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Some of the club members decided to get adventurous, and brush up our surf skills at Middleton on Sunday. Conditions were good, with a small, choppy but manageable surf, and some most welcome sunshine.
After some basic theory and warnings for those new to surf, we dragged the boats down to the water to get wet. It is always a problem knowing how close to get to the surf before trying to get into the boat: too close and you get knocked about by the waves before you are ready; too far away and you are left high and dry, waiting for a big wave to come and rescue you.
Once in the water, the less experienced paddlers stayed closer to the shore getting a feel for the waves while gaining a new appreciation of the necessity of bracing and support strokes, in-between practicing wet exits and emptying sand and seawater from kayaks.
Further out, the more experienced paddlers were managing to find a few nice rides amongst the choppy waves. They were mostly in control, but there was still the occasional upset. I think everyone had at least one swim.
With the cold water, it only took a few hours before everyone had enough. We then retired to the nearest bakery for a hot pie and coffee.
Check the YouTube video
It was a cold, rainy weekend in Adelaide. Up in the Riverland, we had a rain-free, mostly sunny (but still cold) weekend kayaking on the Murray backwater around Loch Luna.
Saturday morning we all met up at 10am on the river front of the Kingston On Murray Caravan Park, where we would be staying. It is a very convenient and safe launching spot, being on the park grounds, and the managers are always very helpful, a recommended place to stay if you want to visit the area: https://www.komcaravanpark.com.au/
New member Carol brought her husband along with his gorgeous hand-made wooden rowboat, which despite some misgivings, kept up with the kayaks with no trouble, and managed the narrow channels easily. The Murray is flowing really fast at the moment, thanks to all the rain they have been having in the rest of the country, and we made our slowly upstream for a few kilometres before reaching the entrance to the relatively still waters of Nockburra Creek.
We made our way slowly up the maze of backwater creeks up to Loch Luna, where we stopped for lunch just as the sun came out from behind a cloud. Perfect timing. After lunch we continued through Loch Luna to the Murray River for a look, before finding another backwater channel to take us back to where we started, and from there we took advantage of the strong flow to let the Murray River take us back to the campground.
We met up with Kym from Canoe Adventures while relaxing in the campsite, and had a long chat about the current state of the river and picked up some tips for Sundays paddle. They hire kayaks and run guided trips of the area, and are a goldmine of information about the local conditions if you ever want to visit up there: https://canoeadventure.com.au After a lovely meal in the Cobdogla club (country restaurants really give you a big serving ), we retired back to the campground for the night, with some braver souls camping out, while the wiser ones had hired a cabin.
Sunday morning was lovely and sunny. A bit cloudy over slightly as we set off again, this time to explore Chambers Creek, which eventually leads into Lake Bonny. Have paddled all the way there once, but it is too long a paddle to do in a morning. So, we contented ourselves with just meandering around the different islands of reeds. We enjoyed the scenery for a few hours before making our way back to the cars, and head off back to Adelaide, interrupted for the customary pie stop at the bakery of course.
CHECK IN AT WESTMINSTER
A great turnout for our Beginner Rolling Session at Westminster School Tuesday evening with eight rollers on their way to learning the process for achieving a successful roll. Anne and Simon Langsford conducted the training drills supported by Charlie Walker and Scott Zrna with Mark Loram looking on wishing he was in the water while photographing. Our budding rollers were Nathan and Zac Elgar, Pawel Winiarz, Ron Hamilton, John Glover, Anthony Keller, Berny Lohmann and Michael Grundy. Nathan was helping son Zac consolidate his off side rolling.
We started off the session with introductions followed by matching everyone up with the range of whitewater kayaks we had nominated for the training. A few adjustments were required to get everyone into their boats, but all worked out well. Anne and Simon then had the group working out and limbering up with a range of warmup exercises to minimise the chance of injury, before getting on water for more warmup. As well as Daggers we had a few Jackson kayaks in the group, and I’m sure Eric would have been proud of how the session progressed.
This was the first of two beginner roller sessions, so the emphasis was on getting the group comfortable with capsize and exit before working on edging techniques and supported bracing using the benefit of paddle floats.
The evening was very successful and I could see plenty of smiling faces. Many Thanks to Westminster for access to the pool and to Anne and Simon, Charlie and Scott for conducted the training drills.
The Adelaide Canoeing, Caving and Climbing Club. Maybe that’s what we should rename the club. There was some of all of that on the weekend trip to Blanchetown and Punyelroo.
The winter weather in the Riverland is normally much better than Adelaide, but not for this trip. Five paddlers set from Blanchtown on Saturday morning. The sky was overcast with a stiff headwind and the temperature reading a chilly 9 degrees. A bit of brisk paddling soon warmed us up. We crossed the Murray and headed up Cumbunga creek, threading our way through the dead gumtrees. We tried not to disturb the pelicans while being serenaded by the cockatoos, who must be preparing for spring.
