Friday, November 5, 2010
Adelaide, South Australia
Another good night of sleep last night and I was up at about 6:30.† I managed to connect with Christina for Instant Messaging, which really helps to keep me feeling connected to home.† Before I left for the day, I went out and checked out the local harbor area, in case there were birds there, but the tide was high, and nothing of interest was around.
I ended up getting on the road about 9, and I headed south toward Adelaide.† I had several places to check out on the way, along the coast of the Spencer Gulf.† The first one was Thompsonís beach.† I got a little lost trying to find it, and spent about 10 or 15 minutes on dirt roads, but finally got back to the highway and asked at a gas station complex.† They put me onto the right road, which was paved, fortunately.† Thompsonís Beach was a washout, though, as the tide was way too far out.† All the beaches along the Spencer Gulf seem to be very flat ones, and when the tide is out, it is out there about half a mile, maybe.† Way too far to see any birds, anyway.
So, I skipped the next couple of places, as I figured it would be more of the same.† I did take the turnoff to St Kilda, though, as I thought it might be different.† As it turned out, it wasnít all that different, but I did see some birds out there a ways, and when I got my scope and looked at them, there were about ten Banded Stilts, which was the species I was most hoping to see there.† It was a lifer.
I ate my lunch in the car there, as the picnic tables were taken over by a gang of kids on some kind of outing.† There was a great adventure playground there, with longer slides than I have ever seen, and lots of other interesting looking play equipment.† In addition to the gang of kids, who had come in a bus, there were a few other kids, too, on a school day.† At St Kilda, there is also a 1 ľ mile long boardwalk through the mangroves, and I had thought about checking that out, although the bird opportunities were likely to be poor.† When I got to it, there were two tour buses parked there, though, and that was enough to send me scurrying away.† I really try not to mix with tour bus types.† Iím sure they were all very dear people, but I didnít come all the way over here to mingle with tour bus people.
It was still early afternoon, but I decided to head in to Adelaide, to check into my new home away from home.† I plan to stay here for 4 nights, and that seems wonderful.† Iím very tired of packing up and moving on every day or two, so four nights in the same place sounds great to me.† I had to make my way through central Adelaide Ė they donít have any freeways here, other than a couple leading out of town, once you are clear of the central city, so it took a little while.† It was Friday afternoon, so I was glad that it was only about 2 PM as I made my way through town.† I had printed out maps from Google, and I had no problem finding my new home, which is the Brownhill Creek Caravan Park, on the southeast edge of the city.† The birding places I want to visit are on the east and south of Adelaide, so this should be a good location for me.† I have a cabin with a kitchen area and a queen bed, along with a bedroom with four bunks in it.† The bedroom is a good place to put my suitcases.† There was no ice in the little freezer compartment of the fairly small fridge, but I had enough ice left in my little cooler for my drinkies, and now I will make more for subsequent nights.
I checked in and found out about the important stuff Ė local supermarket, laundry facilities, and internet access.† I moved my stuff into my cabin and then loaded up a washer with my underwear and socks.† My first laundry load of the trip.† Three bucks for washing and three bucks for 30 minutes of drying, which turned out to be enough. †Having done that, I went out to the local Woolworths, which is only a couple of miles away.† I got in provisions for my stay, including some vegetables for a change, and some refrigerated prepared dinners.† Chicken and vegetable pies for my brekkies, of course, some chicken breast pieces for extra protein, some desserts (caramel slices), some bread for sandwiches, some cheese, some ham, and some sliced roast beef.† I also got some drinking water, because for the first time on the trip, the tap water doesnít taste very good here.
I came back and unloaded my provisions, transferred my clothes to a dryer, and wrote an email to the local birder I am supposed to go out with on Sunday.† Internet access here is going to cost me $22 for each 5 hours, so I will conserve my minutes by logging on and off, from time to time.
Tomorrow morning I need to make my way into central Adelaide (on a Saturday morning, which I figure should be easy) and turn in my rental car.† Iíll need to fill up on gas on the way.† There arenít a lot of gas stations, and I have noticed that the prices seem to vary drastically here in Adelaide, from about $1.10 a liter to about $1.30 a liter.† There must be something Iím missing that would explain the differences, as gas prices have varied very little on my trip, within a given area.† Anyway, Iíll get the tank filled somewhere, and turn in the car.† Then Iíll need to walk about 5 or 6 blocks to a different company to get another car, which I will turn in at the Melbourne airport in 13 days.
After that, I donít know what I will do tomorrow.† There are several places I could go to look for birds, but I might just decide to take a down day and hang out here at the caravan park.† It is located in a nice little canyon on the edge of the city, and there are a lot of trees around.† It is a pleasant place, and I could picture myself hanging out here tomorrow afternoon.† On the other hand, there are a couple of places that would be easy to get to, where I could look for birds, so we will see.
It really feels good to be ďsettledĒ for four nights.† I will feel even more relieved when I get the car exchange done tomorrow.† Just one more thing not to be concerned about.† The car is really filthy.† Dusty, inside and out.† Mud splattered all over and mud caked on the underside, I expect.† The wheels are really dirty and mud splattered.† Inside the back tailgate, there is dried mud, from dust that turned to mud when it got wet in a rain.† They will have a time of it getting it clean.† They are getting about $1600 for 30 days rental, though, so they can spend a little money cleaning it and be fine.
No pictures today, and not much excitement either, Iím afraid.† I did get a bird, though, the Banded Stilt, a lifer.† I should update my spreadsheet, but I know I will be disappointed when I do, as my expected total for the trip will have really taken a hit, after my poor numbers on the interior part of the trip.† From now on I am along the coast, and that will be a different kind of birding.† There arenít many new ones I can see, other than shorebirds, but there are a few, and weíll see what I can do.† Maybe I can get some pictures that I like.† I am also really looking forward to traveling along the Great Ocean Road again, too.† That is a stretch of coastline that is really spectacular, in Victoria.
So, thatís my story for today.† Tomorrow is another day.