Mar 27, 2009

Innes National Park - Glenelg SA

Innes National Park comprises of 9,232 ha of natural coastal vegetation with a range of habitat types including coastal heath lands, mallee woodlands, open grasslands, samphire flats, sheoak woodlands, salt lakes, beaches and rocky cliff lines. We paid our $7.50 access fee & $5 per night camp fee and headed towards Shell Beach, we were told that it was a nice camping area by the manager of the Marion Bay caravan park but we were disappointed after bumping down a corrugated road to find that the site was small and excluded caravans, so we turned around headed back to Cable Beach camp area, here there were plenty of sites but not large enough to put out the awning. We unhitched the Effy and went for a drive and checked out the sites, Inneston Historic town site was interesting, there are three lighthouses in the park at Cape Spencer, West Cape and Peter Island and the coastline has claimed many ships, the wreck of the Ethel is the park's most famous wreck which came to grief in 1904 when it was driven ashore during a large storm off the coast, the remains of the ship is on Ethels Beach, which is also the final resting place of the boiler of the SS Ferret.

The 2nd day we were there we decided to move camp down to Stenhouse Bay, closer to the Jetty. There are families of Emu's walking around the camp area and fittingly the beach is called Little Emu Beach.

The day bought rain, constant drizzling rain, enough to come down so that we were able to catch 80 - 100 litres in a bucket placed under the awning. With the change in weather it wasn't a lot of fun so we went for another drive checking out a few other places in the park. During the day Vickie complained about her eye being blurred and we thought it best to get it checked out by a Doctor so we moved on.

We took the dirt road along the coast, checking out the small coastal towns and jetties like Foul Bay, Sturt Bay, refueled at Edithburg at a reasonable $120.9 per litre and checked out one of the cemetery's at Pink Lake, drove through more towns & jetty's at Stansbury & Port Vincent all the time checking out likely camp sites for the night. It wasn't until we came across Port Julia that we found a place that we could camp, the cost was $6 per night or $25 a week. We were pleasantly surprised to see Spydor & Robyn's BT set up as we thought they would still be around the Flinders Rangers. A quick catch up with what they & we had been up to and then a walk down to the jetty to see if there were any squid about. I had two jigs out and i could see the squid coming up and touching the jig but they weren't silly enough to latch on, it was nearing 'happy hour' so back to the van and more chat with our neighbours.

We had made an appointment to see a Dr at Ardrossan which was 28k's North of Point Julia and drove in to see him, Those of you who know Vickie well will know that she stresses out when it comes to visits to Doctor's, always thinking the worst and preferring not to know. So when Dr Babu met her Vickie was her usual blubbery self with me left to do most of the explaining. He took her blood pressure and it was extremely high, 186 over something, he was concerned with that and explained how high blood pressure can cause bleeds in the small vessels behind the eye, or maybe even a retina detachment. He took a blood sample and asked us to go away and come back in two hours time, we thought this was to enable the test to be looked at but he actually wanted her back to take another blood pressure test, this time Vickie was more relaxed and the Sister took a reading and it was back down to a normal level. Proof that she does stress out with Dr's visits.

Dr Babu wrote out a referral and told us to go straight to the Adelaide Eye Hospital the next morning to be checked out by the experts, so it was back to camp and pack up and head to Adelaide and stay at our daughter Erin's place at Glenelg. The visit to the hospital was a long day of waiting and after nearly 5 hours we left knowing that Vickie had possibly had a warning of a stroke or diabetes induced bleed, unfortunately nothing can be done to remedy the eyesight to what it was but it should improve over time. She now needs to see a local GP and have some further tests done and in 6 weeks time go back to the Eye Hospital for another check.

Vickie is handling the situation well, obviously we are both hoping for the best outcome and only time will tell. We heard the very sad news that a friend has been diagnosed with terminal cancer so everything is put into perspective after hearing that.

Mar 22, 2009

Port Minlacowie - Marion Bay

Before leaving Point Minlacowie camp i tried using a few pippie shells or cockles as some people know them, for a fish off the rocks, the result was as expected zero whiting about. We had a local come and launch his boat and his tow vehicle was a very rusted 55 series Cruiser, the roof was non existant and the parts that were still intact were held together by rope and straps, the motor didn't sound much better than the car looked.

Wazza & Bev left and we decided to also leave and head down to Flaharty's Beach for an overnight stop, when we got there it wasn't what we were looking for, we must be getting fussy so we drove on in to Point Turton which, Yes has a lovely Jetty, here we could see Yellow Tail King Fish & squid swimming below us but no amount of fresh bait could entice the Kingy's to bite and the squid couldn't have been less interested if they tried. Another Jetty Failure.

We drove another 15k's or so and came across Dunn Point, this was the 1st place we had come across that had a sign up about camp fee's & permits. We had neither but set up our camp expecting a Ranger or Council Equivalent to come along but we saw no one except some boat anglers launching and retrieving their boats. The Wind was picking up again so i dropped the awning and packed the chairs away.

There are lots of lovely scenic spots along the coastal track, it is mostly gravel and very corrugated in places but with the Tyre's down on the Effy and Bushtracker we cruised along slowly. We were needing to replenish our water tanks and thought that Corny Point may have been the town but we could not find a public tap, we did find the Corny Point Light House and that was our spot for morning smoko. A couple of motor homers were camped up along the track, we have come across many along the way and we presume they are all waiting for the CMCCA Rally to be held in Whyalla at the end of the month.

