Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Glebe to Currarong

The NSWSKC held it's annual Rock N Roll kayak fest at Currarong, just north of Jervis Bay. The weather looked good so my paddling friend Megan and I decided we'd paddle there. I trollied my kayak and a weeks worth of food and camping gear down to Rozelle Bay where I packed the boat and launched. An hour and a half later I was rounding South Head and heading out to sea in a surprisingly strong Noreasterly - this was a great start! I hoisted the sail and headed out to sea to make the most of the wind. Three hours later I was at Jibbon Beach where Megan and I had arranged to meet.

Not too long after I'd landed Megan arrived having paddled the eight kilometres from her place up in Port Hacking. We headed out into a strengthening wind and made short work of the 11 kilometres to our next stop at Wottomolla.

Megan Pryke let it rip the first time she used the sail
The next day was going to be a cracker with North Easterly winds to about 15 knots forecast to blow all day. We headed out and soon had the sails up. The GPS was recording us moving at an average of almost 10km p/hr. Once we got past The Royal the wind began to weaken. It became harder to catch the diminishing runners. I don't mind paddling in calm conditions or even opposing winds but when the forecast was so good I have to admit to being less then happy about the lack of wind and then downright grumpy when it turned southerly!

We were a couple of kilometres off shore when the Southerly really picked up so we headed in to Wollongong for shelter. We had some lunch, checked the forecast which still maintained we were supposed to be getting Noreasters and then headed out again, albeit in a calmer sea but with no help from behind. It seemed a long time getting past Port Kembla and that bleak industrial skyline and by the time we'd rounded Red Point we were ready to land. We went in to the northern tip of Port Kembla Beach which was a less than ideal camp site but after a 53 km day that was going to have to do.

Port Kembla Beach
53 KM
The third day of our trip was again calm but we were in good spirits and enjoying the paddling. We made a quick stop in Bushrangers Cove at Bass Point and then had lunch at Kiama Harbour. After around  38 kilometres we discussed our options. With a strong Southerly forecast for the next day we'd either have to finish the trip and do another 25 km on top of what we'd already done or risk having to abandon our plan and get someone to pick us up at Geroa. We decided to pass the Geroa rest stop and go for it, hopefully with some help from an as yet non existant Noreaster. The wind did come up and we sailed while paddling hard all the way to Currarong.

63 KM
We pulled in about 5:40 feeling good and glad to have made it. We commented on the fact that whenever we do the big days its usually with all the extra weight that camping gear, food and water adds and that it can take a while to adjust and makes the k's a lot harder than the numbers would suggest.

Friday we went for a bushwalk around Beecroft Head and on Saturday I took a strong group out into a solid southerly for a partial circumnavigation of Beecroft Peninsular.

Honeymoon Bay to Currarong is about 27 km
The Beecroft team was Mark Hempel, Mark Schroeder, Mark Dabbs, David Linco, Wade Carberry, Paul Edwards and Joel Murray. We were all well pumped as we rounded Gumgetters so I probably came accross as a bit hyper as Wade and I barged into a rescue situation and took over - apologies to anyone who felt we should have stayed out of it - blame it on my training!

The wind had returned to Noreasterly by Sunday so I took another group back to Honeymoon Bay where we explored all the fantastic caves and slots between Target Beach and Point Perpendicular.

Awsome natural features - some of us went in here and then came out of the other tunnel on the left
Inside a sea cave
Sylvio gets through!

Although I felt pretty good about paddling from Sydney to Currarong one thing put all those kilometres into perspective. Jason Beachcroft who last year paddled the entire way around Australia, including Tasmania did more than our entire trip in one stint three times on his trip when he had to paddle past the unlandable Baxter and Zuytdorp Cliffs in Western Australia and The Bunda Cliffs in South Australia. Jason gave a talk on his trip on Saturday night which I'm sure all sea kayakers would find truly inspirational. Congratulations Jason.

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