Saturday, July 13, 2024

Nice winter swell at Shoreham SUP

Early morning winter SUP at Shoreham was good.  The waves were small the Pines but there was a nice swell at Zappas with some good waves rolling in.

Egg and bacon sandwich and coffee at the Merricks Store on the way home was really good.

Friday, June 28, 2024

Kitesurfing good Northerly at Brighton

Session 585. Strong winds forecast for Port Phillip Bay arrived mid-afternoon. On the water at 3:30 pm and shared the session with three other kiters.

Northerlies at Brighton can be dicey if you have equipment failure or get your kite tangled - its a long hard swim back to shore against cross-offshore wind. I kite conservatively in offshore winds.

The wind was good further out but not as strong as the 30 knot forecast. The Union 9m kite was nicely powered.

I tacked up to near the Brighton Marina breakwater then surfed the back on the bay swell.  The wind was gusty closer to shore.

A kiter jumped and crashed his kite. He was having a lot of trouble relaunching it and looking like he might need to swim a longish way back in.

I kited past slowly and grabbed and dragged one tip of his kite that was jellyfishing (full of water).  That was enough for him to relaunch it. It was nice to help out.

I got back to beach easily, very happy with the outing. Nice light, good wind, not crowded and not too cold.  Smiles all round.

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Kitesurfing Rosebud chilly but fun

Session 584. Kitesurfing again at last! There has been a remarkable lack of wind this year. The Westerlies and North Westerlies we usually get during Winter have been largely absent.  There was a good Northerly forecast today so Rosebud was on.

On the water and 09:10 with 15-20 knots wind from the North, not as strong as forecast. I used my Union 9 kite in case it came in stronger.

One other kiter was out in the distance and two others launched just before me. 

I got going a bit underpowered so I kept going out hoping to pick up more wind. Returning in the wind got stronger close to shore so I was able to keep tacking, then it got stronger enabling me to go up wind and do some nice bay surf runs on the outer sandbank.

Really got to be kiting again, a most enjoyable session.

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Motorbike tour - North East Victoria and South Gippsland

Motorcycle tour through North East Victoria and South Gippsland with great roads, lots of twisties and not much traffic. 

Day 1.  Broadford to Myrtleford - 305 km, 4 hr [GPX file]

Mostly on quiet roads. Coffee and pitstop in Mansfield.

Day 2. Myrtleford to Bairnsdale - 342 km 5hr 24 min [GPX file]

Endless curves, watch out for bark on road and damp corners in forest areas.

Mitta Mitta for coffee and Omeo for lunch.

Day 3. Bairnsdale to Walkerville - 4 hr 26 min [GPX file]

Back roads in rural areas and forests of Strezlecki. 

10km of dirt road (good condition) from Carrajung to Tarra Bulga NP on Grand Ridge Road.

Lunch at Inline Cafe, Balook.

Tarra Valley Road to Yarram is sealed by very narrow with tight curves.

Day 4. Walkerville to Burwood - 3 hr 26 minutes [GPX file]

Very scenic back road route, good for motorbikes, no freeway.


Thursday, March 21, 2024

Snowmobile trip to East cost of Spitzbergen was chilly but wonderful

We embarked on a snowmobile trip to the East coast of Spitzbergen on a Better Moments tour to visit remote parts of the main island of Svalbard and hopefully see a Polar Bear on the sea ice where they hunt.

It was still a very cold -25C so we wore an extra padded layer under our polar suits and balaclava and facemask with the supplied helmets.

Our Australian drivers licences were valid up until the end of March after which they will no longer be accepted on Svalbard because apparently Australia has not yet signed the Vienna convention on motoring document.

After a briefing from our guide about using the snowmobiles, the route and safety (mind the bears!) we headed off in sunny clear conditions. 

Travelling up to 60 km/h added a lot of chill factor so it was hard to stay warm, particularly riding on the back. The heated grips on the front were better and the windshield provided better shelter.

The views to surrounding peaks and ranges were impressive.

We stopped to check out this glacial ice.

After going up a narrow route through moraine we descended a long glacier.

We were met by Police and two governors representatives who checked our guides permit for the rifle and the rifle itself.  They were friendly and all was in order.

We then crossed sea ice to get to a nice vantage point where we had lunch and scanned the distant sea ice for polar bears.

The waters edge of the sea ice where the bears hunt was 20+ km out so we didn't see any. The tours don't seek bears out to avoid harassing and disturbing them.

We saw two Ptarmigan grazing close by.  On the return trip we detoured to visit raised glacial ice (a tongue) and a frozen waterfall.

Another stop for delicious black current tea was a welcome chance to warm up.

It was hectic and extremely cold riding on the back so I only managed to get a succession of still shots in the animation below. Its really handy to have gloves with mobile sensitive finger tips. 

This was an excellent tour with good company. It was a long day but well worth it.

Track log and trip details.