Meet up with Sepia Apama

The morning had dawned cold and still which is a little unusual for these parts. There is normally a breeze from one direction or other that has to be taken into account. No wind, however, a sea fog was rolling in but didn’t discourage a paddle along the rocky coast line of the upper Spencer Gulf. We spent time wandering along the coastline passing Douglas Point and Fitzgerald Bay, headed towards Stony Point on the edge of False Bay.

A strange colour in the sky and a sea fog made for an eerie feeling.

The sea fog slowly rolling towards us.

Not much changes in this part of the coast. This is a photo of Pt Lowly in 1905 and again below on our visit. All of the buildings are still there.

Many overseas visitors seem to think that all the animals of Australia are out to sting, bite or eat them. Of course this is not true, but the snakes, sharks and crocodiles do seem to sit heavy on their mind.

But what about Sepia Apama ? They can camouflage themselves and spring out at their prey from behind a rock. Luckily they don’t have much of an appetite for German Backpackers or in fact any nationality, although, if you start poking your finger in his/her direction you night get a very nasty bite. So who is Sepia Apama ? Sepia Apama is more commonly called the Giant Australian Cuttlefish. Giant because they grow up to 60cm long and weigh up to 5kg.

It’s winter and that is mating season for tens of thousands of these interesting creatures who change color to camouflage themselves. The water was very clear and calm so they could be seen all along the rocky coastline of False Bay.

The best way to meet up with Sepia Apama is a dip into the rather chilly 11 degree C water with your camera wearing every bit of wetsuit you own, so here’s 2 minutes of what we saw on our quick dip. You will see the” mating procedure” at around 55 sec. on the video. After mating the female attaches her eggs under a rock

Great paddling area and some unusual creatures.
Ian and Robyn

 

 

 

 

Mid week madness

It’s mid week. It’s too early in the morning. The tide is wrong. The surf is dumping. It’s freezing cold but still we decided that it would be better to get wet than sloth around drinking coffee and staying warm.

Here’s a little taste of our “late take offs” and other dumpings. Come share our madness !!!

This one is “gunna hurt”

 

Cold and Clean

It was just before dawn when I heard the central heating start up. Hmm…must be a cold morning. A quick check and I found the outside temperature was 5 degrees C. I saw the phone blinking at me with a “Surf Alert”, announcing clean conditions on the mid-coast this morning. The Winter Solstice is a couple of days away and this may be our last chance to get in a  “Solstice Paddle” so out of bed and on with the kayak.

We arrived at the beach in superb calm conditions and a small but diminishing swell, however, we never miss an opportunity to paddle with friends to celebrate the Solstice and the promise of better weather.

The estuary mouth reflects the houses on the cliff

Ibis mirrored in the water looks like a painting

Of course we were not the only ones looking forward to the warmer weather to come. A pack of friendly dogs were on the beach chasing balls, running in circles, sniffing bums and rolling in something that smelt like dead fish.

Rolling in something that smells like dead fish

No better way to celebrate than to catch a wave with a fellow paddler.

Ian heads out

Steve follows him

Ian gets a few clean rides

Steve works along a small dumping wave

As the tide changed the waves became more dumping and we found ourselves buried in freezing water.

Steve buried in freezing foam

Ian gets dumped again

Playing on the same wave

Having a quick game of tag

When Steve was not looking, Ian seized an opportunity, and surfed up on to his back deck.
Well maybe kayaks can sniff bums too.

Now where did he go ?

My hands were frozen and my ears stinging from the cold but it was still a great paddle with a Steve King (of England). Looking forward to the better weather and less thermal layers.

Happy Solstice….Ian Pope

Stay CALM…it’s Winter

Stay CALM. The winter weather pattern is starting to set in. When you talk about Winter in South Australia you automatically imagine SW swells battering the coastline, driving by high winds.

I remember the calmer moments of winter mornings. The stillness as the fog slowly lifts; the clear crisp mornings on the beach and especially the calm winds of early morning.

