Category Archives: Fishing

Mallacoota

Betka Beach

Betka Beach

In February of this year, we bought a Travel Auction package we saw advertised on TV to a Mallacoota caravan park. In these auctions, you are told what it would cost, then you make a bid-the top 50 bids win. The parks RRP for a 10 night stay was $330, we bid $180 and won. We then had to pick a date for travel within 12 months of winning. Mallacoota is right on the Vic/NSW border, so close to 520 kilometres from Melbourne OR Sydney you wouldn’t argue about it, and considered one of Victoria’s most remote towns. It has a population of around 1000 that swells to about 8000 over the summer holidays (that’s why we came just before!)

We left Daniel’s place in pouring rain (the wettest we have ever had to pack up in) and headed east of Traralgon for the very first time with the van.  As we travelled, we realised why we’ve never come this way before with the van-the roads are a disgrace to the state of Victoria. So very rough towing a van!

One patch of about 1 kilometre of road outside Stratford was so potholed, we just knew we’d arrive to all sorts of mess inside and we weren’t wrong. We have a portable oven, hotplates and fruit bowl that fit neatly into a spot on the bench beside the fridge and above the built in hotplates in the van. That stuff has travelled all over Australia sitting there but when we arrived and opened the van door in Mallacoota, it was all strewn all over the floor. Squished tomatoes, avocados and electrical goods covered the floor!

Mallacoota

Mallacoota

We set up in the rain and it continued for the next 20 or so hours without a let up, but Sunday afternoon it cleared for a while so we managed a drive 3 ks out of town to the very beautiful Betka Beach to take a look and some photos. Wow, what a lovely spot to have to ourselves.

Betka Beach

Betka Beach

Monday, we braved the wind and took the boat out for a bit of a fish. The boat played up-coughing and spluttering and generally being a bit scary to be out in that wind. The fish were hiding and it was a waste of time for a number of reasons. We came back in and Russ arranged to have the boat looked at by a local mechanic the following morning.

Tuesday was a perfect day for fishing, so after collecting the boat from the mechanic, followed by an early lunch, we set off out. The boat seemed to be going well, then once again, it started spluttering and coughing-so much for the miracle fix we’d just paid for! Never mind, it was a super calm day, so we just limped out a tiny way, parked up in a pretty spot and started to fish.

We only brought 7 fish into the boat, but all were well over size so we counted it a great success. We came home with 5 flathead and one bream, returning one 33 cm flathead as that’s just too small to bother with at the fish cleaning table. Fish for dinner Wednesday night, and some for the freezer.

Tuesday night, we had a yummy dinner at Lucy’s Handmade Rice Noodle Shop here in town. A funny little place where you grab your own wine glasses, water,condiments and hope the food you ordered makes it to your table. We had the best steamed bbq pork buns I’ve ever had, fried pork dim sims I’d have not known were dim sims if I hadn’t ordered them (hand made and so different from shop bought), really delicious chilli prawn salad and fried rice. The bbq pork buns were ordered as pork noodles but somehow got lost in translation so we missed out trying the handmade noodles. Oh well, now we have to go back!

Shipwreck Beach

Shipwreck Beach

Today we hung around the van, watching the cricket, until the boat-motor-fixit-man called to say it was done. By the time he called, it was too late to go fishing, so we went out to Shipwreck Creek and Beach and Pebbley Beach for a drive. Back home, we had our flathead tails for dinner.

Flatty tails

Flatty tails

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Things that go BUMP in the day!

Streaky Bay

Streaky Bay

It took us a couple of weeks to travel from the farm at New Norcia in Western Australia, to Traralgon in Victoria where we plan to base ourselves for a few months.

After leaving the farm, we spent a night at Coolgardie caravan park, a night at Cocklebiddy Roadhouse, another at Nundroo Roadhouse, then six at Streaky Bay.

We did a bit of fishing and crabbing at Streaky but really didn’t do too well until the second to last day when we caught 10 tommy ruff and 8 whiting and missed a few good sized crabs that came in on our fishing lines. No matter, it was a nice stop in a really nice park that we’ve always enjoyed.

Our next night was spent at a caravan park at Crystal Brook (not far from Port Pirie). It was a lovely surprise to have a long-time family friend Chris Daley and his partner Miriam pull up outside the van and stay the night in a tent near by. Always fun to catch up with Chris and all the gossip, share a meal and a few drinks.

