Thursday, December 18, 2008


Tonight I had the pleasure of paddling a Valley Aquanaut. Quite a different boat to the Mirage 530.
Rob ON South Head

We came back to a gathering storm

Moments after this shot a cold gusty wind with rain hit us
And it passed soon after. Another pleasant paddle off Sydney Heads. I just hope this summers rainy with lots of storms so paddling isn't ruined by stink boats.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Botany Bay to Double Bay

As neither of us had been doing much paddling lately we thought we'd get back into it with a decent trip. We organised to put in at the very convenient Frenchman's Beach at La perouse and hit the water at 11.30. It was pretty blowy and we had to work hard to get to Cape Banks but once there we turned northward and, with a good wind behind us literally took off. I hoisted sail and had a fantastic time riding waves. Mark Schroeder was also flying along at a good rate, so fast a paddler he doesn't need a sail.

Spot the Schroeder

a 20 Knot South Easter made for great paddling conditions and we landed at Bondi Beach two hours after launching.

Another hour and we were at South Head. The final harbour leg took over an hour of hard slugging into what seemed like very strong winds to our finish spot at Double Bay.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bass Strait Direct

Stuart Trueman has crossed Bass Strait direct, no islands, no nothing.

Stuart Trueman
Congratulations Stuart, what a legend!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

North to Shelly Beach

Two of us headed around to Shelly Beach which is a bit of a magnet for Sea Kayakers

Mark Schroeder

We met up with 7 club paddlers and came back to the heads with them

Mark Sundin - Matching hat & hull

Rob Mercer - Matching everything

Monday, November 3, 2008

Peddle to Wollongong to Paddle to Sydney

Mark Anderson called a while ago with an idea for a trip. His plan was to do The MS Sydney to Wollongong bike ride and then paddle back to Sydney. So that’s what we did.

I started my ride from Glebe, got to the official start at St Peters and began just before 7. Mark and I met up soon after and we more or less did the ride together finishing around midday. Admittedly Mark beat me to the finish but then he has a carbon fibre racing bike and wears lycra and special bike shoes whilst I have a heavy hybrid and wear sandals.

Marks wife met us at the finish and we rode a few hundred metres to Wollongong Harbour where we swapped our bikes for the kayaks. The day had turned grey and there was a solid North Easterly blowing. We packed our boats, had a chat to the coast guard who were watching us, said our goodbyes and off we went.

We paddled into the wind at a speed of only 5 km p/hr and landed at Coledale Beach after a three hour slog.


Mark crawled to his tent and fell asleep before he'd even got in

The next day a strong wind warning was issued and this made Mark want to abandon the trip. Although there was a strong wind warning it would be from the south west, with a southerly change later, all good seeing we were going north. I argued that we could duck under the cliffs for shelter and if the southerly change came before we got to Little Marley, where I wanted to camp, then good – we’d get a free ride. The other big plus was that there wasn't much swell which meant we had various pull out options. Mark was still not convinced and as I punched out through the surf I wasn’t entirely sure he was going to come. Once past the break zone I turned to see a grumpy faced Mark getting set to launch. As I watched him paddle through the surf I thought “if he gets trashed here I’m in big trouble” but thankfully he made it out unscathed.

Conditions turned out to be absolutely perfect although the cirrocumulus clouds warn of the approaching change

The wind was blowing quite solidly from the south west so we hoisted our sails, a new experience for both of us. The conditions, the wind and the sails made for a fantastic day on the water. We flew along the Royal National Park coastline enjoying long rides on the following sea. When the wind became too strong we’d simply paddle in closer to the cliffs effectively turning the wind up or down depending on how far out we chose to paddle. As we turned the corner into Port Hacking we felt the full force of the SW wind and had to work hard for the last stretch to the Bundeena ferry wharf. We had a huge hamburger and milkshake before finishing up for the day at the National Park Camp site at Bonnivale.

Near North Era

By Tuesday morning the effects of the southerly change and associated fronts were obvious – it was raining and very windy. Our morning negotiations were again in full swing as we packed up ready to at least have a look at what it would be like outside. We pushed off and I hoisted my sail. Adrenalin was up as I felt the wind blasting from behind. My GPS showed a speed of over 13 km p/hr and we hadn’t even cleared Bate Bay! I figured we could be at Sydney Heads within 4 hours! But alas it wasn’t to be. Mark blew his whistle and indicated that there would be no way he was going to go outside in those conditions so without hesitation we both turned around and headed to Cronulla where our trip ended – amicably!

