Kangaroo Island, South Australia: Riviera owners escaped “just across the water but a world away” to historical Kangaroo Island for the latest R Marine South Australia Experience.
Australia’s third-largest island – after Tasmania and Melville Island – “KI” is 112km (70m) south-west of Adelaide, with its closest point to the mainland being Snapper Point, 13.5km (8.4m) from the Fleurieu Peninsula.
The island has a population of 4600 people and was separated from the mainland about ten thousand years ago during the last glacial period. It has an impressive array of wildlife and is also steeped in Indigenous and colonial history.
Some of the group departed from Holdfast Shores Marina, Glenelg, at 10am Friday morning, keen to get away for an enjoyable weekend.
Michael Pitman from R Marine SA tells us the weather and water conditions were nothing short of superb for a very easy cruise down the Gulf of St Vincent and finishing up in American River, a narrow tidal channel that separates Pelican Lagoon and Eastern Cove and forms the island’s most protected harbour.
“Saturday was mostly about relaxing for the morning, and then Ross Almond and Paul Harrop from R Marine SA cruised out to the Rivieras to pick everyone up in the new ‘Sealegs’ amphibious inflatable for a lunchtime barbecue at a newly built shelter on the shore,” said Michael.
“The New ‘Sealegs’ proved to be a real hit with everyone, making getting off the boats and on to land a very easy exercise.”
On 23 March 1802, British explorer Matthew Flinders, Commanding HMS Investigator, named the land “Kanguroo (sic) Island” due to the endemic subspecies of the Western grey kangaroo, after landing near Kangaroo Head on the north coast of Dudley Peninsula.
He was closely followed by the French explorer Commander Nicolas Baudin, who was the first European to circumnavigate the Island and who mapped much of the island (which is why so many areas have French names).
Although the French and the British were at war at the time, the men met peacefully. They both used the fresh water seeping at what is now known as Hog Bay near Frenchman’s Rock and the site of present-day Penneshaw.
A community of sealers and others existed on Kangaroo Island from 1802 to the time of South Australia’s colonisation in 1836, and in 1803 sealers from the American brig Union built the schooner Independence, the first ship constructed in South Australia, at what is now American River.
Eastern Cove, the outer bay, offers excellent sailing and fishing in semi-protected waters. The hillside village of American River supports these pursuits with an excellent boat ramp, barbecue and picnic facilities and fishing charters.
The Kangaroo Island oyster industry is also based here, with the wharf being a hive of activity during the season. Oysters are available, seasonally. Pelican Lagoon, the inner bay, is a natural fish nursery and is protected as an Aquatic Reserve.
The islands within the inner bay, Pelican Lagoon, are important bird-breeding habitats. Black Swans, Cape Barren Geese, Australian Pelicans and other birds make the area an excellent bird-watching destination.
Perhaps these words from one visiting travel writer sum it up best: “There really aren’t enough adjectives to accurately describe the beauty of Kangaroo Island. In fact, words can almost spoil the moment. Even photos don’t do this wildly gorgeous destination justice.” – Isaac Bober, Symmetry, Australia.
Michael tells us the weekend was all about Riviera owners getting out on their boats, away from their berth, and enjoying new places and sights, and catching up with other South Australian ‘Riv’ owners.
“With the winds looking like they were coming up quite high on the holiday Monday, most of the boats made their way safely home on the Sunday,” he said.If you would like to contact R Marine SA regarding Experience trips, please click here
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