A circus of entertainment commences around boat ramps on most days.
Calm and sunny days. Perfect conditions to spend time on the waters with rod and reel.
But those sunny days often keep me out of my kayak and on dry land with camera in hand.
It’s usually a spontaneous decision, the odds are fifty-fifty. I happily admit it, I’ve become a photo freak. Loving it.
Just as much as going through my photo collection after dinner. Selecting photos for a post is so difficult.
Boat ramps play a vital role in the Australian fishing society. Australians just love to fish.
From the boat ramp.
Or out on the water. Off all sizes and shapes.
Therefore, boat ramps are vastly scattered around this oversized island.
Every keen fisherman owns an Aus-trailer saddled with a ’tinny’.
The way I look at tinnies is, that they are an oversized aluminium walnut shell, cut in half.
A 5 horsepower engine pushes this nutshell towards the secret fishing spot.
Alright. Many fishermen converted to a flash convertible vessel, but the ’tinny’ is still a true Australian Icon.
Boat ramps are extremely popular with fishmongers of all sizes.
A mixed bag of intruders lurks around tinny owners.
A snack may be on the cards at any time.
Pelicans enjoy fish-fingers.
Whilst seagulls relish chips to complement a hearty breakfast.
And herons are not overly keen on bread.
There is an opportunistic dynamic within these fishos, circumstantial as it may be.
Everyone has the same objective but uses a different strategy.
This theatrical event may confuse the naked eye. But not my camera.
There is no shortage of drama to be captured within this featheration.
The stakes are high.
The blows are low when least expected.
It’s every pelican for themselves, an aggressive strategy.
Battle-scars are visible and painful reminders.
This extravaganza reflects even more spectacular in delightful photographic conditions. Calm sunny days on mirror-like waters. Bring it on.
The fishing world is particularly active on those instants as well. Bright sunlight beams straight onto the target and prey movements are easier distinguished.
And where one is feeding, others soon follow. A win, win situation for me and my camera.
I find pelicans in particular extremely photogenic.
It’s not all black and within pelican society. They have a colourful appearance.
Beaks and sacks shimmer wildly.
Curious black and yellow eyes always scan for opportunities.
Just as colourful are their facial expressions.
A pelican’s cleaning procedure is lengthy and thorough.
The local beauty salon re-opened shortly after breakfast.
Parasites are scratched out of the doona.
And the plumage needs to get waterproofed again.
A wing-stretch re-aligns their feathers.
I find this is mesmerising as well as astonishing.
Balancing on one foot is hard enough at any given time.
It becomes a trapeze act high above.
But that’s the only part of the body the pelican’s long beak can’t reach.
Pelicans are some of the largest flying birds on earth.
B’52’s in the sky up high.
Their wingspan glides in thermal upwind flawlessly.
Pelicans travel vast distances to reach breeding grounds inland.
Landing on water is elegantly graceful.
Waterski par excellence.
An acrobatic skill-set is needed whilst landing on a pole.
Just made it.
Taking to the air from up here simulates a leap of faith.
I wonder why pelicans never appeared in the ‘Muppet Show’.
Getting airborne from water is a different scenario altogether.
It is a huge effort to jump over the water runway.
Wind speed and direction determine the duration.
If they don’t need to fly, pelicans rather paddle to their destination. Sea urgency.
Despite their tempered table manners, pelicans are highly sociable.
Sandbars are a favourable locations to gather and re-group.
Apart from snapping at each other at dinner time, pelicans communicate with a low-frequency grunt.
Not very often, but when they do, it sounds like a pod of hippos in African waters.
Where there’s fish and chips on the menu, seagulls are never far.
They are the true masters of photobombing.
Speed and agility are vital to beat any feathered opposition. Quite comical.
The underwater assault gets interesting if a cormorant obliged to mix and match.
They usually roost together with their feathered counterparts overnight, but swarm upriver to chase schools of baitfish.
One was left behind and he knows what he wants. Thank you very much.
Herons and egrets are always lone stalkers.
Ghostly in appearance, they sneak up from behind, sure-footed and almost undetected.
They are the true master desperados on the filleting table.
Leaving everyone frazzled.
I can constantly find something to amuse myself down by the boat ramp, there is always something going on.
Even swans fly by.
Therefore, I find camping at boat ramps extremely appealing for the three F’s!
- Fishing to launch my kayak. Currents, wind and swell are easier to deal with.
2) Freaky Photography. Sunrises and sunsets are frequently breathtaking. Often on that very same day.
3) And free camping. Many boat ramps have flowing water and flushing toilets.
I gotta be happy with that. Locals often give me a freckled look at first, but may just be envious of my setup. But most smiled and stopped for a wee chat. Local advice is ever so helpful and it shows them, that I am not so weird. That’s my theory.
This theory has recently been faulted. The police knocked on troopy late one night and woke me up. A group of teenage scouts had accused me of child misconduct, whilst they were running laps around the trailer park and therefore passed my camp as well. I was just staying out of the chilling winds with a cuppa tea. The police officers were intrigued by my side of the story and left me be after my details were checked within the matrix. It took me a while to fall asleep again after these serious allegations.
Blue sunny skies enticed me for yet another photo session the next morning. Whilst packing up camp, a white ute cut off my reverse exit point. Not thinking about anything too much, a chubby middle-aged man jumped out of his car and began yelling ‘f’ and ‘c’ words towards me. I kid you not. Surely someone had a hidden camera somewhere. What’s up with this crazy folk? Paranoia will destroy ya.
I guess it shows that my theory doesn’t always work. But in all my previous years of travelling, this strategy has worked extremely well.
Maybe I should stick with the pelicans!