We continued our drive north the next morning, stopping in at Port Germaine to see the longest wooden pier in the southern hemisphere (and the place where Jules had a very boozy night whilst commissioning his fume plan in Port Pirie a few years ago). Again the weather was hot – high 30’s by 10am so the thought of walking the 1.6 kms out to the end of the jetty seemed distinctly unappealing. The tide was low and mudflats and sand abounded. Then a fellow shot past on his bike and headed out, fishing rod in hand. Thankfully Julian had the energy to unpack the bikes and we headed off. Much easier than by foot although pretty bumpy on the wooden planks.
Once we returned to the car I noticed Sam was a funny colour – red and blotchy. I quickly realised that because of his lack of water consumption (none so far that day) and the high temps that he was well on the way to heat stroke. Lots of cool water and some sponging down and he seemed to recover. This wasn’t helped by the fact that despite it’s apparent good health Betsy’s A/C cuts out when the outside temp is above 40 degrees and you are driving faster than 80 kph!
We sweltered on to Port Augusta at the top of the Spencer Gulf to arrive at a rather unappealing caravan park – I don’t think we’ll be seeing grass for a while. The 9ft fence topped with barbed wire and the hot dry winds pushing the temperature up to 43 degrees didn’t help with the ambience. Still, the coolness of the pool soothed our fried nerves, and we stayed there chatting to some fellow ‘big lappers’ (a brickie from Melbourne) until we headed out to visit a fascinating local Wadlapa outback centre, followed by the Arid Botanical gardens, set to the back drop of the stunning Flinders Rangers. At this point of the story, the boys were introduced to the common fly – which led to many unwarranted verbal outbursts (“can we JUST go now!!! about 20 times) and an introduction to the irrepressible ‘Aussie wave’.