The Streaky Bay

The water was glassy calm. That sort of calm that makes the horizon hard to distinguish and gives you a strange feeling of imbalance. The only sound was that of birds passing overhead and the swish of the paddle as we glided along the coastline, cutting through the crystal clear water.

We found our way through the reefy shallows to a quiet beach to stretch our legs and observe the local bird life.

We then headed along the coast towards the entrance to the bay, investigating oyster beds and having a conversation with the local Black Faced Cormorants.

Pointing seaward we sensed an approaching weather change. There was no change in the water conditions but there was a warning in the sky.

Many, many years ago I was told by Peter Carter, a Senior Sea Kayak Instructor, to look up and observe the sky where you will find many answers to the weather. Peter has been around for a long time, some say since the Jurassic Period, and certainly he knows his weather patterns for Southern Australia.

The first indicator of an impending change was in the sky. Streaky Cirrus clouds fanning out across the horizon.

With Peter’s good advice in mind we headed to a safe shore and explored the ocean side of Streaky Bay on foot.

The ocean side is spectacular, rugged and unforgiving.

The wind was increasing but there were still some reasonable waves for the local surfers.

I saw a sign that said “Pearly Gates” 1 km ahead, but I’m not sure if these are the ones.

 Streaky Bay is said to be “Heaven” for surfers and Sea kayakers and for Carcharadon carcharias. (Great White Shark)

 As I write this the wind is registering over 30knots and increasing. Looks like it will be quite a night in this gale.  Cheers Ian Pope.

P.S. I should give Peter Carter his correct title.
Peter Carter BA, BEd, Dip Ed, MACS (Snr), OAM. The last one is the Medal of the Order of Australia received for “services to Canoeing”. Also, a long list of canoe and kayak instructor awards and Life Memberships should be noted. Plus he’s one the few sea kayakers that are older than me. 😊

Catch up with friends

The sun broke through the early morning mist revealing a beautiful blue sky. The sun on my back feels great as I paddle northwards to catch up with some friends on the water. I’m almost tempted to stow away my woollen beanie and neoprene gloves. Hell, the temperature must have soared to at least 4°C.

COVID restrictions have been further eased in South Australia and it was great to catch up with a few old friends. The 45 minute paddle to the meetup place was perfect, with a light wind chop making the bow rise and fall on the small troughs. I was feeling great being out on the water on such a morning and the beauty of the coastline was an added bonus.

The sun reaches over the cliffs and lights up the rock pillars

I approached a rocky headland expecting to see my friends waiting but the horizon was empty. Still no sign of them as I drifted towards the rocks. Then they all jumped out in front of me. SURPRISE !!!!.. They swam around my kayak with big grins on their faces, duck diving and splashing about in the cold clear water.

It’s so good to be back on the water and with friends it’s so much better. After a playful catchup it was off along the coast again. They shouted a reminder, “bring pizza next time; we’re getting sick of sushi”.

The morning sun was lighting up the ocean capturing fellow paddler Steve in its rays.

Sparkling rays as the sun clears the cliffs

We paddled in close to some of the reefs that were exposed at the low tide and checked out the rocky coastline.

Another great morning and happy to be alive.

CS Canoe MySun kayak. My favourite Italian ride

Stay Safe. Social distance. Wash your hands :)-

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)