One thing I like about Rapid Bay, SA is your phone doesn’t work. No voice, no data, you’re off the grid. Time to go old skool. Time for a pencil and notebook.
I’m here on a Friday evening listening to the noisy gallah’s coming home to roost for the evening. They’re drowning out the humans in the Rapid Bay Campground. Which is no mean feat. It’s Friday evening on a long weekend (Labour day) and the people are escaped from their weekly grind and fired up for campin’.
There’s the families with kids under 10 who are glad of the safety, community and the cheapness ($7 per person/per night).
There’s the young ‘uns. With crappy tents, a slab of beers and the hope of a naughty grope with their girl in the dark at the end of the night. They’ll be gone in the morning. Not cut out for camping, one night is enough. They’ll be keen to get home to a warm shower and cold fridge.
There’s the grey nomads. With their massive caravans, satellite tv and solar panels. They’re in their own corner – away from the noise of children and young ‘uns. Happy in their own little world of discussing property prices and how their pension allows them to travel the country for 6 months a year. Baby boomer bastards.
And here I am. Undercover. In my Mitsubishi Starwagon with it’s fold down back seats and queen bed. I’m hiding from the world. From my wife, from my family, from my problems. I’m here to slow down. To get perspective. I look the part. My van looks like a camper. It IS a fucken’ camper. I’m wearing board shorts and no shoes. No one notices or cares I’ve got two toes missing on my left foot.
I’ve brought gear. Fishing gear first. I’ve got a surf fishing rod with a decent, recently services spinning reel. I’ve picked up some frozen squid for $3.95 on the way down. I know pilchards are better bait, but 1) they cost $6 a bag, 2) the turn mushy and horrible quicker and 3) they stay on the hook better. So I could go fishing. I could fish off the beach or the jetty. Fishing off the beach at a certain time of day offers the real possibility of hooking a gummy or bronze whaler shark. I saw it on TV. You could hook a Great White too, but they’re a protected species, so if you do you have to let it go by law. Stiff penalties if you don’t. Good luck with that. They’re a bit bitey.
Next I’ve brought gear for free-diving/spear fishing. Spear fishing isn’t allowed in the this bay. There’s too much other human activity and that makes it dangerous. That and the ubiquitous great white fucken’ sharks. But there is the jetty and some rocky headland that could be fun to explore with mask/snorkel/fins + a little bit of a weight to help a person get down that first 3m and be able to hang out with no effort. Obviously this kind of thing is best done with others, but if there are not others, then just mitigate your safety procedures accordingly. Like skiing. When I was out on my own and saw a perfect pitch that could slide… I’d ski the ridge around it. If I had a companion who I trusted with their ability to at least try to dig me out of an avalanche, then it’s a different story.
And dive gear. The Rapid Bay Jetty is famous as a world class dive site where you have a high chance of spotting the elusive, endemic and beautiful special of sea horse called the Leafy Sea Dragon. I know where to look and I have about 1.25 hours of air at the 6-8m of depth at the end of the jetty where they are to be found. I’ve dived here several times before – even mapped the place as part of my divemaster course. I know diving alone is a bit frowned upon, but fuck it. I like it. I’m going to find one of those leafys. It’s time.
In addition I’ve got enough food to last me a few days.