The channel soon narrowed as we approached Roonka Conservation Park. This is where our first mishap occurred. Having done this trip many times I didn’t bother bringing my GPS, wandered up the wrong channel, and soon found myself in a dead end. I was firmly wedged in a thick bunch of reeds which I had tried to push through. Despite much pushing and pulling I was stuck, and was slowly resigning myself to a winter swim. Julie managed to attach a rope to the end of my kayak and pull me free. Many thanks Julie.
After backtracking and finding the right channel we soon found the Murray again, and crossed the river looking for more backwaters. Going up the narrow channel behind Julia Island, we found a secluded lagoon where we stopped for lunch. This didn’t take long thanks to the cold weather, and we were soon back in shelter of our kayaks, continuing upstream. The lagoon narrowed at the northern end of Julia Island, and we had a short portage over a road before getting back into the Murray River again.
We decided to head home on the Murray, taking advantage of a good tail wind and a fast flowing current. Thanks to the winter, we had the whole river to ourselves. We gently paddled past the golden cliffs and magnificent gum trees, still being serenaded by the local cockatoos, until we reached our launching spot.
The group split up here. Some going back to Adelaide, while the rest of us set off to Punyelroo Caravan Park. We would stay for the night before Sundays paddle.
Thanks to new member Ghanshyam for being well prepared and brought an electric heater and kettle. We managed to stay up in the cold and chat for a while before retiring to our tents for the night. With two sleeping bags, an insulated mattress, a couple layers of clothes, and a beanie, I had a warm cosy night.
Next morning was a leisurely start as we waited for Abelardo to come up from Adelaide for the Sunday paddle. We set off from the Caravan Park, and headed directly across the river into the lagoon to try and find Punyelroo cave. This would have been much quicker if I had my trusty GPS. We eventually managed to locate the entrance and dragged the kayaks up out of the water. We then
replaced our PFD’s and spray decks with helmets and head torches, and entered the cave to do some exploring.
Punyelroo cave is supposed to be about 3 kilometres in length. I don’t think I have ever managed to get more than a hundred meters into it before my enthusiasm gives out. We spent a good twenty minutes crouching under low roofs, scrambling over fallen boulders, banging helmets on rocks and bruising shoulders on rocky walls before called it quits. We sat for a while in the pitch darkness and total silence, imagining what it must be like to trapped in a place like that. After emerging back into daylight and fresh air, we got back into our kayaking gear and carried on up the lagoon.
The Murray river levels were high due to all the rain the country has been having. The caravan park manager told us that it was now possible to paddle all the way up the lagoon into Swan Reach, and then join the Murray river again. We reached the top end of the lagoon, and sure enough the channel was high and clear, with a good current flow.
We slowly made our way upstream, paddling right over the bridges and pipes that would normally stop us. Our luck lasted right up to the end of the channel, a few meters from the Murray. The raised river level now worked against us. The footbridge across the channel, normally easy to paddle under, was now impassable. Only a few centimetres of clearance, and no easy landing due to all the reeds.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. By standing up in the kayaks, it was possible to climb up over the bridge, and then drag the kayaks out of the river through the reeds. After everyone was over, we had a well-deserved rest and snack on the grassy bank. Shortly after, we took advantage of the current to take us back down the river back to Punyelroo and the (heated) cars, and headed back to Adelaide
By: Kaye & Stephen Parnell
NINGALOO REEF – 6 DAY KAYAK TRIP OUT OF EXMOUTH WA
The Ningaloo Marine Park is located on the north west coastline of Western Australia and is designated a World Heritage listed site due to its incredible biodiversity. On this trip we spent five days paddling and snorkeling between the reef and the beach and it was planned that we would land at pre-determined beach sites. The weather had other ideas.
DAY 1 – EXMOUTH ADVENTURE KAYAKS THEN CAMPING AT YARDIE CREEK
We were picked up at 3.15pm from our hotel for transfer to the Cape Range National Park with a detour to the Exmouth Adventure Kayaks depot to collect the camping gear along with wet suits, hats, rashies and other snorkeling gear plus dry bags for our personal gear. EVERYTHING – food, water (in bladders) had to be carried on kayaks. We filled the hatches at the front and rear with our gear, put the communal food and sundries in the centre hatch and then strapped down more gear on the top of the centre hatch. The group numbered 11 keen paddlers plus our two guides to travel in the five double Sea Bear Packhorse kayaks and three singles. The double kayaks were big and heavy and took a minimum of 6 people to carry unloaded.
