Mundrabilla to Eucla and the Border

11 September 2015

Next stop Eucla and the border
Next stop Eucla and the border

We ride off from overnighting at the Mundrabilla Roadhouse. We come across the remains of a caravan perhaps 100 m from the road. I ponder: do the other ‘vaners’ feel a slight twinge of fear and apprehension when they see the remains of one of their own and think “There, but for the Grace of God, go I”?

There but for the Grace of God go I!
There but for the Grace of God go I!

The north of Scandinavia and the Nordic countries have their summer pestilence mozzies and midges. Australia has its flies. And, like them mozzies and midges they are legion in number. Both are very annoying. There is one notable difference. The mozzies and midges will eat you. The flies will not. Getting used to having a fly sit on me is far more benign that getting used to mozzies (you can never get used to midges eating you) that slight needle prick sensation and curious itching later. Flies just sit.

Water opportunities are few and far between. And need treatment. There were birds nesting in the tank.
Water opportunities are few and far between. And need treatment. There were birds nesting in the tank.
Keep living the dream ... excellent advice
Keep living the dream … excellent advice
The water tanks
The water tanks

One thing the flies do or can do that the mozzies and midges don’t really excel at is the art of getting under a pair of sunglasses. Large semi-wrap around polarized-glasses I wear. Most times the fly wander around the edges of them or over the lenses. Illuminating experience watching the under-belly of a fly walk but 5 mm from my eye. But every-now-and-then one manages to find a way under the lens. And they can’t get out. The damned thing plays a pinball game between the lens and my eyeball. A truly weird and wacky sensation.

Warning signs predominate
Warning signs predominate
The remains of the (in)famous shoe-tree
The remains of the (in)famous shoe-tree

Winds here are a mystery. As is the weather in general. Can wake up to rains and a couple of hours later have to put on sun protection cream. The punishing headwind we are experiencing mysteriously disappears during a short snack break before swinging around to give us a nice tailwind. Or vice versa. Which sucks.

Eucla’s symbol is EU. I can’t resist thinking about the European Union.

EU 20. Years, Member States. Or is it something else
EU 20. Years, Member States. Or is it something else

12 September, Eucla. Last town, err settlement, in Western Australia. And the Eucla Pass, that point where the Roe Plains finally gives way to the Hampton Tablelands. Where the fabulous descent of the Madura Pass becomes a long ascent to Eucla.

Eucla Pass and one of our  Finest Friends
Eucla Pass and one of our Finest Friends
The Eucla Pass
The Eucla Pass

The old Eucla Telegraph station lies 800 m from the beach. A whole town slowly swallowed by beautiful white sand. The dunes consuming it.

The Old Telegraph Station slowly being consumed by sand
The Old Telegraph Station slowly being consumed by sand

The remains of an old jetty are all that remain of the station’s life-blood, sea transport. Given just how shallow the water is and the height of the remains the jetty must have stretched a good ways into the Southern Ocean. Now its remains are the roosting place for cormorants, terns and the odd pelican. A squabbling mass of birds forever arguing who has right to sit where and next to whom.

Eucla Jetty. Was once quite a structure
Eucla Jetty. Was once quite a structure
Eucla Beach and jetty
Eucla Beach and jetty
It still an impressive if perhaps more 'artistic' structure
It still an impressive if perhaps more ‘artistic’ structure

I have come to swim here. A dip in the Southern Ocean.

It's a start. Soon the whole body experience
It’s a start. Soon the whole body experience
Eucla beach west
Eucla beach west
Eucla beach
Eucla beach
Eucla beach east
Eucla beach east
Bunda Cliffs poised to start to the East of Eucla
Bunda Cliffs poised to start to the East of Eucla

Movement in the water next to the old jetty catch my eye. I see it again and go “No! It can’t be.” I continue photographing the birds but that shape is still there, going under the jetty. Its barely 20 or 30 meters away.

Calling to Rob I see him pointing to it. We debate a little bit as we watch it breach the surface and thrash around a bit. We come to the conclusion: “Yup, that is NOT a dolphin. That is D E F I N I T E L Y a shark.”

A Bronze Whaler, apparently
A Bronze Whaler, apparently

Panno, a fisherman from Melbourne of Greek descent identifies the shark as a Bronze Whaler, and promptly sets about trying to catch it. I feel a bit guilty for putting him up to it even as I watch him set up and hear his partner calling out where it is as she scrutinizes the water with powerful binoculars.

I go for a swim anyway. The water was remarkably mild, not as cold as I expected it to be.

Bravely venturing into the Southern Ocean pretending I saw a Bronze Whaler moments earlier
Bravely venturing into the Southern Ocean pretending I saw a Bronze Whaler moments earlier
Post Southern Ocean swim Max
Post Southern Ocean swim Max
hangout zone
hangout zone
Intra-species mingling
Intra-species mingling

Back in camp whilst Rob and I sit and chat about nothing in particular whilst simultaneously admiring our bikes Rob suddenly leans forward pointing at my wheel and says “You’ve got a broken spoke”. That would explain the unexplained noise I head on the bike whilst riding to and from the beach. A broken spoke vibrating.

Fortunately Rob had a spare since I inadvertently left mine behind in the cover of the three-legged stool I abandoned in Jarrahdale on Day 3 of doing the Munda Biddi. It was surprisingly difficult to get the rear-wheel off with the Rohloff hub with its connections and the Gates belt. It was surprisingly simple to replace the spoke. Took about half an hour.

Closer to Adelaide than Perth
Closer to Adelaide than Perth
Eucla Hotel
Eucla Hotel

We crossed the border late morning of the 13th. I have been on a resupply-mission for a number of days. In particular I lack a good lunch and my muesli supply is getting dangerously low. Unfortunately the roadhouses do not cater to ever-hungry weight- and space-constrained cyclists. So whilst it’s possible to eat a burger or meal there they don’t stock suitable supplies for the road. Bit by bit roadhouse after roadhouse I have rebuilt my larder to good enough to get me to the next supermarket, which we (hope/expect) will find in Nullarbor (the town). Fearful I might not succeed in this I asked Sturgess in Adelaide to be on stand-by to send me an emergency food-aid parcel.

Leaving Western Australia
Leaving Western Australia
South Australia - Western Australia border.
South Australia – Western Australia border.
Welcome to South Australia
Welcome to South Australia
Me and Boys at the Border
Me and Boys at the Border
A world away from every where
A world away from every where
Roo-Max
Roo-Max
The border and the Western Australian quarantine check
The border and the Western Australian quarantine check

I also changed the battery of my Cat-eye cycle computer and promptly lost the travel data it had including over-all trip odometer, around 2700 km, as well as the current trip-odometer (the Nullarbor), standing around 720 or so. The device does not have stand-by capacity to retain data when the battery is removed. Fortunately I’ve got the Garmin Montana 650t, which is doing its job commendably.

2 thoughts on “Mundrabilla to Eucla and the Border

  1. hi loving the photos and posts..hey you will no doubt see lots of west coast eagles footy fans on their way over from the west to Victoria ! toot toot !

    Like

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