Woke at 7 this morning and took a shower to the dulcet country tones of John Conlee singing 'I don't remember loving you' and while Lee was enjoying his (to another country track plus a bonus Abba tune!) I went down to the beach for a last look.
A solitary seagull was stood on the sand and obligingly posed for me for a number of close ups but it was only as I entered his personal space & he limped off dragging one foot that I realised the reason for his obliging posing was due to his incapacity and not to my affinity with the feathered species.
Not wanting my hand bitten and there being a lack of vets in the vicinity, I realised there was not much I could do to help so I headed back to camp slightly depressed. Lee was on his way down to the beach & tried comforting me with the fact that the gull didn't need his foot to fly - wasn't really convinced but decided to go with it anyway!
On the road again!
We hit the road and after ten minutes or so we were back in the land of no people apart from the occasional traveller like us or lorry driver going about his business. A common game to play when on these roads is the wave game, this can be anything from a whole hand flap to a fore finger raise off the steering wheel. Some drivers do it as they're approaching and some just as you're passing each other but if they don't respond at all they get the index finger, it's quite enjoyable & passes the time nicely :)
Home of the Giant Wombat!
About 2 hours in to our drive we passed a sign for 'The home of the Giant Wombat' so doing a quick turn in the road, avoiding a dead kangaroo, (I hate that bit about Oz but it's no different to our dead badger & fox road kill at home I suppose), we headed back down the sign posted dirt-track which included the added attraction of an aboriginal art gallery & coffee)
Where the track ended there were a few dilapidated buildings, a huge stone statue of a wombat (killed was my dream of another furry cuddle!) and a group of aboriginal men who were standing and around a veranda chatting. Incidentally these are the first Aboriginal people I've seen at all the whole trip so far... On reply to my question of where to find the gallery & a coffee, we were informed that it was shut as the proprietors were on holiday. Bugger!
Another half an hour or so along the Eyre Highway we saw another inviting sign, this one was for Fowlers Bay which offered beach, cafes & general civilisation so we decided to take a detour. The road was a good one so we happily turned off towards the promise of seaside heaven.
Unfortunately less than halfway down, the good road turned into a dirt road but by this time we'd gone too far to turn back and coffee beckoned, so we drove on. I imagined people spying on us with binoculars & taking bets as to whether or not we would turn round when the road changed (it's what if do if I had time on my hands)
Anyway we rattled our way into the little village and a holiday making Aussie directed us to the beach so we pulled up right next to the ocean. The dunes on the opposite side of the bay were spectacular and looked like mountains covered in snow, the beach was lovely and white and on the edge of the high tide mark, covered in mounds of dried seaweed, the sign of a proper 'wild' beach to me.
So here we are now at Fowlers Bay, lounging on our Sydney beach towel listening to the waves and enjoying the sun which although hot is pleasantly broken up by the odd cloud and just enough breeze not to sand blind us (unlike at The Coorong!)
It would be nice to book into the little caravan park here for the night but sadly we can't as we need to make it to our first Nullabor stop before dark so for now we will just enjoy our couple of hours of beach time.
After a lovely time just spent lying on the beach chatting and reading my book about an incredibly brave/crazy woman who did a similar journey across Australia to us, only (on foot!) it was time for lunch, gorgeous tuna sandwiches, made by Lee and eaten in the van as despite their name, the memory of crunching it between your teeth with every mouthful lost its appeal when I was a child on the beaches of the Isle of Wight! Sand belongs on the beach, not in the mouth, although there appears to be a bucketful in our bed on a daily basis!
Sat on the camper bed in the wilds of Australia eating tuna rolls with my best friend and looking at the ocean through the back doors of the van with the curtains flapping in the wind, this is one of those moments in life where things can't get much better, I am so lucky to be experiencing this and I really truly appreciate it :)
We are now driving through Aboriginal land and the difference in the road side is massive, there is general litter and thousands of glass bottles discarded everywhere and it's sad - maybe they've become so bitter they just don't care anymore but the potential for bush fires is huge, in fact the evidence of old ones is everywhere..
The annoying thing is, it would be ok to pull up anywhere on Aboriginal land as the laws are completely different but you have to be willing to take the risk & I don't think we are, so we are aiming to make it to an official camp at Koonalda by dusk.
Nullarbor National Park
Having found the road to Koonalda we started down it but after 1km we made the decision to turn around this time as it was not just a dirt road but covered in rocks of various sizes & seeing as it took us 15 minutes to do this distance, by the time we arrived it would've been gone midnight!
We carried on a bit further along the Eyre Highway & spotted a van parked off road down a short dirt track on the Ocean side so after asking if they minded if we camped up here for the night (they didn't), we parked up.
A short walk from where we were parked the land ended in a sheer cliff which is part of the Great Australian Bight.
The Great Australian Bight, rugged, wild & beautiful.
The cliff was falling away in chunks so Lee wouldn't let me go too close but the view was stunning!
A book lay on a ledge below & I wondered about the story behind it getting there, although it was more than likely the bracing wind!
The desert gets cold at night and although we weren't quite in it yet, it lived up to this as coupled with the wind it was freezing but the sunset was incredible.
The stars here were better than anywhere else I'd seen and I'm hoping tonight will be warmer as not having packed any winter clothes it would be impossible to work the camera at those temperatures but I have to show you photos of the sky here but for now, nite x