Sheringa 2010

Trip Report

Sheringa Easter 2010 – A Pommie Perspective by Sarah Stevens

Please note that the opinions contained in this Trip Report do not necessarily reflect those of the Seawolves Dive club or its committee.

The club’s trip to Sheringa had been planned for months. Mike and I had never been camping in Australia, so loads of new things had to be bought including a new tent, a two way radio, roo scarers (English translation – something that is attached to your car, whistles in the wind and stops kangaroos jumping in front of you as you go along – these worked, we saw no kangaroos!) and a camp oven (until I bought our oven I had assumed that a camp oven is a small oven to take camping – silly me, it’s a cast iron saucepan with a heavy lid – of course!).


Day One – Good Friday 2nd April 2010

We set off at 7.30am on our long journey to Sheringa – 720 kms in total (English translation 450 miles). We used our 2 way radio and hooked up with Toejam.

We met other Seawolves at the Caltex at Bolivar, and then off we went.

We passed some interesting metal sculptures at Virginia, got through Port Wakefield with no delay (apparently this is virtually unheard of at Easter), saw a small Loch Ness monster in the lake at Lochiel. We stopped for lunch and some fuel in Port Augusta.

Then on to Whyalla (where you can dive with spawning cuttlefish), past HMAS Whyalla which is land locked outside the maritime museum. Our journey continued on through Cowell, Cleve, Lock and then down a dirt road for 50 kms (English translation 31.25 miles) through to Sheringa.

The highlight of the drive was the bushchicks (English translation “emus”) which ran onto the road.

We put up our tent, and pumped up airbed. My feet started to get dirty, and we were bothered by very persistent flies. Over the course of our stay I inhaled one up my nose and swallowed at least one – YUK!

We went for a drive with Johno to the beach. He ventured a little too far onto the very soft sand and got bogged. We had fun watching him trying to dig his way out, failing, then inflating a bag using his exhaust fumes, this didn’t work either. Eventually he was towed out by Kaffir.

Tea was snags (English translation “sausages”) barbecued on Chalky’s smoker, and salad. It was windy and some of the salad blew away – this was fixed by applying a liberal amount of vinaigrette and holding the salad onto the plate.

There had been reports of many mice running around inside the building which housed the showers, toilets, and kitchen. A sure-fire mousetrap was set up using the crisper drawer from the fridge which was filled with water and an empty wine bottle with a piece of bread stuck in the end. No mice were caught that night.

My feet got dirtier.

Day Two – Saturday 3rd April 2010,  Four wheel driving in the sand hills.

The sand in the sand hills was very soft. Many Seawolves got bogged and were either dug out or snatched out. We got stuck on the top of the same razorback twice. We were snatched back by Fingers the first time, but the second time the brute force of six Seawolves pushed us over the edge.

We got a puncture.

Tea that night was camp oven roast. Brutus, Pete and Mike dug a trench, filled it with wood, set fire to it, and we waited until the wood turned to coals. To make camp oven roast you put a bit of oil in the bottom of your camp oven (remember, this is a cast iron saucepan with a heavy lid, not a small oven to take camping), add your vegetables – potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions etc and your joint of meat. The camp oven then goes onto the coals, with some placed on top of the lid. Then you wait. It takes as long to cook as a roast would in a “normal” oven, and it’s really tasty. I love camp ovens!!! You clean them by throwing them back into the coals and burning off what’s left.

Feet got even dirtier.

Day Three – Sunday 4th April 2010

Steve went to Elliston and took our wheel to get a new inner tube put in.

We went on a shore dive. Maximum depth 2.5m, all nasty wavy weed on the seabed, felt dizzy, not the world’s best dive – advice to others, don’t bother doing a shore dive off the beach near where Johno got bogged.

Discovered the existence of March flies – a bigger than normal fly that will bite you as soon as look at you.

While we were out diving, the famous Seawolves pig on a spit had been prepared, and when we returned it was cooking nicely (although it did require some stitching later on to stop the back end falling off the spit).

After the dive we drove over to Sheringa beach where the bigger boats had been launched and watched Kaffir pull Pedro out of the sand where his car and boat were stuck.

Our hosts from the farm joined us in the evening for the pig, and also brought some roly poly for us to have for pudding – yum!

Feet still dirty.

