Port Augusta paddle — 2 July 2022

Spencer Gulf

Mangroves in Spencer Gulf

Simon, Anne, Kaye and Stephen joined the locals Steve and Greg for a paddle from Port Augusta to the top of Spencer Gulf. Greg supplied a couple of maps, (so we wouldn’t get lost) with the highlight points marked. We started with the wind and tide helping as we paddled past Matthew Flinders’ lookout at Red Cliffs and under the railway bridge. Then with mangroves on one side and the Flinders Ranges on the other we headed north. Steve suddenly led us into the mangroves, negotiating an obscure entrance to show us the historic salt works.

On Foot

We climbed a sand hill to find old concrete tanks and a large rusted valve. The tracks around the area were very slippery.  We walked around and saw an old flood gate used to control the water flow into the salt pans. Steve also pointed out the directions of major Aboriginal trade routes and the importance of the Port Augusta area as a meeting place for these.

Top of the Gulf

Kaye and Steve in Spencer Gulf

Back in the water we paddled under the ruins of the salt works trolley bridge as the Gulf started to narrow significantly. Approaching the top of the Gulf required single file paddling and careful steering around the tight bends, particularly for Kaye and Stephen in their double kayak. Luckily there was a wider turning area at Yorkeys Crossing. Greg paddled through the pipe under the road crossing and informed us that it was definitely the top as he was out of water. We made a hasty retreat as the tide had turned and we were noticing the drop in water level. We made it past the old bridge without hitting submerged concrete blocks and back into wider and deeper water.

Paddle Back

The paddle back saw us zig zag from one side to the other to gain some shelter from the wind which was definitely blowing much stronger than forecast. We also had a much needed rest in the lee of a small island. Lunch was enjoyed at the rail bridge by Red Cliffs before facing the last exposed stretch back to the cars. The outgoing tide working against the strong wind set up rough choppy waves, but nothing we all couldn’t handle. Many thanks to Greg and Steve for escorting us on this magnificent paddle. We covered about 20 km and besides the great scenery saw lots of birds, Great Egrets, White Faces Herons, Pied Cormorants, Hoary Headed Grebes and also seal near the launch.

No Cuttlefish

The weekend was to include diving with the cuttlefish at Whyalla. However, a bad weather forecast caused the Dive Shop to cancel our bookings. Kaye and Stephen also missed out on their glass bottom boat tour of the cuttlefish. We will just have to return another time.

Port Augusta route

Coffin Bay — 14-17 February 2022

First leg to Black Springs

Starting the trip

Anne and Simon Langsford were joined by Frances and Bernard Goble, Phil Doddridge, Mark Loram, Stephen Carter, Matthew Eldred, Simon Delaine, Charles Walker, Jo Molsher, Julie Rohde and Peter Vincent to paddle from Coffin Bay township out into the Coffin Bay National Park. The first day saw us heading out of the town bay towards Rabbit Island. The tide was very low by the time we got there and some of us walked our kayaks over the Mussel and Razor Fish beds. However, it was not long before we hit deep water again and those with sails enjoyed a good tail wind.

When we stopped for lunch on the beach past the Yangie Bay inlet Julie found her missing spray deck which had become squashed up in the bow as she packed other things. At last water-tight she enjoyed the rest of the day.

We arrived at Black Springs with plenty of time to pitch camp and relax, looking out over the amazingly blue ocean. After dinner that evening it started raining, and Simon and Anne’s emergency shelter was put to good use! as we sat huddled under it. Most people headed to bed early as we planned an early start to catch the tide around Point Longnose.

Lightning Day

So much serenity

Lightning, thunder and heavy rain greeted us the next morning, so the early start was postponed. By mid-morning the storm had passed but the wind forecast made paddling onwards unwise, so we did the walk to view Black Rocks on the southern side of the peninsula, then after lunch split into groups to paddle close to camp. One group went along the picturesque rocks while another group went out to more open water while Jo did her first sailing effort. Although both paddles were much shorter than planned everyone had an enjoyable day.

Windy Day

Paddling along the coast

Wednesday’s wind forecast was bad – 20 knot winds with stronger gusts. Change of plan again! We paddled through the oyster beds and over to Point Longnose where we had a short stop while Mark emptied his water-filled front compartment and put the hatch on properly. Around Point Longnose is a beautiful beach where we had lunch before retracing our steps. Each day Matt would be seen looking for cockles on the beach to bait his fishing hook. He did catch some Whiting, but alas too small to keep so we didn’t get fresh fish for dinner.

