22-26 April: Reuniting with old friends in Tumby Bay

Author: Mrs A

Location: Port Lincoln and Tumby Bay, South Australia

Despite being the same size as England and Wales combined, having such a small population means medical provisions on the Eyre Peninsula are rudimentary at best. Residents (and visitors) requiring specialist tests and scans need to make a several hundred kilometre drive or an hour’s flight to hospital in Adelaide.

Being on the road long-term means Mark and I cannot ignore our health needs, and as such have to fit in tests and checkups as we go. We returned to Port Lincoln for two nights to enable Mr A to pop over to Adelaide for a scan.

Mark took an early flight across to South Australia’s capital, donning a compulsory face mask for the trip, the first time a face covering has been required since we were in a supermarket in Victoria, and arrived in Adelaide right on time about an hour later. He spent much of the day shopping and exploring the city, with some tests at a central hospital mid afternoon.

Mr A in his Darth Vader face mask scaring passengers on the flight to Adelaide

I meanwhile was still recovering from the dreaded food poisoning, my delicate stomach still not happy to receive food and drink. Thankfully with the help of some pills, I was finally able to consume my first nutrition in a week on Friday evening.

I had a very relaxed morning, using the drizzly weather as an excuse to do some washing and reading. It cleared up by lunchtime, so I went for a walk around Boston Bay to see whether I could find any wildlife – particularly hopeful I might find a Nankeen Kestrel we’d spotted on our last visit here.

Well, I couldn’t believe my luck. When I had walked no more than about 50 metres I spotted her sat there on the roof of a Marine Sciences building. She sat there quietly for a few minutes before taking flight. I didn’t see her again that afternoon.

Right on cue, a stunning female Nankeen Kestrel poses for a photo

In the flowering gums and trees along the bayside walk were many New Holland Honeyeaters, often feeding their young, quickly chasing flies and drinking nectar from flowers. They have so much character you could watch them for hours.

A New Holland Honeyeater pauses mid chase
Délicate toes curl around a twig
A green eyed Pied Cormorant on the shore

And returning to camp, the local pelicans were out in force waiting for fishing scraps, including this chap who watched from way up high on a street light, a favourite perch.

Patricia Pelican watching from a favourite perch

Mark arrived home safe and sound by 9pm that night, having had his tests plus enjoyed an afternoon shopping in the big smoke.

The following morning we farewelled Port Lincoln, we think for the last time, and drove just 40 minutes up the coast to the little town of Tumby Bay.

Our farewell sunrise at Port Lincoln

Tumby Bay was our opportunity to catch up with some friends, Phil and Libby who are travelling around South Australia with Phil’s cousins. Usually they live up in Brisbane – it’s been more than two years since we last saw them.

We got chatting about their trip so far, and Libby laughed that both of their caravans’ televisions had sustained some damage on the journey, and Phil had needed to weld a connection back on. Coincidentally, I had noticed just the day before that a connection on the back of OUR television had sheered off this time as well! Phil didnt hesitate to get out his welding gear, unscrew the back of our television and get busy fixing it for us. What super generous people.

Mr A looking a bit nervous handling welding gear
Mr A helping Phil with the TV repair

Libby is also an excellent photographer, so took me off onto the nearby golf course looking for birds. There were plenty there:

A Singing Honeyeater hanging out with a rather hunched over Dusky Woodswallow
Black-faced Woodswallow
Phil and LIbby also own a Zone RV off-road caravan

We had a brilliant evening with the four of them, sharing a delicious roast pork and vegetables cooked on two barbecues, and consumed sat around a cosy fire. We had lots of laughs and a wonderful night, reminding us how much we miss spending time with friends in person.

A roaring fire – Mr A and Phil’s cousin Wayne

Sunday morning was ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day, so Mr A joined Phil and Libby at the dawn memorial service held down at the waterfront. I had not had a good night’s sleep, so took the opportunity for an extra hour in bed, paying my respects later on. Mark said it was a lovely ceremony, with mounted horses marching along the beach and the last post played eerily though the dawn silence.

A beautiful setting for the dawn service

Our friends were heading south to Port Lincoln next, so we said our goodbyes with a final team photo.

Cheese! We hope we meet again some time….maybe later this year?

Mark and I went into Tumby Bay for a proper look around in the daylight. It’s a sleepy little town, very well kept, neat and tidy, with a long jetty just perfect for catching fish from. There are quite a few murals, part of the Tumby Bay Street Art Festival held in 2018.

Such a peaceful morning on the seafront
Some of the street art on the waterfront – an old clock tower depicting historical Tumby Bay and a former art gallery with images representing holiday makers on the beach
The huge grain silos tower over the little town, by far the tallest building around. They have a gorgeous mural depicting two boys jumping in the water
We spotted a couple of dolphins swimming in the bay here

We returned for a relaxing afternoon, and I went for a stroll around the golf course again, spotting more bird life. It’s a great location for seeing our feathered friends.

A flock of noisy Gallahs call this area home
Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil? Three magpies keep watch in the shade
A Willie Wagtail I watched for quite some time as it swooped artfully through the air chasing insects
Tiny little Diamond Firetail – they don’t stop still for long. When they fly you see a great flash of red on their tails. Hard to see when they’re seated.
Diamond Firetails
Radioactive Dusky Woodswallow in the late afternoon sun
A Singing Honeyeater searching for berries on the ground
One of many White-Browed Babblers (often called the ‘Twelve Apostles’ because of the noisy gangs they hang out in!)

It was a lovely couple of nights’ stay before we head back over to the west coast of the peninsula again.

We respectfully thank and acknowledge the Barngarla first nation community for their custodianship of this part of the Eyre Peninsula over the past thousands of years.