Friday, 28 December 2012

Goolwa: Our First 4WD Experience

The older daughter was waiting for the grandparents' visit to go with Grandfather on a fishing trip. Since we did not have the right equipment for fishing, Alex and Grandfather went to the store as soon as it opened after Christmas. They chose a pair of identical rods, a set of weights and two sets of hooks and floats. 

We had to decide where to go fishing. Our friends said once that they go fishing in Goolwa. All online guides confirmed that the best place for fishing is the Murray Mouth, where you can come directly on the beach in the 4WD vehicle. As an alternative, we chose the bay at the opposite side of the dunes, in case if the entrance to the beach would be closed for some reason.
Four wheel drive van at the beach
Four wheel drive van at Goolwa Beach, South Australia

Fortunately, the road was opened, and the beach traffic was very busy. After bogging a bit in the soft sand, we happily reached the tight hard-packed beach 10 km long. There were neither urban crossovers nor conventional cars. There were only serious 4WD vehicles, among which our off-road van looked very gentle.

During the first 4-5 km of seashore we saw many people digging coastal soil with great enthusiasm. Some of them used shovels and buckets, or even rakes, the rest of the diggers used their own hands. Most likely, they hunted some mollusks or arthropods. We did not stop to clarify. We confidently explained our surprised Grandmother that they were Orientals digging delicious sea worms for dinner.
Picnic at the beach in the tent
Picnic at the beach in the tent, Goolwa, South Australia

After diggers we saw a few fishermen. Looking at their incredibly long fishing rods, we realized that our equipment was not suitable for sea fishing. We drove almost to the end of the beach at least to enjoy the natural beauty, as well as to observe how to fish in such places.

When the coastline became too narrow, we stopped, set up the tent and had a picnic. The picnic was not very comfortable, because the wind was strong enough to cover the food and the drinks with a thick layer of sand. Children with their food got into the tent, but even in there, adding a small amount of water they could build a sand castle, or even two.
Horse riding along the beach
Horse riding is another popular activity at Goolwa Beach

Sea fishing is carried out as follows. Holding a 3-4-meter fishing rod, fishermen go deep into the water to throw the bait as far as possible. Then, unwinding the line, they returned to the shore and installed a rod into a special bracket, or in a piece of pipe, pre-dug in the sand. What they caught as result, we could not figure out.

Deciding that we have eaten enough sand, we decided to go back to an alternative plan and try to catch some fish at the opposite side of dunes.
Adjustment of air pressure in tyres
Setting normal air pressure in tyres at petrol station in Goolwa, South Australia  

On the way back, climbing up the sandy hill we got stuck in the dry soft sand. Overtaking us up the track, a mate on Mitsubishi Challenger asked if we needed help. Alex agreed and prepared for a shameful towing on a snatch... First of all mate asked what was pressure in our tires, and when he heard that "the normal", replied that this was the reason that we're stuck here.

Mate called someone on the phone and said that he would come a bit later ("... there a car got stuck ... also Mitsubishi ..." - was his main argument in this telephone conversation ... :). Then he brought a special device, and reduced the tire pressure. He said that now we would just need to press the gas pedal firmly, and the vehicle would jump out of the sand. Actually, that's what happened. We instantly overcome 200 m of sand barriers and reached the solid road.

Car park in Coorong
Car park in Coorong near Goolwa, South Australia

Grandma left the vehicle in the beginning of the adventure and was waiting for us at the top of the hill. She covered the quite decent distance in record time. Our rescuer waited for us up there as well. He wanted to show us the way to the nearest petrol station, where we could increase the tire pressure to normal.We shared with him some chocolate bars to say "thank you".

Bird watching at Coorong
Bird watching at Coorong near Goolwa, South Australia

We inflated the tires and returned to the turn to Lake Coorong, as kids did not loose hope to go fishing. After this harsh coastal environment this zone with a cafe, toilets and kayak rental service looked like a toy resort. Unfortunately, this time we had no luck with fishing as well, so we quickly packed our fishing gear, ate everything that was not covered with a thick layer of sand and went home, planning a new fishing/crabbing trip with a great optimism.


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