Early-evening snorkeling attempt at Long Bay, off the southern boat ramp, for the first time in ages. Visibility was horrible. Some blokes where trying to fish from the rocks.
Waking up without too much of a hangover, Pete R. and I had a light breakfast in Avalon and walked down to Bilgola Beach. It seems there is no equivalent to Bondi/Maroubra walkway up there; we were dodging cars along the Serpentine. I avoided the rip this time and just went for a dip in the beautiful and clean rockpool. We hoofed it back to Avalon via Pittwater. It's very pleasant but so very isolated. After that, back to Asquith and then a fairly cruisy drive down to Randwick. Tiring.
I drove Pete R. up to Avalon for the weekend. We caught the ferry from Palm Beach to the Currawong and walked back to the Basin, mostly along firetrails. There is some good backstreet parking around Palm Beach if you're prepared to walk a kilometre or two through some pleasant bushland. Afterwards we drove over to Whale Beach and enjoyed the strong rip, and then headed back to Avalon (to drink Pete's schnapps), then the Newport Arms for fish and chips, and then back to Avalon for more booze.
Early evening snorkel from the beach at Gordons Bay. Loads of people around and pretty bad visibility, perhaps because the sun was hiding behind the clouds. I only saw a big fat wrasse. The search for squid continues.
Sunset paddle at Gordons Bay, off the scuba ramp. Quite nice in out past the rocks, but cool near the shore. I was too lazy to do much of anything.
Evening paddle at Gordons Bay, getting in ahead of a forecast thunderstorm. Quite pleasant in.
Paddle from the southern rocks of Gordons Bay. Beautiful in, but a little ruffled by the wind. Indian for dinner in Coogee afterwards.
Snorkel from the scuba ramp at Gordons Bay. The big blue groper was just nearby. Quite a few stingrays out in the bay. I also saw a large mostly-green groper with a blue head. Still no squid in so long.
Early evening snorkel attempt at Little Bay. Visibility was terrible, with some large (for Little Bay) breakers stirring up a lot of plant matter. There were a lot of juveniles near the rocks next to the beach. Some blokes were attempting to spearfish in the bay itself, which I think was futile.
Setting off from Station Creek, I aimed for a paddle in the Clarence River at Grafton. The helpful bloke at the information centre warned me of some spiny fish in the reedy shallows; I went in off the boat launch at Corcoran Park (yep, next to the sewerage treatment works). The water was quite warm and the current not too bad near the shore; I didn't venture out far.
Pining for the salt water, I headed off to Evans Head for some lunch (fish and chips from a delightful Kiwi lass). A friendly girl at the beach directed me to the surf club where some other people were attempting to swim. I ended up standing around in the waist-high breakers, which were dumping another 10-20 metres out. I don't think that beach is much good for anything unless it's blowing a storm.
Early evening snorkel at Gordons Bay, off the scuba ramp. Not the best visibility ever, and not that warm out.
I met up with Ben at Coogee with the intention of snorkelling at the south end of Coogee beach. We instead headed for the north end due to a "Caution: dangerous currents" sign near the life saving club. Saw lots of the usual suspects, and Ben identified his favourite smooth toadfish for me. There was also a big blue groper hanging around at the end of the rockpool. Beautiful morning for it, with the stormy weather holding off for the entire day.
Late-morning snorkel off the scuba ramp at Gordons Bay. The big blue groper was sitting in about two metres of water, and seemed to think my fins might be some kind of competition. Some huge wrasse and so forth but still no squid. Very pleasant in a wife beater. Not too many people.
Late-afternoon snorkel at Gordons Bay, off the southern rocks. Not the best visibility ever. A small stingray was doing the sand-flapping trick, and some fat wrasse sat in shallow water on the northern side. On the way back in I saw what may have been a small wobbegong — the tail was eel-like and it had a lot of small, short tentacles on its face.
Early-evening snorkel at Gordons Bay. I went a bit too early and got caught up in the traffic on the scuba ramp. Some large ludderick and the usual suspects, and a small stingaree, seemingly too immature to do the sand-flapping trick.
Early (for me) morning trip to Little Bay with Barb, Alex and Alana. Perfect weather for it. I only got in up to my shins, though after the initial shock wore off I got thinking that a swim may have been possible. Summer has come far too early.
Mid-morning snorkel before the rain and cold set in. I saw the blue Blue groper and a large stingray, and loads of the usual suspects.
Late-morning snorkel at Gordons Bay, off the rocks on the southern side. Perfect conditions all round; difficult to believe it is almost winter. I saw just the usual suspects.