I made my way home by train & tram, collected the car and came back for Mark and the Boats. It was a great little trip that we both thoroughly enjoyed.

Wind was around 30 knots from the south with gusts hitting 40

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Dolphin Action

Nine paddlers showed up for last Tuesdays paddle. As soon as we rounded the corner at Watsons Bay I new from the large number of gulls around that something was going on. As we hit South Head Andre and I broke from the group to go investigate.

Soon we were in amongst a huge school of Australian Salmon. They were feeding on the surface, mouths wide open sucking in some tiny food source which I suspect were shrimp about 4 mm long. To add to the spectacle hundreds of gulls, some terns and a couple of cormorants were also working the frenzy. The sheer size of this school which I estimate to have been at least 20 x 30 metres (and thats just what was on the surface) was exciting enough but what happened next really blew us away.The sea in front us erupted. The fish were splashing the surface as the predators came charging in from three sides. At first we didn't know what was going on except that there was something big involved. To our great relief we soon realised that it was dolphins that had launched the attack. The surface quickly went quiet as the fish dived. Now dolphins were popping up all over the place. Not far from us two dolphins shot clean out of the water, somersaulted and landed with hardly a splash. I was snapping away with my little camera but as is often the case the photos were all duds. Out of focus, water on the lens, too far away and missed shots beacause of that dam shutter lag. As a result I got this could have been a great shot!
We caught up to the group, none of who had noticed a thing!

I'm thinking of retiring my Nikon D2H and sacrificing it for a season of kayaking shots.
A few weeks ago there were three seals off South Head, there are whales coming down the coast and now large Pods of Dolphins. It seems this is the time for wildlife spotting!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Big Sunday

Conditions were not as rough as the previous day but were still interesting. According to the weather history (Sunday 24/8/08) wind was between 15 & 31 Knots starting out from the West and then turning South. Swell was in the vicinity of between 4 & 6 metres. Two of us went for a jaunt from Watsons Bay to Coogee & back.

This is what it looked like through the little camera.

There were no boats out here today except for a single kayak heading towards us somewhere off Dover Heights - Who could this be? Non other than Stuart Trueman who had paddled from Botany Bay and was heading into the harbour. He intended to also finish at Botany Bay!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Jervis Bay (again)

Five of us went down to Jervis Bay to paddle what some believe to be the most spectacular bit of coast in NSW - Beecroft Peninsular. This time it wasn't only the geography that caught our attention.

Whilst the pope was giving his blessing to the masses in Sydney Ian received his blessing directly
whilst Cathy visited the cathedral

Jimmy, TJ, Ian & Cathy

Friday, June 6, 2008

Tuesday Night

Some pics from our regular Tuesday afternoon club paddle. Thanks to Rob Mercer for leading this paddle week in week out rain hail or shine.




Owen Kimberley


Umm . . . I think I forgot something
Shaan & Adrian take Paul on board while his boat gets adjusted at sea

More Rescues

and no session is complete without rolling practice

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Batemans Bay to Ulladulla

The stretch of coast between Batemans Bay and Ulladulla on The NSW South Coast is mostly within The Murramarang National Park, has lots of bays, coves and islands to explore and is within a half a days drive of Sydney. So Mark Schroeder, Mark Anderson, Terry Walsh and me went down for a bit of a look.

Reasonably calm conditions opened up lots of landing possibilities
Looking out from Oakey Beach
From dawn till dusk Terry didn't stop smiling the whole time
Slight seas didn't necessarily mean adrenalin free launches
Dark Beach is the southern most point of Sydney Basin Sandstone - the difference can be seen between the northern and the southern halves
The bush is mainly spotted gums with an understory of Burrawangs and is surprisingly open

This unnamed cove didn't look to be that good a camping spot until . . .
We went bush a bit and found a perfect hidden spot
complete with ocean views

packing the boats
Calm conditions with a following sea made for easy paddling

but things picked up a bit in the afternoon
On the inside of Crampton Island we found a bit of paradise and had a long lunch

We then headed off in search of a camp. After not finding anything suitable we headed to Ulladulla. Mark Schroeder and I went in to a break zone for a final ride. Mark Anderson and Terry then came in behind us and suddenly found themselves on a breaking wave. A collision and capsize seemed imminent but Terry braced hard and Mark maneuvered down the face and both made it through unscathed. The trip ended at Ulladulla where we set up camp in a park.

White Faced Herons
Now I know why so many paddlers go on about The South Coast - Its a great place to paddle