The Storks of Böbs

The Storks of Böbs
A Very Fine Pair

Around theWorld (Again) Fishing and a tour around the Island

Kangaroo Island Day 5 Fishing and Day 6 the Tour.

I was up as usual at the crack of dawn; it was use hurrying as the Tourist Information office didn’t open unto 10:00 so after a walk along the beach, it was already heating up, I had breakfast and then slowly walked into town and visited the BP petrol station. No I had not hired a car, but this is not only a Petrol Station, but a hardware dealers and a fishing tackle and bait shop. For such a small place it had everything you could want if you’re an angler (I don’t know about petrol though). I bought a couple of paternosters, a couple of rigs, a blinker and some plastic squid lures. I also bought some frozen shrimp and squid,. Armed with this I trekked uphill to the TI. The cost of the hire for the whole day was A$ 12,- plus 50 bucks returnable deposit. I set off across the road to Christmas Cove, I was the only one there, so had the pick of the pegs as you would say in angling terms. I went for a jetty moored up against the breakwater as when I had inspected it yesterday I had seen quite a bit of action.
Now here I will tell you my ethos, I only fish for the pot, I loathe match and course angling, if you’re going to hunt or angle for something then it must be edible and you or someone must be going to eat it or freeze it for later eating.

I settled myself onto the edge of the jetty feet dangling in the water and set about trying out the various baits and lures, I put a prawn on the hook and almost immediately had a bite, I pulled out a handsome 8 banded grouper, I thought this cannot be bad, I had a few more bites all in quick succession most of them small so back they went.

Over the next hour, it was low tide so though biting I was feeding them more than catching. As the tide turned I started getting some good hits but all quite small I then. Had a bit of Lunch, I had brought sandwiches and a pie with me, just so that I wouldn’t starve. I then noticed Tony, the wave rider owner, he called across (I had been chatting to him the day before when looking through the town for fish chartering), He was going out in a Kayak with a rod, he said he was after salmon and as he had no customers this afternoon had decided to take and one of his young assistants and himself out in a Kayak for an afternoons fishing.

I just happened to look down, I noticed that my legs had gone very red, I pulled up my short legs (I mean the legs of my shorts you fools) and yep, I had a bit of sunburn. I thought I had better get a move on and catch a couple more as I had no long legged trousers with me (having only 1pair for the duration). I got another nice  8 striped and yellow fin in quick succession, that would do me.

I was just packing my gear together when Tony entered through the breakwater, he held up a couple of nice salmon, saying seen any of these. He asked if I could take a couple of photos of him in the kayak for advertising board that he was getting made up. I of course obliged and said I will send them to you on Monday as I was out on an all day tour the next day (Sunday).

I got the tackle back to the TI and me back to the YHA to get the fish gutted, cleaned and scaled.

So  now the dilemma, how to cook them, I thought how about steamed and a bit Asiatic stir fry, so this warranted a trip to the Supermarket, to get the vegetables. What goes into a stir fry on Kangaroo Island is what the Supermarket has on the shelves. But it consisted of,crushed diced garlic, grated ginger, red pepper, courgette, tomato, leek and spring onions and half a tub of swimmer crab white meat.  

Now I am not going to tell you how to do a stir fry, I have told you before and if your retention is of a gnat then sorry you will just have to check up in one of those fancy Asian cookbooks that line your shelves and that you never use. Here it is enough to say wok very hot, oil very hot, and keep it moving and soy sauce in at the very last minute.

So it was, fish into bamboo steamer, sprinkle with a bit of chilli powder, cumin, soy sauce and pepper (no salt the soy sauce has enough)

It was a very enjoyable evening meal, I then went for a walk to see the ferry come in and have a walk along the beach. It was then time to do a bit of blog writing and getting up to date with the news, (sport to see how the Toon are doing)

That had been just perfect, but then most days do seem perfect when you have peace, tranquillity and a fishing rod.

Sunday Day 6 and a trip around the Island.
I had booked this tour in advance with the Tourist Information in Victor Harbor when I booked my trip across to the island. I hadn’t known if I would be hiring a car or not when on the Island, but had thought I may as well spend the A$ 150 and take the tour at least you can get to see the major highlights in a job lot.
I suppose that is why it is called the Island Highlights Tour. A lot of people actually just come s to do the tour. So they leave Adelaide at 05:00 to catch the 07:00 ferry, get across at 07:45 are met at the terminal by the tour coach are whisked around the Island on a get on-get off tour and then arrive back in Penneshaw with enough time to have bite to eat and then catch the ferry back to Cape Jervis and then on to Adelaide, that is what I call stress, pure stress.

