A Sandy Beach Almanac

You've landed at Sandy Beach, NSW, Australia: Lat. -30.15331, Long. 153.19960, UT +10:00 – local map & zoom Google map. I live in a cabin on this beach, 25 kilometres north of the traffic and shops of Coffs Harbour, 600 km north of Sydney. My intention is to post observations of Nature and life within 1 km (1,000 paces) of my South Pacific home.


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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Spotting the whales

Happy Spring Equinox! And just think, there are no depths of Winter anywhere in the world at this time. For just two relatively brief periods each year, northerners and southerners are on more or less equal climatic terms.

This Rainbow lorikeet out the front of the Ponderosa in the New Zealand Christmas bush (Metrosideros excelsus), or pohutukawa as it's known at home in Maoriland on the other side of the ditch, is enjoying the day as much as I.

It's warm, at least 21 degrees, and bright blue and sunny, but a committed sort of wind is hurtling down the beach as fast as yesterday's southerly, and the trees and taller shrubs around the Ponderosa are doing the Sandy Beach Wave -- not unusual, and that's why I often joke that this place should be called 'Windy Beach'. I see from the weather sticker in this page's sidebar that today's stiff breeze is "21 mph / 33 km/h from the NNE".

It's T-shirt weather but not perfectly comfortable on the beach for my flaneur, as I'm a hot weather lover, and not real fond of moving air. Speaking of wind, and flaneurs, I haven't been flaneuring much lately (season too cool, me busy as a one-armed paperhanger in a high wind) but I'm doing more of it as the days grow warmer. Thus more posts to come, I trust.

It's round about the season for Humpback whales to be returning from their annual holidays in the warmer waters up north, and if they haven't passed by Sandy yet, they should soon.

Unfortunately, the Ponderosa doesn't have a water view (too close to sea level and the cabin faces west) so unless I camp on the beach, my chances of seeing a Megaptera novaeangliae are not much better than if I lived in Moscow. I was lucky to spot one travelling north a few weeks ago, but of course by the time I ran back with a camera it was submerged and holding its breath just as I was catching mine.

If you are local and want to email me at pipwilson [AT] acay.com.au if you spot the whales, chances are I will be able to spring into action and share a photo here with our local and international readers. If you think your chances of seeing the whales are better than mine (maybe you are on a boat a lot of the time, or have an elevated view somewhere between Coffs and Woopi), and want my SMS text number so you can tell me and I can grab a shot and share the pix online, I think that would be great. Maybe someone would like to set up an SMS text message "tree" for alerting fellow Sandysiders. If so, I'll be happy to publicise that here. I think that'd be great from a human social point of view, too.

More in the Book of Days about Humpback migration.


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