It happens every year. Somewhere between Friday the 13th and the Winter Solstice on 21st June we watch the weather patterns for the perfect day that will take us back to Yoho Beach. That type of day where the sky is just a haze, sea the colour of ink and the horizon almost indistinguishable, is when we return to continue our research on Yoho Beach.
During summer we often paddle past Yoho beach, which lies in Gulf St Vincent just a few kilometers north of the gulf’s entrance at Cape Jervis. It’s a lovely place to paddle on a warm summer day, passing along the rock strewn coastline, looking at the abundant bird life and keeping an eye out for the local dolphin pods but the swells are rarely low enough to land. But in winter at the appointed time we return to continue our study of the mysteries of Yoho Beach.
We set off from Rapid Bay for the hop along the coastline passing the towering cliffs of Rapid Heads and enjoying the frolicking seals. The water is calm, dark and certainly deep as we round the headlands.
Paddling along this area is always eventful, especially when you get in close to the cliffs and ride the surging waves as Michael soon found out.
After a while the Headlands of Yoho come into view, with the winter grasses blanketing the slopes.
It’s an odd place, sort of eerie, a strangeness that creeps up on you every time you land there. You always feel like you are being watched by someone lurking on those bald rock strewn hills; but there is never anyone there. Like someone is looking over your shoulder when you wander along “beach combing” the area, but I’ve never met anyone else on the beach and know of only a few people who ever stop there to explore or enjoy lunch on the grassy slopes.
This year we bought with us “Professor” Rodney B., a newcomer to this area, who could hopefully cast more light on the strangeness of Yoho.
We carefully landed in the small channel and came ashore.
An ancient rock wall stands guard halfway along the beach, it’s purpose long lost and the people who built it long departed.
A small creek winds its’ way to the ocean making an excellent habitat for local fauna.
The first sign that something was different here was what we found when beachcombing. Left foot thongs. Never a right, only a left. Some people call them Flip-Flops others Sandals but in Australia they can only be Thongs. Over the years we found some with Asian branding, some with English, a few with German and Arabic, some near new, others with the imprint of the previous owner well worn into them. All sizes, all shapes, all left foot they magically came to be washed up on this lonely beach.
We kept returning over the years to see more thongs as well as a scattering of other shoe styles, still all left foot, and recently we have been coming across more left foot Crocs wedged amongst the rocks.
We have even picked up a compass, it was probably discarded as it too pointed Left.
We often gathered with a nice bottle of McLaren Vale Shiraz and wondered about this place. We pored over tidal flow charts looking for answers and even started taking measurements in the area. We erected markers next to rocks so that they could be measured each year.
Over the years we found that they too were wearing more on the left side than the right. The wind is also strange here, no matter which direction you turn it always comes from your Left.
Is it the unusual dodge tides that frequent the gulf that allow only left footwear to come ashore and why not the right as well ?. Is it the high pressure cells that pass through over summer, rotating in an anticlockwise direction ?. Is it a stranger phenomenon, something that we don’t understand about this lonely beach ?.
Recently I was sorting some old camera equipment and saw my old Minolta waterproof camera that I had used in the 1980’s and when I found it still had film I decided to have it processed. The pictures were of sea kayaking and camping near that beach.
And then there it was. Maybe the answer to the riddle of Yoho beach partly hidden in the trees.
Was it the arrival of the spaceship, perhaps spinning anti-clockwise that created that Left vortex that is still there today?. I’m not sure that we will really ever know the answer but it sure makes a good reason to paddle along the rugged coastline, stop for some beach-combing and maybe even lookout for that spaceship 🙂
Ian, Robyn, Michael and “Professor”Rodney B.
Thanks for the invite to your site and this article. Bizarre the left shoe thing. It could be the same sort of thing that happens in my washing machine with socks. I place one pair in and usually only the right sock come out! Strange, huh? My theory is that the other sock has spun into a parallel universe of humans that only have left feet. Can you imagine? Does make a person wonder. Great story!!!!