The first night at Yardie Creek 86 kms from Exmouth was a permanent camp site of tin shed shelter with rustic sleepers made into a large table with bench seating with a luxurious “drop dunny” facility! Tents were pitched and after a delicious dinner of baked fish and salad we disappeared into our snug sleeping bags lulled to sleep by the booming of waves breaking on the Ningaloo Reef.
DAY 2 – CHALLENGE OF THE INDIAN OCEAN
The day started with us carrying the kayaks through the sand dunes before loading them and heading into the waiting challenge of the Indian Ocean. The plan included an “average” day with 3-4 hours of paddling and with time for snorkeling. But our first paddling day had very strong head wind of 25 knot. White-capped waves greeted us as we launched off the beach. After 2.5 hours paddling and rain clouds rolling up from the south we had covered a grand total of just over 2 kms before the guides called a stop on a narrow beach fronted by sand dunes for a rest and rethink. It was a very tough paddle and we were very grateful for the experience of our Sunday morning peer paddles with Matt at Semaphore. Our guides managed to get a weather report that predicted wind and rain increasing until midnight so tents were hurriedly pitched in the little shelter provided by the small dunes and after a quick lunch of wraps and salad with heavy rain arriving we spent the rest of the day “holed up” in our little tents. We emerged briefly at dusk for a delicious meal cooked and eaten huddled under a canvas shelter held up by paddles before we all quickly retired to sleep out a night of driving wind and rain.
DAY 3 – A STUNNING DAY PADDLING WITH TURTLES AND WHALES
Miraculously the next day we awoke at 6 am to find all peace and tranquility with a southerly blowing up the coast. We had everything packed up and ready to load before breakfast at 7am and an early start on the water to make up for yesterdays’ lack of distance. What a difference a following wind makes! Our guides were very pleased with our progress, with the same distance covered as yesterday but in just ¾ hour. After stops for morning tea and lunch we were able to make up all of the lost time and distance arriving at the planned campsite after 16 kms of paddling. Being back on schedule made for happy kayakers and even happier guides and the chance to drift snorkel was an added bonus. There were plenty of turtles popping their heads up along with fish jumping out of the waves ahead of us as we paddled along. There was even the sight of a whale breaching to make everyone gasp with wonder. Thoroughly exhausted we sat on the sand hills and watched the sunset before staggering off to our tents.
DAY 4 – ON TO TORQUOISE BAY
The destination for Day 4 was Torquoise Bay which proved quite a paddling challenge. We were given strict instructions on precision paddling in close double column formation with our guide drawing a detailed sand map for going through the gaps between the breakers of the reef where strong currents could see us whisked off in the wrong direction if we weren’t careful. Torquoise Bay is a beautiful and popular tourist spot with safe swimming and also provided an opportunity to restock supplies driven up from Exmouth. Another chance for a drift snorkel with a nice slow day with a leisurely lunch before setting off further up the reef to another well chosen camp site.
This site entailed quite a tricky landing in a little cove with a strong cross current and tidal pull. The tide drop is quite marked here, with the water disappearing on us as we were landing. To safe guard the kayaks they had to be emptied and hauled right on the top of sand hills for safety. The actual reef was further away than for our other stops but the pounding and booming of the surf still provided a notable backdrop to the otherwise complete isolation of the campsite.
DAY 5 – MANGROVE BAY THEN BACK TO EXMOUTH
We were granted a lovely sleep in until 6.30am then yoga on the beach with El (our young guide from Seattle) and a cooked breakfast from Dave (our guide from NSW) before setting off to lunch at Mangrove Bay which was full of stingrays skimming through the shallows along with pelicans and little schools of fish plus the odd frolicking dolphin or two to entertain us as we casually paddled up the coast with Ningaloo Reef on our left and the beach and Cape Ranges on our right. While checking out the mangroves we took advantage of the opportunity to run aground – just to prove it’s not just a Phil Doddridge thing! Well away from the mangroves a previously unknown and yet to be named campsite was carefully chosen amongst dense scrub. More unloading and lugging of kayaks to higher ground before settling into our last night of pitching tents.
Another restful start to the last day of our expedition as the tide was out at least 100 metres and the big packhorse doubles are not something you want to drag fully loaded. We all enjoyed walking and fossicking along the beach. Finally underway around 11am with a short paddle to Tantabitti for a final snorkel, this time directly off the kayaks moored to a buoy proved a challenging method of getting in and out in flippers and full gear! A late lunch after unloading kayaks and hauling everything to the trailer ready to load. Arrived back at the depot in Exmouth (at this point only 36 kms away) where a chain gang formed to unload the van and sort our gear before finally and thankfully being dropped off at our respective accommodations for hot showers. Such a luxury! We found the Ningaloo paddle a very physical but enjoyable trip and we are very grateful for the “training” paddles with the Club particularly those at Semaphore and on the Port Augusta Spencer Gulf trip. This was our first “expedition’ and the first time we have needed to carry everything with us. It is astounding what can be squeezed into these big NZ kayaks although there were occasions on that first rough day when we wondered at our wisdom in paddling a heavily laden kayak sitting so low in the water.
