Tuesday, 30 December 2014

19 - 21 December 2014 - Streaky Bay to Esperance

We were up early to set out on our trip across the the Nullabor, but before leaving Steaky Bay we took a look at the replica of the world record Great White shark caught with rod and reel in 1990 which was 1500 kgs in weight. We left Streaky Bay and headed north to the Eyre Highway stopping at Ceduna for coffee and to purchase some fresh oysters. We continued west towards the West Australian border where there are strict quarantine measures for fresh fruit and vegetables. We stopped at the Head of the Bight (the location of the most northerly point of the Southern Ocean) to look where the Southern Wright whales come to calve in winter. We then continued west along the Bunda Cliffs that extend west from the Head of the Bight for 800 kms with one stretch being un-broken for over 200 kms! We found a dirt road heading north about 100 from the WA border and followed it for a few hundred metres until we found a great spot to camp for the night. We had a bottle of champaigne, the fresh oysters from Ceduna, dinner, a walk and then bed.

We were up before sunrise to take photos of the sunrise then had a cup of coffee in bed while listening to all the birds around us taking turns to greet the new day. As we were only 100 kms from the border with WA so we decided to set all our clocks to WA time and discovered we had got up at 4 am! Anyway we packed up and hit the road planning to have breakfast somewehere along the way. We visited a lookout before having breakfast at Border Village and before getting checked by a quarantine officer at the border and continuing on our way. We stopped at a number of lookouts on the Bunda cliffs on an otherwise flat and treeless plain. The treeless section of the Nullarbor only stretches for about 80 kms with the rest quite variable but no large trees until we got to Caiguna. The winds were off the desert so the temperature climbed steadily until it hit 40 degrees. We could see some clouds in the distance and thought it would cool down once we got closer. We decided to stop for the night at Balladonia after a very long day (remember the extra 2 1/2 hours time difference!) and at least get a good shower and night's sleep before we continue to Esperance. The clouds had turned into black menacing storm clouds so we setup quickly and ran for a shower. Keith managed to shower quickly and on the way back to the caravan the wind came up suddenly with a fury and blew a huge dust cloud over him and the caravan. Well the shower ended in a dust shower too but at least he was in the caravan to close all openings before the dust covered everything. Vlasta arrived in a break in the storm so we sat down for a G&T with chips and a dip then dinner and bed.

The morning was still cloudy but no wind or rain. We had an egg and bacon muffin after visiting the little museum attached to the roadhouse. Balladonia was right on the path of the Skylab spacecraft as it re-entered the atmosphere and broke up over a swathe of Western Australia. There were parts of the spacecraft in the museum which was interesting to see. We set off for Esperance and stopped at Norseman to call the caravan park in Esperance to see if we could arrive one day early. We managed to organise the extra day so we were pleased to continue on. We had made good progress across the Nullarbor so could get an extra time in one of our favourite holiday destinations. We arrived and setup camp and then took a stroll along the newly completed waterfront and then out along the old jetty with its fishermen. A young man caught a large eagle ray and he had to drag it to the beach to get the hook out so it could be released. It was drizzling by this time so we headed back to the caravan for a drink and pizza for dinner.

Vlasta at the Head of the Bight
The Bunda Cliffs
Sunrise on the Nullarbor
A strange insect
The Bunda cliffs move inland at one point
Balladonia just before the storm hit

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