Uncaught Fish and Unridden Waves

There was a good swell running the other evening with a light offshore wind, which drew me to Marengo Point to take photos of waves breaking over the reef there.  From my usual vantage point half way up a small cliff, I could see Marengo beach and its relatively protected waters to my left and the swell from the Southern Ocean crashing on the outside of Little Henty Reef to my right.

The contrast between the quietude of the fisherman and his dog, and the glorious motion and might of the swell crashing on the reef was striking.

John Langmead_Marengo Pt & whale_6969_20180910_Online
The kelpie was most attentive to the fisherman, even though not a word or signal passed between them as far as I could tell.  It’s what kelpies do. They are life enthusiasts.  At this moment, life for this kelpie was about fishing, and he gave it one hundred percent of his attention.  I learned a little later that this fisherman and his kelpie are inseparable mates of long standing.
John Langmead_Marengo Pt & whale_6970_20180910_Online
Notice the kelpie’s front right paw raised in the pointing position.  More accurately perhaps, given this is a dog bred for working with sheep and cattle, it’s a variation on the motionless leg-raised stance such dogs use when concentrating and giving sheep ‘the eye’.
John Langmead_Marengo Pt & whale_7056_20180910_Online
Fishing from the rocks yielded nothing, and fishing from the beach was no worse. The dog remained permanently alert and engaged.
John Langmead_Marengo Pt & whale_7170_20180910_Online
Australian kelpie in his prime returning to his camp site on the headland after completing all fishing duties.  The beauty of the last moments of sunlight before the sun disappeared behind the hills seemed to stop the kelpie in his tracks for a moment.  Either that, or he had a sense of style and moment and simply struck a pose for me.
John Langmead_Marengo Pt & whale_7002_20180910_Online
Meanwhile, 150 metres away this was going on. I’ve seen larger swells, but any swell of around this size or more keeps me spellbound.
John Langmead_Marengo Pt & whale_7012_20180910_Online-3
Little Henty Reef has some very interesting underwater features, which do things like this to waves.
John Langmead_Marengo Pt & whale_6984_20180910_Online-2
Part of the reef can be seen temporarily exposed on the middle left of the image.
John Langmead_Marengo Pt & whale_7134_20180910_Online-2
Beginners’ barrel.  A most unusual formation on a breaking wave.
John Langmead_Marengo Pt & whale_7105_20180910_Online
Massive manes on these charging waves, blown back by the light northerly.
John Langmead_Marengo Pt & whale_7074_20180910_Online
The curtain falls, but the show goes on. The pretexts people might say they have for coming to the sea are many and varied. But the common denominator for all is simply being in the presence of the sea. It matters not whether the wave or the fish is caught, nor whether contentment, awe, terror or tranquility is dispensed by the ocean at any given moment. What matters is that humans feel better for answering the call of the sea.




2 thoughts on “Uncaught Fish and Unridden Waves

  1. Peaceful oceanic scenes John, that is until you get to that energetic water flow.

    I did a lot of surf fishing in my late teens and twenties. Though never with a kelpie. A breed of dog that I’ve always respected.

    Fishing from the shore tunes you into the elements. Even long periods of inactivity didn’t diminish the optimism that a premium catch was one darting movement away from the hook.

    “Beginner’s barrel”. With a water slide on top. A fancy break right on your doorstep.


  2. Fishing is a bit like surfing, in that the time spent on the core task (catching a fish or a wave) is a remarkably small percentage of the time devoted to the activity. But I suspect that the private and peaceful reverie of both the fisherman and the surfer in between the moments of peak activity is what keeps drawing them back to the water’s edge. The catch of the day and the wave of the day are bonuses.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s