It doesn't matter what kind of boat you have, your age, your race, your nationality, your gender … when cruisers get together, there's bound to be a gam. Cruisers, yachties, sailors … whatever you want to call us … are prone to sharing sea tales (some tall, some not), special anchorage notes and anecdotes about interesting characters and places. So here we are in Streaky Bay with three other cruising boats and things to talk about… important sailor things.
It seems there are some locals with sailboats, too, and we all got together aboard the catamaran, Urchin, for mid-morning tea today. It was a lively group. Everyone talking, asking questions, providing input. We received lots of good information about favorite places to stop on the other side of the Bight. Heather and Geoff, local sailboat owners, suggested a special place to stop, St. Francis Island, which is part of the Nuyts Group conservation area and is along the way … only a daysail away from Streaky Bay. There are reportedly penguins, sea lions and lots of birds in residence. How can we pass that up? Add St. Francis to the “must-stop” list. On the other hand, we provided information about anchorages for them heading east. Everyone was happy.
Mid-morning tea lasted till lunchtime and we headed ashore in the dinghy to reconnoiter the little town of Streaky Bay. Beaching the dinghy is necessary here and watching the 3-4 foot swing in the tides is important. Otherwise, we're high and dry and have to drag the dink or it's floating in deep, deep water.
We found the local i-Station (visitor's info) first to get our little town map, local brochures and the lay of the land. It's in an historic building, previously a Masonic Temple built in 1926 with walls of Mount Gambier stone. The town is so small, we're not sure we really needed a map, but the woman there helpfully pointed us in the right direction to find fuel, food, water and a laundromat. Our cruiser friends had also provided input on places to eat and shop.
The Streaky Bay Roadhouse is a Shell station (diesel) and also has a 24-hour laundromat … two birds with one stone. But wait … there's more. This roadhouse sells take away food, some souvenirs and snacks (think 7-11), AND the sign says there is a full-sized replica of the world's largest great white shark caught by rod and reel. Now we're talking BIG reason to come back here. Ah, but not today, said the Captain.
We wandered through the two small supermarkets and determined we could get everything we needed for provisions between the two. We wandered along Alfred Terrace, the main road along the shore, and checked out Eliot's Bakery and the fish factory (bait) and ended up on the long jetty in search of a fresh water tap. We have the watermaker aboard, but we thought we'd top up with local water and the water tap we found midway up the jetty will make it easy. There's another protected swim area here, keeping us ever mindful of the great whites. Tomorrow, we'll return to town to get going on to-do list.
We found out how Streaky Bay got its name, by the way. Thanks to Captain Matthew Flinders, once again. On his Voyage of Discovery in 1802, the was inspired by the bands of color in the water which he thought was a sign of a river entering the ocean. It turned out that the “streaks” were oils given off by the seaweed and thick grass on the sea bottom, but the name stuck.
And, sorry, I just couldn't resist another beautiful sunrise.