NOW: YORKE PENINSULA EAST COAST
We headed north from Adelaide following the coast to Port Wakefield then south along the coast of Yorke Peninsula. We visited Port Clinton, Price, Ardrossan and settled in Port Vincent for a few days. In line with our do the local thing philosophy we learnt that raking for crabs at low tide was THE Port Vincent thing to do. However setting up the Tvan annex was harder than expected as they use compacted gypsum in the caravan parks resulting in tent peg carnage! But we persisted as we needed the shade.
So with borrowed equipment, rakes in hand and a floating tub tied to David, we walked out to the edge of the sea grass where the blue swimmer crabs hide. The first few crabs were stirred up by David’s feet so I nabbed them with my rake as I walked behind him. After a fair bit of excitement, splashing, chasing and laughing we had flung, trapped and shaken 20 blue swimmers into our tub. Next step an ice slurry so we could put them to sleep and boil them humanely in a borrowed pot in the camp kitchen followed by cleaning them and shelling. Result – a bucket of shells, 500 grams of crab meat and 6 hours gone. We were stuffed. Some people do this for weeks at a time and call it a holiday!
On our second day of crab raking our neighbour came along to help. He liked the catching but didn’t like the eating part so he was welcome to join our team. After a few hour I’d had enough and started heading back to the beach while the boys kept saying “We’ll just get one more!”.36 crabs latter they’d had enough too and we started the cooking, cleaning, shelling routine again.
York Peninsula has lots of small towns that once supported grain farming and the mining of lime and gypsum. Some grain farming is still happening and remains of the brick lime kilns can be seen at Wool Bay where the lime was sent by sea to Adelaide for the building industry. Now the Wool Bay wharf is used by fishermen while a restored lime kiln sits on the cliff above.
Marion Bay is just on the edge of Innes National Park and offers pleasant camping under the trees by the bay and some protection from the wind. The ocean was crystal clear and a paddle at low tide proved the water was actually relatively warm as well.
Innes National Park covers the southern part of Yorke Peninsula. Many of the bays are named after the ships that were wrecked along the coast even after lighthouses were built in an attempt to prevent ships being hurled onto the rocks in rough weather. It’s a windy place and the campgrounds were fairly open and exposed. The views, islands, cliffs and beaches are stunning and the water so clear, so if the wind is light you could easily spend a few days at Stenhouse Bay or Pondalowie Campgrounds. (But the locals keep telling us it’s always windy in SA).
Our lunch stop at West Cape Lighthouse provided 360 degree views from Pondalowie Bay around to Kangaroo Island (which we visited last year) and around to Marion Bay.
Some of the homes in the Inneston Historic Township have been restored. You can rent the cottages or take the circuit walk to learn about the gypsum mining that was the reason for the town. The Inneston Lake is where the gypsum was dug up, then crushed and dried, carted to Stenhouse Bay Jetty and then shipped to Adelaide. Attempts were made to drain the lake in winter to make mining easier but it was below sea level and always wet.
Being a teacher for 38 years I was interested to see that Bellco Chalk was made here at Inneston in a little building smaller than a garage and sent all over Australia. The chalk was a by-product of the gypsum mining process.
NEXT: YORKE PENINSULA WEST COAST
See you on the Emu Track
Cheryl and David