MONDAY FEB 18th - Beachport
We had to catch the early tide so the alarm sounded at 5.30am (there's that time again... mmpphhh). Because I'd been lying only semi-unconscious for quite a long time already, all I wanted to do was throw it out of the porthole but because I couldn't reach it and the porthole wasn't open, I instead moaned "no, no, noooo' over and over at it. When it was obvious that that tactic wasn't accomplishing anything, I staggered out of bed. This is seriously becoming a problem now as I'm forced more and more to endure 'the dawn'. Pretty as it is, sometimes it still feels unnatural to be awake at that time unless you're a delivery person or a crazed jogger or a vampire returning home after a dinner of crazed jogger. I'm not sure if it's becoming apparent yet but mornings are not my forte.
Photo: Dawn breaks over the Obelisk.
By six the sun was yet to peep over the horizon but it was light enough to be able to see, and thus avoid the fisher-folk-buoys-of-total-vexation, so we threw off the ropes and left Robe behind us. Today we were taking the relatively short hop (7 hours) to Beachport. Originally we were going to Southend but apparently the wind or the seas or something wasn't going to be right for anchoring.
We were joined pre-sunrise, by dolphins and albatross who seemed to bid us farewell and fair sailing (actually I think the dolphins were just having fun and the albatross were after fish but it sounds nice. :-) ) It was actually heaps of fun watching the albatross. They may be very elegant in flight but boy they look klutzy when they try to take off and land. They're unintentionally hilarious birds. There were also some very interesting cloud formations, which obviously had nothing to do with the albatross but were still fun to see. Okay not fun but... okay... I'll shut up now. :)
Photo: Water Walking
Photo: Formation Flying
Photo Weird Clouds
The wind was light (5 - 10 knots) and the swell was high (around 2 metres but wide spread and gentle) so we ended up having to motor the whole way. Along the way we were further joined by albatross and again found that we had to keep vigilant with the ever present and increasingly bothersome buoys.
Photo: Keeping watch for buoys. (Bloody things!!)
If you are a fisher person, lobster or net fishers in particular, who scatter your buoys willy nilly and who don't mark them with flags (which are MUCH easier to see by the way), at least have the decency to offer sailing folk a bloody lobster as recompense for the stress you cause. (mmmmm lobster!)
Fluorescent green and orange buoys!! Easy to see at a distance and they don't become invisible in white tops.
Photo: Old Lighthouse at Beachport.
So, after getting through the next mine field of lobster buoys outside of Beachport and the maze of boating buoys and boats inside of the bay, we finally anchored, drifted, moved and then anchored again. By 1.30 we were sipping tea and soothing our jangles. Once finished, it was aboard the dinghy to explore the settlement of Beachport. Unfortunately Venture was the furthest boat from the jetty and it was wavy and splashy. Wet back, wet hair, wet jeans. Thank goodness it was a warm day otherwise I may have been walking funny for a while.
Now, as already mentioned we are in Beachport. Get ready for our history lessons boys and girls!
385 kilometres south-east of Adelaide, Beachport was settled in the 1830's by the Henty brothers, Edward and James who, as well as running sheep, established the first whaling station in South Australia's south east at this site.
Following the 1876 shipwreck of the 'Geltwood' at the southern end of Rivoli Bay, the Parliament passed a bill to set up a port at the location.
Beachport was officially recognised by its current name in 1878. It was named in honour of the then-Secretary of State for the Colonies, M.E. Hicks-Beach, rather than for its beaches.
Beachport is also where SAFCOL (South Australian Fishermen's Co-operative Limited)was formed when the crayfish fishermen thought they weren't getting the right price from the dealers in Adelaide and Melbourne.**
A wander down the wide main street was all it needed to get a nice idea of the place. A small but interesting variety of shops had pretty much everything anyone would need in a small town and was a bustle of activity. It was fairly evident by the amount of motor homes parked along the esplanade that this was a popular place with the Grey Nomads (of which I guess we're now members, although I reckon we're Silver Floaties rather than Grey Nomads. :) ). The town also had a huge pub and fabulous home made pasties and doughnuts at the deli. I was good.... I only had one pasty and half of a white icing doughnut, but only because they were the last ones in the shop, otherwise another pasty may have been permitted on to my hips. However, I'm hoping my hips will thank me one day for not going back for the sprinkle doughnut. It was tough to do as anyone who knows me and my intimate relationship with baked goods will attest to. Dave snapped my photo after a dunny run. I think he must be up to almost 200 photos now of me coming out of loos in various towns and countries. The toilets were spotless.