Day Four – Easter Monday 5th April 2010

We went out on Kaffir’s boat with Graham. We did boat cover while they did a Cray dive, then they took us to the newly discovered “Seawolves Cave”.

The cave had been dived the day before and was considered to be the best dive ever in South Australia. Fingers had buoyed the cave, but we couldn’t find the buoy, and assumed it must have been swept away. We went for a dive anyway in the area that Wolf thought was right (but was very wrong). The water was a chilly 14C. The dive was very scenic, lots of swim throughs and colourful fish. Right at the end of the dive we found the cave, and as promised the viz inside the cave was amazing, and there was a big groper (English translation “grouper”). We surface using our safety sausage (English translation “SMB”), and found ourselves 150m away from the boat, but right next to Fingers’ buoy!

Tea was another camp oven. Mmmmmmmmmm camp oven!

That night we had thunder and rain. Some escaped to the shearers shed to watch a DVD on a big screen; the rest of us stayed inside the club tent (and dribbled bull). Fester, who had previously entertained us by rubbing his eyes after eating a chilli, entertained us further filling his water cans with water that had collected on the roof of the tent extension and managing to pour more water onto himself than into the cans.

BJ and Lennie’s tent collapsed.

The campsite became a field of mud as opposed to the field of dust that it had been previously. Overnight the rain went, and the mud turned to damp earth.

The rain did not improve the dirty feet situation.

Day Five – Tuesday 6th April 2010, Seawolves 4WD trip to Bascombe Well Conservation Reserve.

12 cars went. There were a few places where the track was narrow, and you could hear the branches scraping away against the paintwork.

We saw a well, some ruins and a very old Chevrolet. There were also some very irate ants that were obviously not used to so many cars driving near their ant hills at one go (special thanks to Pedro).

We discovered that “I Spy” has very few possible answers when you are driving through scrub. Sky, clouds, mud, trees, bark, steering wheel, reflectors are a few of the choices available.

When we exited the Reserve we drove to the pub at Lock, where they suddenly went from zero patrons for lunch to 50.

At bedtime my feet were still dirty.

Day Six – Wednesday 7th April 2010

Overnight there had been a heavy dew, and our tent was very damp. We were due to leave the next day, so decided that we would pack up the tent later on once it had dried and then sleep in the house.

That day we drove to Port Lincoln and also to Coffin Bay. We had lunch in Port Lincoln at the Marina Pub. They do nice food, and as an added bonus they had football (proper English football, the type you play with your feet, not your hands) on the TV.

On the way back we drove to Point Drummond. We were over 30km away from Sheringa when we heard Fingers on the radio trying to contact Toejam. Fingers and Graham were on the sand hills again, and had both become bogged.

Toejam came to the rescue and pulled them both out.

When we returned to the campsite the club tent had been dismantled. So that evening we all sat around Ricky’s brazier outside the house.

It was Emily’s birthday on Friday and Michelle had baked a birthday cake for her. We all sang happy birthday and ate cake.

It was a really clear night and I received instructions from Fingers as to how to find the Southern Cross.

Floss, one of the sheepdogs came to visit, and was still lying on the ground when I went to bed (with dirty feet).

Day Seven – Thursday 8th April 2010

Another night of heavy dew (we were glad we’d taken the tent down the day before), and when we got up there was also heavy fog.

We were all packed up and ready to go, when it was discovered that Ricky’s car didn’t want to start (Ricky was going home as well, so we thought it best to hang around until he had it sorted). In true Seawolves fashion, it was decided that the best way to fix the car was for as many people as possible to look under the bonnet and make helpful suggestions. The first suggestion being to add some fuel, but this was rejected as stupid because Rick knew that it had plenty.

Bits were removed, hoses were taped up, and pumps were pumped. Finally we donated our 20 litres of reserve diesel and it started!

Before leaving we discovered a scorpion under some cans. More fauna excitement ensued (lots of poking with sticks, and comments of “gosh he is angry isn’t he?” – der!!).

We eventually left at 10.30am, and another 720 kms and 8.5 hours later (including stopping for lunch, coffee and refuelling) we were home.

The total number of kms travelled while we were away was 2,105 (English translation 1,316 miles). We were tired, dirty and just about managed to eat tea before falling asleep.

Did I enjoy myself? Yes.

Would I do it again? Ask me in a few days once I’ve finished the mountain of washing and managed to get my feet clean!

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