Jeff - Port Lincoln
Port Lincoln is Australia's largest fishing port, producing a diverse range of seafood worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the state and local economies. Some of the boats moor beside a very long jetty carrying the transport system for millions of tons of wheat each year to waiting tankers. At the land end of the jetty is a very large complex of silo's which store the wheat and other grains. Port Lincoln is second only to Adelaide for the amount of wheat which flows through its ports to be transported to other countries.
At first thought, the complex is an eye sore and the frontage could be prime real estate. The reality is that wheat and the industry around it provides wealth to the area and is the basis of what is a very nice place to live. A man aged 92 got off his bicycle to tell us that Port Lincoln was the best place to live in Australia and he was very lucky; he had worked as a joiner, carpenter and boat builder. Along the front of the sandy bay is grass areas for picnics, information on the historic boats that have used the bay, and a statue of the 3 times winner of the Melbourne cup, owned by a local fisherman.
We set off for a lazy Saturday along a walking trail round the coast to the town. We had explored part of the trail which passed by our camp site last night after our lovely meal. It was the long way round but very beautiful and we returned the same way, convincing our selves the 7 ½ miles shown on Sylvia's pedometer was a healthy way to spend our day. Back at the van we got out the chairs and sat in the sun, reading whilst facing the bay.
Coffin Bay, named after a man called Issac Coffin, had been recommended to us by Pauline and John whom we visited at Lobathol before attending our third campervan rally. It was a hot day with a blue sky and the views of Coffin Bay as we approached were some of the loveliest sights I have seen. The day's weather showed Coffin Bay at its best. After gazing over the scene whilst having lunch, we visited a very imaginative and difficult crazy golf course before visiting the local National Park. Bush camping was permitted but we were booked in at our site for another night and we had to get up early.
After 10 miles of hilly road amongst some lovely areas of Australian bush, we stopped at a high viewing spot and gazed on three sides at the surrounding islands. Three further miles and we were at a bay, complete with its sandy beach and three walking trails of various lengths. All seemed good and we did not have the time to do any of them. We travelled to two other look out points, one overlooking Point Avoid. A well named Point described as 'a limestone headland with spectacular views of the sea. Reefs and islands lie close to shore'. The description was true; however all of the views could be described as spectacular.
At the next viewing spot we clambered down the steep sandy slope and enjoyed a walk on the beach. Prior to doing this we pounced on a young couple at the top of the cliff. We were resplendent in tinsel and Santa hats and they were kind enough to take the photograph for our blog site Christmas message.
On our way to home, (everywhere we stay is home for the time we are there), we visited the internet site at the Sports Centre. We had been having mixed results with the internet and worked out that probably we needed to attend during the working hours of the Centre. A detour then took us to the headland point which necessitated passing the marina and a very 'posh' residential area. There was a wide sheltered canal which had houses along both sides and each seemed to have boat houses and very nice boats. We were later told that Port Lincoln has more millionaires per square what ever than any other place in Australia.
Up, off the site and at the garage for 8am; what a shock to the system. The oil filters, (I had ordered a spare), had not arrived. The firm said they had been sent; the carriers said they had been delivered. The helpful garage man asked us to return in 90 minutes time when he would have learned more. After sitting on a seat watching the bay and the early keep fit walkers, we returned via the shops. Our very helpful garage man promised the oil filters would be available tomorrow and the van's 10,000 k service would commence at 8am; again, 8am, my second shock to the system in one day.
I had noticed a continuous drip of water leaving the connecting point for taking water on board the van. A sealing strip which runs along the top of the side of the van and down the back edge was also half off; this had been discovered yesterday and I had looped it round the bike rack to protect it and ensure no more came loose. I had known the seal was loose near the bottom and pushed it back in but was too lazy to glue it. I think my high pressure hose work when cleaning the van was the probable cause of it coming out. Anyway, that will be my excuse not to have to wash the van again.
We went to the campervan repair shop and were promptly dealt with. The seal was put back in place, (I couldn't reach the top part and may have to buy some folding ladders or steps). The water valve had got some grit inside and a clean by someone who was able to take it apart and put it successfully back together again, was all that was necessary. Purchases of extra items were also made which should help us on our journeys. One older man came into the repair premises and on seeing Sylvia was wearing a tee shirt saying 'I cuddled a wombat in Western Australia', demanded he should have a cuddle; and he got one. Sylvia can't half pull em.
Back in the Sports Centre car park, we were more successful in logging on to the internet, down loading messages and placing some work on the site. We then turned up at the Camp Site and obtaining the same plot as we had had for the last three nights. Another lazy afternoon, sitting in a chair with a glass near by, gazing occasionally at the pelicans, gulls, parrots, the bay, whilst reading. To think such a situation had been forced upon us by an inept delivery firm. How dare they. When our neighbours returned we said, "Yes, we are still here".
Our neighbours are from Germany and they managed to obtain a longer visa and have a further two years of Australian travel ahead of them. The longer visa had only been withdrawn a few months before we applied for our visa which is for 1 year. We sat and spoke with our neighbours who proved to be very knowledgeable regarding birds, and spent some of their time placing identifying rings on the legs of birds and reporting sightings to a research project. The man kept throwing bread down and many gulls were around us; two had an injured leg, (one each, not a shared leg), and one had only one foot. It was amazing to see how this gull managed. Eventually our neighbour swooped down and was seen to be holding a gull firmly, the gull looking away from him. It could not struggle and so just remained calm with a bemused look on its face. Quite remarkable. The man kept on talking to us and eventually let the gull join the others who were still around us. It was a pity we were not parked right at the front as he could have shown us his trick with a pelican.
Night had fallen and we could see many coloured lights at a house on the road at the top of the Camp Site. Sylvia and I walked up to the source of the lights and watched cars driving slowly past, or stopping to allow children to get out and view the Christmas display of lights which were on the front of the house, in the garden and on the big palm tree. There was a large square of white at one part of the building which had a film of a previous Christmas Pageant beamed on it from behind. It was very clever and impressive.
A man was sitting to the side on the front wall of the house. He proved to be the home owner and architect of the display; we complemented him on his Christmas lights. I was unsure if he was sat outside to watch his display; to guard his display; or to count the number of sight seers. What ever reason, I expect he will spend every night until he switches off and dismantles his lights, sitting on his wall quietly watching; that is until some nosey tourists like us force them selves upon him.
After more work on the blog entries, it was an early night. Tomorrow we have a date at a garage at 8am; again. I just hoped we would not be going for the hat trick on Wednesday.