Monday, November 26, 2012

Paddling in Westernport

Photos from some recent paddling in Westernport: a trip to Cowes and an overnighter to Stockyard.

Friday, May 25, 2012

A trip around Flinders Island

Pictures from a trip in the Furneaux Island group, including a circumnavigation of Flinders Island, March 2012. 

Slightly out of order. 

We went from Little Musselroe to Clarke Island to Cape Barren then around the East Coast then West Coast of Flinders before return to Little Musselroe.

Rather angry Cape Barren Geese greeted us at Babel Island
The only clear space we could find on Babel Island

Clarke Island

Approaching Chappel Island

Exploring Clark Island

Near Chalky Island, looking towards the Flinders Peaks

Campsite on Foochow Beach on the East Coast of Flinders

Rounding the point on the way into land at Trousers Point

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The Northern end of Flinders Island, looking towards Inner Sister Island

Mount Chappell, Chappell Island

Friday, August 12, 2011

Burning calories

The tone of my last post may have led my readers to expect less of a hiatus between posts. A few things have kept me away from my boat. The most interesting was a trip to Malaysia - a wonderful place. I must admit that my primary reason for travelling there was the food - and I was not disappointed - but I loved the atmosphere, people and diversity. Undoubtedly food was my primary pleasure in Malaysia. Which leads me back to paddling. On my return, apart from my continuing enthusiasm for paddling the briny, I felt I needed to burn some calories. So I joined the West Coasters for the usual Sunday paddle from Torquay with Tina, John, Russell, Roger D, Dave and Tony.

After some dire predictions early in the week, the weather turned out perfectly. We found ourselves in the centre of a low pressure system, meaning very little wind. There was not too much swell - but some larger sets amongst them.

It was a nice opportunity to drop my grip from the paddle and get some photos of the cliffs we paddle along near Torquay.  Including a view of some enviably situated dwellings.

The surfing spots we passed on our way to Red Rock seemed a little quiet.
But there was enough swell to get the reefs working.

The weather gave me an opportunity to get a little closer to shore.

Yet by the time we had to land, it seemed (at least to me) that were some sizeable sets coming through. The beach at Red Rock appeared a little steeper than normal, and it was a little hard to judge the waves because they formed so close to the beach. But I let one wave pass under me close to shore and paddled in hard a little behind it, all working to plan.

Launching after lunch, things did not go so smoothly. I launched next to Tina and tried to get off the sand at the same time. Unfortunately, I was a little slow and watched a steep one form in front of me as I paddled hard to get over it. I was a little slow, and the wave was just beginning to break over me as I crested it. It knocked a bit out of me and my brace, and then my roll, failed. I had a short swim back to shore. After a little more floundering on shore, I made it out.

On the way back, Roger, a little further ahead and closer to shore, got picked off.

On the return through Point Danger, I hesitated whilst looking behind at one wave and then failed to brace. All part of the learning process. And hopefully the swimming resulted in a few more calories burned...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Paddling in winter

Acting on my resolve to paddle throughout the colder months, on Sunday I went for my first ocean paddle of the winter. I joined Tina, John, Dave, Roger and Greg for a West Coast trip.

John, Dave and Greg heading to sea

The forecast was for inshore winds in the region of 17 knots dropping later in the day to below 10 knots.
Choppy wind waves off Ocean Grove

We launched on the Barwon River and headed for Point Lonsdale.

There was around a metre swell running, with the gusty wind creating a little chop over the top and providing a bit of a tail wind on the way there.

Wind over waves

By the time we got within sight of Point Lonsdale, the wind had dropped off

Point Lonsdale is just inside Port Phillip Heads. The Heads of course is a notoriously dangerous stretch of water for boats, but there is a gap in the reef off Point Lonsdale which permits a relatively smooth entrance in all but the biggest seas. On this occasion, the passage was fairly smooth, but with some gratifying turbulence and white water on the seaward side.
A smooth passage through the Heads

Tina appeared to choose a less smooth path through the Heads

Our lunch spot on rocks near the pier was nicer for the absence of people.

Landing for lunch - Point Neapean in the background

On the way back I dropped behind to venture a little closer to shore, allowing Tina and Dave to take the lead and enjoy the illusion of superior fitness.
Dave behaving very sensibly in a boat borrowed from Tina

I had a characteristic moment of un-coordination while playing in a small break at the mouth of the river on the way back and found myself upside down on an embarrassingly small wave. I didn’t think of much at the time but the need to roll up, and I managed it. But afterwards I reflected on just how little difference there is between a capsize in the warm waters of summer, and the frigid waters of winter. With all my practise falling in, there was no more than the usual sense of disappointment at having failed to brace effectively, then the concentration on trying to roll up again, with no mental energy to consider the rude shock of the cold water.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Glassy seas

It was a pleasure to resume Sunday paddling in Torquay this weekend.

The weather was perfect, with winds under 10 knots.

We launched at Fisho's a little earlier than usual.
Launching at Fisherman's Beach
On the way, John found some waves to surf at the reef break at Point Danger. I stayed out, but took some photos. Unfortunately, the flat light and distance caused the camera to struggle, as can be seen from this photo. This might have been the 'decisive moment' that photographers talk about, but marred by lack of focus. Even in this fuzzy form, it gives a sense of the dynamics and scale of the wave.
Take off - but sadly out of focus

And I got these photos as well. I am not sure that they are all from the same run, but they could be.

John makes it look easy.

There were many surfers out enjoying the clean swells, including at Bells Beach.

Heading back from Point Addis
We landed at Point Addis for an early lunch.

On past trips, we have always headed past Point Addis to Red Rock - which would have been more exposed this day.

On the trip back, we went inside Jarosite reef. It was exciting to watch the waves pick up, then expend themselves on the reef before passing calmly in the deep water under the boat.