Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Day 12 – Post Congress Tour- Murray Bridge to Kingscotte, Kangaroo Island

Up early and leave the motel by 0600 to make the Sealink Ferry to Kangaroo Island http://www.tourkangarooisland.com.au/gettingthere/default.aspx. We descend onto the Fleurieul Peninsula http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fleurieu_Peninsula and make our way via Victor Harbor and Port Elliot http://www.fleurieupeninsula.com.au/location.asp.

Prior to the crossing, all honey products are put into plastic bags to leave with the Sealink folks as there is a strict quarantine for honey products, which might introduce disease. This will also be true for folks going to Perth. No honey products can be brought to West Australia from South Australia as EFB does not exist in the west, but AFB does. It turns out that South Australian honey in fact is seen in Perth, the Espanade Hotel where we stay, but it must be heated to 60 degrees C to rid it of EFB risk.

The ferry crossing is a brisk 45 minutes. Today is extremely cold and windy. Lots of little pied cormorants http://www.amonline.net.au/factsheets/little_pied_cormorant.htm on the jetties. We land in a driving rainstorm, but it is short lived, and on the bus we are met by Kangaroo Island hosts including Betty McAdam of Hog Bay Apiary http://www.users.on.net/~hogbay/.

From the landing point at Penneshaw we travel to American River http://www.tourkangarooisland.com.au/directory/americanriver.aspx to Emu Ridge Distillery http://www.australiablog.com/places-to-go/kangaroo-island-south-australia-emu-ridge-eucalyptus-oil-distillery.html, where oil from the narrow leaf eucalyptus is distilled from the leaves; they are so high in oil that kohalas won’t eat them. Here we see a small orphan gray kangaroo http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Grey_Kangaroo and an emu family http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emu. Next we travel to Clifford’s Honey Farm http://bestofkangarooisland.com.au/centralki/index.html where we have a lunch, see the extracting outfit and taste the famous honey ice cream; recipe remains a secret. After that we check in at the historic Ozone Seafront Hotel, built 1906 and rebuilt after a disastrous fire around 1916 http://www.ozonehotel.com/.

We journey to the Islands Seal Bay Conservation Park http://www.parks.sa.gov.au/sealbay/index.htm where we see a bunch of exhausted Australian sea lions sleeping off their latest exertion. We are told not to wake them up as they have just been out feeding at the edge of the continental shelf and are pretty tired when they return. We are told this population has not grown in several decades and therefore remains on the edge of extinction http://www.parks.sa.gov.au/sealbay/sealion/index.htm.

We return for dinner at Island Beehive http://www.island-beehive.com.au where a bevy of guests have been invited; the Kangaroo Island Beekeepers Assoc. http://www.honeybee.com.au/beeinfo/assn.html

is out in full force and a good time is had by all. We return to the Ozone but on the way are treated to seeing a koala bear http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koala in the wild. They have a checkered history here it seems as they are introduced and have no predators the population has exploded and they are pests eating trees and other vegetation. One wag calls them klunking koalas, that’s what they sound like when they are shot and fall from their perch in a tree.

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