Adelaide Advertiser "WA Tourist Perishes at Admirals Arch, KI"

Published: July 16th 2014
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Desert Ship Territory Log Day 13.

Day 13 started like any other day but its mere number should've been a foreboding ominous sign. I peeked outside our cabin from behind the curtains which did a great job of preventing the heat from the reverse cycle from escaping. The windows were all fogged up and I cleared a viewing area with my sleeve on the window to check on the weather. It was completely overcast and rain did not look far away. A quick check on the BOM radar showed no rain at all which seemed to back up the Flinders Chase National Park's Vistor Centre's yesterday's forecast for today of a few showers. Flinders Chase is the pinnacle of KI attractions and I passed up going yesterday because we'd got there at lunchtime and the kids wanted to go sand boarding. I couldn't wait to get there and see Admirals Arch where all the New Zealand Fur Seals basked. Brendan and the kids went on ahead but I decided to go to the seal lookout first. The seals were so far away that it was pointless to take pictures of them, so I then headed to Admirals Arch. The weather looked like it was coming in and when I passed the boys on their way back the boys said they said there were loads of seals close up at the Arch. It was quite a walk down a zig zag boardwalk on a bluff jutting out into the Southern Ocean before a steep stairway leading into the actual arch where you can see the view. I started taking photos but the wind was so strong that all the sea spray was going onto my lense. It was so breathtakingly rugged and I had already spotted a place to seek shelter if I had to. It was scary looking at the waves crashing through my long lense as I feared they were so close and going to take me. The reality was they were a bit close regardless as the wind was getting stronger but there was a barrier on the viewing platform so I figured it was safe enough. The gale force winds were getting just awful now and I thought I'd make it some 300m back to the car before the front hit. All of a sudden I was in my very own Bear Grylls "Get Out Alive" episode. First the rain hit. I could deal with that. Although my rain jacket had lost its waterproofness a few washes go, the worst that could happen is that I would get wet or so I thought. I had already taken measures to protect my camera equipment by putting on a rain jacket for my backpack and a wrapping a robust plastic bag for my camera and zoom lense. What I didn't anticipate was my impression of a wind sock during cyclone Tracey as I gripped onto a hand rail on part of the boardwalk. I had to hang on for dear life to prevent being blown into the turbulent Southern Ocean. Then the horizontal rain completely soaked me and my four layers of clothing in two seconds flat, then it started to hail. I didn't know what to do, put up with the hail slicing my face open or take my chances to get further up the boardwalk, where the hand rail had now stopped, where there was a little brick wall in a curved shape about 75 cm high and presented a small reprieve from the hail. Waiting until the wind abated a fraction I then made a run for it with my 10 kg back pack. I swear it is that weight which helped anchor me as I sought refuge behind the wall from the buffeting wind and rain. After the white knuckle grip over the brick wall whilst on my hunches the hail had stopped and I craved the safety of the car and my family. It sounds silly but my thoughts were 'I can't leave my children motherless and if they are ever be able to recover my body, I wonder if they'd be able to recover the pictures off my memory card'. With that thought, I tried to make a mad dash up the rest of the boardwalk with no hand rail for security. The reality was I staggered my way bag as if on a very rocky boat as the gale kept blowing me off course. If I felt as if I was going to do a Mary Poppins, then my plan of attack was dive into the scrub and crawl under the boardwalk. That wasn't neccessary. At the car I got the plastic lined picnic blanket out of the boot so I could put it in the passenger side and sit on it
Boardwalk to Admiral's Arch at Flinders Chase National ParkBoardwalk to Admiral's Arch at Flinders Chase National ParkBoardwalk to Admiral's Arch at Flinders Chase National Park

This is the location where I almost blew into the Southern Ocean. The photo is taken about 15 minutes before the front passed through and where I got caught out.
otherwise we'd never get the seat dry for tommorrow's escape out of this hell hole. Upon reaching refuge in the trusty Territory my whole family looked at me and laughed as if it was the highlight of their road trip. I wonder if they'd be laughing at my funeral? On our way back there were severe weather warnings for the Island. Before this unexpected turn of events, the plan was to have lunch at the Visitor's Centre, however after a teeth chattering trip back to the Centre I now feared hypothermia, and since our accommodation was only 10 minutes away, we went back so I could have a shower to warm up and get changed into dry clothes. The moans coming out of the shower rivalled any porn movie. I have never had such a good shower. After draping all the clothes on the chairs and leaving the reverse cycle on full bore, we then went back for some comfort food at the cafe in the Visitor's Centre. I ate A LOT of it as I wondered why I bother leaving the safety of my own couch. The day didn't improve much, the rain and blustery weather still impeded any thoughts I had of trying to do any nature walks to look for platypus and more koalas. My friend from the carpark yesterday had moved on which surprised me as koalas have to be the laziest animal known to man, with my cat being the next laziest. Back at the cabin the weather was even too bad to look for koalas swaying in the trees here. In case the photographers out there are wondering... unlike the uncertainty and excitement of firstborn adventure I used to crave and which has now died, my camera made it without incident. The whole family has now got a bad case a cabin fever, nothing a four day drive back West won't cure. Tip for the day...winter holidays suck.

Additional photos below
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Admirals Arch in Flinders Chase National ParkAdmirals Arch in Flinders Chase National Park
Admirals Arch in Flinders Chase National Park

Was this photo worth the risk of nearly blowing into the Southern Ocean? I say "no".

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