Down the Eyre Peninsula – 21APR21

21st April, 2021, Cowell to Port Neill:  Wheat, wheat, wheat – now not much more than a stubble, but vast cleared hills to the horizon with only the road verges left with the sparse trees which would have covered the hills BWP (before white people).  We’re heading for the coast, and I have images of white sands and lapping shores. So we’re not ready for the hundreds of metres of mangroves between the coast and the sea (Cairns at low tide?) – not a glamorous sight, but no doubt good for the local wildlife.  Never mind, let’s find oysters, for which Eyre Peninsula is famous!

So in Cowell we head for the “Oyster Kiosk”. 

‘Hallo!’ The lone man in the kiosk looks surprised to see anyone. ‘Oysters?  Nah, I’ve been away for a few days.  My fisherman is just going out about now.  Where? Well, you could try…’ – he gives me two names.  The next place is shut.  What is the matter with Cowell? We go to the next place, but it’s shut too. Don’t they want to sell their oysters?  We find the coop – aha, success! ‘Yup $10 a dozen, cash only – Oh shucked! You want shucked?  Nah – now I can explain how to shuck them…oh you don’t want to – yes they can cut your fingers a bit – nah, nobody else will sell shucked oysters around here.’

So we give up, find the local pub and sit down on a pleasant verandah.  Guess what – the most fantastic oysters we have ever tasted.  Is there a feud between the Pub and the rest of town?  For the oyster lovers, these taste like Sydney Rock Oysters, but twice as big and NOT floury at all.  Heaven.

Shucked oysters, unexpectedly, straight from the ocean – still in salt water!

So it’s on to Port Neill, where we head to a free camp site which sounds promising, only to find out it’s a dry bit of ground surrounded by – yes, low swampy mallee scrub, very mangrove like.  After the uplifting Kimba, this is a sad little town, but they try – they love their marshes and have extensive signage about birds and the flora and other fauna of the area.

So, westwards again tomorrow, hopefully we’ll see more of the coastline, as so far, all the roads are inland… wish us luck!

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