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July 15th 2010
Published: July 15th 2010
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Coffin bay fishingCoffin bay fishingCoffin bay fishing

Best fishing place for kids..
Coffin Bay is not the most appealing of names for a town (and they had a corker of a tourism promotion), but it is indeed a delight - especially for avid fisher folk like ourselves. We plugged power into John and Cherie’s shack on the water and enjoyed a few truly pleasurable days. Mother’s Day in a caravan is terrific and for the first time in my 10 years as a mother, the kids cooked a culinary delight of scrambled eggs on toast and coffee which tasted fantastic - not the cold toast and lukewarm tea of previous years, that’s for sure! Grady and I lay in bed on Mother’s Day giving the kids orders in how to prepare and the whole family was thrilled with the result. Sitting up in bed for my treat, I looked out the window to an entertaining display from dolphins in the water merely feet away from us. I have filed this morning into my catalogue of moments to recollect in the future.
That afternoon Grady decided the family would go fishing for whiting - and what a day! We managed 5 large whiting (in addition to a few others just under the required length) and 23Tommy Rough (Australian Herring in WA). Tommy Rough are small fish (around 25cms long) but among the best eating fish I have had. They must be eaten on the day of catch because they develop a strong flavour with days; if eaten on the day of catch, they are a beautifully sweet fish - we filleted and consumed all 23 Tommy Rough that night for tea (at 10:30pm, mind you) after Grady and the boys went out with the next door neighbour and bagged a flathead and a dozen garfish - some of them 40cm in length. My Dad had told me before we left for the trip that we would love the Eyre Peninsula; he sure was right. To see our kids have such pleasure in catching fish by baiting their own hooks, hooking up the fish and bringing them in, swiftly killing them and finally filleting them was fantastic for Grady and I; a fulfillment to one of our hopes for this trip.

Our bodies are amazing in design - I have often heard stories of people craving food they need for nutrients. I must have been craving calcium at this time because I was the only one who felt the need to crunch on fish bones as well as the meat. Previously, I would turn my head when Beau and Chloe would even suck on the bones; this time I was the weird one.

Coffin Bay was an example of the kindness of strangers. John and Cherie were so good to us in allowing us free accommodation on their property and the use of their bathroom facilities and power. In a similar fashion, Allan the next door neighbour took Grady out twice in his boat and when we were leaving gave us extra fish to take. We will forever remember their generosity (and can’t wait to go back).

When in Coffin Bay we had a day trip to Port Lincoln, which apparently houses the most of Australia’s millionaires (thanks to the tuna fishing industry). The cold weather was still taking time to adjust to, so we really didn’t do much there. We met friends who swam with the tuna and did tours, but we were still acclimatised to the Western Australia temperature, so there was no way we were swimming.
We went for a walk out on the pier (something we really enjoy
Mother's DayMother's DayMother's Day

Some of the spoils
doing) and got chatting to a bloke fishing with his son. It seems the Port Lincoln pier was also quite the happening place for fishing (with a few whiting bagged while we were there), but for us, Coffin Bay was much better.

