What lurks below ?

It’s cold morning on the beach. NO; that’s a lie. It’s a freezing morning on the beach. After a night of crystal clear skies, there’s no wind and the sea is mirror smooth. It’s so cold even the sand feels stiff and frozen.

I’m not normally found paddling around areas at the northern reaches of Spencer Gulf but these are not normal times. The cold fronts have been pushing across southern Australia bringing big seas to the Southern Ocean so I have moved inland a few hundred kilometres. South Australians have been let off the COVID leash, with no infections for around 2 weeks, we are allowed to travel intrastate.

Healthy mangrove forests along the coast

Sometimes you can pull up at a nice lunch spot on the edge of the mangroves and find that after sandwiches and coffee you have a problem. In nautical terms it’s said to be “aground”. A bit of pushing and shoving gets you back on the ocean.

Aground !!!

The water is cold and clear as you glide along alone. It’s these times that I sometimes wonder “What lurks below ?”. I often see dolphins, fur seals and sea lions as well as several species of water diving cormorants, but today I’m sure of seeing the Australian Giant Cuttlefish. I come in close to shore at the prearranged place so that Robyn can get some photos.

Now being our group photographer, she has not only has to be a fair paddler but also ready to make sacrifices to get good shots. Into the freezing water she goes looking for photo opportunities.

Freezing cold water is no barrier

Here’s a slide show of the congregation of Australian Giant Cuttlefish as they come into the cold, shallow waters of Pt Lowly to mate. They grow up to 60 cm weighing around 5kg. and have the ability to change colour and texture to camoflague themselves.

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Unfortunately we are not travelling with Gavin, our group Sommelier, which limited our choice of wine,  but I was able to temp her with a decent Pinot Noir as reward for her work.

Luckily we didn’t come across anything more sinister than Giant Cuttlefish which more than can be said for well known S.A. paddler Mike Dunn. You can see his “encounter” in the video below.

Stay safe. Social distance and wash your hands.
Ian and Robyn

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