Thursday, 2 October 2008

Streaky Bay

Streaky Bay sunset
Nullarbor Roadhouse – Fowlers Bay – Ceduna – Streaky Bay 406(14901) kms

So, you know how I get pretty passionate about things ... well at the risk of upsetting dog owners everywhere and my brother and sister in law in particular, I just have to have a gripe.

We've arrived at Streaky Bay this afternoon ... as far as I can tell, it's not named after a former Zimbabwean skipper ... and Sue was off in the showers pretending it is a difficult task to make herself look beautiful for her hot date with me tonight and I'm wandering about the place, mentally composing my blog and thinking on the things I want to give you about from a day's lazy drive. The shoreline of this nice park seemed a reasonable place to get inspiration and as I stood there admiring the pelicans and the long mudflat out to the real water, a handsome young lady walked past with her dog, released it  and ignored its further actions as she waved at anything with hair on its chest. Meanwhile, the dog was doing what untrained dogs do and roaring about the mudflats chasing and even catching one pelican. A combination of my raged calls for action and a few laughs by the objects of her attention and the young lady managed to call the dog off and once it was back under her control, belt the living daylights out of it. For mine, the wrong member of the "team" got the belting.

I walked out to the injured bird but it seemed like shock was the biggest problem, for after about ten minutes it made for the deeper water and flew about 400 m to get there. Until then, it had been a delightful sunset, with the town lit in that wonderful golden light than happens in the closing down sale in every part of the sun's shop. It is a nice park. Rather typical of those on the NSW coast who specialise in families and do a big trade when school teachers are enjoying anonymity. Outstanding amenities and now the leader in our best camp kitchen award because of its sealed and lined dining room and kitchen (two stoves, microwave, large refrigerator, electric jugs, sinks and crockery). Huge rainwater tanks everywhere, even on the individual cabins!

Sorry reader. I somewhat raced ahead of the rest of our day there.

Our morning started with a truckies' breakfast at the Nullarbor Roadhouse after the most wonderful nights sleep, with occasional peeps at the stars through the moonroof of the Forester and my sighting of a dingo wandering through the camp and scavenging a feed from each bin. In the morning, during our pack up, a white backed magpie (we don't have them back east) swooped from the sky and landed at our feet so it could grab a huge moth which was fluttering among the gear waiting to be packed. I also managed to speak with Dad and wish him bon voyage for his impending trip to Lord Howe Island. He's doing well. No one's strong when sixty years of history ends but he's getting on with living and I know that's what Mum wanted. God he's brilliant!

Finally underway, we made our way across the Treeless Plain - which really was treeless! It went on like that for twenty km until brave twisted little soldiers started pushing their shoulders above the saltbush to be noticed. It was a long while before their taller mates stood beside each other and called themselves a forest. The car felt more at home at least.

About then, a fence appeared on our left - standard height but newer, more sturdy posts and six inch square wire that was hung under more tension than a Wall St banker. Paralleling it was a good quality dirt road. This is the dog proof fence and its intention is to keep dingos on the northern side so that they won't foray into the pastoral land to the south. I thought of my three a.m. mate and how he would go against the wire & post barricade.

On the other side of the road - making a parallel track to our right - was the old telegraph line which ran from Adelaide to Perth. The metal posts still stand and occasionally their wire signal carrier still drapes from Bakelite insulators, but cut so that they still couldn't reach the ground. I wonder if they longed to hold hands with brothers and feel the news of empire pass through them?

Sam caught up with us with yet another snake encounter from Lismore. It seems the Eastern Browns are taking a liking for his company, as two 2.5 metre specimens arrived on his tennis court whilst he was playing social tennis. As the snakes wrestled, Sam and friend took off for safer sports. Skydiving perhaps?

I was Chris' welcome phone-a-friend as the night arrived and we had a lovely chat.

Sue and I went out to the very pleasant local pub and had dinner together, sort of celebrating our achievements on this tour and then walked home by the shoreline under a black, bejeweled ceiling. Even though that four letter word starting with H is now looming large and all the appeals it offers, it will still be hard leaving this behind.

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