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Myponga Beach to Carrickalinga Point Sunday — 3 Dec 2023

Perfecrt Day for a Paddle

Perfect weather, a beautiful place to paddle, great company and dolphins; could you ask for more?

Mark, Berny, Marius and Terry joined Anne and Simon at Myponga Beach to paddle south along the coast towards Carrickalinga. With almost zero swell and beautifully clear water we had fun playing in the rock gardens and visiting a couple of caves along the way. Some rocks were ‘touched’ and one Mark found himself stuck on until the next swell lifted him off, but all that just added to the fun of the paddle.

After practicing a few rolls we landed on the little beach below Carrickalinga Point for lunch. On our return paddle we spotted a large pod of dolphins that seemed to be in a feeding frenzy, circling around and coming to the surface often.

The tide had dropped significantly by the time we landed back at Myponga Beach so there was a longer carry getting the kayaks back to the cars. Rinsed off, changed and packed up, we headed to the Myponga Bakery for a well-earned afternoon coffee.

Statistics (Links to GPX file)

Sunday 3 Dec 2023 — 15km return over 5.15 Hrs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Explore Second Valley and Coastline South by Sea Kayak — Sun 17 September 2023

Paddling Second Valley to Rapid Head Coastline

Beach Master at Work

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

Birds at Old Jetty

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.

Manoeuvring Practice

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

Rapid Head Seal Pups

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

Rescue Underway

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

Paddlers with Stunning Rock Formations

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.

Towing Practice

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.

Getting ready for Tow

Supporting Towed Paddler

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.

The Pages Island Expedition. 21st – 24th April 2023

By Greg Adams

The Pages islands expedition was the brainchild of Phil Doddridge, an ambitious adventure starting at Victor Harbor and ending at Second Valley via Tunkalilla Beach, The Pages, Pink Bay, KI, Antechamber Bay, and Cape Jervis.

The weather gods needed to be on our side, and they were, providing the perfect wind and weather conditions for this epic adventure. The only real problem was a strong ground swell.

Day 1 – Victor Harbor to Ballaparudda Beach

Seven paddlers, Phil and Pat Doddridge, Tresh Pearce, Karl Meyer, Giresh Chandran, Gordon Begg, and I met at the Bluff boat ramp, Victor Harbor at 8am on Friday the 21st of April.

Conditions were perfect, the sun was shining, and the wind was absent. We managed to be on the water and left by 9am passing The Bluff, West Island and rounding Newland Head after 2 hours paddling.

Beach Ballaparudda

Waitpinga and Parsons beaches had a large oily swell rolling in and a grey sky above, creating an eerie atmosphere.

Karl and Tresh paddled in close near the surf zone to experience the power of the swell as we continued approx. 1 km out to sea, waiting for them to join us again at Parsons beach.

Looking for a place to land

Leaving Parsons beach, we realised that landing at Tunkalilla beach with this size swell would be very difficult. There were two options, Callawonga and Ballaparudda beaches, just prior to reaching Tunkalilla. Arriving at Ballaparudda, the closest, 23km from Victor Harbor, it looked quite manageable. We decided that this would be tonight’s camp.

Tresh, Gordon, and Pat successfully made the first landings. Then Karl, I, Giresh, and Phil attempted landing. All capsized in the difficult conditions. Phil’s kayak nosedived into the sand bar causing a fatal fracture in the bow. The kayak was then swept into the rocks on the western shore. All in all, with four in the water it was a disastrous landing attempt. No one was hurt and all gear was salvaged beside the fatally damaged kayak.

Thoughts were with Phil as he had planned the expedition and now, he would have to abandon after only one day on the water.

With Karl’s local knowledge, he managed to wrangle access for his daughter, Sahara to drive down the beach through paddocks to extract Phil and Pat and their kayaks the following morning. Once things settled down, a comfortable campsite was established, and much discussion of the days adventures was had around the campfire.

Day 2, Saturday – Ballaparudda Beach to Pink Bay via The Pages

North Pages

With a healthy respect for Ballaparudda’s sandbar, the remaining paddlers said their farewells to Phil and Pat and headed out through the surf zone one at a time, Tresh leading.

Within 30 min all were out and prepared for the 16km paddle to North Pages Island in calm conditions with virtually no wind. We were heading slightly east of the islands to counter the flooding tide which worked perfectly, paddling in a tight group, and chatting, we headed south. The closest island was reached in 3 hours and there was a reasonable swell running. A fishing boat was anchored nearby, and we explored the lee of a barren, guano covered, granite island. Australian Sea Lions, screaming Gannets and Terns greeted us, this is a wild place!

Heading around the eastern side to the southern islands, we encountered clapotis waves which kept us very alert. As we paddled between the islands, large boils were appearing indicating submerged bombies. Not a place to hang around. The southern island had a lighthouse and tower. It seemed smaller but just as inhospitable. There is meant to be a place to land on one of the islands, but it was not obvious. A quick feed and discussion and we then headed to Cape Willoughby, 16km away.

