Ocean Rhythms, Oct 17

Spring has sprung, the grass is dead,  the northerlies are kicking off and tumbleweeds are blowing down the main drag. But it’s not all doom and gloom. In between northerly episodes have been some strong pulses of southerly groundswell generated by vigorous frontal passages and deep polar lows sweeping into the Tasman sea swell window. This has seen some solid surf at the Point with August 20 and Sep 10, both Sundays, exceeding size in the 6-8ft range. In fact Aug 20 was one of the biggest swells of the year, with a current to match and only the fittest paddlers (or those on big wave equipment) able to broach the take-off area, as the swell came on strong mid-morning.

Unfortunately, that swell, in conjunction with big night time high tides, hollowed out the Boulder bank and pushed the Point bank wide and deep. At time of writing the sand bank at the Point was mostly rehabilitated but Boulders was still in a very shabby state. Such is life.

The current synoptic pattern, featuring northerly episodes punctuated by southerly swell pulses looks to set to continue into the short term so the take home message is take it when you can get it. Northerly episodes reach seasonal peaks during October and November so unless you’ve got overseas travel on the menu or a kite set-up the options become very limited.

Looking further ahead into the southern hemisphere summer and the outlook is a little more hopeful. The Pacific basin is tending towards a La Nina state, which, if the elements align, tends to see more sustained and stronger tradewind swells and an earlier end to the spring nor-easters. And rain. It can’t get worse than last summer where nor-easters blew relentlessly through summer and hot, dry conditions made for diabolical bushfire conditions.

The shift to spring sees the last of the winter fishing species on offer with a few stray tailor about off the headlands and the very odd jewfish at known haunts. The better odds option this time of year, especially when the nor-easter is blowing is to get the wind at your back on the river and chase flathead. It’s a far more relaxing option for the afternoon when the ocean is being whipped to popcorn by a nor-easter to watch the late afternoon sun setting into the ranges behind the river and put a couple of eating size flathead into the tucker bag. Bouncing soft plastics along the bottom on the last of the run out tide is an easy way to get a feed and beer battered flathead fillets with lime or lemon squeezed onto them are always a hit with friends and family as the silly season kicks into gear. Thats all for this month. Tight lines and tubular visions.

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