Updated: Sep 5, 2021
Hike and Spear is a type of survival mission that I created to combine my favourite Hobbies of Spearfishing, Hiking, Wild Camping, Foraging and Adventure. The concept goes like this. I get dropped at a location with all my spearfishing and camping gear. But for a bit of a challenge, I have minimal food. On this trip just Soy, Wasabi, Salt, Pepper, Garlic Granules, Chilli Flakes, 1 Kendal Mint Cake and 2 packets of Miso Paste. I then have to use my skills of spearfishing and foraging to provide myself with a feed. An excellent survival concept that I have been doing since I was a young man. These trips are solo trips, but I have gained the experience required for these trips throughout my life from experience growing up in a military environment and natural love of the outdoors.
I would highly suggest that those attempting these trips ensure they have the skills and knowledge needed before setting off, ideally with a buddy if they haven't undertaken multi-day hikes before. They can be dangerous as you will find yourself battling the weather, ocean, dangerous creatures such as sharks, snakes, dehydration, fatigue, shallow water blackouts, isolation and poisonous plants and fruits. It's essential to know your limits.
With that all being said, lets get stuck into another epic hike and spear trip. This time we are exploring the Far South Coast of NSW, Australia.
Day 1 of Hike and Spear Far South Coast NSW, Australia
I am very grateful once more for my grandparent to drop me off. We set off at 6am for a 2.25hr drive down the coast to the start point. I have dived this section of the coast sporadically but typically in the warmer months. Once dropped off, I began by walking down a rock wall to inspect conditions. I knew going into this hike there would be a lot of hiking on sand, and indeed, I was right, a lot of hiking on the sand.
Being as I'm not in the national parks anymore, I'm able to forage where permitted, which is incredible. Finally, some ocean and land greens! Beautiful sights as the day warmed up. The vis seemed to improve throughout the day as more and more light entered the water. I had sussed a couple of spots to jump in the ocean. So I could be picky, which is a great position to be in on a hike and spear.
There were more than a few cliffs to scramble and climb up. Please note that outside of spearfishing, rock climbing is my favourite hobby. I've been climbing for years and train for it :D. Even with physical training and understanding rock to a certain extent, it's still pretty dangerous climbing cliffs on your own with hiking boots and 30kg hanging off your back. Be careful out there.
I came to a spot that I wanted to dive, but I was picky, so I left my bag down on the beach and climbed up a big rock for a better view. This showed me that I should travel to the next beach and get in there. I did that.
Entering the water, there wasn't much life around a couple of toadfish and some blue groper. I forgot to swap for a new battery in the GoPro but didn't want to get out of the water, so I was pretty conservative on the filming. Needless to say, I came across an octopus, shot a female blue throat wrasse and grabbed myself a cray for the day.
When I got out of the ocean, I was devastated to discover I had lost my octopus. I took my mind off things by preparing the crayfish for a raw feast. Just behind where I left my bag was plenty of New Zealand Spinach - Warrigal Greens - Botany Bay Greens. A delicious spinach-like plant that can be cooked or eaten raw. I decided to go all natural with raw leaves to accompany the cray meat. Sprinkled with some chilli and soy, this was perfect.
After drying off my gear and continuing with the hike, I found myself cut off by an estuary. I tried my hardest with my "genius" idea of inflating my dry bags in an attempt to float the bag across. This sadly failed, so back to the drawing board. The main issue is that the bag is just too heavy.
After failing the crossing, this meant having to haul ass around this giant lake. Which added an extra few km to my hike, meaning I would now be hiking in the dark. I found a shortcut, but ultimately found myself hiking on sand once again in the dark.
I set up the tent in a spot that looked okay, and I was pretty tired. I decided to eat the wrasse first thing in the morning to ensure I had the energy to get to the next dive spot.
All in all an epic first day to this Hike and Spear trip. I cant wait to see what tomorrow brings as the vis only continued to improve.
15kms underfoot today
1 Eastern Rock Lobster + New Zealand Spinach for Lunch
60mins/ish spearfishing/ocean foraging
Epic underwater life and a stunning hike with some fun rock climbs.
Day 2 of Hike and Spear Far South Coast NSW, Australia
I woke up to a glorious sunrise, and the vis had improved from the previous day. This is excellent news for me indeed. I quickly packed up camp Clothier and headed over the headland to beat an estuary at low tide.
Once I got moving, I couldn't stop, as I'm pretty good at always convincing myself that I would stop for breakfast at the next headland only to continue onwards.
Finally, I arrived at a spot that looked just too good not to get amongst. I set down my gear, set up the cooker and cooked off some crumbed bluethroat which was speared the day before. Delicious!
