Sunday, May 20, 2018

Kitesurfing waves then a downwinder Aspendale to Frankston, always a blast!

Session 444. Nice kitesurfing bay waves in steady winter wind at Aspendale on Sunday morning.  There were very few people about.  There was a good turnout: Stu W, Stu S, Tarren, James, Rich and myself.  The wind was holding up so I got my drypack ready then did a downwinder to Frankston surfing waves the whole way. 

Getting past Patterson River was easy, then there were more glorious waves.  The beauty of a dowwinder is you can scope out good sandbanks and cruise out to them on the way.  Seaford pier is the only obstacle, although there seems to be many more yellow poles in the water (restricted zones) now.

Landing at Frankston near Waves on The Beach restaurant was easy. I packed up on the grass lawn close to Kananook Creek then walked down Wells Street, stopping for a good coffee at Rockatillos sitting outside.

There was a surprise at the Frankston train station - it is closed while being rebuilt.  Substitute buses are available BUT they say no bikes or surfboards . . .  I was lucky that the friendly MET assistants and the bus driver let me on so I could get to Carrum, then catch the train back to Aspendale.


Part A: Wave riding at Aspendale

Part B: Aspendale to Frankston downwinder

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Kitesurfing downwinder Ricketts to Hampton was a blast

Session 443. Back on the water after Norway. There was a steady bayside wind of 20 knots after the big storm yesterday so Stu S and I did a downwinder to Hampton.

I had plenty of power with my Union 10 rigged on the bottom knots and was also able to enjoy the swell and small waves.

The reef just before the HMS Cerberus wreck is interesting, and the wreck itself is almost submerged now.  The surf was best along Sandringham beach and the big rollers at the end of the breakwater there were nice. 

The joy of a downwinder, cruising, having a look around, picking the route and scoring some nice swell.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Pasvik Nature Reserve - the end of the road

Headed for the "end of the road" - the Pasvik Nature Reserve that is adjacent to the waterway that connects several lakes, with the Russia-Norway border running down the middle of it.

There were lots of cabins and snowmobile tracks on the way there, then the first views of lakes and Russia appeared.  The lakes are used for hydro with the power shared between Norway and Russia.  At Skogfoss the power plant appears to straddle the border.

Further south there were less cabins, eventually the road was blocked by snow with a Norwegian police vehicle parked there.  I continued to the Nyrud Police Station and watch abundant bird species out on the water.  There were swans, ducks, geese and grey cranes. A border marker was visible on the other side.  The police returned from the border patrol mission on snowmobiles and were very friendly.

They said its a very remote police station and they check the border frequently.  They though the Russians on the other side looked a bit poor  and they had loud music playing at one a power station on the border "like North Korea".  Relations with the Russians are very good.  They meet weekly for chats and the locals have a special pass that allows them to cross the border freely.  There is a "Russian zone" that extends some distance for visits insider Norway.

The Russians don't like the reindeer migrating to there section of the park and eating the vegetation and they shoot (and eat) them.

Their border patrol duties are uneventful, I mentioned the controversy over Australian "Border Force" treatment of refugees, they knew about that.

They see lots of moose and even wolves here.

The Police told me about some moose and bear tracks on the road, I found them and was astounded to see bear tracks (large claws) following the moose and also wolf tracks.  I hope the moose are OK!

It was a long drive down and back but a superb trip.

Footnote: The Sami people used to inhabit this region and freely cross what is now the border.  There is no obvious presence of them now although they do have an agreement to cross borders (Finland, Russia, Norway) for their annual migration following reindeer.