On our way to Keith the next day, we stopped at a red light on a pedestrian crossing. Unfortunately, the woman in the car behind us didn’t! We heard a dull thud as we were pushed forward by her car. Jumping out of the ute, we hurried to check the damage. At first glance it didn’t look too bad so we pulled off the crossing and swapped details.

The harder we looked though, the more damage we could see. The van’s rear bumper weld had split, she’d pushed the whole bumper back into the van and bent the spare tyre mount. We could see where she’d hit the boat trailer too. Russ managed to pull the bumper out and we took off the spare tyre and put it in the back of the ute to travel on.

We contacted our insurance company and drove on.

We spent 2 nights in Portland with friends, a night in Port Fairy with our son and daughter-in-law, another with friends then arrived here in Traralgon. On the way, Ian Grant Caravans (who we nominated to do the repair) called so we dropped in there on the way past and they quoted the repair.

Caravans are super expensive to work on so I was expecting a few thousand dollars. The quote was reaching $7000 when he asked if there was any interior damage. We hadn’t actually checked, so it was a bit of a surprise to lift the bed and find the inner wall of the van is cracked as well. To fix it, the bed and wardrobe and all side panels have to be removed and the inner wall and outer panels replaced. Ka-ching!!!!! The quote just skyrocketed to around $14,000. If that bit gets accepted, an old dent Russ did dropping the boat on the van will be fixed too!

At home here in Traralgon, Russ tried to get the boat trailer built so he could take the boat off the ute. The trailer axle has been bent so he had to take to it with a hammer to just get the boat on. We’re not sure if the wheels go round properly, but the van repairers have added the trailer into the quote!

The repairers are also going to fix the van for us while we are in Bali for 10 days in January.

It’s so lovely just being here with my son and our grandchildren, I’m really not worrying about the van. No one was hurt so that’s the main thing!

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Back in Perth then off across the Nullarbor

Manchester to Abu Dhabi

Manchester to Abu Dhabi

We arrived back in Perth on October 16th after what seemed like a particularly long flight. We got held up boarding in Abu Dhabi then held up again on the tarmac. Not what you need with a 12 hour flight ahead. Neither of us got more than a couple of hours sleep and I felt the service by Etihad’s cabin crew was a bit slow and surly.  I was hot and thirsty and it was hard work to get a glass of water.

Harry

Harry

We spent two nights in a motel near Todd and Deb’s so we could catch up with them and Harry which was great as we hadn’t seen them since Iona and Simon’s party in Leeds 4 weeks before. Deb cooked dinner the night we arrived, the next night we went out for Chinese in Vic Park and the following day, we had yum cha in Vic Park. It was all excellent.

On Saturday night, we stayed with our friends Charley and Beaty-we met them many years ago at a caravan park in Denham and have remained good friends since. Beaty cooked us a lovely dinner and we caught up on all the Shark Bay news.

Monte Casino

Monte Casino

Sunday, we drove to the farm at New Norcia where our van was stored with family on a farm there. I can’t tell you how nice it was to sleep in my bed, with my pillow and doona etc-so lovely. I hadn’t slept well since we got off the plane and didn’t again on the Sunday night, but Monday, I slept like a log finally. I had that trouble the last time we came back from the UK, but it wouldn’t stop me flying!
Wheat Monte Casino

Wheat Monte Casino

It was a lovely visit to the farm as usual. Pam and Carson organised a bbq on our first night, then Russ and I made fish tacos on the second. In between packing up the van and shopping for fresh food for the trip ahead, we  had time to get out and about round the farm to see the crops, and to see a huge mob of ewes and lambs being drafted for shearing the following day.

Faces in the flock

Faces in the flock

Carson had shot and frozen us 9 rabbits and they gave us plenty of lamb they kill and some beef. Our freezer is filled to bursting as we still have about 20ks of fish and crab meat in there too.

It was sad leaving as I doubt we’ll be back in WA next year for any length of time, but Lewis is working on us to go to Bali in January which we may do.

The actual Nullarbor Plain

The actual Nullarbor Plain

Tuesday, we hooked the van up and started our 3500km drive home.  I always think it’s such a long way, but once we’re out on the road, I love the trip. It’s not all as flat and featureless as my photos show it to be-there are some lovely treed stretches. This time too, there was lots of water lying about and quite a few wild flowers early on, so really lovely.

On night one, we made it to the former gold rush town of Coolgardie, night two we got to Cocklebiddy, last night we made it to Nundroo Roadhouse and today we arrived in Streaky Bay.

