|This is Bemm River Mate|
|The launching spot at Py-Yoot Bay, about 10 km West of The Bemm River Mouth|
|I decided there were too many risks - launch aborted|
There is a light house at Pt Hicks which is a couple of km up the road from a locked gate, our intended put in/landing spot being a little bay on the eastern side of the small headland that is Pt Hicks. We walked up to the lighthouse passing Honeymoon Bay on the way and agreeing it was definitely doable although there were lots of rocks around and a couple of bombora's (reefs) off the beach which would need to be closely watched. Once at the lighthouse and out on the point we were very pleased we had aborted our launch as the wind had hit its full 30 knots and was gusting past that. The sea was wild and we would have had a very serious day had we got off the beach at Py-Yoot Bay.
|View from Pt Hicks on the afternoon of Sunday 19th May|
|Pt Hicks Light House|
|Lighthouse keeper No.1 Brian|
The next morning, with a much improved forecast and calmer sea Barnabas and I launched and began our trip.
|Honeymoon Bay, Pt Hicks|
We used the GPS to find deep water, 7.2 metres. We decided to head to Gabo which would probably not have a surf landing but would mean paddling another 12 KM. There would be no lights where the beach is but we did have GPS and there was one big light we could see from where we were, the Gabo Lighthouse. Just as we were about to head I thought I'd try calling the Coast Guard on the VHF. To my surprise it worked. I indicated our position and asked for some directional guidance to the boat ramp. The Coast Guard, Collin I think his name was, offered to drive his car to the ramp, a one minute drive, and we could then head for his headlights. We waited while he arranged this and when he called back he said he had a couple of local surfers, Trevor & Glen, who were happy to paddle out so we could follow them back in. I replied that the car headlights would be enough. We let a set go through and then gunned it for the headlights. We were soon pulling our boats up the gravel next to the ramp with the help of the few locals who had gathered around. We gave our heartiest thanks. The Malacootta boat ramp is not the best camping site but as the rain started coming down and the cold started to set in getting organised was paramount. When Trevor and Glen realised we were going to camp Glen offered us a night at his house. We left the boats, assured they'd be fine, and took our sleeping gear and clothes. Soon we were having a hot shower, a beer and a serving of fresh Abalone (Glen's an abalone diver) served up by Jade, Glens Wife, whilst being told all about fairies by their delightful 5 year old daughter Nina.
Three days in and we still hadn't set up the tents! Glen gave us a tour of Malacootta in the morning and by about 10.30 we pushed off to Gabo.
|Malacootta Boat Ramp. The little breakwall on the right is what threw us as it was taking the breaks so that in the dark it felt like you'd paddle straight into the break zone. One needs to do a bit of a dog leg to miss the breakers.|
|Lively conditions from Malacootta to Gabo|
|A young Humpback put on a great display not long after we arrived on Gabo|
|Gabo Island Lighthouse and cottages|
|Lighthouse Keeper No.2 Leo|
|Seas were calm but the weather was changing|
|At Merrica River|
|A special place|
|About to round Green Cape|
|Tiderace Pace 17 - very happy with its performance on its maiden voyage|
Barnabas is a competent expeditioner and strong and level headed paddler. This trip had lots of unexpected eventualities and situations, some of which had the adrenalin well and truly pumping. Its the unexpected, the rough conditions and the on edge paddling that can turn a trip into an adventure and this trip had all of those elements.
I'll be heading south again the next chance I get. The previous post has the Spot track.