Friday, November 21, 2008

Keegan's Day Off

Today's post will be a little anomalous ... various domestic crises are going on in the background, and have eaten up the time I'd usually spend posting, so -- today it's "rock hopping at Seacliff Reef," or "the best shots from Keegan's day off yesterday." Welcome to this neck of the woods!

The camera is the Fuji FinePix 6500 at 6.3MP, with a 10x optical zoom, and a 10x digital zoom on top of that; shots processed through IrfanView (see the link below).

Click on the pics for a larger view: I've uploaded them at 1000 pixels wide.

The road to the sea ... in this case, Jetty Road, Brighton, with the Arch of Remembrance at the landward end of the jetty itself. Lovely day; hot in the car.

Just before you get right up to the Arch, you reach a traffic island and hang a left. Drive about a klick down the foreshore with the dunes on your right (and the beach beyond them), and the millionaires' mansions on your left. (Wonder who you have to kill to get into their income bracket?!) At the end of the Esplanade -- the foreshore road -- you reach the parking lot of the Seacliff Yacht Club ... it's empty on a weekday, so go ahead and park there. There's no marina: this is a boat club for trailer-sailing craft (see below), which you bring to the beach on your trailer and trundle onto the sand down this here concrete ramp. The car parked at the head of the ramp has, incidentally, just offloaded the little boat you see below...

If you look to your right as you wander down the boat ramp, you'll be looking back the way you drove. There's the Brighton Jetty, at the landward-end of which is the Arch of Remembrance. Note the staggering crowds on the beach. Glorious day ... eight people were out, including yours truly.

Turn your back on the hustle and bustle of Brighton Beach and look in the other direction, toward Seacliff, and ... this is how the other half live. You would not believe some of these mansions.

And here's the view out to sea at, or close to, this point -- low tide on the Seacliff Reef. It's a rocky reef with kelp beds ... good fishing. Crabs, lobsters, King George Whiting, squid and what have you. Not that I'm a fisher-person, but a lot of people are. When something is "running," about 250 yards off shore there'll be a whole flotilla of small fishing boats, most trailerable, some professional -- these latter having come down the coast from the marinas at Glenelg and Port Adelaide, which are both to the north. A lot of people fish off the beach; you see them at dusk when the tide is in; and I should think, at dawn ... but I'm never there that early!

This guy was on the horizon -- tacking more or less due north, either making for the Port itself, or the marina at Glenelg. Biiiig guy. Couldn't get this one on a trailer. Maximum digital zoom, as well as optical -- you can get away with it because of the super-bright lighting conditions. Manual focus. The automatics couldn't get hold of the glittery sea and featureless sky.

Here's your trailerable vessel -- actually, a small example of them. You'd be amazed (I always am) at the size of boats they can tow ... and I'm constantly amazed at the places people tow them from. You can be out on the hills, almost at the top of Heart Attack Hill, and there'll be this monstrous fishing boat with the massive aerials and the huge outboards, and all, on its trailer, halfway up a driveway that looks like the north face of the Eiger.

One of the local gulls ... pint-sized but pretty. The local gulls are very small for gulls -- I'd guess they weigh in at a kilo, wet. Less than half the size of the whopping great gulls you see in Alaska, and the North Sea herring gulls with which I grew up. But these guys are friendly ... especially so if you happen to have brought your lunch. Share it with one, and fifty show up as if your little lunch companion had telepathy.

And this is cool: a sparrow hawk hunting for mice, hovering right over the gabled roof of one of the mansions on the landward side of the Yacht Club parking lot. The house is up on the hill, with sandy slopes and trees below. It's been a good season for mouses, so far. The cat's caught several, both in the house and in the yard. This little guy spent about ten minutes catching his lunch, then vanished, presumably to gorge on rodent.

That's all for today, guys: got to go and take take of domestic crises!

Ciao for now,

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