From Coffin Bay we were only a few days away from home and were soon to meet up with my Dad and Stepmum, which I was very much looking forward to. I have never been away from home much before and nearly 10 months of not seeing my family was hard. Skype was good because we were able to talk to Grady’s Mum, Dad, Sister and Brother-in-law, but I had not seen the faces of my family since the day I said goodbye and was excited at the prospect of seeing them again. Two days later we met up with Dad and Sheryl in Loxton for a big hug (in South Australia, but right on the Murray River). Grady and the boys went fishing and returned with nothing: giving them a lesson on what was soon to come!
We had two days to catch up with Dad and Sheryl before making the trip back to Horsham to
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40cm garfish - biggest we've seen
once again stay with Grady’s Auntie Di. Crossing the border into Victoria was monumental, even though Victoria’s welcome sign is not. This return visit was a bittersweet one, as the last time we were there, Grady’s Uncle Jeff was bravely fighting cancer. In the time we had been travelling, Jeff had passed away and Grady’s cousin had become a father for the first time. We really enjoyed the time with Di and the cuddles with new baby Nelson. Di fed us up the next morning with a beautifully cooked breakfast, completely understanding our anxiousness to be on the road early.
The kids were very excited in the car, following the map with each kilometre until we arrived at my Mum and Stepdad’s house. We enjoyed a couple of hours with them and one of my sisters, who called in with her kids. Our kids were at this point relishing in the reunions, knowing that we were finally getting close to their home.
From Mum’s we had another 20 minutes of travel to Grady’s Mum and Dad’s place (our base from now until we get back into our own house). Anyone who lives in Geelong knows the first sight of the town from the hills in Ceres: the houses, the Bay, Shell Refinery and the glimpse of St Mary’s Church in the city. As we began the descent into Geelong, I admit I was a little emotional at the completion of the journey. Remembering what Grady did to me when we bid farewell to our friends the Shelton family in Darwin, I replayed Greenday’s “Time of your life” on the iPod just for him. The car was silent in the final few minutes as we all reflected on the Time of our Life, before the van pulled up out the front and the kids bounded into the house with an explosion of kisses and cuddles for their third set of much missed Grandparents, Aunties, Uncles and cousins.

How thankful we are for this experience. There have been times of much happiness, much sadness and waiting in anticipation. We are much better travellers than at the start of the trip and are only just starting to see how much we have changed.
We have been back for 5 weeks now and are still trying to adjust to a “normal” life (is life ever “normal”?) of school, homework, bedtimes, work for Grady
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Thanks to John and Cherie we had a fantastic spot.
and the like. Honestly, I do love my life as a stay at home mum, but am definitely struggling to adjust. In all of it however, I am happy the kids have gone back to school so they can get back on track with their learning (reports were pretty good considering they haven’t been to school in 10 months). Would we do it again? Most definitely - we’ve already begun planning the next time!

A few statistics for the interested mind:
Days: 318
Number of “what have we done?” times: 2 (Alice Springs, Paraburdoo)
Kilometres: over 25,000
Average fuel use: 17L/100k
Most expensive fuel: $1.78/L (on the Nullarbor)
Hottest day: 47 degrees (coming out of Monkey Mia, WA)
Coldest day: 4 degrees (our morning exit from Pemberton, WA)
Worst argument: in Alice Springs (I was right - ha ha)
Fond memories: sunsets at Uluru, Darwin, Kununurra, Monkey Mia, Kalbarri.
Fish caught at Darwin, Kununurra, Broome, Coral Bay, Kalbarri, Margaret River, Augusta, Esperence and the Eyre Peninsula. A shooting star leaving a stripe across the sky in the Pilbara.
New friends becoming old friends, surrogate grandparents spoiling the kids, the Aboriginal church service in the Flinders Ranges, watching 3 year old Cody rip his arm bands off and swim freestyle from one end of the pool to the other, finding gems and opals, not getting a cold for 18 months, returning home with the same bottle of Panadol (used only a few times), watching the children grow and be so proud of them every day.
Favourite places: Too many to mention! Grady and the kids loved Coober Pedy because of the opals, we loved the Devils Marbles, all the kids loved Naracoorte, Darwin had special friends, I loved the friends I made and the scenery around Kununurra, exploring around Karijini NP, catching a shark in Coral Bay, snorkeling at Exmouth, beaches of Denmark and Albany, the entire Eyre Peninsula.
Did not use: Foundation, bait pump (used everything else!)
Should have brought: Birth certificates, passports, personal details cards to exchange, a proper home schooling curriculum.

Now that we are “home”, the extensive job of editing video footage has begun (albeit
with its own difficulties). We are having a night at church soon to show our highlights of
the trip, which I am looking forward to. So, with the completion of our journey and the
final entry of my blog, I
Reunion!Reunion!Reunion!

A new gun for Cody and a kiss from Grammy.
want to say thank you to all who followed our adventures and
those who left encouraging messages - they were much appreciated!

Looking forward to 2015!

Emily



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