Thursday, 6 August 2015

Day 114 - 4th August

Streaky Bay to Caiguna

Distance Travelled - 953.6 km

My cunning plan nearly worked last night. Instead of setting up the tent I decided to sleep in my swag and to keep it dry I decided to put it on top of the table under the cover at the campsite. Due to the cold night and the condensation I have been experiencing in the tent at times I decided to leave the top of the swag open and just have the mesh cover closed to keep out any mosquitoes. I knew I would be warm enough with the sleeping bag. During the night I heard the rain come through and pound the shelter but didn't wake properly knowing I was safe under the shelter.

Woke up this morning and discovered that I had fallen victim to either poor workmanship or the result of corrosion thanks to nature. Apparently there are several holes in the roof of the shelter that happened to be directly over where I was laying in the swag. As a result the swag and the top of my sleeping bag were reasonably wet. Luckily none of it had penetrated through so I was still very dry and warm and the sleeping bag at least will dry quickly during the day inside the car spread out over the stuff in the back. The swag will dry out at home in front of the fire if not before.

Got up and packed up quite quickly and had breakfast and was on the move by 8 am. Drove to the turnoff to Ceduna and went just passed it to the ruins of a house I had seen yesterday. Took a few photographs and then continued on to Ceduna. Went to the info centre and posted my blog and then to the oyster shop and collected oysters for people back home. Had to wait a few minutes for the guy at the shop to come back from someplace but it wasn't long. Collected the oysters and was on my way. Drove through to Penong but could not make out the wool shed as open so kept going.

Stopped at Nundroo for a stretch and some lunch and then continued through to Eucla, after waiting 45 minutes to get through the quarantine check at the border and I was only 4 cars back when I got there. By the time I left there was about 8 cars in 2 lanes waiting to get through. They were being extremely thorough today whereas last time I came through they were quite quick and almost blase about it.

Put fuel in at Eucla and decided to make the most of the time change and keep going, reducing driving time tomorrow. Eventually stopped at a campsite about 20 km east of Caiguna. By this time sunset had occurred and the last of the light was available to set up with. Had tea and went for a walk before doing some photography of the stars and then settled in to sort photos and write the blog before going to bed.

It now looks like I will be home tomorrow after another day solid driving - about 750 km to reach Omega Street. It has been a great time away but I am in a few ways quite looking forward to being home for a while.

                                                    Last nights sleeping arrangements

                                                               Caiguna night stars

                                                                   Caiguna night stars
                                           Old ruins near the Streaky Bay / Ceduna turnoff

Day 115 - 5th August

Caiguna to Southern Cross

Distance travelled - 755 km

After an amazingly clear night and a chance to do some night photography I went to bed to be woken around 1 am to the sound of rain falling on the tent. It was not overly heavy but enough to know it would be a wet pack away in the morning. Tossed and turned for a while before getting back to sleep sometime after 1.30 am.

Woke at 5.45 am and stayed in bed until 6 am when I got out of the tent and began to pack away. Had everything packed away and breakfast eaten quickly as it looked like more rain was possibly on the way. It was extremely misty and cloudy and quite cold. Left the campsite just before 7 am. Drove the 22 km to Cocklebiddy where I called on for a coffee and a quick check of the tyres before heading on.

Drove through to Balledonia in very overcast and misty conditions. There was one stretch I clocked that was just over 12 km long where visibility was down to less than 100 m with thick mist and low cloud over the road. I struggled to understand why some people coming the other way did not have their lights on.

Eventually got to Balledonia and went for a walk and had a stretch before resuming the drive to Norseman. It was pretty uneventful but the closer I got to Norseman the clearer the sky became and by the time I got there a significant amount of blue sky was showing and sun was streaming through.

Grabbed fuel and lunch at Norseman before continuing on to Coolgardie where I got out and had a quick stretch and then started the last leg to Southern Cross. This section was surprisingly wet and as I entered Southern Cross it was nice to see lots of greenery, apparently the 80 or so mm of rain we have had here recently is starting to work wonders.

Rolled into town and was pleased to get a few waves from people I haven't seen for a few months. Got home and started the horrible job of unpacking before heading off to see a few people and get ready for tea and then fire brigade meeting tonight. Got home form that about 10 am and started to do the blog for today and sort photos only to find there is a problem with the Internet connection here. Will look into that tomorrow.

I will spend a week or so here before heading to Perth to get a few things done and then come home for a while, leaving again towards the end of September to go to Tassie for a month or so. I will resume my blog then.   

                                                           Low cloud near Caiguna

Monday, 3 August 2015

Day 113 - 3rd August
Macclesfield to Streaky Bay
Distance Travelled - 786.8 km
After another peaceful night of sleeping I woke at 6.30 am and got out of bed just before 7 am. Had a shower, breakfast and packed the remainder of my stuff into the car and prepared myself to leave. Went and saw Aunty Jan and Uncle John in the main house to say goodbye. It has been great getting to know them better and I have certainly appreciated their very generous hospitality and warm welcoming of me.
Left just after 8 am and headed through the city and out towards Port Pirie with rain falling most of the way. Stopped for a slightly early lunch and a stretch at Port Pirie and then headed on towards Port Augusta and beyond. Rain continued to fall most of the way but was starting to become more intermittent.
After travelling by Port Augusta I continued on to Kimba where I got out and had another stretch and grabbed an ice coffee. Not far out of Kimba I stopped to snap a couple of photos of an old / abandoned / no longer used house that appeared on first glance to perhaps have some photographic merit. Grabbed a few shots before the rain came down again and then headed off towards Streaky Bay.
Arrived at Streaky Bay and stopped at the jetty for a walk and stretch of the legs after driving for some time today. Walked out to the end of the jetty and then back into and around town for a while although most of the shops were closed as it was nearly 5.30 pm by this stage. After my walk went out and found the campsite for tonight. It is the same one that I stayed at on the way over but this time it appears I will be by myself. As I write my blog I am still the only one at the campsite whereas last time there would have been about 8 groups totaling about 25 people all up. I wonder how the Canadian girls I spoke to last time I was here are going. From memory they were heading towards Perth to work for a while and then planning on going up the coast towards Broome.
After getting to camp I had tea and started on the blog and photos. I will wait until a bit later to decide about sleeping arrangements. I think I should be able to get the tent under the shelter that is set up over the picnic table her but I will wait and see what develops in the way of wind of rain before making a final decision of where to put the tent or if it is better to sleep in the car.
Tomorrow the plan is to head to Ceduna and then on to Eucla or there abouts, about 620 km. There are a stack of camping sites either side of Eucla and the state border so it wont be too hard to find somewhere to stay.

                                       Interpretation of house ruins near Kimba (HDR image)

                                       Interpretation of house ruins near Kimba (HDR image)

                                       Interpretation of house ruins near Kimba (HDR image)

                                       Interpretation of house ruins near Kimba (HDR image)

                                      Interpretation of house ruins near Kimba (HDR image)

                                       Interpretation of house ruins near Kimba (HDR image)

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Day 112 - 2nd August


Distance Travelled - 33 km

Slept in until about 8.30 am, very much enjoying being in a bed inside rather than in the tent. Whilst I have very much enjoyed the time away being in the tent so much is beginning to lose its novelty. Had a yummy breakfast of bacon and eggs with Aunty Jan and Uncle John before heading off to the hardware store in Strathalbyn to get some methylated spirits for the camp stove. I had pretty much run out and will need some for the trip back across the Nullabor.

Spent most of the rest of the day bumming around procrastinating about packing the car but after reading for a while, posting the blog, chatting and having lunch finally decided that I should do it. Filled up the water bottles and packed things away in the car making room for a few things from here that have to go back and tidying up from my laziness of the past week or so in regards to putting things back where they belong in the car.

During the afternoon I got a call from one of the local CFS (Country Fire Service) guys who is with the Macclesfield brigade and as a result went down to the station a few km away and chatted to them for a while. It appears the local network is alive here. I went to the station yesterday and could not find anyone there (not unusual for volunteer stations) or a number to contact anyone so went to the pub and asked the lady behind the bar if she knew of anyone in the brigade. She said she would try and find someone but it might take a while so she took my number and off I went. Well apparently she did more than try because today i got the call. Went to the station and chatted for half an hour or so with a couple of the guys from the brigade and had a quick look through the station. The trend of being warmly welcomed by fellow brigades has continued.

Coming back from the station I spent some time cleaning some very soot covered cooking pans and then chilled out in front of the fire in the main house until tea time. Aunty Jan once again provided a magnificent meal of roast chicken and veges followed by chocolate pudding. YUMMY!

After tea I made a few phone calls and sorted the last things ready for departure tomorrow and wrote the blog. No photography again today. Tomorrow I will look at leaving relatively early (well by 8 am anyway) and get to Streaky Bay for the night. Then it will be off towards Eucla on Tuesday, Norseman on Wednesday and into Southern Cross on Thursday all things being equal but it is still only a tentative plan and will depend on weather and driving conditions.  

