Saturday, October 26, 2019

Kitesurfing downwinder Aspendale to Frankston in a raging north westerly

Session 490. Got to Aspendale around 9 a.m. with Stu S and Stu W already out.  The wind was strong, around 25 knots. I setup my 8m Union, rear lines on the low power knots, and my downwinder backpack then got on the water. Wow, plenty of power.  I did a couple of tacks and the kite was fully lit on full depower. 

I headed downwind and saw the two Stu's walking up the beach with their kites in hand.  The wave were a good size but the wind made catching them difficult.  I got the hauled downwind with the kite high and stacked on a few waves so I stopped trying to catch them out the back and moved behind the first sandbar to get some smoother water.

It became an exercise in survival.  My 6m kite would have been perfect, but I was committed.  I saw one windsurfer out crashing over waves.  I more or less straight lined and kept my speed low, going fast meant rapid acceleration and a big stack.  It was a relief to get around Seaford pier then down Frankston.  I pulled the safety with the kite in the shore break and was able to secure it.

I packed the kite and untangled the lines up on the grass in a blissfully sheltered location.  Another squall came it, the weather was seriously gnarly.  

Great coffee and muffin at the Coffee Club then the train back to Aspendale.

The wind chart at Fawkner shows the wind got to 30 knots, gusting to 40, which explains why I was overpowered for the trip.  










Saturday, October 19, 2019

Kitesurfing Aspendale in a cool westerly

Session 489. Kiting again! A forecast for a good westerly got James, the two Stus and myself down to Aspendale at around 8:30.  The wind was good and picked up while I was getting ready so I used my Union 8.  The wind was strong but there were some lulls.  Really nice to be kitesurfing again in bay surf without booties in the sunshine.






I felt a bit rusty after some time off the water, kiting regularly is a good safety factor.

The wind dropped a bit and my kite started feeling odd and back stalled with high bar pressure so I came in early. Inspecting the kite revealed that it was soft - there appears to be a slow leak.

Westerly wind can be unpredictable, there were some big spikes and rain around noon.

We had coffee and a chat at the Two Cow Girls cafe after the session.










Thursday, August 22, 2019

Kitesurfing Cocos Islands downwinder kitebeach to Jetty

Session 488. Adam and I both love downwinders so we finished our trip with downwind tour out to the blue holes then along past the lagoon, finishing at the beach south of the West Island Ferry Terminal.

Blue holes, turtles, flat water, sunshine and crystal clear water.  A great way to finish.

I jogged around to the ferry terminal and hitched a ride with a family heading back to the centre of the town, then was lucky to get a ride from Flynn who took me to kitebeach to get our ute.



















Spot the turtles!




Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Cocos Islands - Home Island

Home Island is where the majority of Cocos-Malay people live. They are descendants of the people who were brought from Malaysia to work on the Clunies-Ross family coconut plantations.

Adam and I took the ferry over for a visit, its a nice scenic trip. Our first stop was the Pulu Cocos Museum after we got a key from the nearby shire office.  Exhibits include small wooden boats built for the Clunies Ross family, some radio equipment, traditional Shadow Puppets for plays and history of the Cocos Islands.

We then walked to the small shopping area and had nice lunch at Kafe Ku.  The lady running the cafe is from Malaysia and prefers life on Home Island.

We walked past the Mosque then along a track that goes past Oceania House, the previous residence of the Clunies Ross family.  It is a large imposing house that is now available for tourist accommodation.  We continued on past large building that are now derelict that were associated with Clunies Ross, one is an old school. 

The Cocos Islands Jukong & Sailing Club, which I saw from a distance when I kitesurfed across, is located on a beach on the south side of the island.

We walked north past the Power Station running diesel generators (not enough solar and wind power yet) and on to the Home Island Cemetery which has a mix of Cocos Malay graves and several Clunies-Ross family graves.

I snorkelled across shallow coral reefs and a strong current to Prison Island. There is not much of it left after recent erosion from waves and the increasing sea level.  10 years ago there were about 40 palm trees on it, now there are only 3 left and most of the sand is gone.  Alexander Hare, the first inhabitant of the islands, was briefly exiled here with several of his harem when John Clunies- Ross evicted him from Home Island.

Turtle beach near the cemetery is a quiet picturesque location. 

We headed back to catch the ferry.  Locals get about on small 4 wheel UTV buggies.  There is a buzz of activity when the ferry arrives and locals get off it on jump on their buggies after a day's work on West Island.

















Oceania House






Floating rubbish washed up, most of this comes from Indonesia







Prison Island (foreground) and Direction Island (background)











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