the washing and some shopping, hang around a few days and make our way to a nice place we have visited before ....... IF the WIND stops :D

More photo's can be found here

Feb 19, 2009

Cape Le Grand WA - Fowlers Bay SA

We left Esperance hoping that Lucky Bay and Cape Le Grand would bring us better weather, fools us as the wind just increased, we did not have it all bad as i was able to snorkel along a ridge of reef and saw many different species of fish, the majority of which i had no idea what they were called, certainly nothing that i would have considered eating had i caught them on a hook. The water depth dropped off considerably along the edge of the reef and i kept a wary eye out on any dark shadows lurking in the deep, why is it the music from Jaws always comes to mind when snorkeling.

This visit we stayed at Cape Le Grand beach camp site, we found this to be far nicer than Lucky Bay where we have camped previously. The sites are individual and spacious, the amenities were top notch, we are generally not fans of the CALM / DEC conservation camping but we were both pleasantly surprised with Cape Grand.

We fished & drove around to the different bays & fished but nothing eventuated but it was all good fun. We had intended staying 5 nights but after the 3rd night we gave in to the winds and decided to break camp and head back to Esperance for a restock and try and find out where Vickie's Aunt June lives. We stayed at the beach front Van park and bumped into Mark & Jac Bushtracker owners whom we had 1st met back at Kununurra last year, they were leaving to head to the same place we had just come from so i wished them luck.

I found Aunt Junes contact details via the Internet and we phoned and she was delighted we were in town and could come and visit. It was a nice time chatting & talking about the 'old days' and Vickie's relatives, I know Vickie enjoyed it and I'm sure Aunt June was pleased we dropped in. After that it was refuel, replenish the water tanks, restock with the food used, i purchased a external aerial for the Internet 3g network and it was out of Esperance again.

Refueled at Norseman and continued on making our nights stop along the road at a roadside camp beside a no longer used Telstra phone tower, there was a converted bus parked there but the owners stayed to themselves which was fine by us, they ran their noisy generator all night but again we didn't care as we were down wind and could hardly hear it, the night was lovely with a cooling breeze coming through the windows and we slept well.

We awoke and the bus and it's occupants had gone, we had breakfast and hit the road ourselves, our next night stop was along the Great Australian Bight where we had a lovely sunset end the day. Now that brings us to where we are now, Fowler's Bay S.A. we have been here before on an overnight stop but this time we will stay 4-5 days, it's a lovely quiet place with a great jetty, rolling sand dunes and apparently the fishing is good too! We have tried squidding along the jetty with no success and this afternoon we drove to Scott's Bay for a fish and had plenty of bites but only caught two King George Whiting, we will go back tomorrow for another attempt.

One surprise we had was the news that we would have the arrival of Clive and Claudia, they are relatives of Kimbo and Ned and are travelling West [quite quickly it appears] towing a Kedron Caravan with a Landrover Discovery. We cooked a lovely roast lamb and veggies in the Weber Baby Q for us all and chatted the night away. They are going to stay a couple of days before heading further on.

More photos here

Feb 10, 2009

Bremer Bay - Munglinup Beach

We left Bremer Bay and made our way to Ravensthorpe & down to Hopetoun, we had heard about some nice camp sites along the Springfield road that goes between Hopetoun and Stokes Inlet. The 1st site we stopped at was Mason Bay and it was full with a lot of campers who looked to be there for the long term, no one bothered saying hello in fact we felt it was a cold dreary place for more than the weather.

What a difference 7klms down the road can make, here we went into Starvation Bay and the outlook changed, people were friendly and the beach was far nicer. We stayed only one night though as had arrived early the day before we had explored the beaches & surrounds. Our closest neighbour was being a touch too friendly, suffering from a bit of Alzheimers it became a bit of a chore listening to the same stories over & over.

Our next stop over was Munglinup beach, there is a caravan park prior to the beach but that wasn't for us! it was around 3klms away from the water for a start and the beach camp was more spacious, cheaper at $10 a night with clean amenities and fantastic coast line. Here we had a great surprise when an Oka turned up and driving it was a fishing friend who was down in the area with a few mates. We graciously allowed them to set up their tents and gear in our area and chatted the night away. They were down looking for the elusive salmon but so far they and us had failed to find any. We stayed 2 nights at Munglingup and can recommend the beach camp site.

Vickie fossicking along side the foreshore

Camp site at Munglinup Beach

We are now at Esperence, restocked with provisions and about to do some local site seeing before moving down to Lucky Bay in a couple of days time. Vickie's back has come good so she feels a lot happier, & when she is happy i am happy :-)