The Adventure Playbook

I was lucky enough to come across the Adventures of Clarke Carter some time ago when he dragged wheeled kayaks across a frozen Victoria Island and skied from the North Pole to Canada. He then sailed the Southern Ocean, paddled the Sepik River of Papua New Guinea in a dugout canoe and attempted to row across Bass Strait from the Australian Mainland to Tasmania.

Not bad for a guy still in his twenties and now as well as his job as a film maker he has published an e-book on adventure with the aim of encouraging others to share his love of the outdoors. You can download the free e-book and follow his blog here. For all you kayaking fans out there he has a short section on sea kayak adventure on page 44 and hopefully this will inspire your own trips.

The epic adventure of crossing Bass Strait from the Australian mainland to Tasmania is covered on page 24 and the photos on the page were taken by me on my 3 Bass Strait Kayak Expeditions, so that at least puts me ahead of Clarke in one adventure count !.

Other favourites from my Bass Strait Expeditions can be found here

Cheers
Ian

Dolphin super Pod

Robyn and I have been travelling with Matt and Kathrin for almost a month now, exploring the coastline of South Australia as well as a bit of an “outback” detour to the northern Flinders Ranges. We have seen lots of the wildlife of the area, often having emus wander through camp, kangaroos hop past the tent at night and  all manner of birds screeching at dawn.

Our only encounters with dolphins had been occasional visits by small groups off Pt Lincoln National Park and a large pod of 30 whizzing by near Pt Longnose in Coffin Bay, until Kathrin and Matt decided to go for a walk along the cliffs.( Unfortunately Robyn and I spent the time relaxing and missed all the fun.)

A Super Pod of Dolphins had moved into the bay, numbering well over 100 in one end of the bay. They were surfing and jumping waves and generally having fun. Matt and Kathrin only had a small “point and shoot” camera with them so the footage is a little shaky but certainly worth viewing in full screen mode and 360/480.

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The Second Valley- kayak Second Valley to Rapid Heads

I don’t actually remember the first time I paddled into the Second Valley. It must have been in the very late 1970’s as I have found photos of our expeditions further south at Cape Jervis in 1984. Luckily “ The Valley” viewed from the sea has  changed  little in that time. Ron Blum, long time resident of the township, published  “The history of Second Valley” in 1985 and I remember kayaking with him around that time. We both went on to paddle kayak marathons together especially the Murray 400km and Murray 200km races. Ron is still active in the Marathon Canoe Club  and a link to his achievements is here. (I was the club’s first secretary)

I have been asked several times recently about paddling the area, so it was here that I decided to start a month or so of paddling along the coastline of South Australia, hoping for some interesting photos. Second Valley on the Fleurieu Peninsula is 100km south of Adelaide, the State’s capital, and has become a regular haunt for sea kayakers and scuba divers.

Scene-near-Rapid-Bay-George-French-Angas-1847.jpgThe image above was by George French Angas in 1847 depicting local Aborigines fishing at Second Valley. Not a lot has changed as you can stand at the small jetty and easily see the features from the painting.

Our idea was to launch at Second Valley, paddle along the rugged coastline, past Rapid Bay and onto Rapid Heads where we often found New Zealand Fur Seals, Sea Lions and Dolphins.  The small beach is an easy launching spot although it can be crowded with locals cooling their heels on a hot summers day. We set off around 9am to miss the predicted scorching 43 degree heat of the day and also avoided any crowds. We call any more than 3 people a crowd !!!

Ready to launch at Second Valley beach

Ready to launch at Second Valley beach

The last of the fishing village heritage disappeared with the removal of the tumble down boat sheds from the headland in 2009, however you can still see some of the foundations and the old launching winch.

Robyn passes the remains of the old fishing sheds and launching winch

Robyn passes the remains of the old fishing sheds and launching winch

After rounding the rocks on the outer of the bay you get a view of what’s to come.  You can see Rapid Bay just a couple of kilometres away with Rapid Headland in the distance. Few people venture far around the coast so often you will have the place to yourself as we did.

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Heading towards Rapid Heads

Heading towards Rapid Heads

Not far along you come to the Second Valley sea cave. Its not huge but just big enough to get a couple of sea kayaks in there. At one time we had 6 kayaks in at once but it was very squeezy. Robyn waited at the entrance as I explored the cave, taking a couple of minutes for my eyes to adjust to the darkness. The cave entrance is easy to navigate however care should be taken when there is a SW swell evident.

Taking in the view along the rugged coastline

Taking in the view along the rugged coastline

Once in the cave it was easy to turn around and find Robyn taking a photo at the entrance.

Paddling out of the cave I found Robyn taking photos

Paddling out of the cave I found Robyn taking photos

Further on there are other small grottos to explore and lots of spectacular rock formations…….

