CAMPSITE # 27 - In the garden of Eden, baby.

Eden, NSW was another town that a lot of people mentioned “we absolutely had to go to”. And given certain circumstances that I’ll shortly go into, we actually stayed in Eden a lot longer than we had initially expected. Thankfully, it did live up to expectations and really was a lovely town. The best word I can use to explain a town that hasn’t been bought out my consumers and maintained its lovely small coastal charm is “true”. Eden certainly wasn’t sugar coated or fluffed up once they realised how much of an unspoken tourist destination it had become. Hopefully, greed doesn’t get the better of this lovely little town and it manages to keep its ‘truth’ for years to come.

Superb Fiery Wren

 Black Swans in the lake right at our campsite

Tom is very quickly learning the ins and outs of the Troopie’s mechanics. Maybe a little too well... For a good few days now, we’ve been having more Troopie issues. :( Thankfully, not life threatening issues but more annoying (for Tom) than anything. Somehow, we’ve got an air leak in the fuel line causing air bubbles to get into the fuel line. The Troopie runs fine but just when you first start her up each morning, we (Tom) need to pump the primer thingo to push the air bubbles out (very mechanical terminology on my part, hey?!). After visiting 4 mechanics and paying $85 per hour for each of them to trial a few things, we still haven’t been able to find the source of the leak. Thankfully, we can still get around ok and when it’s running, the Troopie is purring like a pussy cat so it’s nothing life threatening. We’re now in a position where we (Tom) can either continue priming it each morning before we start her up or risk forking out more $$$ for a mechanic to not fix it. Really, it’s just a royal pain in the bum. Having said that, when we first arrived in Eden, Tom was having a little play around to try to find the leak and there was a hairline fracture in one of the bolts and it sheared off. So, we had to go to Toyota in Eden and get them to order in a very specific bolt. Damn country towns, took a week to get in!!! I suppose it was a good excuse to stick around for a while longer.  

Eden introduced Tom into the world of catching edible fish - THANK GOD!! I certainly don't have that fishing drive inside of me, I think that impatience sets in after the 6th cast. Over the last two months, I couldn't believe how willing Tom was just to get back out there and give it another ago with very little prospects every time. But thankfully, it finally paid dividends and we had two free fish dinners - caught by Tommy Simpson himself.
The first was during a fishing adventure with our new friends Ned & Tren. Ned & Tren came from Melbourne for a one week visit and were keen for a fishing adventure. There were pretty slim pickings at dinner time as Tom was the only one to actually catch a fish but we crumbed it up and had a lovely first fish meal together. 

A very 'normal' stroll to the beach...
Tom's first edible catch. Whiting...

Tom's second edible catch - Flathead off the lake right next to our campsite.

Of an evening, the prawns (shrimp whatever you want to call them) come out to play in the lake right next to us. As we didn't have a net and the yabbie pot just wasn't cutting it, Tom (as you do) decided to make his own net.

He made it out of mozzie netting, hose pipe & sewed it up with fishing wire.
Clever little boy cause it actually worked! Bring on the bait!!

NB : Trawling for prawns with a homemade net at night time is how you have an octopus encounter. For those who are yet to view the scary octopus video - you can watch it here.
Eden Tourist Park was full of very friendly people - I guess that's what happens when you stay at the same place for ten days. We also met John & Vicki who have travelled from the UK and have bought a Toyota self contained van to do the drive around Oz. Hopefully, we bump into them regularly as we had an amazing seafood feast together one night and have now made a pact that when/if we bump into each other again, we shall have another feast... hmmmmmmm :)

Everyone must have been telling anyone travelling around Australia that they must visit Eden as we also met another family – Totti and Muna and their two little girls. Totti and Muna had a Pajero and a caravan and had only just set off 4 weeks ago. My hat goes off to them as I’m sure travelling around Australia with a 3 year old & a 6 month old isn’t an easy task but somehow, they still managed to pull it off very well. :) We must love food as once again we shared a BBQ night with Totti and Muna... let’s hope we bump into them again too hehehe

As they are now so much apart of our every day lives, I can't help but comment on a selected few Grey Nomads who I've appropriately renamed Grey Know-It-Alls. It's as if they think that because they sold their family home and bought a state of the art 4 tonne studio apartment on wheels, they can come along and tell us how we could (more like SHOULD) do it THEIR way. While we obviously welcome some friendly advise here & there... it seriously irritates the absolutely bananas out of me when one invites himself to enter our home/camp and say "Gees you guys have a lot of junk'!!! Oh really, you couldn't live like this when you were our age, hey? Well, thankfully we're not YOUR age and we won't be pulling up at every campsite and climbing inside our pompous perfection on even the most beautiful days to watch bloody daytime TV. 

