Our travels this month took us one thousand kilometres (600+ miles) west of Adelaide, South Australia, to a place called Fowlers Bay. Let me start by saying there is nothing much there. A caravan park, a kiosk, white sand dunes, and a few houses. We were there to see the whales. During May to October, the Southern Right Whales arrive from Antarctica to give birth.
It took us a couple of days to get there. The roads are good, but we opted to break the drive and stay overnight at a small town called Wudinna—pronounced Woodna. Go figure!
Sitting idle has never been our thing, so we soon had our four days planned. Our first outing was to the Head of Bight, where the week before, sixteen females and calves were spotted, but we only saw two pairs on our visit. But it was enough to spark excitement for the pending whale watching boat trip we had organised in a few days as there was talk of lots of whales in Fowlers Bay.
When not searching out whales, we walked the white dunes to the open sea. It was a seven-kilometre (4 mile) walk, so we enjoyed burning energy. Nothing but Antarctica lies south of the beach, and as I watched the waves smashing onto the shore, a Bronze Whaler Shark chased a school of ocean salmon through the waves. Two anglers were pulling in some of those salmon with the help of two German wire-haired pointers. I am a sucker where dogs are concerned, and as I said hello to them, I thought about how my fur kids, Elsa and Kuura, would have loved swimming through the waves. We chatted to the dog’s owners, and they sent us away with a couple of just caught salmon, which we had for dinner that night.
However, the best was yet to come—the boat trip—and it did not disappoint. We got up close personal to nine mums and calves. Mums tend to stick close to the shore until their calves are strong enough to make the journey south. Calves weigh in at about one tonne when born and when adults can weigh eighty tonnes. We had a calf following the boat, and it is hard to think of them as babies. It was a fabulous experience watching the interaction between mums and calves.
Our Fowlers Bay stay ended, and we headed down the coast to Streaky Bay. While in Streaky, we visited a Smoky Bay oyster farm. By the time we headed home, my love of oysters was well satisfied, plus I had a wealth of material for future books.
In previous newsletters, I have talked about how travel gets the creative juices flowing. And this trip was no exception. We met some fascinating people: The whale charter guys, a group of youngsters fishing for squid from the Fowlers Bay jetty. A couple travelling Australia and a grumpy guy whose face would crack if he smiled. The Oyster farm owners, father, and son in Smoky Bay, were relaxed and fun. The father hitched up their boat to a tractor, sat us in the back and drove to the water where he launched it with us sitting, wondering who was going to steer. And the pleasant receptionist who looked after us at the Streaky Bay foreshore. These people are real and give a wealth of inspirations to bring a story to life.
So, while I have not been able to travel overseas, we have found plenty on offer in our backyard, which is a good thing. I hope that wherever you live, you have also been able to enjoy what is on offer.
Until next time.
Contemporary adventure with