...via Smoky Bay, Ceduna and Penonng
08.03.2017 - 11.08.2018 38 °C
Kimba has some quite nice murals on silos in the town but when we left in the morning they were in shade - maybe another time? The weather was dry and hot and we drove on roads lined with bands of low growing eucalypts either side, with flat fields behind them. On this part of the trip we noticed that the air conditioner was getting noisier. I 'phoned a mechanic in Streaky Bay who will carry out a minor service and look at the a/c tomorrow.
Near Koongawa we pulled into a rest area but this was not up to much so continued to another rest area near Kyancutta. Kyancutta itself is apparently little more than a ghost town now but at the rest area there was a small memorial marking the place where the Goyder Line passes through this area. In the last blog, I mentioned that General George Goyder had laid down a line across South Australia, north of which was deemed to be to drought-prone for 'safe' farming.
At Wudinna we pulled into a DIY car wash and removed months of red dirt - took quite a few dollars being fed into the machine but we had our Beast back, bright and shiny. By the time we reached Streaky Bay, the air conditioner was so noisy that for short periods of time we put up with the heat and just had windows open, not that that made a lot of difference! Our cabin was right on the beachfront and nice and roomy. Having checked in and done a little shopping, we headed south to Sceale Bay then east towards Calpatanna Waterhole Conservation Park. On the way we stopped at Baird Bay and I hopped out to take a couple of photos. When I got back in, I found a pile of leaves and dust at my feet - evidently the air conditioning fan had overflowed!
As the waterhole and general area were dry and without access, we continued to 'Murphy's Haystacks'. Apparently a Scottish agricultural expert (not Irish as one may expect!) was travelling through the district and mistook the granite inselbergs for haystacks, understandable from a distance but I would guess he took a bit of ribbing. Inselbergs are so named as they appear like rocky islands rising from the sea. The pink Hiltaba granite is 1,500 million years old and had been unevenly weathered over time. About 33,600 years ago, they were overlain by dune sand which has subsequently been blown or worn away, revealing the bare rock outcrops. Where several were grouped together among sparse trees, there was a suggestion of the 'Picnic at Hanging Rock' atmosphere. Erosion continues so these inselbergs will gradually disappear - not in my lifetime, I suspect!
On Friday, the mechanic duly serviced the Landcruiser but did not touch the fan so I went to see him and he took the a/c fan unit out and more leaves and dust cascaded down but it appears that the debris had damaged some of the blades so he could nothing to remove the noise and suggested that we try to get a spare part from a breaker's yard. I 'phoned around and it seemed likely that a chap in Smoky Bay may have one, We wandered along the front at Streaky Bay which is a very pleasant seaside town.
Saturday morning we shocked ourselves by rising early enough to take some sunrise photos from the beach - and get bitten by sand fleas into the bargain!
Smoky Bay is about 73km from Streaky Bay and we just caught the breaker's yard in time to see the spare a/c fan tested and to pay for it - let's hope! In search of coffee, we stopped in Ceduna and were served by a very friendly bloke who happened to double as a mechanic and he explained how simple replacing the fan will be - the coffee was good too! Not far along the road we came to Penong which we had passed through last year as we did not have time to stop. This time we were able to see the Windmill Museum which was very interesting and quite photogenic too, well in our eyes.
The countryside from Penong was very flat and dry with little vegetation to speak of, clearly the edges of the Nullarbor Plain but first we had to turn towards the sea to stay in a cabin on a farm at Coorabie. The cabin had the name Maralinga plastered all over the front. Deb, the farmer's wife explained to us that when the nuclear test site closed down, a whole range of buildings and equipment from the support base were auctioned off and we were staying in part of the former medical centre. It was fairly basic and quite hot although air conditioners were going full pelt but it suited us for a couple of night's stay. The farm is a sheep farm and as we were taking sunset photos, we spotted some dust and saw a lot of sheep being herded in by vehicle and quad bike. Deb also told us that the Nullarbor had had some rain and was quite green, something to look forward to. We managed to extract the a/c fan except neither of us could budge the plug but luckily there was a shearer nearby who had stronger fingers and thereafter it was simple job to put the new unit in and enjoy the quiet hum of the a/c working again, better in fact than when we bought it!
Sunday morning we drove down to Fowler's Bay which is pretty remote but apparently good for fishing. It was rather chilly when we were there so the regular coffee top up was required, served by a German lass who loves it there - each to their taste. On our way back we spotted a bobtail on the road. When we lived in Perth, they seemed to pop up with regular monotony, even in our garden, but we haven't seen many on this trip. Back on the farm we had a wander around and I managed to get some photos of galahs which are quite common but beautiful.
On the farm, we had internet access but it was on the slow side so we fell behind with a number of things, including the blog! Tomorrow we set off west and back into WA again, retracing our 'wheel marks' for much of the way.