Mid-afternoon snorkel with Rob at Gordons Bay, the last for the year. The day was overcast with drizzle, but not the forecast showers. The water was calm and very warm, supposedly 21 degrees, and quite clear given the messy weather of the past few days.
We swam across the mouth of the bay, from the northern snorkel ramp to the rocky outcrop on the southern tip. I had hoped to get to the bombora but wimped out. I spotted a stingray near the scuba chain-path, but there was no chance of a photo through that much water. Instead, I got a few good ones of a mildly suspicious groper. Loads of fish, including some of the biggest stripey zebra fish I've seen.
Drove back to Sydney from Orange via Penrith, which now looks somewhat like the Parramatta of my childhood. The Nepean has tempted me many times, but the locals seem to prefer to paddle rather than swim in it, so I didn't get in. Anyway, I got back in time for an early evening at an almost entirely deserted Gordons Bay, which was absolutely perfect: clear, calm, warm water, and just a few clouds.
Yet another early-evening paddle at Gordons Bay. Very few people about, far fewer than I would have expected this week. The water was perfect, clear and temperate.
I headed down to Cape Banks with Rob in the mid-afternoon for a snorkel around the rocks. The western side is quite calm as it is sheltered by what some call Pussycat Island. We will have to go back and explore around the wreck of the SS Minmi.
Rob managed to get this photo of what I imagine is a common Sydney octopus, octopus tetricus. The best I could do is get this conference of fish near a rock ledge. The trick seems to be to either get up close and use the flash, or shoot horizontally.
We saw loads of fish, all quite relaxed on what was a strange summer day: cool, overcast, threatening rain. Hard to believe it was 42 degrees in Penrith just a few days ago.
Late-afternoon paddle at Gordons Bay, trusting the prognosis of Beach Watch that the bacteria would not slaughter me. Quite choppy, with a mild on-shore wind.
Early evening swim at Gordons Bay, before the storm forecast by the BOM rolled in. The water was surprisingly cool.
Midday lunch and paddle at Gordons Bay. Loads of people there, reminding me why I go later in the day. Some people were learning to scuba dive off the ramp on the northern side.
Yet another early-evening paddle at Gordons Bay. Calmer than yesterday.
Lonesome early-evening paddle at Gordons Bay. Absolutely no-one in the water apart from some sea gulls, as the day was grey and threatening rain.
Early evening paddle at Gordons Bay. I'd left it so late I thought I'd be dodging the raindrops forecast by the BOM. The waves were large for the bay, making me wonder how Coogee fared today.
Feeling an animal need to get the hell out of Randwick for the day, I scooted down to Cronulla with the aim of snorkelling somewhere along the reefs south of the main beach, or perhaps even making it out to Shark Island. Cronulla itself has not changed since my last visit, sometime around about when the riots took place, and like the last time, the whole area was so flat I couldn't think of it as place to surf.
I found plenty of fish along the reefs just off Shelley Park. The park itself was infested by a bazillion school kids waiting for the term to terminate by honing their cricket, soccer and touch footie skills. I didn't make it out to the island as I couldn't see it once I was in the water, and was plenty satisfied with the coastline.
First foray into the surf for the season. Standard Coogee dumpers. Not many people there for a temperate day. Perhaps the high cloud put them off.
Lunch and an early-afternoon paddle on the northern side of Gordons Bay, from the scuba ramp. I forgot to take the snorkelling gear, much to my chagrin as the water was unbelievably clear.
Lunch and an early-afternoon snorkel at Little Bay. Loads of people. There was a photoshoot, a mermaid on the beach, hopefully not sitting on the blue bottles I found there last time. Saw quite a few fish, even though the surf was larger than usual. Perfect day for it.
Early-evening paddle at Gordons Bay. Perfect all round.
Early-afternoon paddle at Long Bay on this, the first fine day since I got back to Sydney. The beach watch told me the water would be clean, as it indeed was.
It was also my first attempt to use the Olympus μTough 6010 I bought on Monday from Ryda out near mrak's place. Yes, I got the boring dark-grey one. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to find that it takes more skill than I presently have, between the general unsteadiness while snorkelling and the apparently low-light conditions under the water.