To Cape Willoughby

For the first hour we had amazing conditions, blue sky and oily seas and paddling with a flood tide, 7 kph was a comfortable pace. We noticed the tide was drawing us towards Antechamber Bay and on this course, we were potentially going to run into a dangerous shoal called “The Scraper”. Gordon made the decision to head for Cape St Albans. The sea and wind picked up as we got closer to St Albans. We were then working hard against the flood tide to try to get to the cape. The tide was about to change but we were fighting a strong current. My computer was telling me we were not making much headway.

Once we got close to Cape St Albans the tide went slack and we had a beautiful 4km paddle along the cliffs to Pink Bay in the late afternoon. A 16km paddle turned into 24km taking 4.5 hours.

Pink Bay is paradise! (don’t tell anyone). Camp was set and I found out that I had left my tent poles and pegs back at the previous camp. Ben Weigl joined us, paddling from Cape Jervis to Pink Bay in 4.5 hours. He, Tresh, and Karl were going to leave us and explore the south coast of KI the following day, Giresh, Gordon, and I were heading to Antechamber Bay. A beach campfire rounded out a big eventful day.

Day 3, Sunday Pink Bay to Antechamber Bay

Pink Bay from Gazebo

We bid farewell to Tresh, Karl, and Ben at 9am the next morning and we went for a walk to Cape Willoughby. From the lighthouse we could see the trio sailing towards Cape Hart, an awesome sight.

We spent a leisurely morning exploring the lighthouse and surrounds returning to camp for lunch and a departure to Antechamber Bay by 1pm to catch the end of the flood tide. It was nice to have a bit of a rest day and only a couple of hours on the water. Passing Cape St Albans was exciting with lots of turbulence and at times travelling with the flood tide at up to 9.5 kmph. An awesome beach camp was made in Antechamber Bay on a glorious afternoon. A walk up the river and through the campground then back along the beach was the end to another perfect day.

Day 4, Monday – Antechamber Bay to Second Valley

Steam rises from the sea at sunrise, Antechamber Bay

Phil had contacted us and had decided to paddle down to Cape Jervis (from Second Valley), wait for us and complete the final leg together. The tide was due to flood at 10.30am. Gordon recommended that we head off at 9am and get as far across Backstairs Passage before the flood tide kicked in and assist us to Cape Jervis and beyond.

The sea was like a mill pond and the first 2.5 hours were a dream. But nothing is ever that easy. 8km from Cape Jervis, a 15kt (27km) northerly head wind blew against the flood tide. The sun was in our eyes and the sea was a crazy mess. It was a tough 1-hour + slog to the shelter of Cape Jervis. It felt like we were not moving but with the flood tide we were easily travelling at over 7kph and at one stage at 10.5kph. What a relief it was to paddle into the harbour and meet Phil, who was lounging on the beach in glorious sunshine. A stark contrast to where we had been.

After a 1-hour break, we headed around the corner and into the gulf. The plan was to camp on Morgan’s beach or a smaller one further north but because of the long weekend, Morgan’s was crowded with car campers. So, we decided to press on and with light winds, sunshine and a following tide, paddling cannot be better.

Because of the high tide the second beach option was not suitable, so decided to press on to Second Valley. We landed at 5.30pm on a balmy evening, finishing the expedition with the final night spent in Giresh’s holiday shack. Perfect.

Overall Statistics

  • Day 1, Friday – Victor Harbor to Ballaparudda Beach – 4 hrs, 23km
  • Day 2, Saturday – Ballaparudda Beach to Pink Bay via The Pages – 7.30 hrs, 40km
  • Day 3, Sunday Pink Bay to Antechamber Bay – 2 hrs, 10km
  • Day 4, Monday – Antechamber Bay to Second Valley – 7.30 hrs, 40km
  • Total distance travelled 113km,
  • 21 hours paddling including breaks on the water.
  • Average moving speed 5.8kph over the 4 days.

Departing from Cape Jervis

Crossing Backstairs Passage – Cape Jervis to Antechamber Bay and Return — 18/19th March 2023

The adrenaline has finally stopped racing through my veins to allow me to tackle the promised trip report of our crossing of Backstairs Passage to Antechamber Bay and return on the weekend of 18/19th Mar 2023. What a paddle, with a SE gusting to 20Kn and seas over 2m at some stages. All paddlers did extremely well without any incidents, but special recognition should go to our two crossing first-timers: Abelardo Pardo and Simon Delaine.  Talk about jumping into the deep end!  Conditions in Antechamber Bay didn’t look too bad at departure, but steadily escalated during the return crossing.

Preparations

It was a great turn-out with twelve (12) paddlers participating. The trip was led by Phil Doddridge with Charlie Walker, Matt Eldred, Mark Loram, Mike Dunn, Peter Vincent, Anthony Aardenburg and Bella, Tresh Pearce, Abelardo Pardo, Simon Delaine and recent member Karl Meyer following Phil’s lead. Similar to our crossing in March 2022, the trip was aimed at demonstrating the splitting of the tide to achieve the most efficient crossing.

