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Surf play at Middleton — 21 August 2022

Preparing to surf

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.

Surfing in Middleton

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

Training around the ship wreck

Basic Skills Training, Garden Island — 6 June 2022

Between the mangrovesGhanshyam and Terry joined Anne and Simon for some training at Garden Island on Sunday. The aim of the day was to refine strokes and provide tips to improve technique. Both Ghanshyam and Terry worked hard on the exercises and showed improvements in their paddling.

The dolphins visited us to inspect their style and surfaced very close a couple of times. We then challenged our manoeuvring strokes by paddling up one of the mangrove creeks. The plan was to finish the day doing rescues, however, Ghanshyam overbalanced working on a support stroke and had an early lesson in the water. After lunch we revised the heel hook rescue on land and then returned to the warmer water near the power station to practice.

Both Terry and Ghanshyam succeeded in getting back into their boats easily. The afternoon concluded with a paddle around to the ship’s graveyard then the incoming tide pushed us back to the boat ramp and a change into warm dry clothes.Training in Garden Island

Bog Snorkelling in Hidden Creek — 24 May 2022

Bog snorkelling is a Welsh sporting event where competitors aim to complete swims through a peat bog in the shortest time possible.

What has that got to do with a pleasant paddle down in the Garden Island area? You’ll have to read on!!

On Tuesday 24 May the following ACC members gathered at Garden Island boat ramp for the first of the winter series mid-week paddles – Phil Doddridge & Bella Kosterman (Mirage 730), Kaye & Stephen Parnell (Prijon double), Peter Carter(Voyager), Mark Loram(Prijon) and Tom Moore(Mirage 530).

It was a warm but windy day so the plan was to spend the time in the mangroves exploring a little known area called Hidden Creek. Based on limited past experience Phil though the tide would be close to ideal to paddle right to the back of the creek. The journey through the creek takes you through a beautiful mangrove forest then a stunning samphire zone. The creek ends abruptly at the salt mine; now ugly and no longer being worked.

Launch and finding Hidden Creek

Launching from Garden Island boat ramp the group worked upwind across the Angus Inlet and some way up the Barker Inlet to get a fast downwind ride to the entrance to Hidden Creek. It has this name due to the entrance being indistinct and partially blocked by fallen trees. The entrance is on the eastern side of Eastern Passage just under the power lines. Once in the shelter of the creek conditions were ideal. Out of the wind it was much warmer, the water crystal clear and the winding nature of the creek made it feel adventurous! Phil and Bella were in a Mirage 730 double with Kaye and Stephen in their brand new Prijon double.  Turning these longer kayaks to negotiate the ever sharpening bends tested sweep stroke technique, strength and endurance!

The creek began to narrow and the turns were now continuous, no more straight sections. Phil  recalled of a wider pond at the back of the creek and after a short discussion with Peter decided to push through as this would be the only real option to turn the doubles around.

Hindsight is a marvellous thing! Well before reaching the back of the creek we ran out of water, the tide was not quite ideal! And this is where the Bog challenge began! Those in single kayaks were able to turn around (just) to begin the journey out. No so those in double kayaks.

Phil surveyed the situation and found what looked like a nice sand bar to get out and turn the kayak around by hand. It would be possible to lift one end over the low scrub while the other remained in the water that was there. There was a bit of sand, perhaps 5cm deep, then it was thick black mangrove mud. Phil quickly began sinking down to his knees…YUK!! The blades of the spare paddle made good “snow shoes” and kept him above ground while he struggled to spin the M730. It became obvious after a short time that this plan was not going to work so Bella got out too and promptly sank down to her thighs in the mud. What a dilemma.

Boged in Hidden Creek

There was no easy solution to get the M730 turned around so one end was shoved up onto the scrub and the rest lifted from the water to point it in the other direction. Phil and Bella then got in, taking quite a bit of smelly mud with them, and began paddling back. Well it was a mix of paddling, pushing off tree stumps and poling through the mud trying to weave through fallen branches and areas too shallow to float the boat!

After a short distance they came across Kaye and Stephen who had seen the dilemma and decided to stay in their seats and paddle backwards to a wider section to turn around. Good decision! The retractable rudder on the Prijon made this possible whereas the fixed rudder on the M730 would have got caught on every shallow area and tree stump making it impossible. With a great deal of direction from other paddlers Kaye and Stephen manoeuvred the Prijon back through the maze and were eventually able to turn around. The group made their way back to the entrance of Hidden Creek stopping for lunch on the way.