It must have been breeding season recently, with loads of little fish hanging around, unsure of what to do.
Mid-morning paddle at Gordons Bay, just as the day was heating up, off the southern rocks. For the first time this season I got in with just my trunks on. Once again the water was very clear, a tad on the cool side and very pleasant.
Lunch and an early-afternoon snorkel from the scuba ramp, north Gordons Bay. Perfect day for it, and the water was pleasant enough to go in wearing just a wife beater (to keep the sun off), and generally quite clear, apart from a lot of macro stuff suspended in it. Saw a groper, loads of smaller fish and a strange crab-like thing. Dang I wish I had a camera. Some blokes were out on their boards, hopeful that the spray from the bombora would amount to something.
Returned to Little Bay with Rob in the early afternoon for an extended repeat of yesterday's snorkel. Visibility was unbelievable, the weather even better, albeit with a fairly stiff northerly (I think). I wore the spring suit again. Loads of fish, and very glad we beat the thunder storm that rolled in in the early evening.
Mid-afternoon snorkel at Little Bay, where construction of ultra-modern Scandinavian-style residences continues apace. Parking is getting tighter. The water was very pleasant and clear, making me feel the spring suit was redundant, apart from keeping the sun and the jellyfish at bay. Lots of fish were out, doing their thing, as where quite a few people on the beach.
Early-afternoon snorkel with Rob at Gordons Bay. Beautiful day for it, quite warm in the sun, and even alright in the wind. The water was quite cloudy and got a bit rough close to the sea. I didn't see much.
Iain had the brilliant idea of going kayaking on the Lane Cove River this afternoon. The weather was perfect, and we (Ellen, Iain and I) timed it quite well, apart from the traffic snarl caused by the Sydney Marathon: I spent about 30 minutes on Wattle St, trying to get onto the Anzac Bridge.
We got our boats from the Sydney Uni boat shed at Black Wattle Bay, as Iain is a member of the canoe club. I plumped for the Volvo 240 of boats, a wide heavy touring kayak, figuring it would be more stable and hence I'd have less chance of capsizing and losing my glasses. Ellen and Iain wisely plumped for smaller, more agile ones. Strapping the three boats to the roof rack on Ellen's car took some time but wasn't too difficult (for Iain).
The paddling itself was quite fun, but I struggled to go straight for any significant distance. I think it had something to do with how I was holding the paddle, and also not judging the angular momentum of the boat too well. The views are excellent, through to the CBD and the Bridge. Of course I fell into the river when trying to get out of the boat, but the glasses stayed on this time.
Mid-afternoon snorkel with Rob along the rocks between Bare Island and Congwong Beach at La Parouse. (Apparently Little Congwong Beach is naturalist, news to me.) This time Rob wore his spring suit, and I went in as kitted up as I could, but was still too cold to really enjoy it. Saw a couple of fish with reasonable visibility.
The BOM forecast a top of 28 degrees for today, so I convinced Rob to come for a snorkel with me. We plumped for Long Bay, as did many others, arriving around 1:30pm. The water was quite clear and not too cold, definitely no worse than our last foray to Watsons Bay. Rob got by with just some trunks and a rashie, but I went in fully suited up, trying to avoid antagonising the cold I caught from Pete R.'s son Jack last weekend. Quite a few fish to see. We headed down to Paris Seafood at La Parouse afterwards, and didn't get lunch until 3:30pm.
In actuality the air temperature only got up to 26 degrees on the coast, and I would believe those who claim the water remains around 18 degrees.
Early-afternoon snorkel with Rob at Watsons Bay. This trip had been delayed for many weeks for a variety of reasons, not the least being the steady rain in May and early June. Yesterday it rained, despite the BOM's promises of fine weather. Today was in fact beautifully clear and still, quite unbelievably so after the past weeks' cold dreariness. The rumour was that the water is quite warm, circa 20 degrees.
As we expected, it being a weekday afternoon and all, the place was pretty much deserted; plenty of space in the council carpark right next to Camp Cove. The water was bearable in a wetsuit, singlet, 1.5mm gloves and boots, after the icecream headache passed. Loads of fish, some young groper and other things I don't know the names of. We made it to Lady Bay Beach where it was business as usual, and walked back to the car in what could've passed for decent autumnal weather.