CHECK IN AT WESTMINSTER
Another great rolling session at Westminster School last night for our second Advanced Rollers session. Eight (8) rollers were on water practicing their skills this session – Phil Doddridge, Scott Zrna, Gianni Caso, Leigh Aardenburg, Matt Eldred, Abelardo Pardo, Reg Brown and Clark Ernst.
Mark and Terry on the bench taking photos in addition to dedicated partners watching the antics.
Again we had plenty of pool room, especially with a few less rollers this time. Very interesting to see how the Playboats perform in relation to the more traditional whitewater kayaks- all great entertainment from the sidelines.
All of the group achieved multiple rolls, both left and right side Greenland Rolls as well as others and lots of learning happening.
The evening was very successful and I could see plenty of smiling faces. Many Thanks to Westminster for access to the pool and to Phil Doddridge for making arrangements with Westminster and running the evening.
I look forward to the upcoming Beginner Session on Tuesday 9th August. There are still tickets remaining, give Phil a call if you are unsure about attending.
Check in at Westminster
Great rolling session at Westminster School last night for our Advanced Rollers. Fourteen (14) rollers were on water practicing their skills – Simon Langsford, Hugh Stewart, Charlie Walker, Andrew Adams, Tony Wallace, Scott Zrna, Gianni Caso, Clark Ernst, Anthony Aardenburg, David Adams, Abelardo Pardo, Leigh Aardenburg, Hugh Macmillan and Reg Brown.
Phil called in sick, so Mark did the briefing and outlined the rules to ensure we protected the pool perimeter and adjacent lanes. Big welcome to new Club members Reg Brown, Clark Ernst and Terry Holder and special thanks to Gianni for encouraging them to join ACC. Terry has booked for Beginner sessions but took advantage of coming along to see what the sessions where all about. Was also good to catch up with Benita Rosario supporting Gianni and taking photos of the Freestyle kayaks.
All arrived at 6.30pm and lucky to get on water before our scheduled 7pm kick-off. We started with three (3) lanes but ended up being offered another lane after most of the swimmers finished their session at 7.30pm. All paddlers had previously achieved a roll, either going back to summer or more regularly for our Polo Players. Most worked in pairs and everyone had plenty of on-water time with a good 2 hours playing.
Fun in the pool
Most of the group were straight into their rolling, while others conducted warm-up exercises such as capsizing in Tuck Position and Balanced Brace.
It wasn’t long before all were achieving serious rolls, some on both sides and Leigh and a few others also tried out the Freestyle kayaks. I could see Euro blades and Greenland paddles being used as well as a few nibble hands!
The evening was very successful and there were plenty of smiling faces. Many Thanks to Westminster for access to the pool and to Phil Doddridge for making arrangements with Westminster and arranging kayaks for all participants.
Next training session
I look forward to the next Advanced Session on Tuesday 26th July followed by Beginner Sessions in August.
DAY ONE – WALLY’s LANDING
Winds south westerly 0-5knots predicted felt like 8knots. The small group comprised of Simon Langsford, Peter McLeod, Matthew Eldred as trip leader. We gathered at Wally’s landing for the overnight paddle to Currency Creek. Peter was unable to stay the night due to work commitments and would return to the cars after lunch at Clayton Bay. We set off with the new paddle plan in place making our way through the reeds and into the lagoons to disturb the 100s of black swans that call it home.
Wasn’t long before the water ways widened, and we were heading to the Goolwa channel where we would turn left for lunch at clayton bay.
After lunch the team followed the northern bank of Hindmarsh Island protecting us from the southern wind. As this was a small back track west to currency creek, we were able to line Peter up with the Finniss river and send him on his way under sail.
Now there was two. Simon and Matt followed Hindmarsh Island until we reached the eastern bank of Currency creek. Finding camp at around 3:00pm we decided to set up the tents unload the kayaks and have a late afternoon paddle further up Currency creek.
The night-time activities were dinner and telling stories around the camp fire under the cold winter’s night.
DAY TWO – CURRENCY CREEK
Winds Northly 5-10knots predicted and felt like it. A frosty start to the day and the fire was re-ignited to defrost us from the night’s sleep. Camp pack up was quick and on the water by 9am. Today’s route we followed the western banks of Currency creek and around the islands at Goolwa north. Not to trace to much of our path from the day before, we stuck to the opposite sides of the rivers.
The trip was success and Simon is keen to attend again and explore more of the lower lakes.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.