Menindee Lakes - Yabbie Heaven

It was just a short drive from Broken Hill to Menindee where we planned to stay for 2 or 3  nights.  The road was quite different to when we here last (2009) - green or grey shrubs and trees lined the highway, virtually covering the thick red dust that we drove through before.   We drove up to the Menindee Lake Lookout which used to overlook a huge, empty, dusty lakebed - well, there was water as far as the eye could see.
Quite a different outlook, especially along 'Sunset Strip', a small 'exclusive' suburb just outside Menindee, which was supposed to be a holiday village overlooking the lake - we drove in here in 2009 and found a cluster of dilapidated, tired old houses on the edge of a large dustbowl.  This time, they actually did overlook the huge Menindee Lake, and obviously many of the homeowners were making the most of the change in view, as they had their homes up for sale, hoping to 'cash in' now that there was water.

We set up camp on the edge of Pamamaroo Lake, with absolute lake frontage, lovely views and very few neighbours.  Perfect.

We went for a drive around the area and discovered a large dam with huge dark patches in it.  Trev thought it was just weeds, but I said, 'No, those patches are moving, it might be yabbies or fish', so we went down to have a closer look, and discovered that there were literally thousands of fish in the dam, all coming up to the surface and gasping for air!  I have never seen anything like this in my life.  It looked like they had been stranded in low water after all the good rain, and there were just too many of them in too small an area to survive - there obviously wasn't enough oxygen in the water to keep them alive. 

We walked right down to the edge of the water and also found lots of yabbies around the rocks who would pop out of the water, give you a good long look, then drop back into the water, as if they were teasing you.  Well, guess who got the last laugh!  We decided we'd do a bit of yabbying the next day.
Trev's opera house net wasn't catching much in front of our camp - either there weren't any yabbies in this lake, or they just don't like chunks of honey smoked ham (all the bait we had at the time).  However, a couple of fish were quite interested - he caught 3 little fish in the net, none of which were big enough to eat - what a shame.  Later that afternoon we got our prawning nets and opera house net ready and headed out to the dam to catch us some dinner.  Well, I have to say that I'm not only the Prawn Queen of Lake Brou but I'm now the Yabby Princess of Pamamaroo Lake!  Between us we caught 36 big fat yabbies, just with the prawning nets.  I think I'll have to try fishing, cos I do seem to have a knack with marine life!

Back to camp, where we blanched, shelled and then cooked our beautiful yabbies in chilli, garlic, basil and coriander served on a bed of rice, with freshly baked camp oven crusty bread prepared by Trev.  Deeelicious!  And there was so much food we couldn't eat it all, we had to put it in the fridge for lunch next day.  What a life, eh?
We've had a very relaxing day today, just listening to the sound of the waves (really, there are big waves!) crashing on to our lakeshore, reading, blogging and getting ready to move on tomorrow.  We're heading to Ivanhoe then Hillston in the general direction of home.  And for all in Canberra, since Coober Pedy the daily temps have ranged between 22 and 26 degrees.  I'm not missing Canberra winter at all!


Bronie said...

Well for your information parents it's been 20 and 21 degrees the last two days here in Canberra so the winter is looking too bad!!
P.S please bring me some awesome yabbies back to eat!
Love u long time xox

BamBam said...

Another wonderful report from paradise :) can't wait to get into some of that next year!