Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Fleurieu 2011: Surf, sea birds, sailboats and stormy weather coming up!

Surf's up at Parson's Beach, way west of Victor Harbour ... and even though the sky is starting to
promise a storm, surfers are game to go out --
The waves are not of the magnitude you get in Hawaii (duh!) but they're still surfable...
The beach is accessed from a parking lot set back into Newland Head Conservation Park,
and the signs are up, bright yellow, obnoxiously loud and clear -- see it there, by the path? What's it say --?
No swimming, it says -- high waves, dangerous currents! So...
Guess the No Swimming sign doesn't work so well!
Newland Head Conservation Park would be a great place to spend a day whale watching,
if we could just judge the season. These are southern right whales --
Newland Head looks like this, across its entire area: a haven for shore birds -- but we were
starting to think seriously about lunch, so ... time to head for Victor Harbour!
The weather certainly didn't improve as we headed east in search of civilization!
In all fairness to Victor Harbour, I'm going to digress right here and put in a few images of the town and Encounter Bay in nice weather. Judging by the images from the 2011 trip, you'd wonder why in the world anyone would bother going to a place that looks like crap! In fact, it's a lovely place, as these few glimpses will show:

We'll come back to Victor Harbour and Granite Island another time ... ride the horse-drawn tram across the causeway, which you see right above, hike the island, have lunch at the cafe there -- in decent weather! For the moment, we'll just return to 2011, when the whole place was reminiscent of the sub-antarctic, and looked like this:

The petrel rookery, right beside the road -- Franklin Parade, which follows Encounter Bay right around,
from Kent Reserve at the outfall of the Inman River...
Petrels actually breed far away, and you find them all over the south Pacific outside of breeding season.
Above and behind Victor Harbour the hills stretch away toward beautiful Inman Valley. Meanwhile -- 
Just around the point from the residential area on Encounter Bay is Petrel Cove,
which is amazing -- filled with "ship-killer" rocks on which the surf pounds. and --
Killer rocks or no, surfers were out at Petrel Cove; which must take courage, because --
-- when you look down from the cliffs, you can see the danger.
It seems Petrel Cove is also a good spot for beach fishing.
A sailboat rides at anchor against the backdrop of Granite Island. After raiding the picnic basket\
for lunch, we headed on east out of Victor Harbour --
The drive takes you through Port Elliott and Middleton. We were heading for
Goolwa and Hindmarsh Island, and Jade grabbed this one through the car window, in Port Elliott.
Once again -- souther right whales, as depicted on the info board at Newland Head Conservation Park.
The Goolwa Channel separates Goolws and Hindmarsh Island. This tour boat was going out,
despite the weather, which was looking increasingly doubtful.
Goolwa Channel is spanned by the road bridge. The island has recently become a hot-spot
for property developers. New homes on the "lagoons" there cost a small fortune.
Little corellas graze along the shoreline, where pine cones are falling -- 
Sailboats anchored just offshore are battened down for the approaching weather, but - 
This powerboat was roaring along, towing a water skier. Just time to get in one more run!
The sky lowers over Hindmarsh Island...
it's a world of water and sky, stark beauty ... and sailboats ... like much of South Australia's Lakes District.
Heading off Hindmarsh Island, rain starts to hit the windscreen.
The Goolwa bridge is misted with rain...
...pelicans turn their noses into the wind and hunker down. 
Back in Goolwa, it's already bucketing down!
You can plan everything except the weather, and we were really out of luck in 2011. It rained; and then it rained some more. As Dave says, we have nothing to worry about -- we're not likely to melt and we do know how to swim! We'll come back to Victor Harbour and Granite Island another time, with pictures shot in good weather ... we even have some videos of the horse-drawn tram.

This part of the trip was all about water: sea, surf, and rain ... and as we left Goolwa we were headed for Milang, on Lake Alexandrina, where we were booked overnight. So --

Next on this trip: Finniss, Milang, and Handorf.

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