Photo: Dunny run possibly # 187
Just up from the deli was the National Trust Museum (unfortunately we didn't go in there but may one day) and near that was the tiniest church I've ever come across in Australia, right next to the just as unusual cinema. Both are historically significant in the area.
Photo: The tiny Church.
Photo: The Beachport Cinema.
The tiny wooden church was brought in from Southend, when it was decided that Beachport was to be the main seaport for the area. It was originally situated on the site where Rivoli Bay Deli now stands (that's where I got the doughnut!), but had to be moved when it was sold to Mr AL Spehr of Furner in 1927. The first service held in the church was on 13th November 1881 and was conducted by Reverend Rowland Hayward, Missionary Chaplain.
The Beachport Institute Motion Picture Project was formed with the inaugural meeting held on 23rd June 1952 and the first screening was held on 11th July 1952. Now after many years this building has once more become a cinema.**
Photo: Old Navigation Light.
Photo: Old Machinery
Once again it struck us how pretty the town was, with historical and modern touches co-mingling effortlessly. Some really interesting artworks were studded throughout the main square and along the foreshore (plus some apparently interesting metal sculptures that I unfortunately didn't get to see at the other end of town). One was even beautiful and practical when I realised the the leafy sea-dragon mosaic was also a beach shower. This gorgeous piece was made by artist Michael Tye for the Beachport Festival by the Sea in 2010. Other interesting sculptures were scattered around the town, making it feel like a most wonderful treasure hunt.
Photo: Leafy Sea Dragon Mosaic beach shower
Photo: Sea Urchin Sculpture (sadly damaged by idiots carving their names into it)
Photo: Lady on a Bike
The residents had also been quite innovative at coming up with unusual ideas for common place things. The tables along the foreshore were made from old railway carts and the war memorial, rather than being a boring, stodgy stature, was a small rotunda which also housed a memorial plaque to these guys.....
Photo: Memorial Plaque
Photo: War Memorial Gazebo
Photo: Cool tables
Beachport is also possibly the location of the first casualties of World War 2 on Australian soil. On 12 July 1941, a local fisherman discovered and towed to Beachport a German sea mine either laid by the raider Pinguin or the mine-layer Passat. The following day, two Able Seamen, Thomas Todd and William Danswan, part of a three man Rendering Mines Safe (REMS) team, were killed when a wave lifted the mine and caused it to explode on the beach while they were attempting to defuse it.**
Even the playground in this cute community, apart from being what looks like a really fun, fenced off area, has a story behind it. The sign says it all. I'll transcribe it because it's a little difficult to see...
"The playground block was previously part of the old Railway reserve. It was named after a lady who ran a local shop which was constructed of galvanised iron. She supplied holiday makers with hot water (which was not available anywhere else in town) and children with sweets. The water was supplied from White's Fountain (the well at the centre of the present roundabout). This fountain was paid for by Captain White, the then chairman of the Council. The hot water came from two portable boilers (coppers) that Susan Wilson tendered outside her shop, which was on the corner of Railway Tce and Lagoon Road (near Bompas lawn). The children always received more sweets for their penny and this generosity towards the children prompted Council ot name the playground after her
Photo: Playground Dedication
Photo: Playground (part)
One of the major attractions of Beachport is its jetty. I won't put the history of this but will just show the photo legend instead.
Photo: Jetty again.
Photo: Jetty Legend
I found myself a shell that was already pre drilled by some aquatic carpenter and took it back to the boat to add to the other. I'm hoping to have enough to cover a wall eventually (just don't mention that to Dave).
We spent just a couple of hours in the town of Beachport but I just loved it. It's definitely worth a visit. Tomorrow morning we leave early (oh surprise, surprise) for Port MacDonnell.