Mallacoota (days 4 & 5) – lyre birds, UFO’s, more walks, fishing, campfires…..

Friday, Apr 12, 2013 at 07:09

Member-Heather MG NSW

Thursday (yesterday) began as rather more cloudy. Judy and I walked for a way towards Karbethong Jetty, along the boardwalk and formed track/cycleway which hugs the shoreline, then returned.The walk way is 5 kms in length one way to the Jetty but we did not walk more than half way today. It was Judy’s 61st birthday, and she is around 13 months younger than I. We called into the bakery for me to buy bread for the communal dinner we intend having, and then for coffee at Croajingalong Café. Both these shops, along with the Newsagency are conveniently located across the road from the powered end of the Van Park. We then swung by the supermarket and returned to our vans. I like to buy just a few items each day so I can carry them back to the van, rather than use the car, carrying the weight has to be good for me and it’s also good for the planet.
I had another leisurely afternoon, reading and just soaking up the sights and sounds of the waterfront site, resting my eyes every now and then, occasionally doing the walk up the hill and sharing coffee with Judy (more exercise).
John and Barry spent the morning out on the lake somewhere, wading and fishing for flathead and returned for lunch with their catch to gut and fillet near the boat mooring. I fetched the camera and photographed the pelicans as they jostled for the frames and scraps.

Then during the afternoon, John and Darrel took Darrel’s car and kayak to the Betka River, a few kms from here, and fished for estuary perch until dark. They returned with tales of catching good sized fish but did not keep any.
Judy had offered to bake one of her fish pies for us all so I provided a rocket, parmesan and pine-nut salad and wandered up the hill around 5 once again, head torch in my pocket. I pulled on an extra layer of clothing as clouds moved across the sky and rain threatened. Barry got the fire going early as the evening was bitterly cold until dusk but then the icy wind suddenly disappeared as darkness fell. Eventually John and Darrel returned and Keith arrived, and when we tasted the fish pie we knew why it was ‘legendary’! It was delicious; subtle flavours of fennel and fish with a potato mash, brown and crispy, on top. I will have to beg for the recipe! Our fire warmed us and we sat around telling yarns and enjoying the evening for some time.
We were intrigued to see 4 round orange lights, like slow moving balls, rising high into the inky sky, moving towards the Park and there were comments about UFO’s and other strange phenomenon, also talk of North Korea and threats of war in that region. John had the most plausible explanation however….a candle inside a paper bag which rises like a hot air balloon and eventually burns away. I was kind of disappointed but also a bit relieved with his practical solution! It did look impressive.
During the night we woke to the sound of a shower of rain on the roof. There was also the noisy bickering of the fruit bats as they fed in the trees close by and then, towards dawn, the sounds of their ‘wings’ beating as they made their way back to their roosting place. We fear for the roof of our van and the awning as they fly over us but we can hardly clean them each morning…will do our best before we leave here and hope there’s no real damage.
By daylight the sky had cleared and we enjoyed a calm and sunny morning. I walked to Bastion Point through the bush tracks and then along the road past the Golf Club to Tip Beach, visiting both lookout platforms to watch the surf breaking onto the sand. I was very fortunate to see three youngish female lyrebirds as they crossed the track and scratched their way up the hill through the scrub, as they fed. They were not as shy as this species usually is and I had quite a good opportunity to watch them. I also met an ancestor of the first European person who settled in the area, a very fit almost 81 year old lady who has lived here all of her life, and enjoyed a most interesting short conversation with her.
Back in the park, Judy and I again made the short walk to the shops, also calling in to ‘Fareways’ restaurant to book a table for tonights dinner.
The remainder of the day was occupied in baking a fruit cake which I have frozen in readiness for our trip through State borders in the next week or so, and looking through our books and maps and planning the route and overnight stays to discuss with Barb and Darrel for when we leave here in a few days. We have decided to leave on Monday and head for Adaminaby, then towards Wagga and the flat lands beyond.
Not too long before we set out to walk up the hill around 6.30 pm, to meet the others and then walk across to the restaurant, a storm moved across and there were light showers, with thunder and lightning. It wasn’t enough for us to take the car but just as we were handed menus, the lights and power went out. It’s a common problem here in Mallacoota and happens for short period most days however this one was to be more prolonged and when we left a few hours later, apart from the Hotel across the road which has its own generator, the town was in darkness. We were given candles for the table and the menu was somewhat restricted however the chef managed, somehow, to send us out a delicious meal. My angel hair pasta with WA spanner crab, prawns and other seafood was particularly good, and so was the dessert..a concoction of layers of chocolate, caramel and coffee of different textures. John had a beautifully cooked fillet steak and three of the others had crispy pork belly which they also thought was good. It was very unfortunate timing for this business and any others who expected to have a busy Friday night and we felt for them.
Replete, we staggered back down the hill, very glad to have taken our head torches. The storm and rain had long since gone and it was still and calm again.

Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt. John Muir
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