Late afternoon snorkel off the ramp at Gordons Bay, just as the sun sank behind the houses on the ridge. The swell wasn't too bad getting in, but I was too lazy to swim against it to get out; far easier just to swim to the beach and walk back. Again, warmer in than out, with my fingers going purple in the Clovelly carpark.
Quick midday paddle at Gordons Bay, off the rocks on the southern side. Water was warm, flat, clear. The wind was not too bad getting out. Warmer in than out.
Early afternoon paddle off the scuba ramp at Gordons Bay. The water was fairly calm, visibility good, and not too cold in a wifebeater. For all that I didn't see much. I got slaughtered by the wind on the trek up to the Clovelly carpark.
Midday snorkel at Little Bay. Perfect Autumn day for it. Some sort of interview was happening just near the staircase. Visibility was good, and the water reasonable apart from the odd cold current that the wife beater did little to abate. I didn't see much beyond some mid-size Ludderick.
Post-lunch snorkelling attempt at Little Bay. I brought two left-boots (for the fins) so I couldn't use those... and then I left my mask with Betty, so paddling around the bay had to do. I'm really unfit after this illness and the rest. The water was quite pleasant and totally flat. I got in with a wife beater but would have been fine without it.
Quick paddle at Little Bay. Being in the water was subjectively warmer than the strong winds that made the ride there and back not so much fun.
I tried going for a paddle off the scuba ramp at the north end of Gordons Bay but as I didn't feel like getting hammered again, I got in off the rocks on the south side of the bay, just like old times. Still pleasant in, in a wife beater, and it wasn't so rough.
Early-afternoon paddle at Little Bay, which proved just how much this flu has knocked me about. Perfect day for it. The water remains warm (enough) and clear. There was a photoshoot on the beach and few other people about.
I attempted to go for a swim off the scuba ramp at Gordons Bay around 5pm, just as the sun was setting over the houses, but didn't last long; the swell was as strong as the BOM said it would be. I got in between sets but then got hammered into the rocks. My bloodied legs earnt me no sympathy from the photoshooters on the headland. The water was otherwise perfect, warm and maybe even clear.
Late afternoon (4:45pm!) snorkel at Little Bay. Visibility was terrible so it degenerated to a paddle around the bay. The Indian summer rolls on when the rain stays away.
Mid-afternoon snorkel at Gordons Bay, the first for several weeks due to the rain. Perfect day for it, and visibility was pretty good. I was a bit crook (with a sore throat) so it wasn't the most comfortable one ever.
Abortive snorkeling attempt with Albert at Little Bay (while Sandy sat on the beach). The water was fine and clear but full of jellyfish with angry-red inner bits that, according to Albert, do sting. (Plausibly Pelagia noctiluca.) Beautiful day for it otherwise.
Late afternoon paddle at Gordons Bay. Loads of suspended plant matter, so it probably wasn't too healthy. Quite temperate with some relatively large waves rolling in. Quite a few people. Saw a school of young gropers, I think.
Early afternoon paddle at a quite-flat Coogee. Many people down there but I expect they're mostly locals; the days of backpackers overrunning the joint passed with the depressed dollar.
Late afternoon paddle at Gordons Bay. The swell was a lot stronger than usual so getting out was not much fun.
Getting in ahead of the change, I took Betty down for an early evening snorkel at Gordons Bay. The sun was behind the ridge before I got in. Visibility was pretty good, the water quite temperate and flat.
Late afternoon paddle and snorkel-of-sorts at Gordons Bay. A fair bit of plant material in the water makes me think it rained over the weekend. Good temperature, not much swell, calm and warm out. The Indian summer kicks along.
Late afternoon snorkel at Gordons Bay. Loads of fish, quite comfortable in, flat as a tack. Still no squid, though the big female groper must surely be on the turn. I really need to get a tinted visor for my helmet if I'm going to keep riding back at that time of the evening.
I took Betty down to Little Bay today in the early afternoon for lunch and a snorkel. As before there were loads of fairly large fish, in particular ludderick. The beach was almost entirely deserted with the exception of a husky and his owner, and some retired gents. Heaps of seaweed on the beach, not so much in the water. Good visibility, nice temperature, no stingers, low tide, not much swell.
Last weekend Dad helped me fit a milk crate to the Ventura (short) sports rack, and today I got a chance to see how it went carrying a case of beer. The cable ties did a good job of securing everything, with the remaining flex being in the pipes that attach the rack to the frame of the motorcycle. I rode like I had just gotten my Ls again; slow and wide on the corners, fast on the straights. I don't think the load moved much but it was off-centre and slightly weird. I'll be wanting to practice a lot more before I get out on the highway with camping gear.
Late afternoon snorkel at Gordons Bay. Visibility was pretty good, though the water was a slightly off-putting tea colour. I saw some large specimens of the usual types: a goatfish the size of a medium groper, and a large female groper.