Paddling along the ancient coastline

Paddling along the ancient coastline

 

Another fissure to explore

Another fissure to explore

 

Ian exploring one of the small grottos in the cliff

Ian exploring one of the small grottos in the cliff

…..and a couple of secluded beaches which we would visit later for a relaxing swim.

One of the many small secluded beaches

One of the many small secluded beaches

Further on you can make out the Rapid Bay jetties. The larger structure was used as a loading wharf when BHP was mining in this area. The jetty has now fallen into disrepair but is a haven for fish life. A smaller jetty was built near it for recreational fisherman and scuba divers.

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The structure also makes for some interesting photos.

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Looking towards Second Valley

Looking towards Second Valley

After passing Rapid Heads, where there is often a confused sea around the bommies, we found the seals playground. Today there were only a few New Zealand Fur Seals lolling about, but often there are also Australian Sea Lions in residence. The Pied Cormorants seems always to be here in reasonable numbers and the trick is not to disturb them lest they decide to take off in a hurry, necessitating the empyting of their bowels. Not a pretty site splatting across the deck of your kayak, or you (always wear a hat !!).

Pied Cormorants, commonly called Shags all ready for take-off

Pied Cormorants, commonly called Shags all ready for take-off

We met up with all the usual suspects. NZ fur seals bobbing around the bow of the kayak and dolphins speeding past on their way south.

Suddenly there was a set of whiskers on my bow

Suddenly there was a set of whiskers on my bow

 

Robyn is visited by an inquisitive seal

Robyn is visited by an inquisitive seal

Second Valley and Rapid Bay areas offer lots to the sea kayaker and the whole day trip is only 12 km or so, allowing plenty of time to explore or have a relaxing lunch on one of the secluded beaches.

Seascapes and Sculptures

I’ve always been fascinated by seascapes and visiting new areas has been a great part of my enjoyment of sea kayaking. The Great Australian Bight certainly gives plenty to appreciate and here is just a small taste.

Clear calm waters along the Bunda Cliffs

Clear calm waters along the Bunda Cliffs

Granite islands

Granite islands

Granite outcrops

Granite outcrops

Often the elements sculpt the landscape into interesting shapes. Murphy’s Haystacks look like old time haystacks and the nearby granite is sculpted into various wave shapes.

Murphy's haystacks

Murphy’s haystacks

Stone wave formations

Stone wave formations

Weathered Insulbergs of granite

Weathered Insulbergs of granite

Other places have ever changing natural sculptures.

Shaped by the wind

Shaped by the wind

And sometimes you come across man-made sculptures that seem to blend into the environment

Salmon Pole

Salmon Pole

"She" with Top Gallant and Flinders Island on horizon

“She” with Top Gallant and Flinders Island on horizon

Sea Lion

Sea Lion

Left behind at the beach

Left behind at the beach

Gone surfing

Gone surfing

Fish Heads

Fish Heads

The Four Heads

The Four Heads

And sometimes man leaves things to slowly blend into the landscape.

Old dray cart

Old dray cart

Harvesters from the past

Harvesters from the past

Not every old piece of equipment is in decay.  We met Wes Davies who organised a classic car run from Perth to Sydney via the scenic route. Wes was a sheep buyer in this area in his younger days and now as a publisher and classic car fanatic in New Zealand, he shows others the beauty of the area in a truly classic way. I’ve always thought that certain cars from the 1950’s and 60’s had sculptured lines and a beauty of their own.

Perth to Sydney Vintage Car Rally.

Perth to Sydney Vintage Car Rally.

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Dolphins and sea lions

On the road again, this time with Matt and Kathrin who are visiting from Germany. Loaded with 2 double sea kayaks we travelled towards the west coast of South Australia in temperatures above 40 degrees C.

The  trip plan was to spend time in remote locations, paddle the coastline, swim with dolphins and sea lions, see lots of Australia’s wildlife and enjoy a few red wines along the way.Bus stop

Passing through Kimba, know as the town “halfway across Australia” or “middle of nowhere” you just have to have a photo taken in front of the “Big Gala”.Huge flocks of these noisy birds are common in this area.

Big Gala

After two days travelling, we set up camp and Matt and Kathrin enjoyed a relaxing 18km paddle in a shallow protected bay, to check out their borrowed kayak..

Launchig BB.

Next day was Dolphin Day when we swam with a large pod of dolphins and then spent time frolicking with Sea Lions. It sounds easy to film a pod of wild dolphins but the reality was far from that. They were in turbid water and were either going too fast to film or too close to get anything more than a fin in the frame. Still it was a fantastic experience to swim with the wild pod, Although the visibility wasn’t the best we managed to get some photos and video.

The sea lions of course were much easier to film as they played with us however only a few of them seemed interested in our games.