Australian Coastal Safaris satisfies a fascination with marine wildlife and a love of fresh seafood on journeys along the eyre peninsula.

Story By Don Fuchs

As soon as the boat drops anchor, a substantial portion of the inhabitants of tiny Jones Island come to greet it. Visitors donned in wetsuit, mask and snorkel enter the shallow waters off the island and participate in the welcome ritual. It is an exhilarating dance, but whatever the swimmers do, they do it better. No wonder, as they are Australian sea lions – wild, playful and completely at home in the Southern Ocean. Swimming with the sea lions off Jones Island, at the entrance of Baird Bay, is an unforgettable experience. Baird Bay is the only place on the planet – besides the Galápagos Islands, perhaps – where you can interact with these fascinating marine mammals. Baird Bay lies on the western side of South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, a large triangle of land that projects into the cold waters of the Southern Ocean, and a place of many secrets. Even today, when almost every part of Australia is explored, there are surprises here. The Eyre Peninsula is a relative newcomer on the long list of famous and unique places to visit in Australia. Luckily David Doudle offers a glimpse of this hidden gem in a fascinating five-day itinerary. “Bringing the world to mine” is the motto of David’s company, Australian Coastal Safaris. His world – or “backyard” as he calls it – is the Eyre Peninsula or, more specifically, its pristine coastal landscapes. David grew up on a 1600-hectare farm that backs onto a wild stretch of coast with towering limestone cliffs, sweeping beaches and vast dune systems. The fourth generation of a farming family, David spent 20 years working the land – that is, when he wasn’t exploring the coast or fishing its rich waters. Now he introduces visitors to this relatively untouched environment and a lifestyle he’s enjoyed since birth.

This story excerpt is from Issue #62

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2009