Haslam is just a small community of shacks with a few permanents. There are oyster leases offshore and that seems to be about the only industry in the area. Wednesday morning Vicki went over to the oyster farmers as they where unloading their mornings harvest and brought a dozen just harvested oysters for $5.00. She was instructed to put them in the freezer for 24 hours then let them thaw, this would kill them and open the shells. Like a lot of the Eyre Peninsula seaside towns Haslam has a jetty that is supposedly good fishing but the weather did not entice us to fish. These jetties were once used to load wheat into coastal shipping but this stopped around the 1960’s and now they are just used for recreation, but it is great to see they have been kept in good condition.
Wednesday morning we headed to Ceduna calling into a few seaside places on the way. There are just too many camping spots on the Eyre Peninsula to explore in the time available this trip but we will certainly be back. The weather has improved with the wind dropping right off but we are still getting showers of rain which is making it uncomfortable for Bob and Heather in their camper trailer. From Ceduna we planned to go west to Cactus, a well known camping spot and surf break however Bob and I made a fatal mistake, we allowed “they who must be obeyed” to go to the Information Centre and query them re road and camp conditions. As relayed by “they who must be obeyed” the road was probably impassable and the camping lousy, which I strongly doubt so guess what? We didn’t go there. A word of advice, Information Centres invariably know nothing about dirt roads or bush camping. Their purpose in life is to keep travellers on sealed roads and deliver them safely to the waiting arms of caravan park owners with dollars in their eyes.
Anyway not going to Cactus we headed for Fowlers Bay. This turned out to be a charming if somewhat decrepit village. Prior to the 1960’s it had a school, police station, court house, pub and others but that all changed like other coastal villages when the sea trade finished. Today it has caravan park, some accommodation and exists on tourism. It is not connected to the electricity grid nor does it have reticulated water. The caravan park obtains water from soaks in the sand hills and runs a generator to power those caravans who just must have their electric blankets on. Some of the old buildings have been restored and the village does have a certain charm about it. A 384 metres wharf adds to this charm. Whilst fishing for squid from the jetty (you guessed it, we didn’t catch any) we sighted several Southern Right Whales in the bay.
We spent two days here doing our washing and having a good scrub up. Friday we started out across the Nullarbor. Whilst Vicki and I have done this before it is an interesting drive with lots of side trips possible. We called into The Head of the Bight. This now has a sealed road in from the highway to a car park. You then pass through a National Parks office/kiosk pay $10 per person and walk a couple of metres to the cliff top viewing platforms. The view was spectacular, close in front of us were at least 20 Southern Right Whales. In some cases just beyond the surf line. They were so close you could hear and see them blowing. Some had calves with them. Heather took the attached photo, it is probable that the calf had only just been born. We thought the $10 admission well spent.
That night we made camp approximately 15 kilometres west of the Nullarbor Roadhouse. We drove down a track at right angles to the highway for about half a kilometres, found some shelter behind a line of trees and made camp. Had wood with us so stoked up the fire and had a cosy camp. No one else anywhere near us. A bit of rain during the night but nothing serious.
Saturday we made it to the SA/WA border around lunch time. Quarantine inspection here is very thorough and they take any vegetables, fruit, honey and more. It is also inconvenient as the next place west to buy supplies is Norseman, 700 kilometres away! We then made for Eucla. This has an interesting ruin close to the coast in the sand hills. Here it is still possible to see some of the original Eucla Telegraph Station that has now almost completely been covered by the encroaching sand. Sadly the historic gravesites are now completely covered by the sand. Most travellers seem to stay on the highway as during our time at the old telegraph station, where we had lunch, we could see a constant stream of traffic on the highway about 4 kilometres away but no one else visited the ruins.
Tonight we camped three kilometres west of the Mundrabilla Roadhouse. This is a rest area with some tracks out the back so we can get a bit away from the highway. Seems to be a few vans camped in the rest area right on the road. Stoked up the fire again for a bit of warmth. We are having trouble adjusting to the sudden one and a half hours time difference between WA and SA. Might take a couple of days to get used to this. I am looking forward to warmer climates as it is still very cold of a night and I haven’t changed to thongs and shorts yet.
Three kilometres west of the Mundrabilla Roadhouse, Saturday 9 July 2011