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)

 

 

 

Celebrate the Morning

Celebrate the Morning with a kayak paddle.
This is the view Sir Rodney (our senior paddler) has just before he launches and messes up the reflections.

Sir Rodney’s view of West Lakes at dawn every morning.

Greet the sun with Sir Rodney. Greet the dolphins and seals with Steve and Ian. Enjoy the seascape and Autumn calm waters because soon Winter will be upon us.  The only consolation is that there might be some waves along our local surf haunts as we move into the colder weather.

But in the meantime, here’s a little of our local coastline and friends.

 

The Sea Fog

It was an eerie morning as we wandered on to the beach, along with a few other early risers and dog walkers. The temperature was 28°C at 8am and the sea fog lingered around the headlands as we organised ourselves for a paddle.

An eerie feel to the morning as the sea fog lifts

They have been for a swim and are now ready to chase that ball

Only a few people on the beach

The physiotherapist had told me to take it easy on my injured shoulder (courtesy of a recent mountain bike crash) for the next couple of days. “That’s ok” I replied,” I’m just going for a quiet morning paddle with an old guy I know, so not too much exertion”.

It started out alright but then we both decided that a quiet paddle was a little boring and that a bit of play would be beneficial. Here’s a few photos from our “quiet play” session.

Steve gets belted on the way out and is carried backwards towards the shore.

…and makes a close inspection of the seabed.

Ian plays on a small wave….careful of that shoulder injury

…and bounces around in the choppy waves

Steve starts his famous kayak disappearing act

We don’t have to worry about special training sessions for rough water kayak skills; it’s almost an everyday occurrence for us.

Paddlers Ian and Steve
Photos Robyn

 

Michael versus the Mighty Murray River

Michael Steele, one of our long time paddling partners has always talked about paddling the Murray River. At 2508km it’s Australia’s longest river and flows through 3 Australian states.

It’s been done hundreds, if not thousands of times, in all sorts of craft, from paddle steamers and row boats to canoes and kayaks. Some people have even swum the distance, but Michael is looking for a record performance.

He’s not worried about the fastest time, oldest paddler or any such nonsense. He’s trying to set a meaningful record for someone his age, by recording the most number of Lawn Bowls games played, whilst paddling the River Murray in a kayak. Michael is an avid lawn bowler and intends to “have a roll” on every bowling green he sees.

I have seen photos of Michael climbing a glacier, paddling oceans, walking the Kokoda Track and climbing mountains so Lawn Bowls shouldn’t be a problem.

A kayak, a Lawn Bowler, the mighty Murray River; what could possibly go wrong ?