Saturday, August 30, 2008

Farewell to Winter

Just after 5am and the sky is beginning to lighten. The specks of light are on fishing boats heading out to sea.

Peter and Luke paddling towards North Head in the pre-dawn light.

(Jules is away exploring the western deserts with his family. Tony is taking a short break to adjust the valves in his diving equipment)

The cliffs of Vaucluse taking on a russety glow.

A sequence of overlapping Heads.

The Pacific gently surging at the rock platforms. This morning's paddling conditions were truely superb.

Luke optimistically trolling a lure on 50lb trace from the kayak. Without success - the pelagic fish seem to have gone elsewehere in search of warmer water.

Peter pausing to study the chasm that dives into Salmon Cove. We'll have to return here another day to explore this area on foot.

A striking zone of prismatic rock strata. Very architectural.

The Pacific was true to its name this morning.

Peter arriving at Deep Cove for an easy rock platform landing in these slight sea conditions.

Our kayaks resting on the shore like a pair of loyal horses.

Peter looking north towards the Central Coast.

And then scrambling through the thick bush to explore the cliffs behind Deep Cove.

There was no evidence that anyone had been here for a very long time. No footprints or rubbish.

Peter looking up at the cliffs towering above and outwards.

Similar to the Oasis this place has a north/east-facing microclimate that supports delicate flora.

In future we may have to consider adding rock climbing ropes to the multitude of other gear that we drag around in our kayaks.

Exploring Deep Cove below the surface.

The sea temperature is just starting to show signs of trending upwards.
Paddling back to the south.
The deep blue skies of winter have already given way to the chalky skies of Spring.

Luke approaching the entrance to Sydney Harbour - the city beyond.

Peter peeling off towards Cannai Rocks.

At South Reef Rob Mercer appeared with one of his kayak students - just another day at the office for Rob.

Bring on Spring!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Late Winter paddle

Sailing down the harbour in the pre-dawn light.

We were through the Heads just after 6am when the Tasman Sea greeted us with 3 metre sets charging out of the south-east.

Tony paddling past the Oasis just after a large set of waves had poured through.

Another set running in towards the cliffs.

Having paddled only as far as Diamond Bay we chose to change course to the north and run with the waves at our backs.
Looking down from the crest of a climbing wave at Tony paddling through its valley. This morning's swell was much larger than is apparent from these photos. An interesting phenomenon with this particular swell was that the period between each wave within a set was very short, yet the wave amplitude was comparatively high and steep.

A wave breaking over the bombora at Pine Gap.

With a final spectacular wave of the Pacific Ocean it's farewell to the last week of the 2008 Winter season.

Click on the images for greater resolution.

And a great season it has been thus far. We've embraced the short days and cold temperatures and paddled extensively along the Sydney coastline, both out at sea and hugging the cliff line. We've had a variety of weather conditions to challenge and delight us - from massive southern ocean swells with strong winds to Mercury-like seas with brilliant clear sunshine. We've enjoyed encounters with whales, dolphins, seals, penguins and albatrosses. We've snorkelled over beautiful sea gardens and amongst schools of curious fish. We've warmed our cold hands around mugs of Peter's hot chocolate far out along the eastern horizon. And always we've marvelled at the beautiful coastline at our doorstep.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Breakfast at the Oasis

Excellent paddling conditions on the harbour this morning.

Dawn at the Heads as Jules and Pete paddle over from Little Manly.

Tony, Pete & Jules.

Jules, Tony & Pete approaching the Oasis

(Luke behind camera).

Jules negotiating his rock shelf landing with Tony assisting. Tony had earlier made a perfect landing by riding a swollen wave onto shore and stepping off with dry toes. Luke and Peter arrived with less elegance and plenty of the Pacific Ocean onboard.

The four kayaks arranged on a rock table.
Tony describes his landing.

The back drop to the Oasis is a magnificent cliff of overlapping sandstone strata.

Tony scrambling up the rocks to collect wood.

Pete getting the fire underway.

Sun rays warming one side ...

... heat from the fire toasting the other side.

Tony in his element.