I got up at my normal time, had a leisurely breakfast was then picked up by the coach at the front of the YHA, I thought this a little silly as the ferry terminal is 100 mtrs away (200 if you take the road). But I didn’t mind as I was on first so got the front seat, just like being the driver back home in Germany.

Watched the ferry come in, loaded up the day trip punters and so it was off on the Charabanc trip.

So we travelled to a few other pickups at various locations (American Harbour and Kingscote they being the only other various locations on the Island), it was then off to the Sea Lions and the first of the Highlights.

We did pass a few dead Roos and other dead beasts along the road.

The Sea Lion Colony is one of only two on the Island, this being the largest and most accessible is the one that the tour uses. It is a very slick organised operation. The colony is only accessible through this official government run organisation and you are guided through out by very good wardens.
The first thing that grabs you as you leave the operations centre is a sign telling you danger snakes have been spotted in the shrubs and dunes that morning, I did notice a few worried looks.

You are taken through the shrub along gravel tracks and wooden board walks, until you reach the high dunes that make up the foreshore and from this vantage point you can see the length of the beach, here the warden explains a bit about the life of the Sea Lion, why it went into decline and what is being done to help it recuperate.

So I being now knowledgeable in this subject (but not only this one as you shall later find out), I shall explain a bit about the life and death of the Australian Sea Lion.  
The Australian Sea Lion (Neophoca cinerea)( belongs to the Otariidae family of Fur  Seals and Sea lions , there are six extant and one extant species, the extinct is of course the Japanese one, they would of also if they  could do the same with the rest. Another distinction between the Sea-Lions and the Seals is they can walk on all four limbs, that is their legs and flippers are quite well developed this enables them to go quite (relatively) long distances inland and will often be seen basking in the sand dunes well behind the shore line. The Australian Sea Lion differs from the rest in that it has an 18 month gestation period and not synchronised between colonies, this has the effect that the Bulls will travel between the colonies looking for suitable females. The breeding season can range from 5 to 7 months and has been recorded at Seal Bay on Kangaroo Island to be as long as 9 months. This means that there are always pups being born and mating taking place. The mother will only look after one pup and will after the birth of the new one disown the old season’s one.

The Sea Lions have also a very precise life style, they go out to feed for 3 days and then return to suckle the pups and recuperate for 3 days, this they do for the rest of their lives.
There are less than 15,000 Australian Sea Lions, these are spread from the Lower coast of Wes Australia, along the Great Bight and up to the Fleurieu Peninsular including of course Kangaroo Island and the reason I am here.

So on with the guided tour!
We walked down the steps to the beach and walked towards the Sea-Lion Colony, there the guide stopped and drew a line in the sand with a stick saying that is it, please do not cross beyond here, we do not wish the colony to be too disturbed and we don’t want you to be walking wounded if one of the bulls takes a fancy to you.

The colony consisted of Sea Lions in all stages of growth, from small pups being weaned to large Bulls showing off their strength. 

You are within visibility of the group in front of you as they head for the steps leading off the beach.

You are well regimented as after your allotted slot, you are then herded towards a different set of wooden steps (the other ones being used to bring another load of inspectionists down onto the beach) but enough time to get a few more shots of fighting bulls and young pups.

If you can imagine 1 coach load of punters arrives, is collected together in the Sea Lion Centre and is given the spiel about wild animals, danger, does and don’ts. Then the it begins, one mob leaving centre, another mob moving down to beach, one mob at the start point, one mob in middle of the beach, one mob leaving beach, what a life those wardens have.

On Leaving the beach you go once again through the shrub landscape, I saw no Tiger snakes, nor Tigers for that matter, but I did get a shot or two of a Grey Heron.

s and don' punters arrives, is collected together in the Sea Lion Centre and is given the spiel about wil We got ushered back onto the coaches and off we jolly well went with the driver reminding use of the tight schedule and that we must keep to it. The next stop was Lunch we stopped at a pleasant little restaurant in the middle of (well everywhere is) Gum, Wattle and Eucalyptus trees of some form or another.
The meal consisted of roasted deboned chicken leg and a grilled sausage a strange combination I thought but tasty enough. The accompaniments were many and varied, salads a plenty, fresh bread (a funny two toned mix) and sauces. I drank a sparkling Shiraz to go with this (it was very warm out). There was a honey desert for Ron, I passed on this and went to explore the surrounding area (you have to keep an eye on the time because I am sure “Bruce” would leave you behind.

Next stop was Koala walk.

