Sunday, June 26, 2011

Manta Ray Bay and Humpback Whales

This day began where the land and sea met in unusually calm conditions.

With a light breath of wind out of the west, a tide approaching its lowest point, an almost non-existent swell lapping at the base of the cliffs, crystal clear water and full sunshine - this beautiful day was, perhaps, a one-in-two-hundred-day event.

Perfect conditions for approaching an indent at the base of the tallest section of cliffs along this southern shore of Sydney. A place that we have paddled past on many occassions without the remotest possibility of landing - until today.

We snorkelled through this rarely visited bay, amongst its submerged boulders, along the fissure lines of its fractured base and into its beautiful and sun-light deprived sea cave.
Lunch was procurred from its underwater walls.
Mature Eastern Blue Gropers, octopus, abalone, coral structures, evidence of crayfish and one very large Manta Ray (hence the name) were seen.

After an hour's underwater exploration we emerged to see the distinctive spray of Humpback whales making their northerly passage.
We threw our kayaks back into the Tasman and set off after them. There appeared to be a few pods travelling with about 6 to 8 whales in total.

As one pair wandered towards North Head they put on a performance that escaped our cameras but will remain vivid for a long time in our memories ... 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The source

Some journeys are measurable and documented in terms of distance or duration.
Other journeys are immeasurable - their special qualities elusive and unrecordable ...

Entering the cool and dark upper tributaries of Middle Harbour.

Occassionally the trail of water disappears into the surrounding darkness and it is only the path of sky that describes the way ahead.

Landscape and paddler in reflection.

Portage ...

... into freshwater.

Ice cube toes.

Ripples of light

The morning's journey concludes amongst a woven and flooded forest.