Without looking it up, I think we’ve come about 2100 of our 3500 so far, but we are staying here for 6 nights so we can do some fishing and crabbing-something we haven’t done since the end of July and are missing badly. Crossing into South Australia, we only had to hand over a bit of lettuce and a wedge of lime to the quarantine man so I reckon we shopped pretty well. Our first job after that crossing was to go to the supermarket in Ceduna and stock up-we were both shocked yet again at the prices and are seriously considering a move to the UK where most things are so much cheaper!

After we leave here, it’s two nights/3 days on the road to Portland where we’ll stay 2 nights, a night in Port Fairy, another in Warrnambool, then on to Traralgon where we’ll base ourselves for the next few months.

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Perth

Meigle House steading

Meigle House steading

Thursday 18th, while Scotland voted Yes or No on Independence, we drove to Perth to do a bit of shopping. It was raining and miserable, so we stopped at a Tesco supermarket, did our shopping and drove on, not getting a look at the town I imagine gave it’s name to the city of Perth in Western Australia.

At Tesco, we were thrilled to get a fresh duck at a very reasonable price (Aus $14) and hovered over another Guinea fowl but decided against it.

Meigle Church where they found 30 Pict carved stones in the church yardWe drove on in the rain to the small town of Meigle to visit the Pictish Sculptured Stone Museum. The museum houses around 30 stones and fragments (mainly from the church next door) and is really quite interesting. More interesting though to me is the fact that Meigle is the oldest known settlement in Scotland-it’s been inhabited since before Christ was born, and the church graveyard is believed to be the site of Lady Guinevere’s grave.

Pictish Sculptured stone museum

Pictish Sculptured stone museum

On the way out of town, I stopped the car in the rain to take a few photos of a building I noticed on the way in. It was falling down and covered with moss and lichen, grass and shrubs, and looked more like the earth itself than a building. I had to come home and Google to find out it’s the Meigle House steading and no one really knows who built it and when or why they did.

Meigle House steading

Meigle House steading

We were almost home (still raining) when I spied a dead pheasant on the road. It took about a kilometre to find a somewhere to turn around but I did, and we went back to check it out. It’s quite accepted here to pick up roadkill (but you mustn’t be the one who kills it) rather than see it go to waste, and I’d seen that this bird looked good. Russ leaned out and felt it was till warm, so scooped it into a bag and we went off home with our prize. He’s on the menu tomorrow night. It’s pheasant and grouse shooting season here now and the birds are everywhere. We’ve been keeping our eyes peeled for a fresh kill since we got to Scotland!

My pheasant plucker

My pheasant plucker

Dinner Thursday night was pan fried Scottish salmon served on creamed leeks and pea and potato mash and was mighty fine!

Salmon

Salmon

Today, (after a quick check to find out the vote was No) I got onto Tripadvisor to find somewhere to go for a drive. I found a castle in a fairly remote spot on the way to Oban-a town which lies at the end of Loch Evite on the North Atlantic.

We drove to Castle Kilchurn on Loch Awe (certainly was Awesome), then through the Pass of Branda, to Aird Bay on one end of Loch Etive, for our lunch.

Castle Kilchurn on Loch Awe

Castle Kilchurn on Loch Awe

Castle Kichurn was all the reviews on Tripadvisor promised. Not easy to find, but remote and quite lovely sitting beside the loch. It originally stood on an island but had silted over over the centuries. It’s free, has no gift shop and is still well maintained with quite a bit of info on boards throughout. Some of the stairs were really narrow-if my bum was any bigger I think they’d have needed the jaws of life to extract me in one place! It was a great find!

Airds Bay on Loch Etive the old pier

Airds Bay on Loch Etive the old pier

One of us forgot the bread for our sandwiches (we had all the fillings) but we were able to buy a few bread rolls at a roadhouse along the pass so all was saved. We lunched at the Bay of Aird on a very untouristy part of the pretty Loch Etive. It was so unspoiled and undeveloped it really felt like a step back in time. The grassed pier and (rather old) new jetty beside the rotting remains of the (very) old one were lovely for a few photos.

Airds Bay on Loch Etive

Airds Bay on Loch Etive

After lunch we drove into the very pretty town of Oban and took a walk around the harbour and shops before heading home and cooking our duck.

