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Hunter Beaches New Year’s Day

01 Jan

caves-beach.jpg 

Since it was bloody hot we decided to pack up and go to the beach, a normal occurrence in the Australian Summer. We went to our local, Blacksmiths Beach only to find the beach closed and the sea very large and dangerous. We quickly decided to head south to Caves Beach, thinking it would be more sheltered by the reef and bombora. It was open but still scary. If you look at the picture you’ll see the size of the swell and everyone clustered in the one spot. The rip was fearsome and so strong waves were standing still or retreating before the exit current. You couldn’t go far out before the danger was overwhelming so it was a matter of cooling off or playing in the shallows with the kids on boogie boards. Even this was potentially dangerous and you couldn’t take your eyes off them for one second. We were exhausted, burnt and hungry by 1:00pm so we called it a day.

 Swansea Channel

The next day I checked the coastalwatch website for beach conditions only to find the same E/ENE winds had set up huge swell along the coast. The winds were actually very light but they’d done their work in the sea. The UV meter was full scale and rated “extreme”. Since we were already getting burnt this meant full UV shirts (rashies), zinc and sunscreen. The UV tent will need to be deployed as well. We gambled on the tiny beach at Swansea Heads and were rewarded with a good call on arrival. This beach is sheltered by the southern breakwall of Swansea Channel and the reefs and rocks of Swansea Heads. There were good little waves for the kids and only a handful of people. The water was just right at about 18 degrees and we had a good morning of it.The most impressive sight was the conditions in Swansea channel. It was ‘going off’. Pumping  6 foot waves and swell. It was the perfect playground for all types of craft. Jet Skis were showing off with some spectacular aerobatics and board riders had found spots on the bommy. Sam urged me to get Eco out there but it would be foolhardy to go it alone. I can’t roll and a wet exit would almost certainly be dire. I had to watch others play in this unbelievable aquatic theme park. I noticed one lonely kayaker paddle into the action only to err on the side of caution and retreat into the calm. Today my local waterway demonstrated it could be world standard for the right paddlers. Next time.

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2 Comments

Posted by on January 1, 2008 in Kayaking Life

 

Tags: , , ,

2 responses to “Hunter Beaches New Year’s Day

  1. Douglas

    January 3, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    What is this UV of which you speak?

     
  2. rjimlad

    January 3, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    In Oz, the Bureau of Meteorology give a daily index of Ultra-violet (UV) radiation so you can be prepared to be burnt to a crisp. In the Australian Summer 15 minute of unprotected sun causes sunburn. An hour will give you 2nd degree burns. We wear protective UV shirts while swimming and sunglasses now cover the whole eye socket to prevent damage. An Australian beach in 2008 looks like it did in 1908 clothing-wise, but more hi-tech. We have the world’s highest incidence of melanoma and cataracts. Here, it’s dangerous before you even get into the water.

     

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