Sketches from Week 39 (Dec 2 - 8, 2013)

I hate to admit this, but I think I prefer the southeastern Australian coastline to the Californian coast. Not only is the water warmer but the combination of fine golden sand, turquoise waters, and abundance of sea life and surf breaks was utterly astonishing. And hardly anyone around, even in summer...

Geronimo, Chas, Chasqui, Dylan, Emily, Hannah, Issa and I have spent the last week on a spontaneous surf 'n spearfishing tour via the Princess Highway coastal route between Melbourne and Sydney. After getting some key logistical items figured out for our New Years' event over the weekend, we departed early Monday morning and just returned now around 4am Sunday.... what an amazing trip!

Cape Conran was our first stop. We showed up a couple hours before sunset and got some spearfishing in, then had a camp 'n barbecue night on the boulder-strewn beach. Not really sure what fish we harvested from the sea yet because we hadn't obtained a fish chart yet but they were tasty :)

Shipwreck Creek near Mallacoota was our next stop... a beautiful beach but the flies were oppressive... literally clouds of them, totally unstoppable. The fishing wasn't so good, either, although there was some decent surfing that Chas jumped on. We also picked up a fishing guide and licenses so we were better prepared by now.

One of our favorite beaches was Nelson (?) Beach in Mimosa Rocks National Park... a lagoon on one side that connected to a small bay full of sea life and a great surfing spot immediately south of that... gorgeous! We stayed there a whole day, camping and barbecueing all we could eat. Luderick, Bream and rockfish were in abundance here and I saw my first blue groper, a protected fish species that averages around 30-36" in length... big. Also some sharks, just the gummies, nothing threatening (yet).

Currarong was the best beach on this tour by far, however. We hiked in to a site called Lobster Bay and pretty much stayed there for a day and a half... Geronimo and I jumped in the cliffside waters on a late rainy afternoon to rainbow skies and the following day (Friday) was brilliantly warm, sunny and showed off the gold / turquoise contrast between the sand, reef and ocean. The water was noticeably warmer than Mimosa Rocks and there was alot more sea life... dolphins, bigger sharks, sea turtles, skates and rays, schools of tuna, bream, luderick, tailor and many other fish... too many to count! Visibility around 40-60 feet. Perfect? About as close as it gets!

We wrapped up our tour on Saturday / Sunday with a dive and surf session down at Bawley Point... Chas and Chasqui had a bomber surf day on an overhead right while Geronimo and I speared the biggest bream we'd caught yet... about 22" and 10-12 lbs (best guess!). Anyway- enough to feed all 8 of us! We are cooking up a grand feast tonight at Tara's house in Melbourne... voila!