Kangaroo Island

Trip Start Mar 07, 2009
Trip End Mar 09, 2009

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Flag of Australia  , South Australia,
Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I will load up the pictures once Marsha returns from her trip up to Darwin, but here is what we did over the long weekend and since then. 
We left the house at 6:30 am to catch the 8:30 am Catamaran over to KI.  There was very little traffic along the road out there, but we did see lots of Kangaroos along the way in the fields.  Not knowing how long it would take us, we did not stop, but assumed that we would see lots on the Island.  Arriving at Cape Jervis, we found out how busy this place was going to be.  Luckily we were all booked ahead as we walked on and took the boat over.  It was quite rough but the boat was full.  As a private service, this ferry alone was about $80. each!  A big yellow school bus met us on the other side at Penneshaw, so we loaded up the Ute(pickup) with most of the gear and the rest went on the overhead or below on the bus.  As there was 36 of us, there was very little room for any extra stuff.  KI is about the same size as Texada (150 km long X 50 km in places), but only 1/2 km in one place.  All the roads cut the Island in various sectors and allow you to cut back and forth all the way along.  As we soon found out, there is more than you can see is a little over two days.  We hope to go back and see some of the things that we missed, but will probably go in their spring (Oct-Dec) in order to see all the colors of the flowers.  There was a huge fire on the Island less that two years ago and the growth is starting to come back, but still very dark in places. 
We left Penneshaw and headed for Kingscote for lunch and our first stop.  We did not take along a lunch with us so we had lunch at a nice little cafe, along with a bottle of wine and walked around until it was time to go.  I planned on buying a second hand book, but most were at least $10 or above, so I grabbed a short smut novel out of the bargain bin.  For 50C it is pretty steamy, but a good read.  Next stop was up to Emu Bay where we found a nice beach.  It was too windy and cold to swim, so we just drove along and then headed for Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Distillery.  A small operation, this place transformed from a sheep ranch ten years ago to use a special type of Eucalyptus leaf to crush and transform to Eucalyptus oil, along with Emu oil and other products.  It is stated that a combo of E Oil and Emu Oil together helped with arthritis and other joint ailments.  Marsha bought some to try and I also bought some as gifts, but may not be able to ship it overseas.  This is still under investigation.  From there we headed for Seal bay and a tour of an Australian Seal Colony.  With our tour guide, we were able to get within a few feet of some of the seals.  These seals are bottom feeders and travel 50-80 km out to the edge of the continental shelf to feed for 3-5 days at a time and then come back in to sleep for the same amount of time.  Living on the beach, rather than on the rocks, they did not smell and were not afraid of humans.  A young one was very brave and came right up to us.  Different than our PR seals on the West coast, these ones swim with their front flippers and guide with the back ones.  As well, they are very quick on land.  The bulls can out run a normal human so we were suggested not to get too close.  After the tour, we also looked around on our own and managed to site a couple of new born pups with moms.  Enough for that day, we headed for Karatta, an Earth Education Center with bunks, etc.  We settled in and then made a huge dinner for everyone.  As I helped make the meal, others were on kitchen detail.  After dinner, I went for a walk across the road and managed to spy a few Kangas but it was still quite distance.  We also managed to see an Echidna (member of the rodent family and much like a porcupine).  Much different, these species are smaller that ours and run away and try to burrow for safety.  They do not throw their quills although they have the same type of back.
The next day found everyone up and ready to go after a large breaky of sausages, bacon, eggs, bread and cereal.
