Saturday, September 27, 2008

Spring paddle to Spring Canyon

All this week in the minutes before dawn the harbour's surface has been like liquid mercury.

A sea eagle riding the morning's first air current as it disturbs the harbour's surface and lifts over the cliffs.

Peter and Luke paddling towards North Head.

For a few prescious moments before true dawn the cliffs are illuminated from an angle just below the horizontal and the underside of the rock ledges are exposed to direct sunlight, casting their shadows just slightly upwards. With the relentless rotation of the earth this magical moment slips past in seconds and is then gone for another day.

Peter paddling into Salmon Cove as the cliffs dissolve from russetty red to pale yellow.

Peter preparing to ride a small wave onto the rock platform ...

... at the base of Spring Canyon.

Scrambling up through the quarry-like gap that forms the canyon.

The two darker zones of sea surface in the middle distance are eruptions of Salmon chasing bait fish which are in turn being circled and plundered by hordes of sea gulls.

A small water spring is filtering through the canyon, supporting colonies of mosses and ferns.

A striking orange-coloured lichen thriving on the north-east facing rock surfaces and within a horizontal band of about two metres above the high tide level.

A large rock pool colonised by Cray Weed.

Peter paddling off the rock platform ...

... and around to Shelly Beach where Peter's wife Diana met us for a snorkel through the bay.
The water visibility was not great (due to the turbulence from breaking waves perhaps). We saw two medium-sized Gropers, a Parrot Fish, a single Flat Head and a couple of rays.

Peter and Luke paddling back around North Head to the Harbour.

An interesting little cove and series of cantilevering rock shelves just inside the Heads that we will explore another day.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Island hopping ~ Part II

On the water early this morning to complete the eastern harbour island hopping initiated earlier this week ...

A bluey-black harbour-scape at 5.00am.

Phosphorescence on the harbour's surface - a sure sign of the water temperature rising.

As you can see from the on-board thermo-sensor below ...

Clarke Island off to the port side.

Pinchgut / Fort Denison.

The harbour's surface like mercury.

The sun climbing over Vaucluse ...

... and striking perhaps the most beautiful building of the 20th Century.

Sydney Rock Oysters hanging onto the skirt of the Opera House.

Paddling homewards at 6.15am.

Where is everybody else ?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Eastern Horizon from 1000m

This photo captures 10 of the 11 islands in Sydney Harbour.
Moving from the far distance forwards (Eora names in brackets) :
1. Bottle and Glass Island. (Mor-ing)
2. Shark Island. (Boambilly)
3. Clarke Island. (Billong-ololah)
4. Garden Island. (Ba-ing-hoe)
5. Pinchgut / Fort Denison (Mat-te-wan-ye)
6. Goat Island. (Me-mil)
7. Berry Island. (Eora name unknown)
8. Cockatoo Island. (Wa-rea-mah)
9. Spectacle Island. (Gong-ul)
10. Snapper Island. (Ar-ra-re-agon)
and not visible to the right of frame:
11. Rodd Island (Eora name unknown).
There is a nice kayak trip to be had in paddling to all of these islands within one day.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Return to the sea.

A drawing by Clara of her Dadda Tony pondering when he will be able to return to the sea on his kayak to catch Kingfish for the barbie...

Spring Equinox

An attempt to paddle to all of the significant reefs, rock outcrops and true islands east of the Harbour Bridge before submitting to a day at the desk ...

A half-moon start to the day.

Spring Equinox sunrise over Watson's Bay.

Sow & Pigs Reef.

Wave breaking across Sow & Pigs.

Bottle & Glass Island.

Bottle & Glass Island reflection.

Bill's Quiff.

The Three Brothers.

Little Brother

Big Brother.

Shark Island from the east.

Shark Island from the west.

Clarke Island.

Clarke Island.

Garden Island and Pinchgut were out of reach on this attempt.