My latest great adventure.
I have just started another course with the fabulous Jessica Sprague, this one is called Type+Writer, all about getting to the heart of your story with journalling, and putting it together with your pictures in an effective and attractive way. Goes with the theme of my blog Words and Pictures ;-) Our first assignment is a free write focusing on my latest adventure. The idea is to get everything that comes into my head out onto the page regardless of grammar, spelling and sentence construction. I plan to do this here on my blog, as it makes it easy to find it later when it is time to put it into a layout, so the posts labelled free write may ramble, and make little sense and you have my blessing to ignore them and wait for something that is more fluent and readable.
I suppose my last great adventure of note was my trip in January to the Eyre Peninsular with my family. We are a camping family, all of us. During the long winter months we don't camp, and the kids can be heard to wonder when the next camping trip is towards the beginning of Spring. Once the leaves start to burst forth on the trees, they become more vocal about our next expedition. My husband has also been known to mutter about getting a job in a climate more hospitable to year round camping. So yes we are a camping family.
In January we decided to up sticks for three weeks and head to South Australia. My husband has family living in Adelaide, most importantly his 93 year old Grandmother, and also aunts uncles and cousins etc. We were also keen to go somewhere new as we have spent the last three years on our summer break camping in the same place.
The something new turned out to be Coffin Bay in South Australia, so named because of a person whose surname was Coffin, nothing to do with dead people or the undead for that matter either. We estimated this trip would involve about 3000 kilometres give or take and three weeks to make it more relaxed. The early days we spent in Adelaide with cousins. We had a fabulous time, and I feel so grateful to have got to know the cousins better, they are good people, and I feel we will have a lifelong friendship (albeit a long distance one, although these days with the Internet and such it is so much easier to keep long distance relationships going). The cousins made us so welcome, and we had such a wonderful time with them all.
It took us two days of driving to reach Adelaide, and the temperature hit 43 degrees the first day - to say I was a little cranky when we arrived in Balranald to set up was probably being a little kind. I was snapping at my husband and the kids, i was so dehydrated I felt sick.
Dinner that night was a beautiful relief. We supped at the Ex Service Men's Club, where the food was great, inexpensive, the service with a smile, and... most importantly of all the air conditioning was cool. This was not the first time that the interns of a building saved my sanity on this trip.
After the all important visit with family we headed north of Adelaide to hot dry dusty and disturbing Port Augusta... I was uncomfortable there. The caravan park itself was surrounded by very high fences, and we were warned that there was no exiting or entering the park on foot after 9pm, and that we needed a special pass key to get in or out if we went in the car. Not the best way to make us feel at ease. We had planned to stay two nights, but changed our minds very quickly.
The highlight of PA was when we settled into the camper to sleep. Due the the fact that we were heading out early the following morning we all headed for bed at the same time, and as we were only staying one night we all slept in the camper rather than setting up the kids tents. Our kids are very entertaining. we spent a lot of time laughing, and joking together, and the kids were keen to entertain.
The next day we drove to Coffin Bay, stopping a few times along the way to check out the scenery and familiarise ourselves with this land that was so very different from where we live.
Coffin Bay itself was much smaller in reality than it Had been in my mind, but it was certainly adequate for what we wanted. We realised very quickly that we were completely out of the loop, as we were one of the few campsites that did not have a boat resting outside our camper. It seems that a lot of people go to Coffin Bay to launch their boats and go fishing, whereas we have always been a fish off the rocks or beach type of family having never owned a boat. None the less we were not made to feel like idiots about fishing from the land, although our fish count was disapbointnigly low...
The best parts of the time spent stationed at Coffin Bay were the times we were together, sitting in the shade after lunch talking, yakking in bed after lights out, driving into the National Parks looking for the best spots to swim, snorkel and fish, and hanging out on the beach together playing in the sand, looking for shells and swimming.
One memorable beach experience was at Donnington Beach in the Port Lincoln NP, we had been paddling about in the shallows whilst my husband was snorkeling, then he convinced me to go further into the water. We were hanging out in water about waist/chest deep when I saw something dark surface about fifty metres away from me. I swear I almost walked on water towards the shore. My husband nearly split his sides laughing, it turns out it was a seal! But me, I have a little phobia (just a small one) about sharks, and as we had been reading about shark attacks in the paper fairly recently it was the first thing I thought of. Thankfully it wasn't a shark!
The seal seemed rather bemused by us, he popped up a few times to check us out before shooting off through the water in search of more fish. A few days later we returned to the same beach, and this time the kids were in the water when we heard an almighty racket. The seal was back, and this time the kids had seen it, and the excitement was uncontainable. The seal must have wondered if the end of the world was coming given the racket my children were making, they were so excited and delighted to see a real live seal I think our family back home must have heard them. The seal popped his head up and looked right at them, then disappeared under the water, only to pop back up again closer to them. If I were to describe the look on its face, I would say it was bemused by these ungainly noisy creatures in his backyard. Bemused, but unafraid, simply curious and vaguely interested. After a few more looks he slid off again, and that was the last we saw of him.
I hope the kids remember that. there may come a time in their lives where people no longer see wild creatures in their own habitat. Its something moving and special.
Once our time was up in coffin Bay we headed north, and then east targeting the BArossa Valley as our next stop. Next time I go to the Barossa I would like to do it sans kids, as they find wine tasting a tad boring, but it was an enjoyable sample of the valley, and has given us the motivation to go back some day as a couple to really enjoy all it has to offer.
12 hours after leaving the Barossa we were back home. It was a long day in the saddle, but I am pleased we did it. There is something special about coming back home after being on the road for any period of time. We were all very happy to be be back, and grateful to have enjoyed three weeks together exploring the country. It only took about two days before we wanted to head out again, but alas travelling takes money, so it was back to work to earn the money to soon head out again as a family and explore.
Some of the main things that stand out for me on this trip are: family, music, seals, no fish, heat (45 degrees in a tent!), distance, geographic difference.