Reflections in the still waters of the Onkaparinga River mouth

The bridge to the beach

Sure we have lots of mornings of driving rain and un-paddleable seas but they pass over bringing back the CALM. The  bonus is that certain beaches that are normally “wave poor”, pick up a nice set on the lower tide. Such is the “Trough” surf break. I remember in my youth that it was a dirt road along the top of the cliffs that led to the beach, known as the “Trough” due to a sheep water trough on the farmers property. Now it’s in the middle of suburbia and a place of dog walkers, surf boats and the occasional kayak surfer.

Out for a morning trott along the beach

It’s amazing the entertainment a small piece of rubber can bring a dog

Today was a low tide with light northerly wind, winter morning and three intrepid paddlers set forth for a little calm winter play.

Ian and Steve push off into calm-ish waters waiting for Ian B to launch

Robyn shouted a final instruction. “You guys play nice now…Ian B may not be used to your antics.”

Ian starts with a nice small wave

Steve follows up with a similar size wave

……and shows how it’s done with a drop off the wave crest

Ian B follows with a nice ride

There are a few hazards when on a wave……

A surf boat barrells through to the shore

The main hazard for Ian B was Ian and Steve who love playing games.

Look out for that rogue wave Ian.

That scared him !!!!

Over the falls he goes.

Ooops. I think he’s practicing his roll.

“We didn’t do it on purpose Robyn. It was an accident ” Steve said, smiling.

Another great morning on the water.

Robyn and I have been wandering the west coast of South Australia enjoying the last of the autumn weather with some paddling and Fatbiking.(Our Fatbiking photos are here )  and return to Adelaide for some winter paddling.

Hope you enjoyed the photos.

Paddlers and kayaks
Ian Pope (green), Steve King (purple), Ian Brunning (orange)
Photographer
Robyn Pope

 

 

 

 

The DnA of Paddling Energy

Paddling requires two types of energy. Firstly the energy to propel the kayak which in classical mechanics, is called Kinetic energy (KE) . Then there is Mental energy, that undefined force that gets you up on cold mornings to keep training for an event or powers you to a destination.

But what is the DnA of Paddling Energy ? On our travels we called into Tumby Bay on South Australia’s  Eyre Peninsula and caught a glimpse of this undefined mental energy. In our working life we had a mature age customer who regularly called in after his kayak training, entertaining us with his infectious energy and in the small town of Tumby Bay we found him again.

It’s not DNA but D’n’A. Dennis ‘n’ Ann Peck. They both exude a sort of energy that combined can achieve anything. I paddled with Dennis around Tumby Bay, a place he loves, and enjoyed the running commentary.

Dinosaur Rock. Well you need quite a bit of imagination for this one.

Sea Lions abound along this coast maybe due to the Tuna Fishing Industry not far away

Black faced Cormorants are used to Dennis chatting to them as he passes.

An Osprey nest. Unfortunately the resident flew off before I could raise my camera.

The wind and ocean has sculpted the limestone cliffs into interesting shapes.

There are sharp rocks protruding everywhere just waiting for the unwary paddler.

Dennis competes in kayaking sprints and marathons as well as athletics in the Australian and State Masters Games.

He laughs when he tells you that his ambition is not only to win, but to set national and state records. Then he explains that there are not a lot of competitors left in his age group. This year he turns 85.

We were lucky to spend time with Ann as well at their cottage home overlooking the coast. An amazing place which they both built from local stone. Ann is the steering force and organiser behind Dennis as well as being a powerful artistic person in her own right.

Let’s just say that any couple that built a Boules and Finskas court in their front yard tend to be competitive, but in a good way. After being thrashed at Boules we were introduced to the game of Finskas, an addictive log throwing game, where the aim is to score exactly 50 points. Set up the pins, place the box five metres away and start throwing. A competitive game of skill in which we were soundly beaten.

Dennis shows his prowess with the opening toss at Finskas

After “the games” came a great meal, a few wines and a comforting fire.

Dennis Peck. Powered by Guinness stout I believe.

If you’re in Tumby Bay anytime look out for Dennis out paddling and Ann power walking the beach.

Cheers
Ian and Robyn (the travellers)