Monday, October 14, 2019

Paddle Pirates Sydney
I've gone commercial. After 15 years of dedicated kayaking I have got myself qualified as a Paddle Australia Sea Instructor, got my RMS and AMSA permits, have my National Parks permit for landing on Goat Island, negotiated an insurance policy that didn't quite bankrupt me, bought a few double and single kayaks and can now share my passion for kayaking and our great harbour and coast with many more people than was ever possible before. I am especially grateful to the Sydney University Canoe Club, Sydney Uni Sports & Fitness and the Sydney University Rowers for accommodating my little operation from our much loved boathouse on Blackwattle Bay.

My harbour kayaking adventure takes in Blackwattle Bay, White Bay, Darling Harbour, Blues Point and the highlight, Goat Island (Me-Mel). Guests get to have a real mini kayaking expedition right at the heart of our magnificent harbour.

I'm not going to pretend that I am motivated by kayaking alone. I also need to make a buck, an honest buck. Not that I wasn't making an honest buck before but in my other business I needed to move stuff around with a car. Even though I do that with a Prius Hybrid its still a bad feeling and something that gives me no joy. With the kayaking I only use my bike (to get to the boatshed) and the kayaks to paddle out to the harbour and back. I can honestly say that my tours are 100% emission free and this is my main motivation.

Talking about the improving water quality of our harbour and letting people see for themselves the impact rubbish can have makes a difference. If  people have no connection with the natural world it's hard for them to know what impact they're having on it. Once they learn a little about how land drains into rivers and harbours it soon becomes obvious how much impact 7 billion of us are really having on our oceans. I don't go on too much about this stuff but I do point it out in the hope of raising some awareness. We pick up loads of rubbish from our landing spot on Goat Island and haul this back to the council bins to ensure it doesn't end up at sea. Nobody ever gets asked to do this, but people always get stuck in.

My daughter once came home from school declaring that "You should be the change you want to see in the world". It hit me between the eyes and now I kayak for a living, burning food not fuel, taking rubbish out rather than creating it and building awareness of the big issues facing us all.

Paddling on Sydney Harbour is something that our indigenous brothers and sisters have been doing for tens of thousands of years. To connect with the water, our harbour and our town with a paddle in hand is one of the most gratifying things you can do.

I hope you can join me on a kayaking adventure to Goat Island (Me-Mel) at the Heart of The Harbour

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