Hi there, thanks for the photos! Very beautiful area, and a most magical place for me and some of my friends who used to trek over the hills from the B.H.P gates at the end of the township in the 1980s and early 90s. I have walked that entire area as far as starfish hill beach. We eventually got tired of treking over the hills and asked the quarry workers if we could drive in, they allowed us, and we would drive to the trigg point at Mt Rapid, then down to the edge of the cliff, northern end of Yoho beach, then walk down to the beach to fish off of the rocks in that first small bay with the rocky outcrop.( shown as the reddiish rocks in your photos.) There used to be lots of wood planking lying over parts of the beach, which we tried to make a campfire one night in winter! Bad move…….. the salt burning in the drift wood burnt our eyes! Lesson learnt. You may also be interested in a place called smuggler’s cove in between Yoho and Starfish hill…….. a door in the side of the rocks above the high water mark…… legend has it that boats would smuggle drugs etc and hide them in the cave! There used to be a door there…… maybe now long gone……. Back to Yoho beach, the seawall at the southern end of the beach, along with the creek, hold some great fishing grounds for flathead and king george whiting. The rocks at the northern end were nicknamed ‘the coke bottle spot’, due to the size of the tommies we caught there, being over 40cm long (coke bottle size). Lastly, I have walked down the face of Rapid Head near to where the kayaker came to grief, and fished there overnight. Never again! The smell of Cormorant poo was overwhelming. Hope this helps with the information-gathering about the area. I constantly dream about the big walk over. Mind willing – body not. Cheers, Rob
HI Rob. Thanks for dropping by and adding your info on the area….and that cave with the door..yes it’s still there or was a little while ago when I landed on that area and had a poke around.
maybe you are being watched, maybe it is the ghost of Norah Kelly who it is said cut her own throat at Yoho Creek in 1865. Personally I think she was murdered .. from the newspaper of the day ..
Yankalilla, October 13.
A girl called Norah Kelly, servant to Mr Gerrard, of Rapid Bay, about 16 miles from here, having been missed since dinner-time yesterday by two lads, the only other persons
on the station, was discovered by them in the evening on the floor of her room. The lads being frightened fetched the doctor and another man, who on entering the room found her lying in her blood with her throat cut and a knife lying near her. The police have gone off this morning to investigate the matter.
Wow, thank you so much for following my blog which just got me here. We share a fascination with kayaking and exploring and photography. These are fabulous photos of places where the sea meets rock and sand. And I lived in Adelaide in my 20’s, loved South Australia, still miss it and go back when I can. I’m having a giant case of nostalgia right now and want to go buy a SA red to drink and take a trip down memory lane. Looking forward to viewing your other posts as well.
If the missing right shoes have been transported to another hemisphere, perhaps they are circling with tsunami debris in the “Great Northern Pacific Garbage Patch?
LikeLiked by 1 person
I’m glad you liked the photos. Interesting theory re the right shoes; I will have our northern friends keep a look out. Most importantly I am just opening a Shiraz from Koltz Wines in McLaren Vale. They had a great Winter Reds offer at koltzwines.com so I of course was obliged to buy the mixed dozen. Lifes tough here in South Australia !!!!… Cheers..Ian
An excellent adventure! What’s up with that “spaceship?” We’ll be here, waiting for the other shoe to drop….
Hi Geeks. What an interesting theory, maybe all the right shoes are collecting elsewhere, like some sort of cross hemispherical transfer perhaps even stored in the spaceship and waiting to be dropped on another beach in your time zone. More thinking and drinking to be done on that theory !!!.
Yoho,..ho,……and a bottle of,…….Shiraz?
A nice Shiraz for preference however any bottle of quality wine would be enjoyable. Cheers…Ian
Stupendous seascape Paddling South in Indigo seas yet the colour contradicts the pristine waters. Such phenomenon may occur as solstice approaches when Paddling South on a day when the muted sun passes over YOHO from left to right..
A fasinating day adventure kayaking a path seldom travelled.
Well done ‘Paddling South’ : ….Prof. Rodney Hubert B.
Thank you professor. It was a good of you to take time out of your busy schedule to examine the mystery of Yoho Beach. Your “left brain” dominance was invaluable.
A very fascinating read Ian-although at one point after reading about space ships/left vortex/left footwear/left winds etc I wondered if you had hit the Sherry too much!
Now Leigh, I know I’m a little left of centre, but would I ever steer you in the wrong direction. By the way, Sherry is fine liqueur but I find my best work is planned with a gutsy glass of red wine.Shiraz or Sangiovese preferred.