The Storks of Böbs

The Storks of Böbs
A Very Fine Pair

Around the World (Again) The nautical part

Kangaroo Island- The story of Gemini and the Kayak

Monday morning
I was doing a bit of beach combing at Christmas Cove, this is better than at Hogs Bay. The bay was actually scoured out by a glacier, and you can see the marks on the rock walls of the rubbing of the lateral moraines.

It was low tide and as I came down the grass bank (there are steps, but some fool didn’t know how to calculate a tread and they are about 1 ½  steps). I noticed a pelican fishing on the water, I hadn’t seen a one in Christmas Cove before, though out at American River there are a lot, this one may have just thought he would try his luck here today.
 The shore line was being picked over by a couple of Oyster Catchers, I disturbed them and they flew across to the other side. I had a look at the area where they had been feeding and it would seem from the newly discarded cockle shells that they had started their meal off with a good entrée.

I went around the opposite side from the jetties and moorings, as this seemed it could hold a lot more things that hide under rocks.
I wasn’t wrong, though you had to walk through a bit of slick. On the other side of the break water (only accessible at low tide) I found some  crabs hiding under stones, only small, but perfect size for bait.

I notice the tide (which had been slack) was turning and as I was on the wrong side of the breakwater, I thought it prudent to get on the right side of it ( you never want to get on the wrong side of a breakwater).  I retraced my steps and then crossed a little spring, this could have been used by Matthew Flinders to fill his water butts, though from the amount of water leaching out of the ground I hope that it was a bit more productive that it is today. I also noticed a small bronze plaque attached to a rock, this was the place that he landed ( or here abouts, as no one is alive from the crew to verify or dispute the fact). Though the cairn that is erected to the event is at another place as you shall see later.

I was walking towards the jetty when I noticed Tony, he was just about to go out on one of his safaris, I walked down the jetty to tell him I would pop in tomorrow with the photos on a stick (no not a forked one) He said “do you fancy a trip out, I’ll do you a special rate”, I said “how special”?  he said” Normally $75, I’ll do it for 60” I replied “your out of luck I only have 50 bucks on me”  (this works all over the world, in Turkey, in Egypt, in Hong Kong and now in Christmas Bay) he took the 50 dollar note and said “don’t tell the others”.

The tour was actually a bit of a trial as he had a new crew member and was showing him the ropes, there was also a mate of his, who he had picked up the evening before from across the Backdoor Passage, (he had missed the ferry) I bet that was one hell of a trip.  That is him sitting next to me and we had a good chat, the chap behind me is the cook from the pub.

So we set off out through the harbour entrance and turned to Port, and headed along the coast line, passing a small cairn on Kangaroo point in recognition of Matthew Flinders first landfall on Kangaroo Island. 

Tony suddenly slowed the motors down to a chug  and said look over there, that is a fish eagle sitting on one of his favourite perches, looking for something to catch.
The Australian White Bellied or Fronted Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) it is the second largest eagle in Australia, the largest being the Wedge Tailed Eagle, but the difference is not great, as is normal in Raptors, the female is larger than the male. Fish only makes up about 50% of its diet, it will take small land mammals, penguin chicks, sea snakes, it will also feed on carrion such as dead sheep. It will also take the food from gulls and other sea birds by harrying them or even attacking them by flying upside down and using their talons from below to take the fish from the victim.
It is a wonderful looking bird with a bright pure white breast/belly feathers as its name implies.

We then slowly edged away and Tony steered the boat further along the coast to our next stop, this was to a colony of Black-Faced Shags (Phalacrocoraax fuscescens), here it may be of use to the none ornithologists amongst you to tell you the difference between Cormorants and Shags, in some cases the term is used for the same bird, but it is true to say that Shags are totally marine whereas Cormorants can be both (inland waters and sea). 
The Black-Faced Shag is coastal (you will not find it strays far out to sea), it feeds on smallish fish and can dive to a depth of 12m, though feeding predominantly on smaller fish, it can catch fish up to 50cm.
It and its Cormorant brethren are hated with a vengeance by commercial and hobby fishermen alike. The commercial saying it raids their Salmon and Barramundi fish pens, the hobby anglers saying that they take the fish that they are wanting to take. I tend to agree, though it is a very nice looking bird and looks to all the world like a waiter in his white starched bib and black frocked coat. Tony told us a nice little story. He had an American tourist on board who ask what are those long necked penguins that you have on the island, Tony. Tony replied that he had lived on the Island most of his life and had never seen them, as they reached the Shag colony, the American said “that’s them the long necked penguins” from then on they are now referred to by Tony as the Long necked penguins.

