Photographer Ed Sloane Reveals A King’s Treasure

In Bass Strait.

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I’m always paying attention to a strong cold front here in winter, but for this place to start working you need something special to happen. I’ve found that waiting for a good chance of snow close to sea level, which is rare, is always the best indicator. That’s what you need to score it properly. It’s associated with Antarctic winds coming from really far south and thus some mammoth swell events in the ocean. I’ve been there before when it has snowed on the beach, albeit briefly. Everytime we go it’s like flying into hell, and I won’t lie, it can be rattling. On this trip we were all silently freaking. I was reading the pilot’s face the whole time, trying to gauge how close we were to dying.

When you land there you sense both the community and the isolation. You have instant awareness of being an “away person” but at the same time it’s not at all negative. Once I even landed there, fuelled up the car and was given a whole wheel of camembert in the servo for my troubles. The pub is classic as well, it’s just a good honest farming/fishing vibe.

A feature with these weather systems is patchy cloud cover and rain squalls. As a result the place changes from summer to winter in a heartbeat. To me, the most striking feature of the place is the light, cliché photog comment perhaps, but in winter it’s backlit all day and there’s very few waves in Australia like it. Almost like the place didn’t get the memo it’s that far south. You could easily mistake it for Straddie in the morning with it’s white sand and peaks close to shore.

On this trip I actually packed boards. I’ve been there so many times and have hardly surfed. It was funny, I lasted 45 minutes ‘til I couldn’t take no more. I started seeing stuff. The lineup is a photographers dream, plenty of different moods and elements to work with. In some respects it’s too much at once, you’re always missing things. Though I did manage catch one beauty.Ed Sloane

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