Monday, 8 December 2014

Innes National Park

At the bottom of the Yorke Peninsula is the beautiful Innes National Park. We booked ourselves into a National Park campsite  for a few days and braced ourselves for unparalleled beauty, spectacular scenery and pristine beaches.  Oh we braced ourselves, but not only for the reasons stated above.
An emu with her chicks. Most mothers had around nine emu chicks.
We stayed at Pondalowie Bay in an empty campground next to the fishing village. Fibro houses line the dunes and as their owners die, the shacks are bulldozed as per National Parks instructions. We spoke to one of the owners and it’s sad for them- some of the shacks have been in the family for generations, plus they’re all perched on an awesome spot overlooking protected-from-the-elements Pondalowie Bay. Cray fisherman still operate out of here and had the weather been warmer and the kayak off the roof of the camper, we could have dined on rock lobster for dinner.
The 1904 wreck of the "Ethel", one of 20 wrecks along this part of the coast.

Anyway, the park is beautiful, with surf breaks and protected white sandy coves and blue blue water. While we were there it was also pretty windy. Did I say pretty? I meant Armageddon-like.

We knew the forecast was for a bit of high winds, but I didn’t expect this. I suppose I should have, being just a stone’s throw from Antartica. The winds got up past 50kms an hour. At one point during the night as the wind and rain lashed our flimsy camper, I turned to Fiela and asked when exactly he thought we should get in the car and wait the night out without the threat of a roof literally falling down around our ears. The roof was swinging from side to side while strange and frightening noises kept squealing out from the camper. The added weight of the kayak on top didn’t help and when I look at the struts holding up the roof I’m certain they’re not straight anymore. Obviously we survived without incident. But that sleepless night is now part of the Uyshuis Yardstick, when a windy night will be prefaced with “It’s not as bad as that night in Innes NP…”
Dolphin Bay in Innes National Park. Who'd know we almost blew away last night?
I’ve harped on a bit about weather lately and I’m reminded of a conversation we had all the way back on Ningaloo Reef with a family doing a three month trip in a camper similar to ours. They were from Melbourne and would be investing in a caravan on their return home. There was a little bit of derision around the campfire: afterall we were three groups, all with campertrailers. Why would you go the soft option and get four hard caravan walls? “Because we live in Victoria, not Queensland.” came the definitive response. I was starting to see what he meant. We’d had some lovely sunny, calm, warm days, but we’d also had torrential rain, cold, unbelievable winds and everything in between since hitting the southern coast of Australia.

And we weren’t even in the weather vortex of Victoria yet, but supposedly still in the temperate climes of South Australia. Sigh, life with just a bit of canvas and fibreglass separating us from the outside world would have to continue on for a little while longer.

More emu chicks.

Fun in the cold waters of Dolphin Bay.

Dolphin Bay explorer.

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