A Fickle Wind

I awoke before dawn and felt the wind on my face. The forecast last night had been reasonable for a solo kayak excursion with a 10 knot breeze predicted in the morning. Standing on the cliff it felt strange indeed with wind seeming to shift and swirl and certainly well above 10 knots. Maybe it would ease at dawn as it often does along this coast. Indeed a fickle wind.

The lighthouse on Troubridge Hill was still beaming seaward and stars were still visible in the sky as I made my way to the launch site.

Troubridge Hill Lighthouse beaming seaward from the hill

As the sun rose I had a better idea of the conditions from my protected bay, with the wind gusting to 15 knots close inshore. The binoculars showed confused conditions further offshore with standing waves tossing about on the Troubridge Shoal which I needed to traverse if I was to visit Troubridge Island and its’ heritage lighthouse.

I consulted with a local and it seemed not likely to ease any time soon and suggested I find a sheltered spot to enjoy the day .

Getting local knowledge can be hard at times

Paddling solo is always full of challenges especially when my route was 8km offshore traversing the Troubridge Shoal which had been the site of so many shipwrecks and groundings. I sat and waited for a while hoping to see some improvement in the conditions but there was none.

Safety first. Decision made. NO offshore paddling today. I thought about my alternatives; I could do some snorkelling and photography under the Edithburgh Jetty……

I might even meet a mermaid

..or I could hit the beaches on the Fatbike or paddle along the more protected section of the coast, staying well inshore. The Paddle idea won out so I put on the coffee and relaxed a while.

I launched at the Edithburgh marina finding that I was the only vessel heading out today. The plan was to head north towards Wool Bay visiting Coobowie along the way and depending on the wind paddle back or be collected by Robyn.

I was soon out into a 12-15 knot tailwind which sent me rocketing along the coast past the Sea Swimmimg Pool which had a population at this time of day of one.

Robyn and I had visited the pool the previous night when conditions had been calm and the temperature warmer.

The Pool at night was a nice place to relax.

The marina was also calm last night with the moon reflecting on the water.

The marina bathed in moonlight the previous night

I was soon gliding along enjoying the exercise in company with a local dolphin pod. Unfortunately they were camera shy because as soon as I stopped paddling and grabbed the camera they shot off underwater.

The waters close inshore can be shallow with jagged limestone outcrops to keep you on your toes but overall I had quite an easy down wind paddle towards the oyster beds at Coobowie. I weaved in and around them enjoying the clear water.

Oyster bed structures

Gliding along in clear water made for easy fish spotting

I spotted a variety of fish as well as stingrays in the shallows and an interesting “foul ground” marker.

The float is an aluminium beer keg. Hope they emptied it first.

I ventured further along the coast before turning for home and into a headwind. The return trip was quite uneventful as I stayed in close inshore and out of the worst of the headwind. Returning to Edithburgh I paddled under the jetty noting the damage done by recent storms.

The stairs are closed and held together with chains and strong ropes.

I landed quietly in the marina being the only person to be seen.

My solo paddle to Troubridge Island and it’s historical Lighthouse will have to wait until another day.

Happy Paddling
Ian Pope

Picnic Island – kayaking day trip

The spring weather has come at last and we seized a few days away to do some day paddles along the coast of Yorke Peninsula. The usual suspects were rounded up and we met at Edithburgh, a town that we have visited before. Our previous trip are here  and here

Edithburgh was a busy port in the past but now it’s more a place for relaxation and fishing from the jetty.

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Over dinner, talk somehow touched on the question of “what food would you take to a deserted island”. Everyone came up with their ideas and the nearest deserted island was easily located a cruisey 9km offshore.

Next morning we set off to our picnic on deserted Troubridge Island, a low sandy island and lighthouse.

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We were loaded with our picnic fare of Adelaide hills blue cheese, wafer crackers, McLaren Vale kalamata olives, garlic fetta, local crusty bread, hommos with caramelised onions, Paris Creek camembert and of course strawberry jam sandwiches for Michael.

Our arrival was greeted by a number of black swans gliding in the shallows.

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The shallow waters surrounding the sandy island were crystal clear and we could see crabs scurrying about.

