Monday, 22 December 2014

14 - 18 December 2014 - Travel and Steaky Bay

We left Adelaide after having a brief shower and cooler temperatures. We headed north towards Port Augusta just over 300 kms away. We had lunch in the caravan on the way and stopped at Wayalla at the tourist information centre to get some info on the Eyre Peninsula. We decided to skip Port Lincoln at the southern tip of the Eyre Peninsula and head to Cowell for the night before heading west to Streaky Bay for 4 nights and then across the Nullabor to Esperance. We settled into a caravan park overlooking the harbour at Cowell and had champaigne cocktails and dinner of roast chicken (from the IGA), potato salad and salad for dinner.

We left Cowell for the 300 km drive across the Eyre Peninsula to Streaky Bay. The drive was through mixed country of bush and farm lands. The area is dry and reminded us a lot of parts of Western Australia. We settled into the caravan park with the caravan facing the sea just 30 metres from our door. We had sundowners (although the sun only sets after 8:15 pm) before heading to the local hotel for their monday night steak special. After dinner we strolled along the jetty and chatted to some people fishing.

Next day we rose late and more refreshed from a good nights sleep. We had breakfast and then decided to take a drive along the coast. Most of the road was dirt but smooth and we visited many lookouts with the wind blowing hard. At one spot we saw waves coming at right angles to eachother which was quite strange. We took a shortcut through the bush which was fun to do a little off-road driving again. We had booked to go and swim with the dolphins and sea lions the next day so we needed to get all our gear ready before our adventure. The wind was still howling although predicted to be better the next day.

The new day dawned and was perfect, no wind and clear skies. We had a quick breakfast and set off for the 50 km drive to Baird Bay for our swims. Baird Bay is tiny and the road to the tour opperator is the beach! We parked the car on the beach outside the office and checked in. We got our wetsuits on (this is the cold southern ocean) and headed out to look for the dolphins which were out in the rollers waiting for us. We dropped into the water and the boat went to entice the dolphins towards us, which they duly did. We interacted with these gorgeous animals for about an hour which was an amasing experience. Eventually we had to leave much to the disappointment of the dolphins who swam around the boat willing us to come back! We needed to visit the sea lions so it was with regret we left the friendly dolphins. We headed of to the island where the sea lions breed and we soon saw a number of them on the beach. There was a large male, some females and some cubs. We dropped off one guide to entice some of the sea lions into the water and a few soon could not resist the toys on offer. There was a ring on a rope and some other items on rope weighed down with a piece of lead sitting on the sea floor. We all then got into the sea and were greeted by these incredibly agile creatures playing around. They investigated most of us by gently nibbling our arms and then nuzzling our masks with their whiskers tickling our cheeks! What an experience! We stayed with these playfull animals for about an hour while they played with the toys as well as with pebbles the guides threw for them. They would catch the pebbles on the noses as they sank down and the swim around all the time balancing the pebble on their nose. Sadly we had to leave and head back. We had a good chat with the owner and her son who swims with the whales at the head of the bight. We were told some sad stories before we headed home for home to recuperate and develop our photos.

Next day was windy again which was good for drying washing so we did our much needed washing and left it out to dry while doing our last shopping before our crossing of the nullabor which will take three days of driving at about 500 kms a day. We then did a 30 km loop drive along another section of coast before heading home to prepare our picnic dinner on a lovely beach called Hallys Beach which we saw on the loop drive. We arrived at the beach at about 7 pm and had Tasmanian smoked salmon with Tasmanian Southern Sky Blue Brie cheese on bread for dinner while the sun sank lower in the sky. We walked along the beach and came across a pair of Hooded Plovers and some Red-necked Stints. We watched the sun drop behind some clouds just before dipping below the horizon. We made our way home for a shower and bed after a very enjoyable day.

The Eyre Peninsula coastline
Streaky Bay
Streaky Bay Hotel
Our Prado on the coast
A Shingleback Lizard
Threatening display
Snorkelling with the dolphins
Enjoying our company
They would sneak up behind you!
They did not want us to go
A playful Australian Sealion
Playing with a stone
Another toy to play with
Having fun
Keith (right) with a sealion

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