McCaigs Tower Oban

McCaigs Tower Oban

Ducky was meaty, lean and delicious, and I made an apricot sauce for him with apricot preserves given to me in Switzerland by my dear friend and blogger Adriana. Her preserves were full of fruit, not at all sweet and made the base for an amazing sauce. * Here’s a link to her beautiful blog artandkitchen

Apricot sauce for duck (or chicken or pork)

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced onion or shallot
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • small red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 cup apricot preserves-best quality you can get
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (add it slowly, tasting, until you like it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chicken stock powder
  • 1/2 cup rose (or white wine)
Apricot Sauce

Apricot Sauce

Method

  1. Melt the butter over medium heat, then cook the onion, ginger, garlic and chilli a few minutes until softened.
    Add the preserves, vinegar and sugar, stock powder and wine.
  2. Cook a few minutes to reduce, then taste and add more sugar or vinegar if you think it needs it.

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Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to the UK we go

Last time fishing off Eagle Bluff Shark Bay WA

Last time fishing off Eagle Bluff Shark Bay WA


I’ve waited weeks and weeks to be able to say this-next Sunday, we fly to the UK with our DIL Deborah Sessions and grandson Harry for a 10 week holiday.

We’re off to Wales, Scotland, the Lakes, Peaks, Dales, Broads, Switzerland, we’ve hired a car, we’re English Heritage members, we’re staying with family and friends, we’re staying by lochs, in remote farm houses, we’ve hired a houseboat, we’re going to a wedding, we have tickets to the Balmoral races-we have lots of free time too. It should be amazing!

On Tuesday, we leave Denham after a fantastic 5 week stay. We’re planning to free camp on the side of the road for two nights in a couple of places we’ve sussed out before, then it’s two nights at the farm (New Norcia) with Pam and Carson and the kids so we can pack and clean the van to leave it stored there.

Saturday it’s into Perth where we’ll do a bit of shopping, I’ll get my hair cut and coloured, go out for dinner with DIL Leah, then Sunday we fly!

I was going to take a rest from blogging, but as Russ pointed out, we’ve taken self catering accommodation so we can cook, and we’ll be hunting out markets, farm shops and farm gates to buy interesting produce, so I may as well keep blogging. Besides, I need somewhere to share the million photos I’m sure to take.

Our boat ramp Eagle Bluff Beach Shark Bay WA

Our boat ramp Eagle Bluff Beach Shark Bay WA

Yesterday, we went fishing at Eagle Bluff for what will be the last time for about 3 months (I reckon we’ll be in Streaky Bay SA before the boat goes into the water again). I’m sad to see the end of our fishing and crabbing, but we have about 30kg of beautifully packed fillets and picked crab meat in the freezer so that’s good!
Eagle Bluff Shark Bay WA

Eagle Bluff Shark Bay WA

Last night, we went to the NAIDOC cook up here in town. It’s a dinner put on by the local Aboriginals with stuff like turtle, roo, wild goat and mullet on the menu. I reckon they fed well over two hundred of us so it was an amazing effort. Mary G, an aboriginal comedian kept us entertained for about 3 hours. It was a fantastic night that I hope we get to next time we’re here.

Hot tubs and cormorant eggs

Cormorant Eggs

Cormorant Eggs


This morning, Russ and I finally got out to one of our favourite places a visit to Denham and Shark Bay always includes-the artesian hot tub (well, it’s an old concrete tank really) at the old Peron Station Homestead. We organised a brunch of bacon and eggs, tomatoes and mushrooms, packed the kettle, coffee and milk (there’s a power point, but you have to hold the kettle up to it while it boils) and off we went.

Windmill Peron Homestead

Windmill Peron Homestead

We usually have a good long soak, then cook breakfast, but the tub had been emptied and cleaned just before we arrived so we ate first, then soaked, took some photos of the old shearing shed and camp kitchen, and soaked some more.
Selfie in the hot tub

Selfie in the hot tub

How lovely to not only have it to ourselves, but to be the first to use it for the week! Our concession card gets us into the national park for $6 so we could have driven on to Point Peron for the day (which we have other years), but I think it’s still excellent value just to go use the tub and super clean bbqs and come home. Back at home, Russ picked and froze yesterdays crabs while I cleaned up some cormorant eggs I was given and got ready to make a cake.

The local Aboriginal community here have the right to collect cormorant eggs, and as the friend of a friend of somebodies, I was on the receiving end of a few eggs. I was told they are good soft or hard boiled, or scrambled, but I’m actually a bit of a chicken (no pun intended) when it comes to trying unknown food for the first time. Once I’ve had a tiny taste and survived, I’m fine and some of my favourite foods have been found this way (I’m thinking squid, prawns, avocados etc.)  Russ on the other hand will eat anything.

