From Port Lincoln we headed on down to Coffin Bay. They grow oysters there. Originally they harvested the local oysters, but as humans so often tend to do, they over-fished them almost to extinction. But then in 1969, somebody brought in Pacific oysters – which thrived. Coffin Bay oysters are exported all over Australia.
Coffin Bay itself is a tiny little town, comprising holiday homes, retirees and fisher people. As well as some other locals, pictured left. We were lucky to arrive before the town shut down at lunchtime, and Pete availed himself of the opportunity to indulge in half a dozen freshly shucked oysters. (Not my thing.) He said they were absolutely delicious.
While we sipped a coffee our attention was drawn to a Pacific gull almost hovering in front of what looked like abandoned oyster racks. It dipped toward the water a few times, hesitated, dipped again. (It was very, very windy, which allowed such a heavy bird to give a good impression of hovering.) We guessed it was after an oyster, but no. When it finally plunged, it reappeared with a sea anemone in its beak.
As I said, the wind was a gale blowing off the ice, so outdoors wasn’t comfy, although the sun shone. We’d planned to stay at Streaky Bay for the evening. It’s a short drive, so we made a few detours to admire the wild coastline.
Streaky Bay itself was even less urban than Coffin Bay, and on Saturday afternoon, all was quiet. It’s probably a lovely spot if you have a caravan, but since we didn’t, we opted to aim for the relative Big Smoke of Ceduna.
We stayed at a community owned motel by the jetty, and were impressed by the sturdy gates protecting the units and car parks. Chatting with friends later, we discovered this was yet another town where walking around at night wasn’t a great idea. There’s a large indigenous population, and not enough work, isolation, boredom and alcohol have taken their usual toll.
We ventured out the next morning for a brisk walk before breakfast and then we hit the road for the long haul across the Nullarbor.
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