Silver Schoolies

I lay in bed keeping warm as the first rays of light appeared over the bay. I could hear that the wind had not abated from the 25+ knots it had been all night, however it was forecast to drop in the next few hours.

The normally protected bay was full of whitecaps

It’s been a strange week of weather with the prevailing wind from the NW which meant the normally sheltered bay and coastline of Pt Turton and Harwicke Bay on Yorke Peninsula, have been a mass of whitecaps and confused seas. We hoped to get out for at least a short kayak down the rocky coastline towards Pt Souttar, so it was unload the kayak and wait for the wind to abate.

Even the dolphins had taken refuge in the marina.

The local dolphin pod is normally seen well offshore but today they were lazing in the marina

We launched in the lee of the marina and made our way southward along the coast. The wind had dropped a lot but was still enough to create a confused sea close to the rocks.

An easy launch on the sandy beach

Cormorants finding a protected place

Sneaking along the rock wall

Gavin our newly appointed Paddlingsouth Sommelier powering along

Hugging the coastline

Soon we had the force of the wind to contend with

We came across the local swimming pool, although at present it was well under water as the tide was driven high up on the beach by the wind. I don’t think we will see many swimmers here today.

The swimming pool has disappeared under the waves

We paddled on until it became a bit of a slog as the wind increased and we then turned for home. The short wind chop combined with clapatis made for quick support strokes when trying to take photos, otherwise I could have been the first swimmer of the day.

Next day the wind again reached 25 knots making for a day of land based activities. We decided to ride our Fatbikes along the beach to the tiny township of Hardwicke Bay, hoping the local store to be open. The sand was hard packed and the tail wind made for excellent progress as we bounced the 15 km around the bay. The local store provided us with coffee and muffins, which gave our butts a rest and gave the wind a chance to increase to another level.

Watching the whitecaps streak across the bay we decided that our easiest route home would be to follow the road behind the sand dunes where we should find some wind protection. Things started off fine for the first few kilometers, until the wind changed direction and increased again. Quite a novel experience being blown sideways off the road by the gusts, with Robyn suffering the most occurrences and Gavin the least, maybe due to weight differences, or was it just skill. After over 30 km of hard riding we hit the last downhill into camp and a well deserved icecream.

November in Pt Turton normally brings great weather as well as lots of Silver Schoolies ! We had first seen some of this group when we rode into Pt Turton on our “Walk the Yorke” bike tour and again a year later.

Wikipedia gives an insight to Schoolies. 
Schoolies or schoolies week refers to the Australian tradition of high-school graduates having week-long holiday following the end of their final exams in November. Schoolies week is seen as a final party with schoolmates before they head their separate ways.

Silver Schoolies are much much older revelers having a week long holiday, just because they can.

They sure know how to celebrate and get together daily for strange activities and from what I could see consuming a variety of beverages. Apparently it is obligatory not to act your age and partake in as many crazy sports as possible. Of course we joined in some of the fun.

Apparently dressing up is just part of the fun

Now that’s what I call a glass of wine. No mucking around with this gal.

The first event on the card was a horse race with horse supplied. You all start on the line and throw a huge dice and pace out the number on the dice.

Our Sommelier took time out from wine tasting to join the first Horse Racing event

Talk about come prepared. She bought her own horse !!

I think this is what they term “riding hands and heels”.

Apparently this is normal attire for the Caravan Park manager

After the winners and losers were sorted out it was on with a huge BBQ lunch and of course a variety of beverages.

The festivities continued all week with unusual events. We witnessed a paper aeroplane competition judged first for accuracy and then distance.

Janet gets in a big throw in the distance event. She credited her success “with having her tongue at the right angle”

Alan was certainly “Best Dressed”. Reminded me of a circus ring master, but in shorts !!

So if your in the vicinity during that week in November and see some odd sights, don’t panic it’s only “Silver Schoolies” at play.  In fact why not join in the activities and stay at the Caravan Park.

One fact that may interest you is that the pharmacy in a near town reported a ten fold increase in prescriptions for blood pressure and cholesterol medication and yes you guessed it, Viagra.

 

Spring has Sprung

“Spring has sprung.
The grass is riz.
I wonder where the sunshine iz.”

Well it’s sure not anywhere near here.

Last night at my place, the winds stayed at 30 knots and dropped a little at dawn. It was definitely not a day to try out the new double sea kayak but I was getting desperate for a soak in salt water. Four desperate souls met in the lee of the Pt Noarlunga reef with the hope of getting in a little playboating fun.

So for those who stayed in bed, nice and warm, here’s some photos to prove our insanity.

We got ready to launch as the rain started….. we were wet anyway

Remind me again how this is going to be fun

Ian picks up a ride as Steve paddles out

Charlie handles the conditions with ease in his Jackson Karma kayak

Steve gets bounced around in soup

Young Geoff shows us how to stay upright with class

…and Charlie does a quick “seabed inspection”

Geoff….Cool and calm

Geoff grabs another wave

Meanwhile Steve gets ready for a good thumping

Charlie tries to get airborne

Geoff looks on as Steve tries a “cartwheel”….unsuccessful  this time

Charlie demonstrates the use of sunglasses on a cloudy day

Geoff finishes the session. Cold, wet and happy

Four cold and wet but happy paddlers. Enjoy your day.

 

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