Monday, 15 August 2016

Half-lap Day 105: The Nullarbor -> Kimba

I woke around sunrise and went out of the tent to find everything covered in ice. The chairs were still out and had white seats. The clean dishes on the table were covered in a layer of ice, and the spoons that were sitting the right way up were filled with frozen water. I got the fire going again and made myself a cup of tea, and sat and drank it and read Harry Potter while I warmed up a bit. LiAM came out of the tent shortly afterward, very excited that he’d slept all night and he felt great after a good sleep.

The others came out and had breakfast and we started packing up. We were really efficient this morning and were ready by 8.45 Western Australian time, ( which we’re still pretty well operating on, apart from the weird sunrise and sunset times…) our earliest pack up yet (if we don’t count the day we had to leave overflow at Coral Bay by 8am - we left on time that day but without breakfast). However this meant it was 10.25 South Australian time which didn’t feel quite so early.

By now we were out of the Nullarbor Plain and into farmland, more undulating and a much more lush green, with windmills and farmhouses. We drove to Ceduna and stopped at the quarantine checkpoint to get rif of our apple cores and have our fridge checked by the quarantine guy. There’s been a nasty smell in there for a few days (liquid in the bottom that I haven’t managed to clean out during our quick stops) – I hope the guy wasn’t too grossed out by it when he rummaged around in there. We drove down to the foreshore and found toilets – some of those self-clean ones, and only one was operating so we all lined up. It was a beautiful sunny morning, and not really very cold now, and the view across the bay was gorgeous. There was a long jetty leading out from the foreshore, which we went out on once we’d all been to the toilet.

We could see fish and sea grasses from the jetyy and it felt lovely to be out in the sun and looking at the blue water. Tony left to go to the supermarket and the kids and I walked out to the end of the jetty. We could see a large ship coming in and couldn’t figure out where the wharf was – it was around the headland  a bit near the large silos we could see. We were able to head back in to shore when we saw what looked like a large fish break the surface of the water – it was a seal! We watched it swim through the water until it disappeared, very excited at spotting yet another animal that we’d really wanted to see. It popped up again one more time then we headed back to the car.

We drove through a lot of farmland from here, seeing many windmills (even the town of 100 windmills – we didn’t see 100 but probably 30 or so!) and lots of silos. We were following the railway line and every town had silos between the road and rail. We listened to the 2nd book fof the Spirit Animal Series – we’d done book 1 way back when we were heading to the Flinders Ranges near the start of our trip. We slowly remembered the story line and found it quite exciting to be continuing this story.

Today and the last few days, we’ve seen a huge number of trucks carrying other vehicles and equipment – tractors, caravans, mining vehicles and scoops, diggers, graders, huge tyres… I guess all the stuff that’s being taken across to Western Australia. I drove for a while from Poochera to Wudinna and was behind a large truck with digger on it, for ages. I wanted to go past him but he was wider than the lane and the shoulder on the other side of the road was narrow – I had to go a long way out onto the other side to see if it was clear to overtake, and then I wasn’t confident about keeping the trailer steady as I passed him if I had to go over onto the shoulder at all. So I sat behind him and enjoyed the countryside we were passing through.

When we had stopped for petrol at Poochera there was a large sculpture of an ant – a local ant that they call the dinosaur ant because it was probably similar to the ants that were around with the dinosaurs. It was an unexpected bit of natural history to learn as we drove through South Australia. This is actually a part of the country that I have not really thought about before, across the top of the Eyre Peninsula. I didn’t know anything about the region and even though we won’t have time to stop and see much of it, I’m glad we’ve had the chance to have a look at least as we drive through

We reached Kimba a little after 4pm (on South Australian time now). We went to the Kimba Recreation Reserve, where we can camp for a small donation, and there are coin operated showers. Even if we end up paying $5 each for a shower, it’s still cheaper than a caravan park. The main camping area was all bitumen so at first we thought we wouldn’t be able to stay – then found a dirt area across from the entrance that looked like it had been used for tents before, so we set up there. The kids went and played in the playground and explored the sports ground. I chatted for a while to a Western Australian couple who were heading home, they were fun to talk to.

I read more Harry Potter aloud while Tony cooked spaghetti Bolognese. It was a cold night, although our tent was set up so that our living area was protected from the wind which made it a little more pleasant. We can’t have fires here so we rugged up and ate our hot dinner then got ready for bed as quickly as we cold. It was nice having a sink to clean our teeth in rather than just doing it in the bush. Into bed (Millie with us again as she still doesn’t feel well) and made sure everyone was very well rugged up, then read a bit more of Inheritance – hoping we’ll finish it before we get home.

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