Midday snorkel at Gordons Bay, ahead of the predicted heavy rain. Visibility was again better than yesterday. The swell was a bit stronger but not troublingly so. I saw a school of some large silvery guys that I don't think were ludderick.
Despite the dire predictions of the BOM, Randwick remained dry, and so I headed down to Gordons Bay for a late-afternoon paddle. The water was cleaner than yesterday, and the cold currents near the scuba ramp remain. I saw some pretty hefty stingrays but still no squid, nor the big groper.
Trying to slot in between the erratic rain and showers, I went for an early evening paddle at a pretty murky Gordons Bay. The water was a bit cold at the scuba ramp. I spotted a couple of small gropers and some larger ludderick in shallow water.
I took Betty down for an early evening snorkel at Little Bay. The water near the shore was tea-coloured, which a bloke and his wife told me was due to the decomposition of seaweed. Once I got out into the bay visibility was reasonable. The water had some cool-ish currents in it, and was pretty calm.
Earlier I drove with Sean up to Gordon for mrak's grandfather's funeral. I hadn't been to a full Anglican service before, which padded things out to two hours or so. The speeches from Peter (Mark's Dad), Mark and his brother Chris were excellent. Mike Carlton sketches Roy's life here, below the murk of Obeid et al.
Mark heads back to the U.S. on Sunday.
Hungover and seedy, I went for a paddle at Gordons Bay in the late afternoon; still too early to avoid the crowds, unfortunately. Today was just about perfect for it, and the water was clearer than Ben told me Clovelly had been yesterday morning. The water temperature is quite comfortable now.
The BOM is warning of dangerous surf conditions which I hoped might have both cleared out Gordons Bay and not really be a problem there. The swell at the scuba ramp put me off, however, so I headed over to Clovelly for the first time in an age. Somehow the the waves were quite muted, though it was very murky too.
Mid-afternoon snorkel-of-sorts sans fins at Little Bay. The ride down and back was fine; I'm now easily keeping up with the traffic, except on tight corners like roundabouts. I only saw the usual suspects. The water was quite clear and is finally getting up to comfortable temperatures.
I braved the (tame) shore breaks of Coogee Beach for the first time in ages, around midday on a decently warm day. Quite a few people there but nowhere as packed as I've seen it.
Afterwork paddle at Gordons Bay. Pretty flat after the recent wild weather, and not too filthy after the morning's rain.
First attempt at a night snorkel with Andrew T at Gordons Bay, off the scuba ramp. We got there sometime after 8pm, just on dusk, and while the southerly had garnered a strong warning we decided to get in anyway. The sea itself was calm enough, though the runoff was more troubling. With Andrew's waterproof torches we saw loads of stringrays, several large old wives, and some other decently-sized fish that I don't know the names of. I'm still hanging out for some squid or an octopus.
After work paddle at Gordons Bay, off the scuba ramp. Quite a few people there at 6:30pm. Very pleasant.
Snorkel at 1pm at Gordons Bay, off the scuba ramp. Being half asleep I forgot my boots so I got in with just my mask. The singlet, intended to keep the sun off, was probably redundant on this grey day. I saw some huge wrasse and loads of the usual small fry. Relatively rough for the bay. The cycle there and back was uneventful.
Early evening paddle at Little Bay. The ride down was a bit rough with a stiff southerly, and the beach was pretty much deserted for probably the same reason. Had dinner down at La Perouse — Danny's — afterwards. Too expensive for what you get.
First-thing snorkel at Bare Island with Andrew T. The water was not too cold, and despite the dire predictions of 43 degrees it was comfortable out, too, with a strong dry westerly. Loads of fish, a stringray, and a cuttlefish. It got hot later on.
After-work paddle at Gordons Bay. I got there a bit early, around 6:40pm, and hence had to battle the crowds to get down the scuba ramp. The water is quite comfortable now.
Low-effort paddle at Gordons Bay after a long day on the motorcycle. Quite a few people still down there at 7pm, and as always, the Sydney traffic makes no sense.
I rode the CB250 down to Gordons Bay about twenty minutes before sunset for a paddle off the scuba ramp at Gordons Bay. The water is certainly warm enough now, and the wind only mildly cool. After that I went for a burn up to Bondi Junction and back via Avoca Street. I think I'm at the point where my confidence is outstripping my skills, which are rusty after circa ten days away.
Not exactly the beach, but I hadn't been for a swim at Blackheath Pool in ages; today was it as the mist moved in from the north. When I was a kid they used to have some slides, and the pool was a lot murkier, perhaps even salt water. They also had a huge climbable rocket in the other corner of Memorial Park.