First a little bit about these little cutties, THEY DO NOT BELONG HERE! That surprised you didn’t it?  Kangaroo Island, if you remember, was cut off by the rising waters after the last ice age and Koala’s had not reached down this far and after that being not good swimmers and the Sealink not being in service yet couldn’t get across Backstairs Passage. Here once again it was man that came to the aid of stupidity. Back in the 1920s, some thoughtful  load of boffins thought as Kangaroo Island didn’t have any then they should have some, there thinking was to protect them for the future on an Island that didn’t have any and never had any, good thinking Cobber. They released only 18 animals, at the highlight of their careers there were many, many thousands. Suddenly whole tracts of the native blue gums started to die, they found that the Koalas were doing a better job at defoliation than Agent Orange. What to do? Cull said the landowners (money from fur and they could then chop down the trees, put sheep on it), castrate said the scientists, ouch said the Koalas. Relocation said the koala foundation. They started a program of sterilisation, but from the outset this was underfunded and the cost of catching, sterilisation was quite phenomenal, they ran out of money.  So what Noo Broon Coo? The debate continues; let’s hope it is brought to a successful conclusion soon, for the sake of the Koalas, the Blue Gums and the Islands Ecosystem.

We visited Hanson Bay Kangaroo walk (it is not at Hanson Bay but at a Café just off the Highway on the road to Hanson bay), this was originally farmland used for mixed farming, the original owners, lined the carriageway to the house with rows of Blue Gum. This is now the home of a good breeding colony of healthy Koalas (not always the case, many colonies are suffering from inbreeding).

We visited the Koala Centre (I bought an ice cream) and I had a look at the Koalas made out of Kangaroo fur, interesting solution, kill a Kangaroo to save the Koalas.

Right Robert (I have remembered his real name) said time to get into the coach and head for the Flinders-Chase national Park. This is massive; you could go in for a hike and never, ever come out.
It is 328km² that is a lot of park, it has become home to quite a few none native species, the Koala we have mentioned but also the nocturnal freak of nature the Platypus has been introduced and has a well maintained population (though you will be lucky to see any). More easily to see are the Echidnas and the Goannas, but as I didn’t see any then there are no photographs of them, but you could google them. I did read out all about them at the Park Centre, but it really is easier to check them out for yourselves.  

We actually didn’t stop on the way into the Park as Robert had a tight schedule and time is the essence on these tours.  We did have a wonderful sight from the top of a steep incline, this gave a great panorama view right across the park (Robert did not stop we had a tight schedule, so sorry no photos), he also explained that in 2012 a very large forest fire happened in the park, but you would be amazed, the paper bark trees have a great protection against the fires, they burn, they burn with such an intensity that only the hanging strands of the bark burn with the foliage. Next season along comes the rains and the tree starts to sprout green shoots (not stupid these gum trees).

We eventually arrived at the next stop, Remarkable Rocks, these a are Geological phenomenon, I will not go into the whole whys and wherefores, but enough to say a good few Million years ago a volcanic action caused molten granite to be injected into a layer deep underground (thousands of meters) during the next few million years the rocks were forced up in a bubble by underlying pressure. The softer layer above was weathered away by wind. This laid the granite below free and the elements done the rest.

The rocks do not have hand rails or steps, the Parks philosophy being you are coming here to view this natural rock formation, you should be aware that if they are wet, they are slippery, if you climb on them and slip, you could get hurt, it is also a long way down to the ocean below, there are still a couple of deaths every year.


Oops Robert is waiting time for a few last shots and then off we go, to the light house at Cape du Couedic

Here Robert steered the coach to Bus Park, with a word, that we are on a tight schedule and we have to get to the Flinders Chase Visitors Centre before it closed.  That being our last stop on the tour and then we had to get a couple of people to the airport and the rest with the exception of me back to the ferry.

Just beyond the Coach Park a series of walks and board walks take you to the Admirals arch, this is another of Kangaroo islands strange geological structures, this one having been hollowed and worn through to form an arch, this has also become home of one of the Islands New Zealand fur seals (almost rotted out but now has a good population that is growing), we took the photographs of arch, seals and me and then headed back to the coach.

Much to Roberts delight we had to wait for a couple of stragglers, he was able to say you know we are on a very tight schedule and have to be at the Visitors Centre, the Airport and the Ferry in time.
So we then left and headed to the visitors centre, when funnily it was not so pressing as he got his free muffin and cup of coffee, while relaxing in the sun. We could actually take time and look at their wares all at very well spiced prices. Then it was time to return, I think that Robert could be one of the reasons that you are likely to see dead kangaroos etc. at the roadside.  First to the Kingscote Airport, then back to Penneshaw. With plenty of time to spare I may add, the ferry not in for another 30 minutes. I left the coach here and went and had a pint and a steak sandwich in the pub, I needed it after such a tight schedule.

I know I didn’t have to go on the tour, but it was the only one on offer at a reasonable price and done from the Ferry terminal, but I do hate this type of thing. Click, click tourism at its very worst.
See you tomorrow as I am a totally different tour and no such tight schedule.

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