Down to Ships Graveyard

The wind was still blowing quite strongly so after a quick discussion Kaye and Stephen opted for a direct route back while others wanting more punishment headed on to the “Ships Graveyard”. It was a fun ride downwind and into the North Arm to view the remains of the Dorothy H Sterling and Santiago. These two relics are a link to the maritime past of South Australia. The Santiago was one of the first iron hulled ships ever made and was launched in Glasgow, Scotland in 1856. The Dorothy was launched in Oregon in 1920 and was one of the largest commercial sailing ships of it’s era. Unfortunately, it became a victim of the Great Depression. Upon arriving in Port Adelaide in 1929 it’s crew found that the company that owned the boat had gone bankrupt and no money was waiting for them for wages and landing fees. Eventually the Dorothy was impounded and put to auction to recoup the losses. The stunning six masted schooner was sold off for £50 then dismantled for scrap. The full stories of these relics can be found online.

The journey back to Garden Island into the wind was a good workout to finish a day of fun, adventure, discovery and problem solving! Reportedly everyone had a great time of it and had never done so many sweep strokes in one day before! The pics of the adventure tell more of the story.

Come and Join Mid-week paddles

Mid-week paddles will continue through the wintery months to differing sheltered locations on either Tuesday or Wednesday. Likely locations will include West Lakes, North Haven Marina, Myponga and other reservoirs, Onkaparinga River and coastal location where weather permits.

If your interested register with Phil Doddridge (pdodds59@bigpond.com) and you will be contacted with further details.

If you wish to learn more about Hidden Creek and exploring Garden Island, then check out Peter Carter’s websites below:

http://www.users.on.net/~pcarter/torrens_is.html

http://www.users.on.net/~pcarter/aerial.html

Cheers,

Phillip Doddridge
pdodds59@bigpond.com
0487 663 102

PA 5097

Day paddle at Port Elliot — 23 May 2022

A much reduced group of three paddlers set off from Victor Harbor on Monday morning. Originally scheduled for Saturday, but thanks to the government declaring an election on that day, we decided to move it to Monday. Apologies to all the working people, blame the government!

Starting to paddle in Port Elliot

We launched from Kent Reserve again, but this time we turned left and headed for Port Elliot and lunch.

We had a quick stop to admire the new causeway to Granite Island. After looking at the state of the old causeway from underneath its clear why a new one was needed, very corroded and damaged.

The entrance to Port Elliot looked its normal intimidating self. Waves breaking on the headland and Pullen Island, but with the small swell the passage between them was easy and were soon stretching our legs and soaking up the sun on the beach.

Around Port Elliot

On the way back we went around the outside of Pullen Island to have a look at the rocks there. Some interesting spots to explore, but they will have to wait for another day, in a smaller boat, with calmer seas.

The trip back was quicker thanks to the wind behind us, but felt longer, possibly due to the paddle the previous day. Whatever the reason everyone was grateful when we reached to beach and the cars.

Day paddle at Victor Harbor — 22 May 2022

Five paddlers took advantage of the glorious weather to go for a paddle out of Victor Harbor, around the Bluff and out to West Island

Paddling around Victor Harbor

The swell was a manageable 1-1.5m as predicted, but the weather forecast did not mention the chop, which made conditions a bit challenging, especially around the Bluff where there was a lot of rebound.

After launching from the shelter of Kent Reserve we made slow, steady progress to West Island, where some of the group chose to go around the exposed seaward side for some excitement while the rest chose to go on the sheltered side to check on the seal population, which is looking very healthy.

Kings beach looked inviting, so we stopped there for lunch and a leg stretch and a chat with the passing hikers. Launching should have been easy except for a sneaky rebound wave coming in from the side which resulted in one swim and a few near misses.

Choppy water around Victor Harbor

Pushing back into the 10 knot wind made things a bit chillier, but we were soon around the Bluff into some more sheltered water. We stopped in at Wright Island to check out the bird population which is also looking very healthy.

Some dolphins made an appearance, but were not feeling social and moved off following a school of fish.

Landing back at Kent reserve we left the kayaks on the beach while we went to retrieve the wheels from the cars. Unfortunately someone in the group neglected to pull up his kayak far enough, and by the time we got back to the water it was upside down in the surf a fair way down the beach. It is going to take me a while to get rid of all that sand in the kayak.

Upper Spencer Gulf, Port Lowly to Port Germein Crossing of Upper Gulf — 2 May 2022

THE TRIP

Steve and Gregg at Spencer Gulf

The crossing had been on the radar for several years as quite often when at Cockle Spit we would peer at the distant view of the tanks at the Port Bonython facility and wonder what if!  We consulted Google Earth and measured and checked possible routes. Gaining information and understanding of the wind and tides in the area was critical. We consulted with several sailors and told us stories of wind and waves in the area and the many challenges with currents. We knew that in windy and high tidal flows this a dangerous area that you should never underestimate the risk.  The decision to paddle the crossing would have to be dependent on ideal conditions.

