Remember when I talked about our 90-Day Rule? Something unexpectedly wonderful happens to us about every 90 days when we're aboard Nine of Cups. Consider this, if you will. In July 2011, when we were visiting Fiji, we sailed to Palmlea Eco-Farms and Resort to visit with SSCA friends who own it. By chance, while there, we met Pauline and Denys, an Aussie couple who were visiting with their son and his family and enjoying time at the Palmlea Resort. We chatted, became friendly and exchanged contact information.
Fast forward to austral Spring 2012 when Nine of Cups and crew were in Kettering, Tasmania. We received an e-mail from Pauline and Denys. They were visiting another son and his family in Tasmania and happened to be only one town away. We had a great lunch together on Nine of Cups and caught up on each others' lives. They're a busy couple with extensive travel, family visits and major house renovations, as well as biking and competitive swimming, on their usual agenda.
Fast forward once again to Port Adelaide, South Australia … here and NOW. Pauline and Denys, we found out, don't live far away and they've been keeping track of us on our blog. Pauline called and offered use of her washer, a beach with no jellyfish, a local vineyard visit, a ride around the area and dinner at their home. How could we resist? Talk about fortuitous … and me just complaining about the laundry situation and jellyfish. Somebody reads … somebody listens! Wow!
We met at Saily's Pub at 0930 (no drinks, just a meeting place) and headed off for parts unknown to us with Pauline and Denys as our local guides. There's nothing like touring an area with folks who were born and bred here. They know all sorts of things you can't find in a guide book. We headed down along the coast through quaint beachside towns like Semaphore and Glenelg. It's still summer holiday for the kids here and lots of families are on vacation. At Glenelg North, we took a circuitous detour up sidestreets to visit the Old Gum Tree, the site at which South Australia was officially proclaimed a colony in 1836. It's a red gum tree that probably had large spreading limbs at one time, but now it's more of a memorial arch. The tree, long since decayed and dead., has been been encased in concrete.
We continued south along the coast, then turned inland to wine country. South Australia is noted for its wines and the McLaren Vale area has dozens of wineries with Cellar Doors (tasting rooms). We chose Haselgrove Vineyards for no particular reason other than it tickled our fancy. It turned out to be a fortuitous stop. The temperature outside hovered around 105F/40C and it hit us like a hot brick as we left the air-conditioned car. We were met by a gracious and knowledgeable host, Ryan. He offered a tour and, despite the heat as we traipsed up and down steel ladder-ways through a field of stainless steel vats, we learned more about wine-making in our 30 minutes with Ryan than we ever had before.
The barrel room was deliciously cool after the heat of the outside. Returning to the tasting room, we sampled a Pink Lady cider, then whites and reds and finally a lovely port decanted directly from the tasting room cask. We bought wine for dinner (and then some) and headed, on Ryan's suggestion, to a light lunch at Blessed Cheese in the town of McLaren Vale.
Rejuvenated and rehydrated, we headed down the Fleurieu Peninsula in hopes of finding cooler temps. The temperatures weren't much better, but the views were great.
We stopped at beautiful Horseshoe Bay, Port Elliot Beach and forced ourselves to have an ice cream cone at the Flying Fish Cafe in an effort to keep our bodies cool. We licked and lapped and marveled at the energy of young kids jumping off the pier … over and over again.
We drove to Land's End at the tip of the peninsula where the Port Jervis Lighthouse stands sentry. We watched the SeaLink Ferry depart to Kangaroo Island, but the island, usually quite clear, could only be seen faintly in the distance. We attributed the haziness to the heat and the residual smoke from recent bush fires.
On the way home, we had our first view of kangaroos grazing in a field. What better way to say welcome back to Australia?
Back in Adelaide at our hosts' home, I did a load of laundry and hung it out on the line while Pauline prepared dinner, Denys barbecued and David supervised. All in all, an outstanding 90 Day Rule kind of day.