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Michael decided to investigate the shallows

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While Robyn dragged the Passat G3 double kayak ashore (Ian was busy taking photos)

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The low tide and recent storms have uncovered some of the old wharf.

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The kayaks were stranded on the sandbar as the tide ebbed away.

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Our picnic lunch was had in bright sunshine sitting on the base of the lighthouse, waiting for the flood tide to lift our kayaks off the sandbar.

As is the custom we always enjoy the food and  wine of south Australia, this time choosing a superb bottle of Etruscan from Koltz Wines at Blewett Springs. We decided the wine wouldn’t travel well in the hatch of a hot kayak, so we decanted it ready for the nights’ barbecue.  (the bottle in the photo was a nice touch !!)  See our wine review at the bottom of the page.

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The next few days were spent doing day trips along the coast around Troubridge Hill aquatic reserve

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and landing on deserted beaches

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Our Wine of the Week

2011 Koltz Etruscan     $25 per bottle.
Chosen by Ian after recently catching up with winemaker Mark Day and visiting the winery.  This wine is a  distinctive blending of varieties that we were eager to sample. Check out the winery here

The 2011 Etruscan is 80% Sangiovese , 10% Sagrantino and 10% Shiraz, grown in vineyards  in Blewitt Springs and  McLaren Vale. It is fermented in 1 tonne open fermenters and the majority of the wine undergoes extended maceration for up to 35 days. Then basket pressed and transferred to French oak barrels.

The Etruscan smells of red berry fruits and the Sangiovese is dominant on the palate. A great wine to drink with food and highly recommended by our tasters. – ” definitely value for money against many other wines of the region”

Edithburgh : paddling the old wheat ports

On the road again. Kayaks, mountain bikes and other toys.

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Six of us met in Edithburgh for kayaking and bike riding. We managed a couple of paddles along the coast and offshore but the wind and catastrophic fire danger alert kept our mountain bike riding to the main tracks. The town of Pt. Lincoln was threatened by a bushfire and 50km away fires burnt towards the coastal town of Ardrossan. A week later and the Pt. Lincoln fire is still burning within containment lines.

Edithburgh on the Yorke Peninsula coast. A main street, jetty, 2 hotels, a couple of cafes and a wind farm.

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The Wind farm

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Old and New. Abandoned farmhouse with old windmill and the Wind farm in the distance.

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Glenn and Kathy decided to visit Troubridge Island 8 km offshore.
They landed at low tide.

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The sea is held back from the Lighthouse but only just.

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Kathy explored the walkway behind the Lighthouse.

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Meanwhile, Gavin and Ian explored the coastline between Edithburgh and Wool Bay 12km to the north.

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Past the Jetty and on to the Tidal swimming Pool. Deserted even on this hot day. I remember swimming here when I was about 10 years old and nothing much has changed.

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Following the coastline on a flooding tide we passed the oyster beds at Coobowie.

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Rounding the point we could see the wheat silos at Port Giles.The silos are full and waiting for the grain ships to arrive.

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A coastline of limestone cliffs, small caves and beaches that are only accessible at high tide.

Pulling into Wool Bay we see the old Lime burning kiln near the jetty.

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Best thing to do on a hot day – relax in the deserted swimming pool.

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Edithburgh- paddle out to Troubridge Island

Had a great weekend at Edithburgh on the Yorke Peninsula. Stayed at the local caravan park and paddled out to Troubridge Island on the Saturday morning. What is it about headwinds and me ?. Paddled out there into a headwind and it then changed direction 180 degrees and strengthened on the way back.
The island, or what’s left after the shifting sands, is really now a tiny conservation park for birds. The lighthouse, now disused, and cottage is available as a “weekend stay”, with the operator taking people out on his boat.
We landed checked it out (with permission from National Parks ranger) and took a few photos. Unfortunately our resident photographer, Donna, wasnt with us on this trip so we had to rely on our own ability. Me with waterproof Lumix, Gavin with a new camera and constantly stating “I wonder what this button does”, Mal B for a couple of wide-angle shots. Still we’re paddlers not photographers – luckily.

I’m doing the usual youtube and vimeo stuff so if the link is below, it’s up and running.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngavgUbGXCc