whale of a time

With a warm, windless day forecast, I should have known that Malabar would buck the trend and do its own thing.
The westerly wind was freezing, I kept glancing at my feet to check they were still with me.
I headed straight out of the bay to be in front of the cliffs before the sun came up and in hope of finding some shelter from the wind.
I couldn’t get close to the cliffs as the swell was running on just the right angle for the waves to bounce off and break on their return out to sea.

The birds were all heading south like they had some hot intel, and it must have been accurate because I didn’t see a fish all morning.

The morning was not without excitement though.
Whilst trying for squid in the deeper water off the cliffs I had seen a humpback plume as it headed south, a few minutes later I saw what I thought was a pod of dolphins charging towards me but as I was going for the camera I realised it was the whale. I got one shot in before I had to drop the camera and grab the paddle, not that I had anywhere to go mind you.
It dived and veered off as part of what seemed to be a game of chicken. She won, I crapped myself.
I’ve seen whales from the kayak before but never had one charge me.
In the cropped photo you can see a baby with it, so maybe it was a warning or maybe my hat was offensive but it was dark when I left and who’d notice.
Either way, message delivered, they continued on their way south.

Going with the obvious flow I headed south, if nothing else a paddle might warm me up.
Heading across the front of the bay a sound caught my attention and I looked over to see a huge boil in the water on my left, something grey and white and very largeĀ  was swimming under me close enough to rock the kayak and test my balance.
My sphincter was back on high alert but only for a brief moment as what I presume to be a pilot whale surfaced beside me, (long thing body with a disproportionately small fin on it’s back).

There were at least two of them and they crisscrossed under the kayak as I paddled, a real buzz to have them interacting with me, unfortunately when I stopped paddling to get the camera my tenuous hold on their attention was lost and I was only left with the memory.

That was enough excitement for one day so I headed in, picking up a couple of squid for dinner on the way.

Stuck in Sydney traffic shortly after didn’t seem possible.

back wash from the cliffs

back wash from the cliffs

yacht heading in to Sydney

yacht heading in to Sydney

there she blows

humpback plume

baby to right of picture

baby to right of picture



After a few months off the kayak due to a back injury it was time to get back on the horse and see how it rode.
Amazing how much dust your kayak and fishing gear collects just to remind you that it hasn’t been used, so it was dusted and ready to go.

A late start with no fishing or camera gear would be the best way to focus on paddling and see how things felt but then again maybe just one rod………
So at 9 am I hit the water on a glorious spring day and with two rods but no gps, camera (i did have the phone), fish bag, net etc etc etc, some of these intentionally and others not.

The plan was a short paddle to test the physical capabilities, but birds way off in the distance meant that plan got left behind with all the other non essentials.
On reaching the birds I could see salmon everywhere. The back dealt with the paddle okay so time to see how it went on a fish.
A 62cm salmon was not the warm up I was after but what the hell, you might as well find out if something’s going to break from the get go.

Three more of these and I had ended up off Maroubra so it was time to paddle back.
There was something big powering through the salmon and reeking havoc, probably a shark but without seeing a fin I’ll go with the preferred idea of a big kingfish.

I may have been a bit stiff afterwards but what a small price to pay for the experience.