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.