Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Home Again

With both rigs covered in mud it was not a hard decision to go off the bitumen and explore some more caves. The first on the hema was Murra-El-Eleven which turned out to be a big sink hole. After that it was a 11klm drive on good dirt road to the very well know Cocklebiddy Cave which so far has been explored some 6.5klms in.  Over the years teams of drivers have negotiated long tunnels of water and then carted all there gear over only to do it all again for 6.5ks not a bad effort. The next small hole just of the highway was Carguna blow hole which was just that a small hole but a good camp a bit further in .

                                                    Cockebiddy Cave
                                                           Cockebiddy Entrance
                                                The Nullabour cave Basher 2011
                                                        In under the Caiguna Blow Hole

The Next day  we did the most ks we have done the entire trip something about heading for home. With lunch at Norseman lookout and then a camp just west of Coolgardie for a last night together.The night was made extra special sitting around the camp fire and watching the eclipse. In the morning it was time for our good byes but we hope only for a short time as we plan to spend new year at Fozzie in Mandurah . We still had a few days to go as we planed to visit family in York and then one more night at Lake Indoon.
                                                         Avon River near Toodyay
                                                           Australian Xmas Tree
Arriving home the first job was to get the high pressure cleaner out and get rid of all the mud and the second was to go out with Arron our son and put  the lobster pots in. It has been a good season for the lobsters but being nearly Xmas i thought it might be to late for us. The next morning we where rewarded with 8 crays and from then on we have been getting our quoter of 12 crays a day only pulling 2 or 3 pots of our 4pots that we are allowed. Well back home things are all good and it wont be till next year that we are of again we hope you all have a Happy Christmas and a Wonderful New Year .

                                                 All right they might not be as big as S.A.
                                                                    But they taste just as good.
                                                            Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Streaky Bay to Nullarbor

The evening spent with Ian and Andrea Fuller was most enjoyable ,talking about lots of subjects but most of all revolving around the sea and with a few nice bottles of red went to quick. One of Ian's interest is the Nullarbor Plain and with many trips out there was able to give me the incentive to detour of the highway on the way home to check a few caves out. Ian's home at Venus Bay is right on the ocean near the jetty and with his great coffee it was hard to say goodbye in the morning. Leaving Venus it was straight to Streaky Bay but not before checking out the well that E.J.Eyres men had made and used as a camp on his East West treks. Arriving in Streaky it was time to catch up with Mick and Vick who had been staying at Lloyd and Heathers who are also Bushtracker owners. With Lloyd having a huge parking area there was enough room for both our vans plus a few more. Happy hour that day was on their patio, that would have to have one of the best views of Streaky Bay, then after that it was a walk down to the pub for dinner. On the way back from the pub Heather gave us a history tour, taking in the old hospital which is now their daughters home and of a great white shark made of fibreglass. The shark which the mould was taken from was caught by their now son-in-law on 26lb line, some feat for a young lad taking over three hours to land and being 5 1/2 mts long.

                                                  From Ian's Front Patio

Eyres Well

  Streaky Bay Foreshore

                                                           The view from Heather & Lloyd's

It did not take much to convince Mick to have a little detour to the caves on the Nullarbor on our way
home. So next morning we set of and our first stop was Mick & Vick's favourite coffee stop the Penong cemetery, it is amazing what you can learn from head stones. After the cemetery we went down to Cactus Beach and town beach a very lovely spot but after finding out that 50 kids were on their way decided it may not be a good spot to camp that night. Driving on we ended up at a roadside stop, we thought the trucks might sound better than 50 kids but it was actually very quite.

The pink salt lake on the way into Cactus

Penong's Town Beach which was the scene of a fatal great white attack of a 11 year old boy. After that they put up a shark net for safe swimming.
Travelling along the Eyre Hwy I noticed on the Hema a cave by the name of Wigunda and a quick call to Mick on the radio confirmed that this was to be our first caving adventure. Being un planned all we had for suitable rope was one of Mick's Bunnings special which was more of a bungee cord than a rope.
Not to be deterred, down we went with the girl's wondering if they will ever see us again. At the bottom we went in and though two crevices only to see a smaller one that we decided was a bit too small. Much to the girls delight out we came to tell of our adventure with just a bit of exaggeration of the story.

                                                   The entrance to Wigunda cave

  Caveman Geoff

                                                                         Caveman Mick
For a first caving experience all went well and gave us a taste for more so it was of for bigger and better. Turning of the highway we headed for Koonalda Homestead ruins on the way the Hema showed us a sink hole by the name of Clay Dam Pit which was very interesting. At  Koonalda homestead we set up camp and began looking around all the car wrecks. The old home and out building have been re roofed for campers to take shelter in over night.

The old homestead which was also once a road house.

                                                                 The old road house

This hole I found while riding around turned out to be a cave as none of us big fellows could fit, it was up to some other campers to find out for us what was inside.

The air flow out of this cave is very amazing as you can see with a bit of Vick's wool.

As we would not be seeing Mick & Vick for Xmas we decided to surprise them with Xmas dinner

The next day we checked out Koonalda cave which is where they used to draw all the water from and as the entrance needed to have a key with permission to enter we decide to leave that for next time. After lying in bed that night listing to the dingo's howl the next sound was thunder and then the rain. In the morning things where real wet with pools of water every where and I knew it would be good fun getting out. The original plan was to go along the old Eyre hwy but we changed our minds and headed for the bitumen. We our now camped along the Bight just before the WA border.

