SUNDAY MAY 9 COFFIN BAY
There was much condensation outside, under the awning roof, in the morning. There were far too many drips for us to be able to sit under the awning. Guess it had something to do with being by the sea. However, it turned into a beautiful day.
M had now declared serious war on mice. Not only had there been the rustling in the night, and the chewed things, but this morning, when she pulled out a storage drawer in Bessie, there were FOUR of the “little sh**s” – her words. Two immediately bailed out and ran off into the bushes, two went back into hiding. So she got determined. Everything that was left in Bessie came out.
The storage drawers were emptied. She even took off some of the wall lining panels. No mice to be found, but they were still in there somewhere. So much for lavender oil….Short of demolishing the entire vehicle, she’d done all she could. She left all the doors open, hoping they might sneak out and away. And hoping that the others didn’t see it as an invitation to come back!
There were Sunday markets in the township. We walked to those, but there was not much of note. However, I did buy a pair of earrings made from quandongs. Walked back to camp along part of the Oyster Walk, seeing some very nicely situated homes along the shore.
Coffin Bay had, on our previous trips, always reminded me of a much smaller and laid back Lakes Entrance, in Victoria. The bay seems more lake-like, being so land enclosed. It was certainly beautiful – one of the very few places in SA that John and I would have found liveable. In fact, had this been somewhere on the Victorian coast, we’d have been sold up in Melbourne and shifted by now.
The name was not as morbid as it sounded. Matthew Flinders named the bay for a friend of his called Coffin.
After lunch, we drove out to the Coffin Bay National Park – a lovely drive because the road was beside the bay for some of the way. At the Entrance Station, when we saw the charges, decided we would be best served by buying a Holiday Pass, rather than do daily entries. But we would have to go to Port Lincoln to get that.
So, turned around and drove the other way, to Wangary, on the way we’d come from the north a couple of days ago. Took the minor road from there to Farm Beach. When we first visited these parts, in 1993, we had been amazed to see a parking area, by the beach, full of old tractors, and then – all along the back of the long beach, rows of parked caravans. We eventually worked out that the tractors were used to haul the caravans along the beach, as well as to launch fishing boats.
Coming from Victoria, it was rather unbelievable to us that people were allowed to have this unregulated van settlement actually on the beach. We wondered about hygiene: there were no amenities, and this was before the advent of en-suite vans.
Now, there was a basic caravan park on “proper” land at Farm Beach itself – $5 a night, no power available. It would be alright for a few days’ stay. There were now no caravans along the beach.
There was a big tractor “graveyard”, and still some in use on the beach, for moving boats. We were told that the tractors all had to be cleared out soon. A few could stay, but they must be roadworthy and registered! So, the quirky nature of this place was giving way to the nanny state, it seemed. A pity we couldn’t be flexible enough to allow a few such places to remain – not the vans polluting the beach, but the practical use of old tractors for the boats.
We walked along Farm Beach for a while. Watched a couple of boats being launched or retrieved.
Drove further around the inlet and looked at Little Douglas – a few houses, a beach. Like at so many locations around this part of the coast, we looked out over Coffin Bay – quite a large expanse here.
Then retraced our way back around to Mt Dutton Bay. This had a Heritage-listed, beautiful old woolshed that dated from the 1870’s, and jetty to match. Back then, coastal shipping was used to take wool bales to markets, and to bring goods in for the local pastoralists.
A little further north from Wangary and Farm Beach was Gallipoli Beach, which was turned into “Anzac Cove” for the film Gallipoli. But John was fading fast, so we did not go on to look at that.
Tea was garlic prawns and rice.