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.

 

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

 

 

 

 

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