Saturday, January 20, 2007

Norah Head to Sydney

Mark Anderson and I put in at Norah Head on the North Coast and paddled south with aim of going to Sydney. We did the trip in a somewhat leisurely time of three days.

Launch Spot-Norah Head boat ramp
With a nice North East swell running, and the wind also from the NE, we made excellent time paddling up to 3KM off shore. On arriving at Terrigal for lunch after 23KM we negotiated a break across the bay and landed for lunch amongst the hordes of tourists and day trippers.

After lunch we paddled a further 8KM to Little Bay. Having never been in this area before neither of us new what we were looking for but after carefully looking at our map I was convinced that what appeared to be the bottom of an unbroken cliff line was in fact our destination. The wind had been consistent all day and the sea was up to about 1.5 Metres on top of a NE Swell. From where we sat it looked pretty threatening but being sure we were in the right place, now with the added certainty of a GPS reading we decided to head in. We paddled into the zone and were immediately surfed in. On racing down a wave I noticed we were surfing over a nasty reef. Luckily we both handled our surf ride well and landed between a couple of rocks on the beach where we set up camp.

Ideal Camp spot on Little Beach
Day 2 Mark took off with such enthusiasm that it took me quite a while to find him in the swell outside.
We then paddled around the corner to discover another camping possibility:

Caves Bay - enough room for one small tent
We then paddled into the beautiful and well protected Maitland Bay for a brew and a sunbake.
The rest of the day had us paddle into Broken Bay and finish up at the very end of Patonga Creek where we set up camp in sweltering heat to the deafening sound of ciccadas. Paddling up this still mangrove lined backwater was a real contrast to being on the ocean.

Patonga Creek
The next day we were to paddled non stop for 44KM back to Little Manly Beach in Sydney Harbour BUT we got to Palm Beach where we agreed we'd wimp out. Mark called his lovely wife Catherine to come pick us up and so ended our little trip - I would have liked to have been able to say we did the whole trip but then again we kayak for fun not bragging rights and besides we'd done the stretch from Sydney to Palm Beach in a day trip a few weeks previously (excuse).

All in all a great trip which I'm sure I'll do again, maybe in reverse.