Paddling Second Valley to Rapid Head Coastline
The Fleurieu Peninsula (in particular the coast south from Second Valley into Rapid Bay and down towards the Starfish Hill Wind Farm) never ceases to amaze me. Our paddle on Sunday confirmed we should be paddling there more! Eleven (11) Club members joined Bernard and Frances leading in their Delta T to enjoy this stunning stretch of South Australia’s coastline.
Paddlers were Bernard and Frances Goble, Simon and Anne Langsford, Mark Loram, Charlie and Marina Walker, Shauna Ashewood, Michael Grundy, Anthony Aardenburg and Berny Lohmann.
It’s lucky the paddlers arrived at all! Some had to navigate the closure on Anzac Highway due to the City to Bay event. The South Road underpass was the only viable route for crossing the Highway if coming from the north. When we arrived, Second Valley Jetty and car park were busy with people making the most of the stunning day.
Briefing and Departure
Bernard briefed the group on the paddle plan and safety precautions as well as suggesting the best locations (eg Investigator Strait) to check BOM weather for paddling in this area of the Peninsula. After unloading and packing kayaks we were on water about 9.30am. We set off heading south of Second Valley Jetty, ensuring we were well clear of fishing lines and nearby rock platforms. We paddled towards the small beach just south of Rapid Head for lunch.
GoPro Action Footage
It’s very easy to see why this area is so popular. It wasn’t long before we were admiring the stunning rock formations leading towards Rapid Bay. Charlie took the opportunity to sneak into any rock crevice for some action shots with his GoPro. Check out his video on our YouTube Channel below.
The Paddle South
Conditions were suitable for the group to spread out a little and make the most of the paddle, whether looking for sea eagles, seal pups or just soaking up the stunning scenery.
We gathered up the group at Rapid Bay then headed towards the Jetty. The normally turquoise coloured water in the bay looked churned up and creamy – evidence of recent swell.
We made our way to the old Jetty with Bernard suggesting some manoeuvring practice doing figure of eights around the jetty pylons. A large flock of seagulls looked on to see who was disturbing their territory. We were careful as the jetty continues to deteriorate, but it looked safe enough as long as we avoided colliding with the pylons – good incentive for perfect manoeuvring.
The original jetty was developed and worked by BHP from 1942 until 1981, with the quarried limestone being shipped to BHP’s steelworks at Whyalla, Newcastle and Port Kembla where it was used for steel production.
Seal Pups at Rapid Head
After working on our skills we headed further south to Rapid Head. We checke out the numerous seals, caves and magnificent geological folding that can be viewed from the water. Plenty of seal pups around but mostly warming themselves on the rocks or playing in the shallows. They normally tend to investigate and follow our kayaks, however not this time. I wonder why?
There must have been a heavy SW swell over winter as the small sandy beach has disappeared. After a short break we headed back towards Rapid Bay for lunch.
Big Wave Rescue
There was reasonable rebound close to cliffs with underlying swell rising up when reaching shallow water. As Bernard mentioned at the briefing, always keep one eye to sea for that unexpected larger wave rolling in – and one did! Most of the group managed to turn their boats towards the 1.5m wave however one of the group just wanted to practice support strokes (more practice required?) followed by a rescue. It may not have been planned, but always good to practice.
Lunch at Rapid Bay
Returning to the northern end off Rapid Bay for lunch there was an opportunity to practice surf landing skills with small breaking waves. After everyone was safely on the beach we enjoyed lunch in the shade of the large cavern – if only the walls could talk! During lunch we talked about recent kayaking experiences and some of the kayaking skills required for paddling around Second Valley and Rapid Bay.
Once back on water Bernard decided to get the group participating in a tow, ensuring we were well positioned around our ‘ailing paddler’. He gave several in the group an opportunity to tow or assist with supporting the towed kayak. We had a couple in the group who had not participated in towing before so this was a beneficial exercise.
Completion and Coffee
Safely back on Second Valley beach about 3.00pm and soon packed up after another very enjoyable day padding. Looks like the average Strava track shows we covered 14km, with a few twists and turns.
Finished off a very enjoyable day with coffee at the café in the Second Valley Caravan Park. This led me to think that we must spend another weekend based at the Park and explore more of the stunning coastline.
Many thanks to Bernard for organising and leading the trip.