There is the usual range of jobs on Kangaroo Island that one would associate with a small town near a geologically significant tourist destination—workers in government, retail, hotels, and restaurants, park rangers, scientists. But the majority of the non-tourist income is from sheep ranching and seafaring—or, more specifically, fishing. I was too early for the crayfishing season (by three days!), but I was delighted to dine on whiting that was only hours away from having been caught.
Crayfish are what we in the U.S. would call rock lobsters—succulent crustaceans that thrive in these cooler southern waters. My experience of crayfish would wait for my visit to Tasmania, but because the season here was so close at hand, I did get to witness some of the preparations for the season. Tidy little cray boats lined the docks and shore, with fishermen busily outfitting them for work. I did think, given the roughness of the ocean at these latitudes, and the history of shipwrecks along this coast, that the boats seemed a bit dauntingly undersized.
Cray pots were piled high on boat decks and on the docks. Though they were busy, the fishermen were also Australians (and small-town Aussies, to boot), which meant friendliness won out over bustle, and most stopped to say “g’day” and chat about the season ahead.
Below is a photo of a couple of the cray boats moored at the dock. So now, when you go to a restaurant that offers Australian rock lobster, you’ll be able to picture the dainty vessels that probably made these delicacies available to you.