Midday snorkel with Rob at Little Bay. We had the beach to ourselves, pretty much, and the fish seemed to be enjoying the cooler and quite calm waters. Visibility was excellent and there was plenty to see. The water was quite pleasant in a spring suit, and the day bright and sunny, albeit a bit windy. Surprisingly there was no chill in the wind.
Early afternoon snorkel at Little Bay. Lots of those flats are finished and almost finished now. Went in in the wetsuit, quite pleasant, visibility a bit weird - almost blurry. Blue gropers, zebra fish, a tube-like one, silvery black-striped standards, but not my micro swordfish.
Midday snorkel with Rob at a fairly rough Long Bay. We got in, wearing spring suits, from a little beach a bit further on from the boat ramp on the north side, as the surf was quite rough. Someone dumped a car in the bay, just south of the boat ramp, giving us something to look at for a few minutes. Quite pleasant in, I'd guess around 18 degrees, but quite uncomfortable out (around 14 degrees with a stiff wind and some light rain).
I braved the runoff from the recent rain and went for a mid-afternoon paddle at Gordons Bay. Beautiful day for it, warmish, heading for hot. The water remains temperate. Quite a few people snorkelling.
Early-afternoon snorkel with Rob at Bare Island. We took our time and made it all the way around, but the water was too murky to see much, and we had to swing wide on the ocean side due to the rock fishermen. Quite pleasant once in, in a spring suit at least, and the continuing forecasts of showers, thunderstorms and other rain events still fail to eventuate.
Early-afternoon snorkelling attempt from the northern side of Gordons Bay. Things were going well until I decided to swim across the bay, thinking I'd check out the rocks just north of my usual swimming spot. I ran straight into what seemed to be a flotilla, perhaps even an armada, of blue bottles. Initially I thought I'd gotten snagged in someone's fishing line and cavalierly started bulling the blue threads off my mask and snorkel, until I realised I was surrounded by the pesky little things. Suffice it to say I got stung on the lips, cheek, neck and right inner-forearm. Good thing I was wearing my spring suit or it would've been carnage.
I tried the cold shower then the hot shower, and came away thinking that the hot one reduced the discomfort the most. The bubbling of the skin went away in an hour.
Apart from that the water was very pleasant and I did see a few fish in the few minutes I was in.
Early-afternoon paddle at Putty Beach with Sarah. Flat-as and a bit cold, but plenty secluded. We also drove around Woy Woy a bit but didn't find anything too interesting to look at.
Lengthy mid-afternoon snorkel with Rob at Long Bay. We got in at the relatively young Malabar baths, got past the scads of floating detritus and headed out along the southern side of the bay. I was comfortable in a wife beater, Rob in a rashie and a spring suit. Loads of fish, especially immature blue gropers.
Mid-afternoon snorkel at Long Bay. Absolutely perfect day for it, clear and warm but not hot. The bay was a bit too rough to just float around and see everything, or perhaps the spear fishermen had been working hard. The water temperature was just right, though a bit cloudy.
Mid-afternoon paddle a mildly rough Gordons Bay. Beautiful day for it, apparently only 22 degrees but feeling a lot warmer, even with the wind. Hardly anyone about down at Coogee. The water is finally generally warm enough to be pleasant throughout the bay.
Braved the dumpers at Coogee in the later afternoon. Quite pleasant in, not many fellow beach users about.
Back to Gordons Bay in the early evening for a swim around (half) the bay, starting at the beach. Beautiful, even as the storm clouds rolled in.
Another beautiful late-summer's day in Sydney. I figured I'd try the northern end of Gordons Bay — just south of the Clovelly carpark — and sure enough it turned out to be blue-bottle free. Apparently not too many people were game after yesterday's extreme jellyfish event.
Mid-morning snorkel at Little Bay. A bloody hot day. I wore the spring suit, telling myself it was to keep the sun off, and I did feel a bit silly once in the water as it was quite pleasant. Loads of people, not too many fish. A persistent little silver one, about six centimetres long, stuck with me for about ten minutes right across the bay.