First up for Sunday was a trip out to Flinders chase National Park.  This was where a large portion of the firs had gone through and the results were very evident.  We drove out to Remarkable rocks and got some great shots from there.  It was very cool and we also managed to see how much had changed in the last 40-50 years.  From there we drove to Weirs Cove to see an old building that had to used by the original lighthouse keepers to get food and supplies off of the ships that came from Europe and the mainland.  There was a large pulley system that was used to get the goods up the steep hill.  From there we walked along a cliff trail down to Admirals Arch, home to fur seals of the region, belonging to both Australia and New Zeland?  A natural underground Arch had been carved out over the centuries because of the amount of limestone in the ground.  These seals were very similar to ours as they feed all the time like ours and you could really smell them.  As well, neither of these species are as big as the ones on the west coast.  Sharks are their natural predator here, so the Australian seal, because it travels further to feed, was more as risk that the fur seals.  This area is around the 46th parallel so although the Antarctica was in the distance, it was still around 5500 km away. From here we headed back to the main Visitor center for lunch and a chance to maybe see a Koala.  Just as we were about to leave, one of the kids spied one in a small tree.  I managed to get a couple of shots, but the thing would not move and they do frown on you if you throw rocks!  From there we headed for Hanson Bay for a swim and the rest of the afternoon.  It is probably one of the most beautiful beaches we have ever seen.   Marg and Marsha went for a swim, along with Devan.  I just wandered around and took shots of the beach and the surf over the hill.  Too bad we had not brought a boogie board!  Back to Karatta for dinner and the evening, Marsha and I went for a walk in the field across from the camp to find some Kangas.  We was quite a few, but it was getting dark so we headed back.  I climbed over a fence, but as Marsha was looking for a place to climb, she just about ran right into a Kanga, neither of them looking.  Both were quite startled and the little one took off.  A large group stayed up late, Devan among them, playing pass the ace until all the alcohol was gone.
Up early on Monday, we had a cold breaky and then had to pack up and clean up the dorms and kitchen area.  A short trip later we were at Kelly Hill caves.  Although now a dry cave, it was still pretty cool, although quite small.  From there we headed for Stokes Bay way up on the North of the Island for lunch at another nice beach there.  There was a wild walk to the beach, under rocks and overhangs and narrow passage ways.  However, the beach had a great Tidal pool so lots of people went for dip.  I again explored along with Devan and took more pictures.  From here is was another drive to the Island Pure Sheep Dairy.  A very cool place, it was amazing how small an operation for what they did.  We sampled many of the cheeses and bought some to take back home.  Compared to a dairy farm, this was a small family operation that seemed to be doing very well.  From there we headed back to the boat at Penneshaw, there to unload, clean the bus and take the Catamaran back to the mainland.  The great thing is that everywhere sells beer so Devan and I had a couple on the boat on the crossing.  After getting off and saying goodbye to everyone, we stopped along the way back to Adelaide at a great old flour mill pub in Normanville.  Dinner was great and so was the wine so we bought a couple of takeaways for home.  On the way back we must have stopped at least 5 times to check out the many Kangaroos along the side of the road.  It was easy to see why many people do not drive in the middle of the night here.  The Roos are like deer back home, except bigger and they can do a lot more damage.  Once back we just relaxed.  Work on Tuesday was touch as I was really tired, but Marsha and Marg had to get ready for their trip on Wednesday up to Ayers Rock and on to Darwin.  She will tell you all about it once she gets back. I did have one small problem on Tuesday and that was that I got a spider bite while on the Island and on tuesday, my right forearm started to swell up.  I got some anti imflammatories from the local drug store and the swelling did go down after a couple of days.  It was pretty scary for a while, but no permanant damage, at least I don't think so.
The last couple of weeks have been pretty busy for me.  We have one last slo-pitch game tonight.  I pitched last week in the absence of Marsha and we beat the first place team so that was very cool.  Devan has a job trial tomorrow night at a local restaurant so hopes he will get the job.  His hockey practices are going well and they want hem to play Div. A which is contact so we will see.  They are also still after me to get my gear, but it will depend on the cost to get it here.  We have to been to the Fringe Festival a couple of more times and have seen some great and not-so-great acts.  Devan and I went down last night and saw three great shows.  This weekend is the big Clipsal 500(a car race), along with the end of the Fringe and the end (coming up of the term).  I have to write reports starting next week, as although the term does not end for three more weeks, some of the 8;s move classes and they do everything early.  Quite different and much more work that home.  Everything here must meet State standards in regards to comments, so although a kid can not fail in 8-10, you still have to comment not on what they can not do, but only what they have achieved.  We then edit each others' comments and then again as a department.  Meetings here are out of hand, with at least two a week.  Oh well, while in Rome.  Anyways, I will sign off and talk to you all soon.  Pictures will be forthcoming.  Take care. Ken H
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