Leading up to the crossing wind and tidal flows were considered.  The 7 day forecast on Willy Weather indicated that Monday 2nd May would be ideal for a West to East crossing. Daily checking reaffirmed that Monday would be the day.  Light northerly winds and a low tide of 0.8 at 1:30 pm.

DEPARTURE FROM POINT LOWLY

Final arrangements were in place, John Case would do the car portage. Paddlers were myself (Steve Carter) and Greg Watts.  Our other sea kayaking mate Paul Caden from Cowell was invited but he was committed to seeding crops with his son, much to his annoyance.

We departed the beach at Point Lowly at 10 am and once around the Point we set a bearing of 090 degrees.  This course allowed for southerly tidal slip and to arrive at the tip of Wards Spit.  We user our sails to take advantage of the slight (approx. 5 km/h) northerly.  Sea conditions were smooth but the out flowing tide was evident.  Eventually the water became shallower as we could see the sea grass.  Using the 2 navigation beacons we reconciled that we were south of our check point and we then headed north to land on Wards Spit at 2 pm.

A BREAK ON WARDS SPIT

A quick rest and stretch on the Spit.  By now the northerly had dropped out and the water glassed off.  The dark blue line of wind was in the south and eventually a slight southerly wind kicked in.  With this favourable wind we set off to Port Germein.  We used both compass and the land marks on the Southern Flinders Ranges for this section.

ARRIVAL AT PORT GERMEIN JETTY

Spencer Gulf sailing

Eventually we rounded the end of the Jetty.  Phew! Only 1.8 km or so to land.  We landed at 4:18pm and proceeded to portage the kayaks.  We were met by John and the car as he had driven over the flats to greet us.  Greg and I raced to pack up and load the car as in the inflowing edge of the water moved ever closer. Once at the carpark we stopped and had a celebratory beer for not only the crossing but also Greg’s 63rd birthday.

NOTES FOR FURTHER CROSSINGS

The tidal influence was what we expected, we had estimated a flow of 3 to 4 km/h and know it could be higher in other tidal conditions.  On Monday high tide was 2.8 and low of 0.8 however tidal variations of high 3.6 to a low of 0.2 would necessitate making greater allowance for tidal slippage.  The influence of wind and tide also needs to be considered carefully.

SUMMARY

Not sure if this is the first crossing of Spencer’s Gulf at this position. (perhaps the first crossing claim could be verified by some of the long term club kayakers) If it is the first Point Lowly to Port Germein crossing then Greg Watts has a wonderful way to always remember his 63rd birthday.  If it’s not the first, we celebrate our achievement.  Distance 23.59 km.  Time 4:18.

Spencer Gulf Crossing

Coorong National Park Sign

Mundoo channel to Boundary Creek and the Coorong — 18 April 2022

Godfeys Landing

On Easter Monday, after a number of cancellations due to injury and the predicted weather conditions, 5 paddlers headed off from the end of Mundoo Channel Rd. (Shauna, Bruce, Michael, Treya, Abelardo)

Pelicans in Coorong

The first section looked to be the worst from the predictions, but in very mild winds we paddled into the Coorong in search of the Boundary Ck junction and only having to dodge the odd boat. In fact boating traffic was very light for an Easter weekend, (Yay). Presumably boaties were also put off by the possible winds.

We made quick time to the probable entrance to Boundary Ck (did I mention this was an exploratory trip..?). It looked little like it did a few years back, so we paddled on to the shacks. The shacks were the sure marker, so having pulled up on the beach we portaged over the bank to Boundary Ck. The creek was very beautiful, with reedy growth and an occasional tree, and with abundant water flowing through it.

Godfeys landing

Ocean south of Godfeys landing Coorong

It wasn’t long before we exited back into the Coorong and the group paddled across to the Young Husband peninsula and to Godfeys landing for lunch. The wind was low and it was a quiet, peaceful spot. After lunch we did the short walk over to the southern ocean, which true to form was rough and windy. No wonder those brave around Australia paddlers all had concerns about landing on that long stretch of coastline.

After a morning of light winds, a well above forecast tail wind became handy on the journey homeward reaching 20kn at its peak. This was some very fun sailing and an easy return paddle. It was a relatively easy day out for moderately experienced paddlers. We covered 16km over a leisurely 5 hrs, including break times.

Every time I go to the Coorong I feel like another plan is hatched. This vast inland river/sea/lake has much to offer paddlers. Stay tuned!

Shauna Ashewood

Paddle to Cockle Spit from Port Germein — 19 March 2022

Paddling from Port Germain

The plan was a Club paddle to Cockle Spit off Port Germein Jetty. We had been attempting to combine our efforts with the Royal Port Pirie Yacht Club who have for the last few years organised a cricket match on the Spit.  Originally it was with the Whyalla Yacht Club but this had folded as some events do!  The vision is for the Adelaide Canoe Club (ACC) to join the event in the future and perhaps field a team. Tina from the Royal Port Pirie Yacht Club has been very helpful and we are hoping to catch up with them next year.

