Thursday, 16 October 2014

Day 28 - Kangaroo Island

Our trip to Kangaroo Island, which lies off the South Australian coast and acts as a guardian of the Gulf f St Vincent, began with the rather short leg to Cape Jervis. From our spot at Trig Campground in Deep Creek Conservation Park, it was less than twenty kilometres to the thriving metropolis come boring little squat of a village that is Cape Jervis.

As you head down the hill into Cape Jervis, there is usual sense of anticipation of what a new place might hold. This was soon abated when we stopped at the local hotel/post office/general store/café/fast food joint/petrol station and all in the space of a short, taciturn conversation with the two legged charm bracelet that owns, runs and dispenses local homilies.

“What might I expect to see in Cape Jervis?” says I.

“Nothin’. This is about it. It’s a fishing village ruined by tourists who ask questions.”

“And if I wanted a coffee?” I continued, undeterred by our initial tête-à-tête.

“You’d be out of luck.”

At that point, our conversation - a loose and rather exaggerated description - was interrupted by an elderly gent showing signs of desperation. Excusing himself, he asked where he might find the toilet.

“Down at the Sea Link terminal or in Victor Harbour,” came the instant, practiced and unsympathetic reply.

To think, a few minutes earlier, as we stood at the scenic lookout which took in views across the Backstairs Passage to KI - Sue’s slant on localism - the lighthouse and the Sea Link terminal, we had imagined there wasn’t much to Cape Jervis. It turns out there was even less.

We almost swung passage on the ten o’clock boat but were happy to wait our turn for the one pm passage which we had booked. The ferry terminal was like most you find around the world - bad coffee, efficient counter service, rows of plastic moulded chairs, garish carpet and a man talking about how he catches snakes with a bent piece of wire and egg slice. The time was well spent with Sue planning where we would go and me reporting where we had been.

All those years of reversing box trailers
Before we left, I impressed myself (if no one else) by reversing the trailer and car forty metres down a slope, across the ramp and into a tight lane beside a particularly smelly cattle truck.

The trip across was uneventful, although at one stage an alarm went off and several staff members went running in several directions. As an international traveller well used to ferry crossing, I wasn’t bothered, probably because I was on deck taking photos at the time and missed the event. The bloke behind us went green and tried to wallpaper cool over his sea sickness. Tried. We just laughed at things and people in that crass, supercilious fashion that superior intellects do, only in our case it was because we are prats.

Once back on land that stayed still and wasn’t covered in the bloke behind us’ vomit, we stopped at the information centre and then went on a few kms to Brown Beach for another spectacular lunch spot.

We reached our digs about four pm and it must be said, first impressions did not bode well. Reception was a farmhouse and what we took to be the campgrounds were mown slopes above a fairly pretty inland lagoon. However, the service was very friendly and we were soon to discover our impressions were poor, but then our training was in teaching, not impressions.

The campground of Discovery Lagoon, was on the other side of the water and proved to be a delight. The toilet block and the camp kitchen are both new constructions but covered in what appears to be old corrugated iron. It is, in fact, iron that has been made to look aged. Solar panels power LED external and internal lighting and hot water showers. The toilets are tiled throughout and include large cubicles, lockable boxes in which to recharge phones, laptops, ipads, cameras etc and framed photographs. The ladies is even nicer!

The camp kitchen has two large gas bbq plates, new benches and chairs and is walled in at one end against the prevailing breeze, with a large bellied enclosed wood burning heater. Wood is chopped and stacked ready for use and another pile is kept in a dry box outside. Two large whiteboards are covered in guests comments.

Gardens and pathways have been established with drought tolerant plantings and other neat, farm humoured innovations. An old, rusted box trailer with flat tyres has been filled with soil and grows herbs for campers to include in their cooking. The sites are bush sites and although some are marked, the owner encouraged us to park anywhere except in the lagoon!

About half an hour after we set up, she dropped by to see if we needed anything, to give us a weather report and apologised again for the lack of a laundry which “hubby is hoping to make a start on this weekend”. All this and it is located on the shore of a lagoon rich with water birds and drowned red gums.

$25 dollars a night and we are the only ones in camp. Are you kidding me?

Livin' the dream
I spent the sunset taking photos and then we ate our steak and salad, supported by a pleasant red wine and warmed by the firebox. Somewhere in there, we Skyped Sarah in Greece for her 31st birthday. Who needs the old days?

At dusk, kookaburras called an invitation to the evening, handing over to the night crew who were already warming up in the dead red gums in the lagoon.

Pleasant? What do you think?

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