Leaving the crabs of Port Germein in peace we followed the coast of the Eyre Peninsula south towards Port Lincoln the town famous for its shark cage diving. For keen divers and snorkellers the area is an aquatic Mecca as there are opportunities to shark dive and snorkel with both tuna and sea lions. Although we are both keen scuba divers I’m not entirely sure how I feel about cage diving with one of the worlds largest predators, the concept of drawing sharks to interact with humans in a baited situation just doesn’t sit well in my mind. During our PADI training in Costa Rica a huge emphasis was put on preserving the natural marine environment and its inhabitants, essentially as a visitor to their habitat you should act in a way that maintains the delicate balance of the cycle of life not distort it.
Take only pictures, kill only time, leave only bubbles
As a rule of thumb Australians warned us of the dangers of swimming along the coast of both South and Western Australia due to the risk of shark attack. We would occasionally hear on the news that a surfer had been taken or bitten while surfing at dawn and according to the media the number of attacks has been slowly rising over the last fifty years. The official stats state that the shark population has increased from 8.3 million in 1950 to 22.5 million in 2011 yet the number of unprovoked shark attack fatalities averages just one person per year in the same period. However in what situation is an attack classed as unprovoked?
A spectacular sight I am sure it would be and an experience to remember yet I just can not promote an activity that in stills within sharks a connection between humans in the water and food. Of course it also costs a small fortune to participate and there is no guarantee that you will see a shark, however if you are unlucky enough to travel the two hours out to the dive site and not catch a glimpse the company will offer you a discount of 50% on your next trip ….. how generous.
Dolphin Spotting in South Australia
Leaving Port Lincoln and its sharp toothed inhabitants behind we followed the highway across the southern tip and up to a low cost camp ground at Farm Beach. For just $5 / night you can park you camper or pitch your tent on the dunes of the beach that is home to a rusting collection of old farm machinery. My Grandfather has collected old cars, motorbikes and traction engines since well before I was born and seeing rusting machinery always takes me back to my childhood summers spent watching him tinkering with another new renovation project in the shed. It is a sad sight to see the remnants of a once thriving industry rusting away, parked in a sectioned off area the machines are a permanent display and have clearly been there for a number of years. Covered in rust and in places reclaimed by vines and grasses the collection stands in homage to a generation passed. Once used to launch fishing boats from the beach many are no longer functioning and have been left to decay.
The beach itself is one of the few in Australia that are classed as a road due to the heavy traffic of 4×4’s and tractors transferring boats from the shore to the sea, as such you are reminded of this as your enter the beach. ‘This beach is a road, road rules apply’ rather a strange concept and one that the locals seem to ignore, with doughnut tracks and cars parked in the middle of the beach the attempt at order is ignored.
For those considering a detour down the peninsula en route from the Nullarbor or Adelaide I would suggest that you only make the trip if keen to experience some of the aquatic activities in Port Lincoln or are particularly fond of quiet, flat sandy beaches. The main road itself is dotted with small none descript fishing towns while charming in their own right have very little stimulation for the average traveller and the scenery is nothing to write home about. Having said that the trip has not been without excitement, while camping on the east coast we ignored local advice and went snorkeling in the shallows only to come face to face with a finned mammal of undetermined nature. It was either a dolphin or a shark, I am unable to comment as I didn’t get a good look, Ben however is convinced it was Jaws.