Beachport to Adelaide

Trip Start Mar 14, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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

Extricating ourselves from Beachport proved to be something of a challenge.  We had intended to get up and be on our merry way, but then of course, we didn't want to miss Pizza Night at Craig's house and then, at Pizza Night a plan was hatched to go crayfish fishing - or should that be crayfishing? Either way, we were to meet at the boat ramp at 8.00am the following day.  I began to be suspicious.  Were the locals keeping us around and fattening us up on gourmet pizza and oceans of beer in order to sacrifice us as part of some bizarre Antipodean cannibalistic ritual?  Or was it possible that they were just an incredibly generous bunch of human beings?

Unfortunately, due to our post-St Paddy's haze, we had actually forgotten about Pizza Night and had already eaten a large bowl of spaghetti each before we were called up and told to hurry along, but this did not prevent us from polishing off a fair amount of cheese'n'dough.  It seemed that half the town was crowded into Craig's garage, around the wood-burning stove.  When we arrived, the party was silenced so that the 'Pommie girls' could be introduced and castigated for their role in introducing rabbits to Australia, and then we were taken to Craig's fridge for a beer.  Craig's fridge is comparable in size, stock and variety to your average off-license's cold storage room, and the general level of tipsiness at Pizza Night reflected this fact.  Drinking is to Beachport what backcombing is to Russell Brand - when do you ever see the boy without his beehive?  

We met some incredibly friendly people, who were thrilled that we were interested in their country and all of whom were delighted to talk to us, hear about our plans and recommend hidden corners of South Australia.  They were determined that we would experience all Beachport had to offer, and hence we found ourselves the next morning, bleary eyed in the bright morning sunshine, at the boat ramp.  The banter about who was the second best fisherman in Beachport had flowed between Allan, Ralph and Craig like beer at Pizza Night and it was time to put up or shut up.

The light was sparkling on the water; the breeze was cool and carried the sulphurous stench of seaweed.  As the boats sped over the water, clouds began to gather over the high banked dunes. We made it to the first pots, and as George hauled them up over 20-30 feet, hand over hand, the anticipatory tension could have been cut with a fish knife.  The wind carried the 'oohs' and 'aahs' across the sea from Rhiannon's boat (skippered by Allan) as they counted up their catch, to my boat where Captain Craig was explaining to a downcast crew that the crays 'just weren't crawling.'  Hmmm.  We became more dispirited with our luck when Allan and his crew scored an 'ockie' (by which you should understand 'octopus', dear friends, and sympathise with my intense irritation with Australians' need to shorten every other word to two syllables ending in either 'ie' or 'o'.  It drives me to distraction.)  

Octopus/octopi/octopuses like to squeeze into crayfish pots.  They have beaks that would not look out of place on a parrot and they use them to inject the trapped crays with a substance that dissolves their flesh, which they then suck out of the shell.  This 'pus had been caught napping and would therefore make a tasty lunch.  

As we pulled around the reef, our luck changed and George pulled up pots that were teeming with crayfish. We measured them to make sure they  were big enough to keep and when we had reached the sustainability quota imposed by South Australia, we returned to shore for 'brekkie'  (see what I mean?).  Keg and Allan fried up eggs and roma tomatoes and served it all up on toasted sour dough. We washed it down with coffee from the Cook Islands and hoped that somewhere in Britain the same warmth is being extended to those travellers who pass through, and that I remember my cosmic debt when I'm in a position to repay it.  

Back at the ranch, we stuffed our gear into Doris' nooks and crannies, hugged and thanked the beautiful Cally boys and set out for Adelaide.  The haze over the hills and the piercing brightness of the sun set the landscape into a silhouetted relief as we passed through Coroong National Park, where the dunes hemmed in salt water lagoons.   We stopped in one of many little one-street towns to enjoy our crayfish bagels - courtesy of Craig - under the benevolent gaze of Larry the Lobster, one of South Australia's foremost tourist attractions.

We were couch surfing in Adelaide with Steven, who was taking us in at very short notice.  His home is in the Adelaide Hills, just south of the city.  We got lost on the way, but didn't mind since our detour took us along winding tree-lined country lanes in the last light of the day's sun.  We were welcomed at Steve's house by another couch surfer, Stella, and were fed Spanish omelette and Chardonnay.  How will we ever go back to camping?
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Where I stayed
Kirby's house to Steve's house
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John Griffen on

I have just returned from Craigs and the famous Pizza night. full of crays and octopus cant eat anymore. Bernie Flood reckons he out crays Craig but we know the real result. Amazing place Beachport amazing people .

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