Letho's Blog

Coffin Bay

by on Apr.09, 2011, under The Eyre Peninsula

April 09, 2011

At 10am we entered the 4WD track to the northern parts of Coffin Bay. Well – we tried, at least. Waiting for a good point in time with low tide to circumvent flooded areas we almost failed miserably at one of the first and relatively minor sandhills. After our experiences in the Sleaford-Wanna-Dunes we didn’t hesitate this time and lowered the tyre pressure – a lot! And it helped enourmously:

First obstacle - vanquished!

First obstacle - vanquished!

After that most of the sandy sections did not cause too much trouble anymore .. if only we had done that way earlier. 🙁

A part of the access route to the end of the peninsula goes along the Seven Mile Beach. This means: the ocean to the right, a tiny sandbed (10-15 meters at most) to drive on and the shoreline to the left. It actually lasts about 10-11 kilometers as the name implies, and as well is only accessable during low tide. We had planned before to enter shortly after low tide, wait for high tide to pass and return 3-4 hours into low tide. What do you reckon – does it work out? 🙂

See what Seven Mile Beach looks like:

It was a bit of a struggle here and there, but manageable. After returning to the main track we drove to Morgans Landing, had a breakfast and continued to Point Sir Isaac on the northernmost part of the peninsula:

Here we noticed a drastic change in the characteristics of the surf. Instead of calm and low waves like in the more protected, southern beaches of Coffin Bay here the Pacific pounded strong against the rocks:

Although a lot of sandy sections existed along the track, quite a fair bit of it was made up of rocks in varying sizes. That meant a lot of shaking and rattling driving us increasingly crazy ..

Rocky tracks in Coffin Bay

Rocky tracks in Coffin Bay

Our next stop was Mullalong Beach:

Mullalong Beach

Mullalong Beach

On the track itself we gathered a lot of impressions what kind of barren wasteland we just crossed:



We passed Reef Point ..

.. and Sensation Beach.

Whoever got bogged down there, it was not much left of him. Poor fellow. 😉

We encountered a lot of birdlife, of course. Not all of them as nifty arranged as this group of pelicans, though:

Pelican Parade

Pelican Parade

It was finally time to go back to Yangie Bay, so we thought. Therefore we drove back to the Seven Mile Beach, only to discover the following scenery:

We started to fear the worst and found our assumptions confirmed: low tide or not, the return path was simply not yet accessable. The flood had cut off our way back! We met a few locals fishing nearby who advised us to simply go over the sand dunes where necessary. Sand dunes? Oh no, not again!

After a while – you guessed right – the unspeakable happened: when going reverse for a few meters on a steep sand dune I failed to check what was behind us. Well, there was just a really steep abyss. The back tyres were already sliding downhill, so was the back of the car and then the rest followed sideways on its right side, simply due to its own massive weight. The angle was getting more and more inconvenient. It felt like an overturn of the car was no longer avoidable .. when it suddenly stopped to slide.

There we sat in the car leaning to its right side in an unhealthy position, finally bogged down and not sure how and in what possible direction to move the car to get out of this misery… 🙁

When I opened the door to get out I almost rolled down the sand hill below us… looks like Coffin Bay didn’t get its name for being a peaceful and friendly place. 😉 Let me assure you that judging from the pictures you will not be able to properly estimate how sloped the car was sitting there at first. It looks like it should be totally easy to simply drive the car down the hill, but then we had already stabilized the left side somewhat.

Luckily we had a shovel on board, but had never used it so far. Now was the time! We cleared the area below the tyres carefully, restarted the engine and moved a few centimeters backwards and forward again and again and again .. those were some very unpleasant moments until we finally could move the car forward down the hill. We found a way through the dunes back to the safer parts of the Seven Mile Beach, hurried back to our camp and recovered from the shock with a very cold beer.

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