TRANSPARENTSEA - Chris Del Moro's journal # 1
Whale, pectoral fin vertical in the air: Rasta: 'The great thing about this is it happened about an hour-and-a-half into the trip, we were given this salute, like the whales were saying: -Hey, have a good trip!' Straight away we were having this interaction. It was amazing.'
Connecting with whales, Lennox Head, Rasta: Rasta waving at a humpback whale and the whale waving right back.
As expected, our journey to date has been a whirlwind of lessons from the sea, vagabond camping and sharing space with some the sea's most amazing creatures. The Transparentsea crew and I are continually tightening ship in order to make this journey as safe and successful as possible. It feels like we've crammed a month of living into a single week. I could go on about the amazing gifts we have received daily, but instead I will tap into to a few of the highlights thus far.
Enjoy, Chris 111
The Tiger Shark !
One would be a fool not to recognize Australia's reputation for sharks. From the dozen or so encounters I've had, eight of them have been on Australia's East Coast. But after some talks with Dave and Hilts about the likelihood of more encounters on this journey, I decided it was a much better mindset to embrace their presence rather than fear it. In hindsight that was a great mentality to have because midway through day 2, as we rode waves far out at sea, I felt someone, or something, staring at me from behind. I thought it was Will, looked back and saw a large object following me. First I thought it was a dolphin, then maybe a juvenile whale then I finally accepted the fact that it was a 10-12 foot tiger shark trailing my boat. It stayed with me for about a minute than lost interest and moved on. It was an amazing creature, so graceful and powerful. Considering that thousands of sharks are killed every year for just their fins, I was really happy to have put aside my fears and to be able to appreciate that amazing creature. I let out a huge hoot and kept on sailing.
An Afternoon to Remember !
There's something about sailing that brings with it clarity of thought. I did my best to not speak at sea today and was rewarded with rich creative thoughts, visions of family and love for our planet. After a full-on day of sailing with perfect winds we floated to shore and the lee of a quaint headland. Once the kayaks were packed away, we were told a massive hailstorm was heading our way. Within an hour a black cloud engulfed us, it pissed down rain, dissipated and threw a full double rainbow. The crew danced in the sand like kids on Christmas morning. That night, as Will channelled the spirit of Neil Young, we watched an epic harvest moon rise over the sea. All in all, we all went to bed with smiles on our faces.
Biggest Day Yet
After consulting the week's weather maps, admiral Rastovich made the call that we would leave shore via moonlight so at 5am we slipped into the water effortlessly and began our pedal south. In the glassy sea, we welcomed our first visit by a large pod of dolphins. Such a great morning treat ! Later, we came across a series of baited traps and checked their content. Dave discovered a leopard shark tightly wedged in the trap and set it free. Although legal, these traps are indiscriminate killers, taking down just about any creature looking for an easy feed. The forecasted NW wind finally hit around 9:30 and sent us flying down the coast. With the great winds at our backs we decided to push on as far as the wind would take us. Become complacent and the elements will serve you a wake up call. Today, Will snapped his rotor pin and I almost capsized at high speeds. As we rolled into Woolgoolga, we were met by pods of Humpbacks. One had three adults and two children showing off for spectators on the headland. As we watched them tail slap and breach, a strong N wind started to howl causing us to frantically sail to safety. As I tried to keep my vessel away from the headland a juvenile crossed my path and breached in front of my boat about 15 times. An act of pure play.
Whale tails off Woolgoolga 'We've seen heaps of whales. There are mothers teaching their young to jump it's amazing,' says Rasta. Sadly, none of the scientific data the Japanese claim necessitates the killing of whales amounts to anything that could not be found by simply analysing skin samples from the mammals; skin samples that can be collected as they float on the surface of the water.
Whale tail, North Coast: Ironically, the whale watching industry is worth $350 million, but the animals are still in danger.
We made it to shore and lucked out on a small right hand rip bank. We all surfed and body surfed as we waited for the wind to switch south, so we could make it to the protected side to camp. On our crossing back with the south winds, Hilton and Justin were almost driven into the rocks and did well to make it to shore. Considering it was Justin's first day on the guest boat he did well as we clocked 11 hours in the saddle and 78 km sailed in the most diverse conditions yet. What an adventure!
Chris Del Moro - forehand roundhouse cutback 'After a super hectic morning of south winds, and tacking and not making much forward progress, it was really nice to get in the water at a scenic right-hand sandbar and get loose!'
Rasta mini Tube
Rasta cutback in front of Moro 'This was taken after nine hours of sailing. We were frothing. I think I body surfed about 60 waves in a row after that, frothing on the corner wedge of that beach. There are so many beaches on the East Coast; I hadn't surfed at this spot before. I've got the -Something about Mary' hair-do going on too !' Rasta.
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