We rounded the headland, passing the secluded “Browns Beach” if you want some secluded bathing this is the spot and also some smashing fishing is to be had here with Snook, King George Whiting, Salmon, Bass and Squid to be taken in abundance (or so Tony said).
We arrived at the Dudley Peninsula’s answer to Admirals Arch, not because of the Arch or any other weather worn geological wonder; here is a colony of New Zealand Fur Seals (Arctosephalus forsteri). The New Zealand or Southern fur seal has ears and hind flippers that can rotate forward making it very versatile on land. But what nearly drove it to extinction, was its two layers of fur, the belly fur is fine and white and much sort after by the haut couture for making women’s coats, muffs and hats.

The early sealers that visited this Island thought they had arrived in paradise, fur from the Fur Seal and blubber from the Sea-Lion. The colonies are even today not up to their numbers that existed in the late 1800s.
Next along the coast is Baudin Beach, formerly called American Beach, this is the beach that I could see from Sunset Winery the day I took that “short” walk. It is a very fine expanse of sand and much loved for its safe swimming and good fishing, but it is also a place much frequented by the real highlight of the parade, the Dolphins.

As we entered Island beach Tony pointed ahead, there was a pod of 3 dolphin one obviously a female as she had a very young calf, as we slowed they approached the boat and started to dive underneath, turning and waving, the cow actually brought the calf alongside to show us, tony said this is not normal as the female will always try and keep her body between boat and the calf. I took plenty of shots, but they move at such a speed as soon as you think you have one in view, they either dive or turn away, here are a few near misses to show you.

But I did get a couple of reasonable ones,

we stayed quite a while. Tony said look up in the air, and there circling high in the sky was an Osprey, it was a wonderful sight as it circled in the thermic currents.

We turned for home at this point and Tony explained that the piece of high ground in front was in fact Prospect Hill and was the hill that Matthew Flinders had climbed and that had confirmed that this piece of land was in fact an Island, from here at the narrowest part of the Island a mere kilometre or so across.
We once again travelled at full throttle, boy could that boat move, as we turned into Baudin beach he once again dropped to a crawl and here a pod of 5 dolphins came to greet us. They also wanted to play, Tony said if he turned the engines right off they lose interest and go and look for a new play pal, but keep the engines just ticking over they will stay and play around the boat.

He also explained that when they sleep they are still half awake, as they have the ability to shut half of their brains down, while swimming slowly along, amazing creatures are dolphins.

t was then time to head for home, disembark 

 and a well-earned pint to be had by all!

My Kayak fishing trip
The next day I had arranged to take a Kayak out for a spot of fishing, again a special rate. (You have got to haggle).

I got to the Cove early and this meant I could have a look at what was about, their was a load of small fry, whitebait size.

I immediately thought of Steve in New Zealand and is love for whitebait netting and whitebait fritters.
Along came Tony in his pickup, a double and a brand, spanking new single, I was taking her on her maiden voyage, reflections of Titanic did spring to mind, but looking at it I said to my self this looks nothing like the Titanic, wrong time of the year for Icebergs and everyone on board this vessel had a life Jacket. Getting everything on board, stowing my camera and wallet into the waterproof compartment, I was ready for the off. This time it was lures as I was after Australian Salmon (not true Salmon) and squid. So out I paddled, it was at times a little choppy, but nothing that an old salt like me can’t handle.

Ahem, I almost at once thought I had a one, alas I had snagged the lure and had to break the trace, all I had now was the Squid lure, ah well I fancied a nice bit of salt and pepper squid for tea tonight.

 I also took a photo of a couple of soles

I allowed the kayak to drift with the outgoing tide along the shore line. The squid will hide amongst the rocks and kelp hiding from predators (like salmon), but when a prawn comes along, whoosh, it will streak out of its hiding place and grab the prey, alas this prawn had a lot of tiny barbs at the tail end and that was its undoing and my supper.

As I said I only fish for the pot and one was enough to give me a decent meal, so I paddled back to watch a colony of “Long Necked Penguins” fishing and standing on the rocks with outstretched wings drying their armpits.
As I headed back to the cove, I saw that Tony was coming out with a boat full of full paying padssangers, hee hee, He hove too and asked had I caught anything, I said a squid and he had lost a lure.

I was back well before they returned so I had a bit of a try along the breakwater, but no luck, I pulled the Kayak up onto the boat launch slipway and slipped (I suppose that is what you are meant to do), but after being floating and paddling about for a good 3 hours, could I not at least stay dry for these few extra minutes. Luckily I had an extra pair of trunks (not budgie smugglers I hasten to add)a quick change and I was fit for public viewing.
Tony arrived back and after getting everything on land and onto the back of the pickup, I headed for home to get my squid prepared for supper.