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Day 111 - 1st August


Distance Travelled - 31 km

I had a very enjoyable sleep in today not getting up until about 9 am even though I had woken up a couple of times already by then. I had some breakfast and then I spent a bit of time sorting things out in the flat at Aunty Jan and Uncle John's, doing some computer work and starting to think about how to repack the car ready for the trip back to Southern Cross.

Not long after that I headed into Strathalbyn, about 11 km away and got a haircut and looked through a few shops before coming back to the flat. Spent the rest of the day reading, sleeping, transferring files on the computer and organising back ups of the photos and spending time in the main house chatting.

We had a wonderfully nice chicken dish for tea that was hot and spicy and then spent time after tea chatting and relaxing before I finally headed off to bed about 9.30 pm. Read for a while and then went to sleep listening to the rain steadily fall on the roof thinking how glad I was to be inside out of the weather again for the night. Overall a very lazy day with no photography at all. Tomorrow I will sort the last few things out and repack the car ready to start off in the morning towards Ceduna, hopefully camping at Streaky Bay.   
Day 110 - 31st July

Carpenter Rocks to Macclesfield

Distance Travelled - 501.4 km

Having survived a very windy and rainy early part to the evening the wind eased off and sleep came relatively easily although I did wake occasionally throughout the night. Got to of bed at 6.30 am and went for a walk towards the lighthouse to see if it was going to be worth taking photos or not. There did not really seem to be much difference in the sky and light between then and when I took photos yesterday so I decided to forego photography this morning and make use of the extra time driving to other sites.

Got back from the walk, had breakfast, packed away and was on the road just before 8 am heading towards the first of the lighthouses for today at Beachport. The drive was quite nice, going through dairy cattle country and along the coast in parts with a glimpse of the ocean appearing every so often.

Arrived at Beachport and found the lighthouse very quickly and easily. Took some photos and looked around, spotting an old tower on an island not far out to sea. Took some photos of that, using the telephoto lens and wondered if it might be the remains of the old lighthouse on Penguin Island.

Left there and went to the information centre where I posted the blog and found out that the tower was indeed the remains of the Penguin Island lighthouse. It is now classed as a Reserve and whilst you can wade out there at low tide access is reasonably restricted. Having sourced information and looked through some local craft I headed off towards Robe.  

Robe was only about a 45 min drive away and as I meandered along the roads the thought of heading home started to feel a lot more like a reality now that it is so much closer to happening. Arrived at Robe at discovered this lighthouse is the same design as the one at Cape Jervis, a modern looking triangular shaped building, fenced off with cyclone fencing.

Left Robe and headed to Cape Jaffa. Arriving there about 50 minutes later I found someone to talk to about the lighthouse and was told that I could be disappointed. The stand is still here, about 8 km out to sea but you can see it just, if you walk along the beach and around the bend. I was happier though when told just passed there you can see the ruins of the old keepers quarters. I went for a walk, about 4 km all up, along the beach and could just make out the stand, way off in the distance. Did however see some whale bones washed up on the shore. Kept going and found the ruins before heading back to the car.

The top of the Cape Jaffa lighthouse is stored in Kingston S.E. about 25 km away so drove there and took some photos, had lunch and a chat to the people in the information centre before starting the next leg to Point Malcolm. I had made very good time so far and decided to keep going as Point Malcolm is the last one on the list before heading to Adelaide.

The drive was about 180 km, a little tedious but not too bad. Found the lighthouse and was pleasantly surprised. This lighthouse is classed as an inland lighthouse as it is used on a lake and is the only inland lighthouse in Australia. It is also Australia's shortest lighthouse at only 7 m tall. I was able to get a few shots of the lighthouse is rapidly diminishing light with today's ever present clouds and rain making another appearance. Jumped a barb wire fence and got a couple of shots of one of the old homestead / residences from the areas early use as a station.

I was now only about an hour away from Aunty Jan and Uncle John's place so decided to keep going and be there for tonight. I had received and sent several messages to Aunty Jan throughout the day so it was not going to be complete surprise to them when I landed on their doorstop. They were out but arrived not long after I got there. We chatted for a while, had tea and watched a little bit of cricket before I went ot bed around 9 pm, quite exhausted and well and truly ready for bed. 

                                                                 Cape Martin lighthouse

                                               Old lighthouse stand on Penguin Island

                                                                    Robe Lighthouse

                                                  Cape Jaffa lighthouse light, minus stand

                                        Ruins of lighthouse keeper's quarters at Cape Jaffa

                                                Whale bone on beach near Cape Jaffa

                                                   Whale bone on beach near Cape Jaffa

                                                     Whale bone on beach near Cape Jaffa

                                                             Point Malcolm lighthouse

                                        Old ruins near Cape Malcolm lighthouse (HDR image)