We checked out places like Berry Bay, Point Annie & Swincer Rocks before deciding to stay the night at Gleesons Landing, we had an area to ourselves facing the ocean and though the tide was out and the beach was mainly rock as it is elsewhere it was still a lovely outlook. That was until the wind picked up, this was the worst we have found it, along with the wind it kicked up a sand storm of fine dirt, luckily i had set up the Sat Dish and had the Clipsal 500 V8 Car Race to watch on TV even so it was still frustrating sitting in the van getting hammered by the wind and sand, i recall saying to Vick that 'at least it's not in the Kimberley kamper' LOL

Daly Head was a rough track in, but the views were worth it, we watched a group of surfers being towed to the waves by a Jet Ski and then drove around the corner to take in a different view of a long white beach with crashing waves, there were steps going down but neither of us felt the urge to bother, even the thought of throwing a few lures out into the wild waters couldn't get me excited, I must be starting to relax.

We then headed for Marion Bay where we payed our $25 to stay in the van park, Vickie did 3 loads of washing whilst i refilled the water tanks, i was even able to fill the drink tank with rain water. We have driven around and checked out the beaches, jetty and town site, at present the town is very quiet but we were told once the Easter holidays start it will be packed, we are glad not to be here then.

Even the rocks are not safe from the Graffiti Vandal

Tomorrow we will go and stay in the Innes National Park, $7.50 entry fee and $5 per car per night camp fee, so that is reasonable compared to what WA parks charge.

Mar 17, 2009

Whyalla - Port Minlacowie

We stayed 2 nights at the Whyalla Foreshore Caravan Park, we had a beach front site and the view was nice. I am still getting used to the Tide's and it seems every time i even think about fishing one look at the water and it's enough to put me off. It doesn't stop those that are keen though and i saw plenty of yellow tail whiting caught but nothing large enough to get my fishing senses going.

The best fishing i did was at happy hour, a chap came up and asked if we could spare some boat fuel as he had run out and needed to get back to the boat ramp. I gave him 3 or 4 litres of pre-mix, he offered payment but i gave him my "what goes around comes around" thoughts and left it at that. The next morning he came back with a nice large pink snapper, so i guess the adage worked that time :-)

We left the van park on the Friday morning and spent the next six hours checking out the town until it was time to head out to AJ's. Andrew is an 'old' Internet friend from the Landcruiser forum days, we had never met but had corresponded for the past 5-6 years. We have been past Whyalla many times without calling in and it was about time we did. We parked the van in his yard and caught up with all that has happened in the past and what was new. The Jack Daniels #7 that AJ had bought back from his recent trip to NZ went down a treat.

Leaving on the Saturday morning we drove 32klms to Fitzgerald Bay which is on the Point Lowly road. There were a few other vans camped up and we found a nice spot off the track with a lovely view of the Bay. To show what a small World we live in at times, we met another BT owner whom i had seen & spoken to on the UHF radio back home around Byford, Spydor and Robyn were camped just down the track from us and he recognized our number plate NIKNOFF

We had a great happy hour with them and another couple who were also camped close by and were leaving the next day. Spydor & Robyn left the following morning and we stayed another night as we had to head back into Whyalla and pick up some mail that our daughter Caddie had forwarded on to us, thanks Cad !

Finally we drove past Port Augusta and onto the Yorke Peninsula, We went into Port Germain, Its population was 364 in 1901. The jetty was opened in 1881 and extended by 122 metres to a length of 1680 metres in 1883. The present length, following storm damage, is 1532 metres and Port Germain is advertised as home of the longest wooden jetty in Australia, BUT maybe the 140-year-old Busselton Jetty in WA, measured at 1841 metres, should take that title.

Regardless of who has the longest, we walked out and checked out what was happening at the end, a few Blue Swimmer crabs caught but nothing to get excited about.

Lunch in the Van and then it was onto Port Pirie, Port Broughton looking for a nice camp site. We overshot a couple and it was difficult to find them as our maps were not detailed enough and my Navman had been sent away for repairs.

We eventually decided to have a look at Wallaroo and Moonta before stopping at a coastal camp at the Gap. We met another couple from Mornington Victoria and chatted over a couple of coldies as they cooked a camp oven casserole.

Today i have adjusted the fridge hinges as the freezer door was coming open, taken down the en suite vent and cleaned it, temporarily fixed the stove lid which had loosened it's hinge, i will have to get a larger bolt & nut to fix it properly. I also went and searched for some crabs but only saw two which i caught and in the end i let them go, that and one Tommy rough was all that was caught. I wasn't disappointed to much as two other guys from NSW fished for a few hours with no success.

The 2nd night the weather was the best we had struck, a beautiful sunset and dolphins frolicking down at the waters edge, we saw a small shark also in close but i could not entice it to take the bait of a juicy squid. The next morning we moved on passing through Maitland which was a lovely town with lots of historic buildings, we raided the bakery and checked out a markets before heading to Port Victoria for a look,

of course the town has a Jetty, and we did the now very common Jetty Walk and then on to Wauraltree Beach which was recommended to us, but it was fairly small site and three motor home / buses were already camped up so we decided to move on to another site down at Port Minlacowie boat ramp, here the only other campers were a lovely couple Wazza and Bev in their Winnebago on route to the motor home gathering at Whyalla at the end of the month. We had a nice happy hour exchanging stories.