The preparation

We considered all the potential routes for the day including Pirie to Spit. The longest option was Weeroona Island to the Spit or just Port Germein to the Spit. Unfortunately, all included the dreaded 1.3 km portage at low tide at Port Germein. The option of Weeroona to Germein was decided. The paddlers from Adelaide were supposed to meet the Upper Gulf paddlers on Saturday. Then on Friday night COVID struck and Mark was in isolation as a close contact. Our Adelaide members had to cancel and left Greg Watts and myself (Steve Carter) to hold the fort and paddle out to find the Spit.

The paddle

We met at 1:00pm near the jetty at Port Germein and commenced the 1.3 km portage out to the 3rd steps off the jetty. Kayak trolleys essential – but there has to be a better way!

Paddling from Port Germain

The paddle was straightforward on a bearing of 240⁰ from the end of the jetty ruins. Conditions were ideal with a SE wind of 0 to 5 knots. The white of the Spit became visible after 3 km. After another 2 km we hit the southern end and paddled along the Spit for 1 more km just to be sure.

We had a break on the Spit. True to its name, it is made up of cockle and other shells, rather than sand. After a brief wander around – no cricket being played today – we commenced our return journey. We expected a tail wind home after the change of tide and usual afternoon sea breeze. But the slight wind dropped off and the sea glassed over, which made for a very pleasant return paddle.

On return, the tide was out even further. We landed near the jetty with 2 cars parked under it, just like a carport. Then a long portage alongside the jetty back to our vehicles.

The pub

Off to the pub where we learnt more about driving out on the flats. This has always terrified me as I wish for my car to last longer than rusting out.  We found out that some of the specialist vehicles can be arranged to do a pick up.  The solution to cleaning salt and sand under the car is to place the sprinkler under the car for 10 minutes or so. Guess what: next time it’s a car drive out to pick up kayaks!

This is the 5th or 6th journey for me, however on my favourite trip we didn’t even see the Spit but had a downwind journey in 20 knots winds from Third Creek (south of Pirie) to Port Germein. There is much more to do in this area, and I look forward to other trips

Happy Valley Reservoir — 13 March 2023

Calm water at Happy Valley Reservoir

Three paddlers joined Jo for her Sunday Peer Paddle at Happy Valley Reservoir this morning, taking advantage of a perfect paddling day. Water looked like glass when we arrived, with several fishers preparing for a day on the water, hoping to catch a Murray Cod or Callop.
How different the car park was since last paddle, plenty of parking available when we arrived and the coffee van getting prepared for a busy day. Just as well, as cars loaded with Sit Ons and Blow Up kayaks soon started to arrive. Happy Valley is perfect for a training paddle, with the option of multiple circuits around the 4km perimeter. This a great location for novice kayakers building up their kayaking fitness, but also for experienced paddlers just wanting to get back on water.

Getting out of the water in Happy Valley Reservoir

We completed two circuits, distance 7.4km in just under two hours. A great easy way to start the day, with the reward of that cup of coffee on completion. Even used the kayak launch system this time, worked very well and more gentle on the kayaks. Happy Valley is turning out to be a very pleasant Sunday paddle, so come along and join the next paddle.

Onkaparinga River — Clean Up Australia Day 6 March 2022

Clean Up Australia Day 2022

Paddlers were Charles and Marina Walker, Peter Carter, Maria Kubik, Anthony Wood and Van Hoang, Peter Vincent, Treya Derrington and Courtney Kirkwood with son William. A big thanks to the Paddlers and Kim Wooning who organised the event and met with us to explain the ropes and supply paddlers with large hessian bags and gloves for collecting rubbish.

There was an initial bit of chatter regarding the wind and whether the paddle would go ahead but the group was confident that we would be alright with the conditions, so we launched at 9.30am from Wearing Street, Port Noarlunga and headed upstream against the tide and 32 km/hr South Easterly winds in search of litter.

Clean up Australia Onkaparinga River

Paddlers dispersed and got straight to work landing on the banks of the river to see what they could find. A few thongs, a scooter and shorts were among the interesting items and surprisingly few face masks were found.

I (with half my motor not quite working) battled through the headwind in an old double so was grateful to land again to collect rubbish.

With the plan to meet Kim back at Wearing street at 12pm, we didn’t get all that far up river before we almost sailed back with ease.

Kim did a great job of organising the rubbish into the correct bags and we had a group photo and headed over to Becks Bakehouse for some large coffees, pizza and pies. It was an enjoyable morning whilst caring for the environment we so enjoy!