Koonalda cave

The entrance is at the tip of the tree the fruit trees where planted by the station people.

Geoff & Vick on the way out

Mick on the road out in the morning.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Port Lincon & the west coast Eyre Peninsula

Hearing from Mick and Vick about some nice smoked fish at Louth Bay was enough to call in and check it out. We soon found the place that sold the fish and to our surprise he also had a small museum mainly of shells but also lots of other things including fossils. It is a very interesting stop and well worth a look if you are near. Port Lincon was our next stop and we decided to stay at the national park and unhitch to drive back into to Lincon so we could have a good look around. The Lincon NP has a great camp spots with nice clean level sites and plenty of walk trails. On one of the walk trails I went for a ride and being very rocky manage to come of ,on hitting the ground all looked OK till I realised that I had a stick coming out of my leg. Trying to pull it out was harder than it looked as I was pulling it strait out instead of pulling it the way it went in down my leg. Getting back to the van Vick did a patch up job and all is good now. The next two days we spent looking around  Lincon which has a very large fishing fleet so it was my kind of town also there is a great boat museum call Axel Stenross Maritime Museum.
Axel was a shipwright on board a sail ship from Finland that paid him of in 1927 and set up a boat building and slipway in Lincon which is now the museum.
                                           The beach at Lincon NP camp ground
                                                       Some of the fishing fleet
                                                     Some of the beautiful boats in the museum

This one is a whale chasing boat.

                                                    An old desalination contraption

After a good look around it was of to Coffin Bay and again staying at the NP this park was not as good as the last but it was only for one night. Driving around the park next day we saw some very spectacular coast line with the most lovely beaches. Coffin Bay is the capital of oyster farming and like most of the coastal towns a great place for summer holidays.
                                              Oyster farms
                                                 Point Avoid at Coffin Bay NP
                                                                    Avoid Beach

After Coffin Bay we headed up the coast and came across this little cottage that was used by travellers as a stop over and has been restored by the community.WE stayed a night at Sheringa Beach for a night up on the cliffs and was great to listen to the roar of the surf at night and then walk along the beach in the morning. The next day we moved on checking out Ellison , the cave at Talia and then stopping at Venus Bay where tonight we will catch up with Ian who brought the cray boat I use to skipper for 15 years.
                                                           very specky
                                                the old restored cottage 1860s
                                               Vick loved the floor
                                                            Sheringa Beach
                                                looking out from inside Taila Cave    

Monday, 28 November 2011

York & Eyre Peninsula

On the way back up the York Peninsula it was decided to call in on some more Bushtracker owners Rob & Glenda .They live on a farm just out of Minlaton and we were made feel so welcome with a barbecue and a few drinks in Robs huge shed. As Mick had been there before he showed me around the old car dump which is always an interest to us men.

           Mick playing farmers for the day although after two hours he came back to the job he dose best

After filling up with robs beautiful rain water we said our goodbyes and it was on the road again up though Snowtown with all its murder history. The next camp was at Koolunga a very small town but with the most lovely free camp spot and also as the girls found out a real good junk shop but Mick got the sale of the trip with a bike rack almost made to his design just $30. The next day took us into a small town call Yacka where we stopped for coffee and found the most beautiful camp ground and park with the picnic tables done in mosaic patterns of the district.
                                      the bank with bodies in the barrels at Snowtown

                                     the tables at Yacka.
The next camp was at the Mt Remarkable NP it was a good spot but if you don't have a SA parks pass can be very expensive at $27. for the first night and then $17 after that. We stay for two nights and did a drive down to Port Germein and Port Pirie. I had heard a lot about Port Pirie when i worked on the boats in Port Headland as some of the ships use to carry ore from Headland to Pirre.
                                               A visitor to our camp at the NP

                                             Another visitor this bloke came very close to us at happy hour
                                                   The old Port Germien Jetty at the end of the new one
                                         The new jetty 2ks long a waste of good wood I think!!
It was time to catch up with Mick and Vick again at Fitzgerald Bay to start on our way around the Eyre Peninsula. After a night there it was in to Whyalla to the bike shop for some repairs to the bike and also some shopping. The next camp was at Port Gibbon where we meet Gail and Ann who we had previously meet at the Grampions It was great to catch up with them and have happy hour with entertaiment from Mick!! From there it was into Arno Bay where we had an Arno burger for lunch and a look around.That night we camped at Cape Hardy where we met some locals from Whyalla who owned the Nadrad shop we had a lot of good laughs and got the local news. From there we had two nights at Lipson Cove another really nice spot. Mick managed to catch some Whiting and with the fish I was given it made the most delicious meal. The young guy who gave me the fish was spearfishing and was chased in by a shark who managed to grab his flipper, he reckons it was a white pointer at about two metres but by the end of the story it had grown to four metres. While we were there we went into Tumby Bay as Vickie B reckons it is one of her favourite towns and she was right its a really nice place and very friendly people.

                                                      Port Neill
                                                       Cape Hardy

 Lipson Cove

                                                            Tumby Bay they love there jetties in SA
                                                     Tumby looking up the main street

                                               some of the murals on the beach at Tumby