For your information Mr Free-From-Junk, we didn't wake up one morning and just decide to quit our jobs and drive around in the first 4WD that came available. And, unlike you - we won't be driving at 40km/hr in 100 zones pissing off 15 cars behind us AND you see that red stuff on the wheel arches? That's called dirt. You should try it one day. Oh no wait, you can't.

As the weather wasn’t exactly kind to us most of the time during our stay in Eden, we decided it would be best to actually make good use of ourselves. When we visited the Information Centre, we stumbled across these really intriguing bottles of chilli products appropriately named “Disaster Bay Chillies”. We quickly learnt that Disaster Bay Chillies was actually produced locally in Eden. Being such lovers of spicy foods, Tom and I could not help ourselves. So, we teed up with the two guys that run the place,Stuart and John, for us to go along and volunteer for a day. We walked to the chilli factory and from 100metres away, you could smell that divine scent of chilli, garlic, onion, herbs and spices brewing away – it smelt absolutely amazing.   So, we put on our Livern & Shirley hair nets and stepped inside where all the action happens. All of the chillies and tomatoes are organically grown on the property and their produce was all quality fresh fruit and vegies – we should know as we peeled about 300 Kiwi fruits, cleaned & shredded 20kilos of ginger and sliced a crap load of capsicums. All while having that teasing smell of the Massala cooking away. 2pm was bottling time and together we all bottled roughly 650 jars of the Massala. Tom and I were in our element and we had so much fun. The best part was lunch that they kindly supplied for us – with a selection of their chutneys and jams to spread on our fresh paninis. I think it’s really important to support businesses like Stuart and John’s, it’s obvious too that they’re not in it for the money, they’re in it for the love of the final product. And lucky for them, it’s a damn good product! So, if you’re considering what to get a chilli lover for Christmas this year... look no further my friends than

Back in the 1930’s, Eden was a very famous whaling town. But this whaling town, was a whaling town with a bit of a difference. For $7, you can visit Eden’s Whaling museum. At this museum, you learn the story of Old Tom. Old Tom was a killer whale who led a pod of other killer whales to assist the whalers in their whaling efforts. How it all happened is truly remarkable. Old Tom and his troops would round up a bigger whale like the blue whale or the Southern Wright Whale and push the big whale into shallower shores and led the whale up to Twofolds Bay in Eden. Once they had led the whale to Eden, Old Tom would then swim an additional 6kms to the bay just outside the whalers’ house and vigorously flap his tale against the water to alert the whalers. The killer whales would then continue to trap the big whale until the whalers arrived. If the whalers were taking too long in their boat to reach the catch, or if the seas were too rough, the whalers would throw a lead rope to Old Tom and he would hold the rope in his mouth and pull the boat out to the big whale. Don’t believe me? Old Tom’s skeleton is in the museum and you can see along the left side of his jaw where all of his teeth have worn down from the rope! Once the whalers had captured and harpooned the big whale, they would float it and leave it for the killer whales. The killer whales would then help themselves to the tongue and the lips of the big whale as their reward, which worked well for the whalers as they didn’t need or use the tongue or the lips. Old Tom’s skeleton was preserved by two whalers at the time, it’s said that he actually swam into Twofolds Bay to die and his body washed up on the shore. After Old Tom’s death, the killer whales never returned with any captives and the whalers struggled as they had relied so heavily on Old Tom’s catch. Whaling in the town quickly diminished and in the 1950’s Australia officially declared itself an anti-whaling country. 

We found their manikins VERY amusing.
Check out the hand movements on this one...

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