Metric madness

We have been visiting Memory Cove in the Pt Lincoln National Park again. This is certainly one of my favourite places to spend a few days, either kayaking along the coast or if it’s too rough, spending time exploring the area by Mountain Bike. The park consists mainly of Sheoak and Eucalyptus woodland with a number of species being represented. The sandy beaches are unspoilt and the sheer cliffs and granite outcrops along the coast make for stunning paddling and the opportunity to see Southern Right Whales in winter.

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This is a place that has remained much the same since the days of Whaling in the early 1800’s, when whalers who were based at nearby Spalding Cove and Thistle Island pulled into this cove. They established a “mailbox” among the rocks on the southern end of the cove, where letters and messages were left for other passing vessels to collect and deliver to the township of Port Lincoln.

The letterbox is marked by an inscription in the rock, 4 ft and a direction arrow, meaning look 4 foot above this mark.

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Now Australian currency was metricated in 1966 from pounds and pence to dollars and cents and distances gradually changed from feet and inches to metres and centimetres but I’m sure Whalers were still in the old ways.

However if you read the Department of Environment brochure  on Memory Cove the letterbox has moved somewhat to 1.2m Λ, changing to metric measures. Maybe the job of “proof reader” has been abolished with the job of “Whaler” but I certainly think it’s just a case of Metric Madness. 🙂

Cheers
Ian Pope
Still Paddling South….

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Cape Catastrophe

Standing on the white sands of Memory Cove looking out over a beautiful azure blue sea makes you forget the dangers of this area. This sandy beach is much the same as Matthew Flinders saw  when he discovered the area in 1802 and we were standing on the beach 212 years later to the day.

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On 21 February 1802, Flinders’ expedition suffered a tragic  loss of crew  when ship master John Thistle, midshipman William Taylor and six seamen were drowned when their cutter capsized while searching for fresh water. The seamen were J. Little, George Lewis, John Hopkins, William Smith, Thomas Grindall and Robert Williams. Flinders was deeply affected by this disaster and recorded place names including Thorny Passage, Memory Cove, Cape Catastrophe, and Thistle Island to commemorate the lives lost and named islands in the area after the crew members. 

Flinders placed a plaque at Memory Cove and a replica is now installed.

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We left Memory Cove in sight of the nearby islands bound for Cape Catastrophe and the nearby Sea Lion colony.

Launching at Memory Cove

Launching at Memory Cove

Sheltering behind a small headland to admire the view

Sheltering behind a small headland to admire the view

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The weather had been kind to us so far with the temperature  a nice 25 degrees Celsius and the winds just a gentle breeze. We followed the coast line south from the Cove checking out many of the rocky crevices and spectacular cliff faces. The water is deep here, has a deep green colour and is known for crayfish and tuna fishing. We were only a few km’s  from Dangerous Reef. a breeding ground for white pointer sharks so it is likely they too are around here somewhere as well.

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This coastline is a mixture of rugged outcrops, dangerous waves, sandy protected coves and long white beaches.

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Wave rocks

Wave rocks

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Not many people venture this way but sadly some come to grief.

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Later we moved on around the peninsula to paddle the calm waters of Coffin bay. An interesting drive over deep sand and rough tracks, but well worth the effort.

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Finding the remains of a wrecked fishing boat buried in the sand.

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Setting off from 7 Mile Beach it was west in the sheltered bay for lunch and  more sand dunes to climb.

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The next couple of days were spent exploring the area around Black Springs.

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Later we drove the 20 km sand and limestone 4WD track into Coffin Bay National Park and spent time exploring some of the more inaccessible launching spots.

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We spotted a number of the local inhabitants in our travels.
One afternoon 2 large goannas wandered through our camp and climbed a tree near us.

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On occasions we had emus wander through our camp.

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Kangaroos spent time watching us.

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Dolphins whizzed by in a large pod about 30 strong.

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Wedge tailed eagles circled overhead looking for an easy meal.

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Sea Lions lazed about on the rocks.

Sea Lions doing what they do best---relax on a warm rock

Sea Lions doing what they do best—relax on a warm rock

Sea birds of all varieties squawked overhead.

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Of course there were other less cuddly locals.

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A great place to spend a couple of weeks exploring the coast. Lots of interesting paddling locations ranging from calm to challenging all with great scenery and wildlife.

We headed east coming across the familiar landscape of the inland areas and decided to divert to the north Flinders Ranges for a week of exploring. 

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Sea caves and scorpions

We had decided to explore Memory Cove, in the Pt. Lincoln National Park for a few days.  The park, which is one of my favourite parts of South Australia, starts a few kilometres from Pt. Lincoln, is over 70 sq. km in size and includes a number of islands that I have visited by kayak in the past.

The park boasts some spectacular coastal scenery, and features the vast Sleaford-Wanna sand dune system, as well as the offshore islands.  Access to the cove is via a 15km 4WD track and only 5 vehicles are allowed camping access at any one time.

Matt decided to drive the track fearing that I might get us bogged again in sand dunes, however the drive is more rocky than sandy.

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We set up camp just metres from the beach and launched the kayaks.

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After being greeted by the local sea lions we explored the coastline.IMG_0013

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and found some sea caves to poke around in.

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Everywhere is luscious underwater growth with large abalone growing on the rock walls.

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The warm evening was enjoyed along with a few cold beers.

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The next day an approaching storm kept our exploration landlocked.

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We travelled a sandy 4WD track that hadn’t been used for some time…….

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and we found out why.

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Matt and Kathrin did some rock climbing and explored a deserted beach. If you look closely you will see them on the beach.

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Back at camp that night, while enjoying dinner and a red wine, Matt found a couple of unwelcome visitors heading for his tent. He quickly despatched the Scorpions back to the bush on the end of a shovel.

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