Monday, May 18, 2015

Dolphins and Seals, Caves, Sea Cliffs and Waterfalls: Pirates Bay to The Sisters By Sea Kayak

It was zero degrees when we left Campania and a heavy frost was on the ground, not the kind of weather where you immediately think about sea kayaking on the cold Tasman Sea, but, after spending one gloriously sunny day crawling about in the underbrush like blind moles, we were not going to waste this day. There was only Doug and I which immensely simplified things as we could leave early, paddle without stopping, and return at a reasonable hour. Lately, I've begun to understand why Jason paddled solo around Australia. When I asked him about it, his response was similar to my thinking – if you are on your own you can push on a bit further, leave a bit earlier, or conversely, stop when you are buggered. 

Heading into one of the sea caves,
Doug, B. photo 

We launched into a shore dump around the middle of Pirates Bay and began paddling north. There is some limited bus service on the Tasman Peninsula but not extensive enough to allow a one way paddling trip, so our plan was to paddle north for a few hours, then return. 

Deep inside a sea cave,
Doug B. photo 

On our last few kayak trips, we have had to cover distance and have been forced to paddle past many interesting caves, coves and islets. Not today. Today, we ambled, paddling along hugging the coast line as closely as we could. The sea cliffs along the east side of the Tasman Peninsula are the highest in Australia and soar one hundred metres straight up from the wonderfully clear Tasman Sea, and, they are riddled with caves, tunnels and crevices. The swell was light and well spaced and we paddled into many caves, some with huge over-arching roofs, others that were actually tunnels right through the rock, yet others with waterfalls dripping gently over the entrance. At the openings of the caves massive gardens of kelp swayed in the ground swell. 

 Sea cave with waterfall and two entrances
Doug B. photo

We passed two Australian fur seals, sleeping at sea. This behaviour is really quite amazing. The seals lie on their sides with one flipper raised and one flipper down which allows them to sense wind and water movement. They shut down half of their brain, yet remain alert with the other half. Just after we passed a fur seal sleeping, a huge pod of around 50 dolphins swam past. 

Sleepy Australian Fur Seal
Doug B. photo  

In Deep Glen Bay, I managed to make a rough landing on boulders in a sucking swell but this is not recommended as it is hard on the boat. When we paddled out of Deep Glen Bay, the Sisters Islands were only two kilometres north so we paddled up and around these craggy islets before turning back. My butt felt bruised when we got back, but what a day on the water!

Does sea kayaking get any better?
Doug B. photo  

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