Sunday, May 24, 2009


Kayaking was not always the recreational activity of the middle-class / middle-aged.

The origins of kayaks are as efficient hunting tools, necessary for the survival of the tribe ...

Masautsiaq Eipe sits in his kayak.
He puts on his mittens before paddling off to hunt.
(Qaanaaq. NW Greenland)

Several Inuit hunters in kayaks return to shore in a line, towing a Narwhal they have harpooned.
(Qaanaaq. NW Greenland.)

Inuit in a kayak with a Beluga white whale he has harpooned.
(Inglefield Bredening. NW Greenland)

Inuit Hunters butchering a Narwhal at the floe edge.
It was harpooned from a kayak.
(Qaanaaq. NW Greenland.)

Inuit Hunters having a break after butchering a Narwhal on the sea ice.
(Qaanaaq. NWGreenland.) Above images from Arctic Photo

Don't try this at home.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mid-autumn passage to Shelly Beach

Sailing down the harbour and into the dawn.

Peter paddling northwards as the sun clears the eastern horizon.

Derek paddling into the face of a wave as it wraps around the Bower .
Under the surface Tim spots a spectacular cuttlefish ...

While observing this beautiful and apparently intelligent creature in its natural habitat one part of the consumptive mind wonders what it would taste like when pan-fried in olive oil and garlic.

A remarkable inhabitant of the city's edge.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Indigenous wanderings Part 1

A beautiful autumn morning was spent exploring sandstone ledges, above and below the water ...

Tucked away beneath the cantilevering ledge of a bush cave it was not that surprising to find an aboriginal midden - brimming with the shells of mussels, oysters and large abalone. It is easy to imagine indigenous families sheltering here and feasting on shellfish gathered at the harbour's edge.
A quick snorkel along the underwater ledges was highlighted by finding two Cowrie shells - in this instance, relatively large examples of this species for Sydney Harbour. This type of shell was prized by indigenous peoples all around the Pacific for its ornamental qualities and often incorporated in decorative necklaces and as adornments to some tools. Perhaps somewhere in the Sydney bush, tucked beneath a ledge, there lies an Eora necklace or someother relic of indigneous existence.

Indigenous wanderings Part 2

With the morning evolving into a beautiful afternoon, a second short passage over the harbour was undertaken and, by reference to an old photograph, the aim was to locate and observe indigenous rock carvings at a small beach ...

Shovels and a bucket are uncommon additions to this afternoon's kayaking apparel.

The photograph above (taken in the 1940's) shows the carvings that are to be found on a tessellated rock platform beneath a bed of sand on a beach - that shall remain nameless here to preserve its further rude intrusion by people just like us.

Excavating trenches across the beach to locate the carvings ...

... concludes many blisters later without the carvings being found, but with their location perhaps narrowed to a smaller area that can be excavated on another occasion.
Behind "Carving Beach" is the swollen hump of another large midden. Here a couple of oyster shells from the top surface of the midden are shown - representative of the last meals that the indigenous inhabitants of Sydney Harbour ate before being swept away by a tide of disease and dispossession.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Autumn afternoon

With a small window of opportunity in the afternoon a quick trip was taken to Bradleys Head to snorkel over the sea garden ...

... where many small tropical fish are enjoying the autumn conditions.

Curious inscription on a sandstone shelf.

Nature's coda.

Local lichens.
The approach of an afternoon thunderstorm.

With a vortex.

And a spectacular rainbow spanning from Shark Island to Felix Bay.