Thursday, 14 August 2008

South Arm - 13th August 2008

Surf on Hope Beach, with hills (Underwoods, Farewell?) above the channel covered in snow in the distance - 13th August 2008The Hobart and mountain weather yesterday was pretty ordinary, so I went to South Arm. Road closures early in the day kept some people from travelling, and gave my kids a good excuse not to go to school. The road was open from mid-morning though. Lazy sods! On South Arm, the sun was out for much of the time, and it was even quite warm at times. I walked along Hope Beach from Goats Bluff. On the return trip I went through the dunes to South Arm Road and wandered along the edge of Ralphs Bay. Having returned to the car, I went down to Calverts Beach and had another walk along there. Given the state of the weather elsewhere, it was quite pleasant. I have to wonder what they all do for water on South Arm - while it was raining everywhere else, they were getting very little.

Surf on Hope Beach - 14th August 2008The surf was impressively large yesterday, with the waves breaking along much of the length of the beach all at once.

Shaw's Cowfish, (Aracana aurita) Hope Beach - 14th August 2008This fish had been thrown up by the waves. As I was looking it up in the fish book, the kids told me it was a Cowfish. They know, apparently, because they've all been to the Woodbridge Marine Discovery Centre. See, an education is useful! I was thinking some sort of Toadfish, but the kids were right, and they're related in the order Tetraodontiformidae. Like toadfish, these are also poisonous. My book suggests it's a female Shaw's Cowfish, Aracana aurita.

Hope Beach, showing slope - July 2007Hope Beach cops a pounding from the swells that come into Storm Bay. The sand on the beach is always quite soft and hard to walk on. The beach also slopes quite steeply along much of its length. This photo taken last year shows this. At times, and in places, the waves wash right up to the dunes on a steep slope, or create a large berm hard by the dunes, against which they wash at high tide. Not a good beach for a casual swim, and you need to be careful in places. The whole of the South Arm Neck is apparently the result of a the original 200-metre deep Derwent River gorge being gradually filled in with clay, sand and gravel. (Ref. David Leaman 1999, Walk Into History In Southern Tasmania)

Garbage grows on trees, Ralphs Bay - 14th August 2008On the inside of the neck is quiet Ralphs Bay. This place seems to be the Hobart garbage filter, where the bottles and plastic bags end up. This tree was liberally festooned with crap.

Eagle Ray, Ralphs Bay - 14th August 2008This Eagle Ray, Myliobatis australis, was dead on the beach. Probably ate some of the garbage!

Calverts Beach and Goats Bluff, Betsey Island in background - 14th August 2008Calverts Beach is on the eastern side of Goats Bluff, and provided some spectacular viewing in the large surf yesterday. Behind this beach is Calverts Lagoon, considered to be an important wetland area. The lagoon does appear to be quite dry when viewed from the road at present. Information about it can be found by searching at this site.


Mosura said...

Some good waves! Love the cow fish. We usually stay at Seven Mile Beach and do day trips from there. As a Result I haven't actually done much exploring on South Arm itself. I shall have to rectify this :-)

mick said...

Incredible surf! and great photos of it.