Return Day

Preparing the departure

Now we had spent 3 days at Black Springs camp and there was not enough time left to venture out to Point Sir Isaac, so we decided to return to Coffin Bay township. Along the rocky cliffs we came across some seal pups that played with us and followed us for about half an hour. Then we headed to The Brothers islands so Peter could check out the birdlife. We were rewarded with sighting the rare Rock Parrots and there were also some large sea lions, one of which gave an aggressive display towards the kayaks before leaving us alone.

The group split again into ‘paddlers’ and ‘sailers’ to cross over to the northern shore of the bay. Lunch on a sand beach with a very shallow approach made us walk the kayaks again to save scratching them too much. Then it was a pleasant paddle along the rocky cliffs with some of us paddling into Mount Dutton Bay for a short distance.

Wrap up

Coffin Bay Strava

Bernard, Frances and Steve left the group to head homeward. The rest of us pitched camp at the caravan park and then headed to the pub for a drink and dinner.

In total we paddled about 66 km, a bit short of the plan but we had to manage the weather conditions and even with this shortened trip everyone enjoyed the trip.

Some memorable comments:

  • OK everyone, the plan for today is changed, – again. – Anne
  • We have got to know this camp site well. – Frances
  • I’m not talking about the wind forecast. – Simon L
  • Can we stay here another night?  -Text message from Jo (safely in her tent during the storm)
  • I’m glad I remembered everything and I didn’t capsize. – Simon D
  • My jaw is sore from smiling so much, the sailing was so much fun. – Matt
  • I’ve found my spray deck.  – Julie
  • Thunder and lightning, very, very frightening.  – Julie
  • The colour of the water at camp, amazing blue.-  Charlie
  • Great paddling with new people. – Stephen

Check the facebook post for additional pictures

Sea lions

Huddle to avoid the rain

Paddling with seals

Delta Fleet

Checking the landscape

Resting at the campground

Downwind from Seaclif — 1 February 2022

Downwind from Seacliff

Great Seacliff paddle Tuesday with four (4) paddlers (Phil, Mark, Anthony and Simon) braving the forecasted conditions of a 20kn southerly. Phil opted for a downwind run to West Beach to take advantage of the blow. Started off well, at least until we had a capsize just before the Brighton Jetty but soon on our way again.

No need for sail, just had to hang on and get blown up the coast! We had adjusted to the conditions just of Somerton Park, just as well as the wind started to increase with horizontal spray spreading out in front of our kayaks, an indication that wind speed was getting up to 30kn. Aside from the Temptation Catamaran, we were the only ones out on water. She was heading south with the deck covered in fun seeking sailors, we could see waves breaking over the bows.

Riding waves from Seacliff

The last leg from Glenelg to West Beach Boat Ramp was the most challenging, when we got hit by 1.5 to 2m waves forming on the sandbars. After gusts of 30kn plus hitting us, we opted to seek the shelter of West Beach Boat Ramp. A fantastic paddle and enjoy the pics – I managed to get a couple while keeping a good lookout for inbound swell.

Peer Paddle Semaphore South 30 January 2022

Preparations under way before departure

Sails up on our way back to Semaphore

Another great Sunday morning paddle from Semaphore South last Sunday 30th Jan. A good turnout with six (6) paddlers out on water. Paddlers were Matt, Julie (up from Meningie – love that devotion to paddling!) , Abelardo, Shauna, Nicholas and Mark.

On water about 9am and paddled south to the West Lakes inlet and then that little bit extra to Grange Jetty. SW wind below 10-12kn, just enough for Shauna to unwrap her Flat Earth sail.

Once again we were entertained with a sky diving exhibition towards the end of the paddle and a friendly seal at the northern end of the breakwater – totally oblivious to the beach walkers. Finished up with coffee at Noonies, a great way to end the mornings paddling.

Semaphore South Peer Paddle — 9 January 2022

Towards North HavenEight of us (Matt, Bella, Anthony, Anthony, Abelardo, Bruce, Simon D and Nicholas) departed the sunny Semaphore South shores with almost no wind, very flat seas and lots of sunshine. Along the way to North Haven, we navigated through fleets of yachts, stand up paddlers, and boaties out fishing. Simon had his new kayak out for its longest paddle yet, which was completed with apparent ease. Some took a break at North Haven beach while others practised manoeuvres. The way back was a little more work, with headwinds up to 14 knots and the water a little more lumpy – yet it was still very pleasant. No one was eaten by sharks, run over by yachts, nor had aircraft land on them. So all-in-all, a successful paddle!

Thanks to Nicholas for pictures and very entertaining report.