After that, I had earned a spot of sunbathing for myself whilst I wait for my food to go down, not to mention enjoy doing nothing. But alas, the time comes to get wet.
Alright, times up, let's do this…. Suit up and get into the water. I swim out to be instantly greeted with a school of Aussie Salmon. I try lining up a shot but decide not to pull the trigger. I move on to deeper water.
In the deeper water around 10-15m, I'm searching for some bigger fish. I come across a leatherjacket mid descent and pull the trigger… stone shot goodnight Mr Leatherjacket. I take a shot at a sleeping Goatfish but sadly, with the leather jacket still on my line, it puts the shot off, and I miss. I continue on my mission for a cray. I was surprised how long it took me to find a cray hole, but we got there eventually, I took one for the bag before heading back. On the way, I decided to grab a couple of fat blacktop abalone before getting out. I grab them by hand to show how best to do it.
Once out of the water, I get changed, say farewell to my spot and make my way onto the final destination. I knew I was in for a big hike but wanted to find a nice spot for lunch/dinner. Finally, I arrive at a rocky outcrop.
I gather some seawater to boil up the lobster, the only problem being the lobster is too big for the pot. So I have to butcher the lobster to ensure it fits in the pot. I splash some garlic powder into the seawater, place the lobster in and wait until it's cooked. When it's ready, I remove it from the boiling seawater. I kill the two abalones and add them to the boiling liquid alongside the lobster legs.
This honestly was one of the best Eastern Rock Lobsters I've ever eaten. Perfect setting and just super fresh.
After devouring the cray, I got stuck into its leg meat. Which was absolutely delicious and well worth the effort, I think. After that, it was time for the abalone, pretty chewy, but the flavour was worth it. I kept one ab for the hike. A quick clean and pack up before moving on to make camp for the night. I was absolutely determined that I would make my way for the campsite regardless of the light or hiking conditions.
Sure enough, I found myself hiking in the dark. Navigating and climbing each headland with waves rushing in. My feet were soaking wet, cold and I had minimal light. But it was actually entertaining, dodging crabs and trying to keep the bulk of the backpack dry.
I made it onto a big flat sandy beach and decided that it was time to tuck into my Kendal Mint Cake. It tasted bloody fantastic. I limited myself to a quarter bar and kept to my word of eating half the bar. Only drama as soon as I put the mint cake back in my pocket I realised I had arrived at the campsite. Whoops
Loaded with sugar, I set up camp, dried off and got straight into my sleeping bag. I went to sleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.
15kms underfoot today
1 Eastern Rock Lobster + 1 Sixspine Leatherjacket + 2 Blacklip Abalone
70mins/ish spearfishing/ocean foraging
Cold wet feet
Epic underwater life and a stunning hike with some fun rock climbs.
Hiking and rock climbing in the dark
Cold wet feet
Day 3 of Hike and Spear Far South Coast NSW, Australia
The third and final day is here.
I had an okay nights sleep I was grateful to dry and warm my feet but was woken up at 3am by something.
I captured a beautiful sunrise but only for my gopro to corrupt the clip. I sent the drone up to scout for dive spots and the water looked extremely clear.
For breakfast I had my leatherjacket from the day before. It was starting to get a bit fishy but the flesh was perfect. I removed the head and guts of the fish. Whipped off the skin and then filleted.
I then coated the fish in some Wet Mammal Crumbs and pan fried which was absolutely delicious. I had run out of cooking oil and copped a couple of burns because of it. But the fish was still absolutely delicious.
After that I chilled out of the beach before suiting up and getting wet.
Once i had managed to get past the surf I was greeted with beautiful visibility and I was really confident I would come across some crays, I havent dove this spot before but the ground looked good for crays.
I came across a whole heap of golf balls which I decided to remove from the ocean as they are like little plastic grenades. After spending about 30-40 minutes looking for lobsters. I then came across a couple of seals who were just hanging out being seals.
I continued on and whilst seeing some fish I didnt find any lobsters so called it a day. On the swim back I decided to grab some sea lettuce for a lunch snack.
Adding soy and some wasabi to the sea lettuce made for a great snack.
Before I knew it the time for collection had arrived. I scrambled through some bushes, gained some cuts to the legs and arms but finally I made it up the cliff onto a golf course and made my way to the carpark.
Nick was already there to collect me we dropped the golf balls off at the golf club and made our way back.
1.6kms underfoot today
90mins/ish spearfishing/ocean foraging
Epic seal encounters and removing golf balls from the ocean
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