Our air conditioner chose to die. Apparently it doesn’t like the corrugated, dirt roads we drive on. Even though it would sometimes be faster, and more comfortable, to walk some of these roads, we’ve still used them. Although the campervan is buiult to be an off-road Van, the appliances just aren’t.
In all fairness, the air conditioner died a few months ago. We just haven’t cared before now. Now,, we care. A lot. We care because it is so hot. It is over forty degrees. It would be great to be able to start the generator and turn on the air conditioner. Other than my in-laws, we are all alone in the campground. I’m sure they wouldn’t complain about the noise of the generator and air conditioner if only we could get some relief from this heat.
We are at Whalers Way. It’s the most southerly tip of the Eyre Peninsula, and the south-easterly tip of the Great Australian Bite. It feels rather remote, but we’re within cooee of Port Lincoln, a major town. The 14 kilometers of dirt road stretches along the tip, and is private property as part of Mikkira Sation.
Despite the $30 day permit cost, it is only $35 for the car, campervan and all six of us to enter and camp for two nights. The first time we’d gone passed we’d not gone in because of the steep cost for a day. Now we are here, we figure that it is worth it. It is beautiful.
It is New Years Eve, but we have the place to ourselves. Well, until the morning when Peter looks out the campervan window and calls out to the rest of us, “Look! Snake!”
We watch the snake slither around the concrete bin that is just a few meters from our campervan. We all watch, safe inside the van, as the snake circles the bin a few times. It then stretches its body upwards along the side of the bin. It sweeps itself along the side of the bin before its head finds a tiny air hole in the bin, which it puts its head inside. Before long, the entire snake disappears inside the rubbish bin. The rubbish bin that we used repeatedly yesterday.
Several hours and games of Scrabble later, the snake is still very active. Three year old Edmund wants to go outside, but no one will let him. No one wants Edmund near the snake. Jarrad looks sadly at me, and says quietly,
“I’m going to kill it.”
“Oh Jarrad, what if it bites you?”
“I don’t want to. We’re in its environment, but it’s just too active arouund here. We’ll either have to go, or I kill it.”
Ten minutes later, Jarrad has broken the snake’s back and killed it. He looks really upset, This is the same guy who stops the car to carry a lizard off the road rather than risk harming it.
A car pulls into the campground, and we all groan that we’re going to have company. “Hi,” the man says, “I just wanted to say welcome. I’m the owner of Mikkira Station.”. He’s lovely and very friendly. We have a great time talking to him. He suggests a few different swimming and fishing points.
We head towards Red Banks at the westernly end of Whalers Way. We drive along the rocky track towards the beach, when someone shouts “Whales! Look! Whales!”. We all shout at Jarrad to stop the car, and pratically fall over each other we are in such a hurry to get out.
We are so surprised that whales are here. It is New Years’, and whales are only expected in the Great Australian Bite between June to October. We count our blessings, feeling so lucky that at Christmas we saw salmon herded by dolphins, and now today we are seeing whales. “They are not moving fast,” someone comments, “No, but there are quite a few. It is not just one, it’s a pod!”.
A few minutes later, it dawns on us that our whales are actually rocks. Disappointed, we climb back into the car.
We forget about the pseudo-whales a few minutes later as we pull up at Red Banks. We jump a meter down over the edge of the cliff to the soft sand and then run the rest of the way down to the beach. We spend hours in the blistering heat playing in the sheltered, shallow waters. It’s a blissful escape and relief from the harsh heat.
We climb over the rocks to get out a little further as the afternoon draws on and the temperature drops to a lovely temperature. Jarrad’s got a new fishing rod after our experience with the salmon, and he wants to try it out. Holding Edmund, I wade thigh-deep through the water. Everyone else goes around the long way in an attempt to stay dry. Jarrad catches nothing, but we all have fun looking at tiny schools of fish, sea anenomies and crabs in the shallow waterpools.
Jarrad’s mum loses her footing and slips into the water. Her arm is broken, a result of a fall playing laser skirmish several weeks earlier, and she struggles to get up. She’s visibly shaky after the fall, and we go back to the sand.
I’m still carrying Edmund, and I get back while the Jarrad, the older kids and his parents are still picking their way amongst the rocks. The owner notices our car, and comes down to say hello. He shows me the bag of fish that he has caught during the afternoon, and gives me two. Jarrad hasn’t caught any fish today, but we’ll still be able to have fresh fish on the barbecue for dinner!
I love this place! It’s beautiful. The only thing I’m missing as I watch the sun set and eat fresh barbecued fish is a glass of white wine.