Mea culpa

Those who don’t read Latin can look it up. The details will be revealed later in the story of our day on Kangaroo Island. Majella had planned an excursion to the western end of the island with return for the late afternoon ferry. That happened but not without some variation and excitement, even apprehension, along the way.

DSC_9119Last night was spent in a shared apartment with the Steins and Mauchs who are early to bed folk. We were up alone by 9:00 pm or so and put ourselves to bed by 10:00 pm. As a consequence I was awake early and went for a walk down to the shore where I enjoyed the sunrise over the bay. Along the way I discovered that as well as the cemetery that Jim and I visited yesterday there was an historic cemetery at Reeves Point.

By the time I returned a bit after 7:00 am the rest of the group were up and eating breakfast. We were all done and ready to go by 8:00 am, well before the scheduled 9:00 am departure, so Majella proposed a visit to historic sites around Kingscote before we left. Once the car was packed, Jim and Russell decided that we should take advantage of a hose and broom to wash off some mud the van had collected yesterday. That done, we headed off with me driving, toward town and then on to Reeves Point.

DSC_9131We parked above the historic cemetery and walked down to see what we might find. Eventually I walked back up the hill and drove the van down the hill to park near the historic mulberry tree. The others walked on down to the tree but Warwick and I took a deviation to the top of Flagstaff Hill to see the memorial there. I had spotted it earlier on my walk but ther was no flag flying then and I did not recognise it for what it was.

Soon after 9:00 am we drove out of Kingscote heading for the west.  We paused at Parndana, a small town along the Playford Highway, for coffee and snacks. The store next door had a fuel bowser but we appeared to have plenty of fuel and, having seen none of the usual warning signs about last fuel, I assumed we could get it at our destination if we needed it. Russell and I had been watching it but had not seen reason for alarm.

At the junction with the southern road, as I turned right toward the Flinders Chase National Park I noticed a sign indicating a caravan park to the left and thought there might be fuel there if we needed it. I was still hopeful that we had enough though the needle was getting low. The national park required a pass which I acquired after a trip back to the car for registration number. While I had been sorting that, Russell had been around the carpark and spotted the koala that he had been wanting to see in one of the trees. As we drove on toward Admiral’s Arch the low fuel warning light came on.

DSC_9155When we stopped there to walk to the arch I mentioned to Majella that we were very low on fuel. Her first reaction, out of concern for making the ferry later in the afternoon, was to go straight back to the visitor centre to see where we might find fuel. I could see no point in that so we walked to the point and back as planned. Along the way Majella spoke to a few of the others and discussed options. The arch was an amazing sight, especially on a fine morning after a windy night that had waves crashing against the rocks on the point and the small islands beyond. A boardwalk with some stairs goes down to the arch where we were covered in salt spray. Along the way we saw some small New Zealand fur seals playing in a rock pool.

Somewhere along the way Majella had found an indication on one of her maps that there was fuel available just beyond the park entrance. Our side trip to the Remarkable Rocks on the way back was cancelled and we headed directly to the visitor centre where we dropped the rest of the group to have lunch while Majella and I went in search of fuel. The fuel was not at the caravan park as I had thought it might be but at the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat which was closer, a very good thing given our lack of fuel.

The diesel bowser had a note indicating there was no fuel until late afternoon, which would not give us time to get back to the ferry. We asked in reception about other options. The nearest was about 50 km further at Vivonne Bay. We would never make that far but called them to see if they could send some. They were short staffed and unable to help. Majella asked if we might rent a resort vehicle to fetch some fuel. Eventually they offered to see if their maintenance staff could siphon some out of one of their vehicles. He tried three with no success but then managed to extract 10 litres from a generator.

We drove back to the visitor centre, picked up the rest of the group, and headed east. We stopped at Vivonne Bay and bought some more fuel, not a full tank but enough to be safe. The rest of the drive back to Penneshaw and the ferry was straightforward and soon enough we were checked in and waiting in the ferry terminal.

DSC_9197The ferry ride back was a little bumpier than the ride out yesterday but we had clear skies and a setting sun for consolation. Our accommodation tonight is in cottages at Cape Jervis Accommodation and Caravan Park. There is a restaurant on site so we ate here and enjoyed very good meals with friendly service. We survived the misadventures of today; tomorrow is another day.