Sunday, January 18, 2009

Farewell (for now) to Jules

With Julian about to undertake a 100-day trans-continental family road trip from Sydney to Perth, we convened a mid-week meeting at the Lord Nelson to sketch out our paddling plans for the weekend and table some ideas for the years ahead ...

Above: The destination for this weekend sketched out on a beer coaster - Shelly Beach

... and some destinations for the years ahead.

This morning's trip began in the pre-dawn darkness.
Tony and Luke cutting across the glossy black harbour from Point Piper to rendezvous with Jules at Chowder Bay and then out through the Heads.
Julian crossing the harbour's mouth as the sun erupts over the horizon.

Tony scything across the Harbour's glassy surface.

Luke keeping an eye on the eastern horizon.

Slipping along under the monumental strata of North Head ...

... and around to Fairy Bower.

Surfing into Shelly Beach.

Jules performing a roll.

And then into the sea garden we go.

Luke and Tony diving into the clear blue water of Shelly Beach.

A single-flippered Jules and our friend the Eastern Blue Groper study one another.

Jules' journey towards Western Australia begins here.
See ya !!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Kayaking continuum ...

Let's take a quick look at the ancient history of paddling on Sydney Harbour.
These few images sketch out the role that paddle craft served in the indigenous communities which inhabited Sydney Harbour preceeding British settlement.
It's interesting to see that on-board fires were apparently a common feature of the indigenous marine vessel. A nice way to keep the toes warm in winter and handy for cooking up the catch before getting home.

"Canoes were used for travelling around the Harbour and its tributaries as well as out beyond the Harbour heads.
Small bark paddles, called goinnia or narowang were about 60 - 90 cm long and were used to propel the canoes.
The canoes ranged in length from 2.5 - 6 m.
Canoes were an essential part of fishing, particularly for women who sat in them to fish, using hooks and lines.
Men either stood up in the canoes to throw fizz-gigs (spears) or laid across the canoes so they could see into the water.
A small fire was kept alight on a bed of clay or seaweed in the canoes. This kept everyone warm during cold weather and enabled them to cook fish while in the canoe.

No bark canoes from the Sydney region survive.
(Source: Australian Museum)

"The canoes in which they fish are as despicable as their huts, being nothing more than a large piece of bark tied up at both ends with vines. Their dexterous management of them, added to the swiftness with which they paddle and the boldness that leads them several miles in the open sea, are, nevertheless, highly deserving of admiration. A canoe is seldom seen without a fire in it, to dress the fish by as soon as caught." ( Captain Watkin Tench, 1788 )

Kayaking accoutrements.

Today: Tony upholding the fine tradition of paddling on Sydney Harbour.

Punching out through the shorebreak towards the Heads.

This beautiful mackerel with its spotted / opalescent skin was caught by Tony in "boiling" water off North Head.

The weathered faces of Sydney's sandstone cliffs have seen many paddlers come and go.

With the Nor-easter filling in, Tony sets his Polynesian-inspired sail while simultaneously trolling the mackeral for larger game.

" I wonder if I could light a fire on-board ?"