Cormorant Eggs

Cormorant Eggs

Not wanting to waste the eggs and therefore be ungrateful, I decided to find and modify  a recipe I knew I could eat and enjoy them in-Lemon Syrup Cake. Not only am I using cormorant eggs, but limes I bought all those weeks ago in Carnarvon (Mrs Morel TOLD me they’d last for ever in a zip lock baggy in the fridge!)

Once I tuck into that cake, It’ll be plain sailing when someone makes scrambled cormorant eggs for me.

Lime Syrup Loaf

For the Cake

  • ½ cup softened butter (the recipe calls for unsalted butter,but I used salted)
  • ½ cup castor sugar
  • 2 hens eggs (or 3 cormorant eggs if you have them)
  • Zest of 2 limes
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons yoghurt (recipe asked for 4 tbsp buttermilk so the milk and yoghurt replaced it
    Lime Syrup Cake

    Lime Syrup Cake

    )

For the syrup

  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ½ cup icing sugar (I had to use regular sugar)

Method

  1. Butter and line the loaf pan well.
  2. Preheat oven to 180c
  3. Cream together butter and castor sugar together until fluffy
  4. Add the lime zest and the eggs, beating them in well
  5. Add the flour then mix in the milk and yoghurt
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes, until the cake has risen in the middle and is lightly golden in colour.
  7. While the cake is baking, prepare the syrup. Put the lime juice and icing sugar in a small saucepan and heat gently so that the sugar dissolves.
  8. As soon as the cake is out of the oven, puncture the top of the loaf all over with a skewer. Pour the syrup evenly all over the cake.
  9. Leave the cake to cool completely before serving.
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Crab Enchiladas (for want of a better name!)

Crab Enchiladas salsa on

Crab Enchiladas salsa on

Sunday we took the day off fishing and crabbing to do some vanwork (as opposed to housework). With no undies left, my bath towel (which hangs by the kitchen sink in here) smelling distinctly of garlic, and our fishing clothes walking to the boat ramp ahead of us, it was time to do the laundry. Three loads later and before lunch, we headed back out to the old bore on the former Peron Station to continue down the road and find the elusive shearing shed Charlie and Beaty had told us about.
Shooting up the shearing shed must be how the locals have fun

Shooting up the shearing shed must be how the locals have fun

They also told us there was very little to see, which proved to be true. Not a particularly old shearing shed, it must have been built just before the station was handed back to Conservation and Land Management (CALM). Nor was it particularly photogenic but I tried.

Old fences on the former Peron Station

Old fences on the former Peron Station

After visiting it, we drove down a couple of tracks on the coastal side of the Denham road finding some old cattle yards and wells-once gain not particularly pretty but still, interesting.  Lunch, a cuppa with Charlie and Beaty, folding the loads of washing, then lamb chops and silky, buttery mashed spuds finished a lovely day!

Yesterday (Monday 21st July), we went out to Monkey Mia just before lunch to do some crabbing. Unlike last time, the crabs were very scarce. It took about 3 hours to come home with 7 crabs and 14 good sized sand whiting (we fish while the pots are down). As usual, it was gorgeous out on the water with scores of dolphins out fishing, playing and minding their sex slaves (go see the video at Monkey Mia and you’ll learn all about sex slaves!). Back at home, Russ cooked the crabs and filleted the fish. We had homemade pasties (just like my mum used to make) for our dinner.

Tonight, I took half the crab meat (the rest went into the freezer) and made  Crab Enchiladas. Not traditional enchiladas which have a sauce I can’t get here in Shark Bay, but my version of the dish. I got a similar recipe from our son Todd many years ago, but his uses cooked chicken. I also added in cumin powder and  coriander to my versions of his recipe. Call it what you like, it’s still a good way to use crab (or a bought BBQ chicken).

Crab Enchiladas (my way)

  • 1 cup crab meat (or thereabouts)
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 190g can corn
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon sliced pickled jalapenos, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Tabasco sauce
  • 4 tortillas
  • 1 jar salsa ( I used a mild tomato)
  • 1 cup (about) grated cheese
  • Crab Enchiladas salsa on

    Crab Enchiladas salsa on

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190c
  2. Mix together the crab, corn, sour cream, spring onions ,cumin, jalapenos fresh coriander, lime juice, and tabasco sauce,
  3. Spoon the mix onto the tortillas and roll up. Place in a greased baking dish.
  4. Cover with salsa, then grated cheese.
  5. Bake in oven til the cheese is golden and the mixture bubbling-about 25 minutes.
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