 Salt, pepper and chilli squid
First pull the head and tentacles out of the body (tube), I always deal with the top end first, using a very sharp knife cut through the head and release the eyes (they do look gruesome) cut  the stomach sack out of it and the ink-sack (if I had been making a risotto, I would have used the ink), slice the tentacles into bite size pieces. After this remove the wings from the tube and skin them and also skin the tube.

Next using the wooden handle of a spoon turn the tube inside out. Do this by pushing the handle of the wooden spoon gently into the closed end of the tube, slowly by pushing and folding you will turn the tube inside out. You can now clean it under running water, removing any gunge that is adhering to the flesh.

Cut the tube in half and then score in a diamond pattern, before cutting into mouth size oblongs.

I made a coating using a packet of Colman’s herb fish coating, and added a good bit of Chilli and a good pinch of pepper.
I now though what will I eat with it, this as I rummaged through my Backpackers storage bag (every Backpacker has a one) I found the packet of rice that I had used for the Paella (remember), I foolish person had discarded the ink-sack, never mind I would still make a mushroom risotto as an accompaniment.

I diced an onion and a clove of garlic and sweated this off in a little oil, added the diced mushrooms and a few herbs (I still had some rosemary from the Herb garden at Port Elliot). I added half a cup (about) of rice and allowed to take on translucence. I had made up a good 500ml to 600ml of chicken stock (sorry no wine).

I added this a little at a time until all was absorbed and the risotto tasted bloody good.

While doing this I had dredged the squid pieces in the flour mixture and heating oil in a frying pan quickly seared these, they will curl up into tubes, this is the time to remove from the heat, any longer and you will be eating pieces of the Pirelli man.

I had a very enjoyable meal, I find there isn’t a lot more satisfying than killing (fishing or hunting), preparing and cooking your very own meal.

After the meal I went along the beach, it was a beautiful evening and it was a very nice sunset over the Bay.
The next morning I popped into Tony’s office to tell him I had sent him the photos attached to an e-mail he said thank you and as a thank you would I fancy coming out on the boat at midday he had free places and I might as well come along, I thought that was very kind and an offer too good to refuse.

So I had a bit of shopping to do (not a lot of shops, well there is only one and the post office), that finished I crossed the road saying good morning to two German Sister that I had met that morning, they just happened to be sitting on the park picnic table that overlooks the cove. I went down the bank (you remember about the silly built steps) and had a chat with Tony and his one man crew (I am terrible with names).
The crew member was actually a cameraman for Malcolm Douglas of television Crocodile fame, this is out in Broome. He works there most of the year, but had decided to come back to Kangaroo Island for the summer season (up in Broome it is the wet season and it rains solid until March). He was a great character, he had a bit of land out near Cape Willoughby (you remember the lighthouse keepers daughter) and he had built himself a beach shack out of washed up timbers and branches (you don’t need a lot of planning permission here). He also had an open sided 4 wheel drive, he had just travelled from broom to kangaroo Island along the coast road, along the Nullabor, the route I wanted to take to Perth but in reverse. 

Just then the girls came down the road, and along the jetty, this was part of today’s catch I mean passenger inventory . There was also a family with a small child and another couple, as they were paying I had to take a back seat, never mind a free be is a free be and at least I could hear what Tony was saying above the noise of the motors.


We headed out of the harbour and along the well worn sea track, first headed to the Sea Eagles perch, empty, then along the coast to the seals, almost empty, plenty of Long necked Penguins for Tony to tell the story of the silly American, but then we headed out into the bay, no dolphins, we headed a bit further along , this is a place that there is always some, but alas the bay was empty, devoid of Dolphins. Now Tony was a bit worried having promised them all at least Dolphins, he headed a little further out into Nepean Bay and then just as he was about to give it up, a pod of dolphin appeared alongside the boat ( I saw a look of relief on his face).

They followed us for a good while and then as we neared the Eagles Perch we saw that it was there, it had been out fishing and had a quite sizable one held firmly in its talons while it tore pieces out of the fish with its hooked beak, so the day had turned out very well for all of us, paying and none paying.

Tony then done a round of photograph taking in the wheel house, it was then time to head for harbour and I for pint and a steak sandwich with chips.

By the way the Adelaide Aussie Rules Club is called the Magpies and In the Penneshaw they have a shirt hanging the bar. They have good taste in Penneshaw.  
Howay the Ade Laides