Victor Harbor

November 12, 2013

At 2 am we woke up and heard an owl calling “Boo-book, boo-book”. It was a Southern Boobook, the common owl of most of Australia. It was very cold so we both put on more clothes before going back to sleep.

After waking up at our regular time we packed up and headed out of Clare towards the Fleurieu Peninsula. The road passed through town after town, many of them with wineries and others with history, like mines and farms. The road system kept wanting us to turn right and go to Adelaide, but we kept avoiding that as we wanted to go south instead. Luckily for us the Australians are very good with road signs, so we easily found our way through the peninsula, ending up at Goolwa. Here we parked down by the wharf. There was an office there advertising boat cruises; since we might be back here on Saturday we inspected their schedule to see if there was one which might suit us. But unfortunately the only cruise they had on offer departed earlier than we would be able to get there. Too bad.

After visiting the tourist information to pick up some brochures about the area, we went back to the car. We decided to camp at Victor Harbor, which would give us plenty of time to drive to the Kangaroo Island ferry tomorrow. Victor Harbor wasn’t far along the road, and we easily found the caravan park because it was right next to the beach. The tent sites were the closest sites to the beach, and there was a strong wind coming off the ocean, so we set up the tent in the lee of the car. However that didn’t seem to make much difference.

While Rosemary went for a shower, Paul went for a walk along the coastal path which ran in front of the caravan park. She joined him shortly afterwards and we headed to the causeway bridge which went over to Granite Island, where there is a penguin colony. We didn’t see any penguins, but that was because they don’t come in from the sea until dusk. So we carried on along the 2.9-kilometer trail around the island. It was still very windy, but the views were really lovely as the sun was slowly setting.

Back in the town we walked back to our campsite and made dinner; spaghetti and sauce was on the menu tonight. After that we walked back to the little pond and there beside it were a pair of Superb Fairy-wrens. They are beautifully coloured (at least, the males are) and they would turn out to be quite common and easy to find. Bedtime was 10 pm, and we were very snug in our tent with the wind buffeting us to sleep.

Next: Kangaroo Island

November 17, 2013

We were leaving Kangaroo Island today, so we got up at 7 am for breakfast. We were booked on the 8:30 am ferry and definitely could not miss the boat. So after packing up the car we drove around the block to the ferry terminal and checked ourselves in. Again we were on the boat which carried trucks, and this time we had two trucks loaded with sheep. The sheep were in racks layered four deep and we estimated there were nearly a thousand sheep in these two trucks. They were crammed in very tightly and looked quite distressed. As the boat wallowed its way back to Cape Jervis, the sheep started to baa again. Little did they know where they were headed!

Once back at Cape Jervis we pulled into the viewpoint to review our possibilities for returning to Adelaide. We decided to head back to Goolwa and check out Hindmarsh Island, so we followed the road back to the coast. En route we stopped at Victor Harbor. Today was Sunday, so it was quite busy, but we found a prize parking spot near the beach and Paul parallel-parked into it without a hitch. We walked out the causeway to the Penguin Centre, which was closed at the time but had a sign saying there would be penguin feeding at 11:30 am. After some deliberation we decided to go in and watch, and we were glad we did.

There are about ten Little Penguins housed here at the centre. They can never be released into the wild because of injuries sustained in a variety of ways. However that doesn’t stop them from breeding—one of the birds was sitting on a pair of eggs. At 11:30 am Dorothy came out to feed them. Each penguin had a name and when she called them they seemed to respond. Wow, were they ever cute! We stayed there for quite a while as she told us about the penguins and what had happened to each one. Several were missing an eye, so in the wild they would have died from starvation. It was interesting to watch them being fed. They would eat pilchards which were maybe 1/3 as long as the penguins themselves, and eat several of them. Besides feeding, some of the penguins were interacting in other ways, like courting and pushing. Dorothy was very passionate about penguin care and it seemed like she could go on forever, but we finally dragged ourselves away and made our way back to the mainland.

On the way back we saw the same strange-looking lizard we had seen before. Based on its appearance we gave it the name “Pinecone Lizard”, and later when we looked it up on the Internet we found that that was actually one of its common names! (“Shingleback Lizard” is the standard common name.)

We didn’t have much in the way of lunch food, so we stopped at the fish-and-chip cart and bought a bucket of chips and some Cokes for lunch. The chips were really good and for $7 we got a lot of them. After we finished our meal we headed onwards to Goolwa and Hindmarsh Island, following the pamphlet of birding sites we had picked up earlier. Being a Sunday, there were a lot of people fishing at the mouth of the Murray River. But the birding wasn’t very interesting, so we decided to head back to Adelaide.

We followed main roads to Adelaide, and as we got closer to the city the traffic got thicker. But soon we arrived at the hostel and arranged for a parking spot in their fenced lot out back. We had been in the car too long so after we unloaded it we went for a walk along the Torrens River. Outside it was sunny and warm! Finally some warm weather after a week of cold and wind! The river path went past the zoo and the university and it was very relaxing. There were ducks paddling and families cycling and it was a good place to unwind. Our walk turned out to be about 5 km so we were both hungry when we got back to the hostel. After dinner we checked our e-mail: finally our Maria Island trip seems to be sorted out.

Next: Hobart

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