Friday, November 16, 2007

DAY 40: Streaky Bay to Venus Bay

Weds 14th Nov 07
83 km @ 14.7 km/hr
Headwind from SE (usual place)

Awoke 0530 and felt like an early start, so went for breakfast in camp kitchen - cinnamon and port raisin bread with peanut butter and raspberry jam in case you wondered - and away soon after 7.

It was evident from the start that a headwind was in operation so resigned myself to plugging away, head down etc. I wasn’t sorry to leave Streaky Bay though; didn’t feel so comfortable there despite the idyllic beach site; maybe too crowded as per Ceduna. I had expected the tide to wake me up when it came in around 0300 but I slept through it, probably due to the calmness of the waters in this protected bay. But I digress.....

After a few km I came to Eyre’s Waterhole so stopped to have a look. This was a camp of the explorer Eyre who was the first European to travel across SA from Port Lincoln to Albany. All that could be seen of this (apparently) reliable water supply was a damp shallow well.

For the next 40km there was the usual bush with the road mostly bordered by eucalyptus and other trees, as the sun climbed higher and hotter in a clear blue sky once again.

I took the 2km side trip (up a hill) to have a look at Murphy’s Haystacks - a collection of weird-shaped rocks on top of a hill. There were quite a few other tourists having a look, none as far as i can see putting any money in the honesty box for the $2 admission charge. Two Dutch gentlemen, retired naval officers, came to chat about the ride and stuff, and very kindly made me coffee. They are touring in a hired VW camper, and having examined the thing I was quite impressed with the way it was equipped - very comfy. They also had a look at Walter’s website name and thought it should end in ne rather than nu - makes sense.

We said our goodbyes and I continued at a faster pace now since the road had turned such that the headwind was now a sidewind.

I stopped in Port Kenny for a pie and (yet another; I think I’m addicted) strong iced coffee (600 cc carton) - so satisfying when thirsty, but this place is somewhat depressing - a bland and dusty little backwater with no redeeming features that I could spot from the main road at least, and hurriedly continued on the last 14km to Venus Bay.

This was a very different kind of place -I liked it immediately with it’s rugged and winding coastline which partly forms a calm lagoon by which the village is set; the bright blue and green waters, and a generally tranquil and beautiful setting. Anyone who travels the Flinders Highway and doesn’t visit this place has missed out big time. I had a quick scout around the small settlement of around 100 houses, a general store / cafe and a Caravan Park on the waters edge, and looked forward to an extra day (or two?) here. When planning this trip this is just the kind of place I imagined coming across.

I had the pick of the camping sites and found one between 2 trees with plenty of shade throughout th day, and adjacent to a short path down to the Pelican-strewn beach 20 metres away. After setting up I headed up to the GS cafe for yet more iced coffee, then left the bike and followed a 2km walking track around the headland which was very enjoyable - at first the sea was calm but as the coastline passed out of the lagoon the waves became bigger and louder, with spray thrown up and over me as the waves crashed down onto the rocks. Seabirds flitted everywhere - the ubiquitous silver gulls, a larger gull similar to what we call in Scotland a black-backed gull; some cormorant-type black birds, and herring gulls (I think). The rocks were of very strange and twisted shape with millions of seabird-smashed pink and purple shells coating them everywhere. Everywhere I looked I saw a scene worthy of a photograph, and I became somewhat snap-happy for the next hour. I met and chatted with another couple also obviously enthralled by the beauty of the place, which I can come nowhere near describing to its true merit.

The sun was really beating down now at 3 in the afternoon, and I had no sunblock on so I headed back for the Park and got showered and changed. Two different men said they had seen me on the road this morning, apparently I am getting quite well-known by the long-term motorhomers, many of whom, like me, are spending a full year touring round the country. I have met many people more than twice or so over the past few weeks.

Did myself pasta / tuna and sat in my Thermarest chair admiring the view of the bright blue sea whilst sipping a large Cabernet Merlot - bliss. My site is right next door to a small campers kitchen with cooker, electric kettle, fridge etc., and as I am staying another day it was worth buying milk, so I had a ‘proper’ cup of coffee au lait. As I sat on the beach afterwards with my coffee the pelicans entertained with their waddling gait and little skirmishes with each other, and for all the world they reminded me of penguins with their awkward walk. The galahs noisily screamed around the sky, seemingly in some kind of avian dogfight - everything seems a crisis with these birds, but I like to see them. Hundreds of swifts weaved silently and rapidly around all this chaos with some better sense of order than the others.

It’s 2120 now and all I can hear is the sea crashing onto the rocks behind and beyond the lagoon, otherwise utter silence and peace. I am unlikely to be disturbed since there is only one other tent some 50m away.

No comments: