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Kayaks in the beach in Coffin Bay

Coffin Bay — 7-11 November 2022

Head wind

The weather forecast for the week at Coffin Bay National Park was looking great as Bernard, Francis, Charlie, Marina and Anne set off from Coffin Bay township on Monday 7th November. With a 10-15 knot north easterly wind we paddled along the cliff edge on the northern side of the Bay We gained some advantage from the easterly component and sheltered from the northerly aspect until we crossed Mount Dutton Bay. The wind hit us again as we crossed above The Brothers Islands and made our way along the coast to Black Springs campsite. It wasn’t long

Seal behind a 2 person kayak with two sails up

Seal playing with the kayak at Coffin Bay

before we had set up camp and were relaxing.

Trying to get to Point Longnose

The plan for Tuesday was to paddle around Point Longnose and make our way to Morgans Landing camp. However, the forecast calm wind turned into at least 15 knots from the north and the swell was predicted to be about 2m. We battled into the head wind through the oyster farm to Point Longnose and beached the kayaks on the more sheltered side. Francis and Marina looked after the boats while Bernard, Charlie and Anne went to check conditions on the exposed side. The wind was very strong and it was whipping up waves which would have been breaking side-on to us along Seven Mile beach.

Back top Black Springs to see the eclipse

To continue would have given us about 12 km of very difficult paddling so we decided to retreat back to Black Springs. While we were checking conditions around Point Longnose a large wave and strong gust launched Charlie’s kayak back into the sea and quickly took it out of reach. Marina jumped into her kayak and managed to grab it but without a tow line to return it to the sandbar. She was stuck in waist deep water with a deep trench between her and the sandbar. We needed to work out how to reunite Charlie and his kayak. Bernard and Frances managed to ‘deck carry’ Charlie out to Marina and then it was easy to get everyone back into kayaks.

Moon eclipse in Coffin Bay

Moon eclipse in Coffin Bay

The strong northerly wind made sailing back a great option for those with sails. Anne and Marina decided to go around the coast while Bernard, Francis and Charlie planned to sail directly back. Luckily we did a radio check before we split the group and we had not gone far when we had radio contact that Charlie’s rudder wasn’t working and we collected together on the beach for repairs. That sorted we returned to camp, more or less as a group with some sailing nearer camp. In the evening as we walked along the beach we noticed the moon rising, but it didn’t look right. We checked Google and discovered we were seeing a total eclipse of the moon in progress.

Heading back

Wednesday’s winds were predicted to be even stronger and we woke up to rough seas and about 27 knot winds so we opted for a bushwalking day and visited the lookout to Black Rocks in Avoid Bay. We walked a little further along the cliffs and found an enormous Osprey nest perched on a rocky island, with the resident bird standing on top of it.

The wind forecast for Thursday was a westerly (tail wind returning to Coffin Bay) and Friday was back to easterly (head wind returning to Coffin Bay) so it didn’t take much discussion to pick Thursday as our last day. With a good tail wind we made our way along the coast then across to The Brothers Islands to check on the birds and seals there. There was one seal that swam around our kayaks checking us out as we photographed it.

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