Posts

Dorkeling, or The Art Of Horizontal Rockclimbing

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‘Right,’ I said, ‘let me just get my mask and fins, and I’ll be there in a sec ...’ ‘No worries,‘ said Blue Flame, Champion Fart Lighter and Terror Of Elevators And Small Confined Spaces. ‘I’ll start getting along, the others have gone already.’ She waddled off in the direction where the others had gone. I grabbed my gear, shut the car and with my gear in my hands I hurried after her down the boat ramp at the beach where we were going snorkeling. When we got to the sand though I found to my surprise that, instead of wading into the water from the boat ramp, as we had agreed and planned, more or less, the whole group had chucked a hard 90 degree right turn and had started down the beach towards the lagoon. This lagoon lay protected behind a reef of rocks holding the strong currents at bay, and, we had surmised, would be prime snorkeling territory. I stared down the beach. What had been intended to be a five metre shuffle down the boat ramp now appeared to be developing into something altog…

The Mirage

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The small town of Eagle Bay, on the West Australian coast a bit further along from Margaret River, gets a lot of visitors, attracted by our world-class surfing conditions, and who can blame them. But it can get crowded in the water, and so we like to get in early, at dawn, before any of the tourists wake up, shake off their hangovers and waddle down to the water to steal our waves. For a handful of days every month we take the notion of “early”, just a little bit further than most. In fact, we take it around the back of the shearing shed and explain a few things kindly but firmly with a crowbar and a pair of pliers. Because when the full moon is out we’re on the water several hours before dawn, surfing the black water beneath silver moonlight, in the peace and quiet derived from the secure knowledge that no one in their right mind is insane enough to follow us. And anything lurking beneath the water entertaining views to nibble, bite, chew or otherwise gastronomically partake from any …

The Stoner

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The sun hung low over he horizon, pushing the dark night sky back towards the western edge of the world. In the twilight gloom of the early dawn a silhouette could be seen on a beach. Tall, lanky and manky, a man dressed in black was moving around erratically with jerking movements, He appeared to bend forwards in one corner of a tumble-down spread of rocks and boulders, fidget with something, and then straighten up and limp over to another corner. And back again. Two figures approached from out of the semi-darkness, long fishing rods in their hands. They had spent an unhealthy amount of time standing on top of a set of high rocks on the edge of the sea, with waves rolling in from the open ocean and crashing heavily into the base of the rocks. From that position they had devoted themselves to feeding the various fish in the water below them a rich and varied diet of hooks, sinkers, swivels, and lengths of mono-filament fishing line, interspersed with generous helpings of pilchard, goatf…

Kiana, Polynesian Princess Of Surf

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The other day a mate sent me a funny video, on a secure and confidential channel reserved for things that cannot by rights see the light of day, and could, at a stretch, send ASIO sniffing at my door within a heartbeat. In faithful keeping with the unspeakable nature of the material habitually shared on this private line, it was interesting in a horrifyingly fascinating sort of a way. The video showed a scene set in a foreign town. From the medieval-ish background architecture it appeared to be a place of generically Central European extraction, and, judging from the clothes worn by the people walking around in it, it seemed to be a cold season. The general vibe was that of an outdoors festival or party of some description, with music and people milling around looking for entertainment, distraction, and, more than likely, ways to spend their hard-earned cash that they would later have opportunity to thoroughly regret. The overall Central European feeling of the scene was reinforced by …

The Shifting Tides of Misfortune

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The cloud lifted, the rain drifted, the wind shifted. It had been blowing from the wrong point of the compass, i.e. the north, for weeks on end, and our surf break had been blown to the shithouse. Our water faces open to the north, and when the howling raging northerlies strike up the erstwhile perfect straight lines of rolling green surf get transformed into lambchops and peasoup. Still green, but as useless as a chocolate teapot. With the long-awaited shift in the wind we bolted and struck out onto the water, determined, deprived, depraved and deranged, with withdrawal symptoms ratcheted up to 11 out of 10. Anything would do after being so dry for so long that even the webbing between our toes was starting to crack, flake and die off, and so we got out amongst the post-northerly post-mortem to get wet. In the post-humous wake of a northerly such swell as is present usually manifests itself as short, crumbly rides, where the lines of the walls don't hold up for very long, and waves …

Dark Dawn Sun

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I sat down on a bench by the side of the beach and looked out across the water. The night was deep and dark and black, with a sprinkling of stars overhead. In front of me the water of the sea was moving to and fro quietly, to the tune of the moon and the tide. Behind me everything was quiet; suspiciously so. The world seemed, while asleep as usual, just a bit more inactive than normal. Was it due to the pandemic that was ravaging the world? On the way overhere the roads had been completely deserted, a real joy to drive down: night giving way before headlights, closing in again behind. Stars overhead, looking down, icecold and disinterested. A couple of nights ago we had sat here in this same spot, three of us, partners in crime, and had stared out into the night. We had spotted a multitude of satellites revolving around us; at one point there were four of them, all of them appearing in the same part of the sky, all of them spaced the same distance apart from each other. They travelled …