Four of the group (Mark, Simon, Abelardo and Phil) drove down on Friday Night and camped at the Cape Jervis Caravan Park ready for an early morning start. We used this site when training for our Bass Strait crossing and had fond memories of relaxing amongst the pines at the rear of the Park overlooking Backstairs Passage.

A lovely evening soaking up the view and not a ripple seen looking over to Penneshaw. In the evening the highlight was looking up towards the sky and counting the satellites passing overhead – I have never seen so many, there seemed to be a continuous stream passing just below the Southern Cross. A strong wind came up overnight which eased in the morning, but which probably should have been a warning of an approaching front.

Day 1 — The easy one

Enjoying the crossingUp and about around 6am and met the remainder of the group at Cape Jervis Boat Ramp in time for an 8.30am on-water start.

After loading kayaks (I overdid the equipment list again!) and after the safety briefing from Phil we set off at about 8.45am, following the coast east to Lands End to avoid the ferry’s path. We then set our bearing for Cape Coutts and headed out on our adventure, with a few whitecaps between us and the safety of Antechamber Bay; just east of Cape Coutts we were on our way.

A pleasant paddle across but no wind advantage which disappointed those with sails in the group, just a solid slog for 5 hours before we made Antechamber Bay, even explored a bit of the sandy beach to eventually reach Chapman River. Just checking that the mouth hadn’t moved!

Many hands made light work of the portage across the beach and we were soon paddling up the picturesque Chapman River, admiring the paper bark trees and new bridge as we approached campsite no 12 that Mike had kindly booked.

Setting Camp

After setting up camp most of us relaxed, enjoying the location while others went paddling to explore the upper reach of the Chapman River.

Once again the campground was pretty busy so we made an early appearance at the camp kitchen, admiring the stunning views. We had a very pleasant evening there – night solar lights might be handy, a note for future trips! The kitchen is very well set up and we spent the evening discussing kayaking adventures while being entertained by Tresh’s attempts to get his cooker operational.

Soon after we turned in and slept well, being serenaded by several Boobook Owls during the night. In the morning some fairy wrens visited, very elusive but I did manage to get a couple of pics as they checked out my tent.

Day 2 — The not so easy one

On our way to Antechamber BayNo rush in the morning with the plan to be on-water in Chapman River by 10am, bit of drizzle overnight and the additional time was put to good use sponging the tents and gear and getting packed up.  We said our farewells as we paddled under the KI version of Sydney Harbour Bridge and down to the mouth for another portage. The waters in the bay looked calm but the forecast for the crossing was increasing winds 15 to 20Kn SW. The sky towards Deep Creek threatened to bring squalls during our crossing.

The briefing was a bit somber and Phil gave the group the option of returning via the Penneshaw ferry instead of attempting a borderline crossing – we all mulled it over but the mutual decision was to paddle the return as the group was fired up to complete the crossing. These sort of situations are always difficult with experienced kayakers, particularly with several having done crossings in similar conditions.

We split into sail-assisted kayaks and those just going with the swell, although on the starboard beam. We headed off together before separating into two groups, with those sailing heading directly across the passage towards Deep Creek before following the coast back to Cape Jervis while our group of five (5) made a beeline for Cape Jervis. There was no time to relax on the four (4) hour return paddle, it certainly required continuous attention.  Phew, all back in the safety of Cape Jervis boat ramp by 3pm.

Arrived

Together in the bakerySunday’s return crossing was by far the most challenging that I have done and I breathed a sigh of relief when we all arrived back at Cape Jervis safely, with the sailors having arrived about 15 minutes prior to the non-sail group.

Looking back, the return paddle was probably borderline, but to achieve the crossing without incident is a credit to the experience within the Adelaide Canoe Club. This is due to regular sea kayak training provided to Club members over several years particularly from Phil Doddridge, Bernard Goble and Peter Carter. All of the group are also regular paddlers, both at Club events and privately, regularly working on improving their skills. The paddlers conducted themselves in a very professional manner exhibiting a good appreciation of group dynamics to ensure we all remained safe.

All of us wanted to celebrate and swap stories, so we adjourned to the Yankalilla Bakery to debrief. And yes, the adrenaline was flowing strongly for quite a while afterwards!

Day paddle from Victor Harbor to Port Elliot return — 1 October 2022

Finally some sunshine!

Port Elliot

After months of cold and rainy conditions, the weather gods finally smiled on us. We had a warm sunny day as we launched our kayaks from the Kent Reserve at Victor Harbor for a trip to Port Elliot and back.

The water was fairly calm while we were sheltered behind Granite Island. We could see though lots of spray and white water out to sea, indicating that the forecast of 2m swells was probably correct. Sure enough as we emerged out into the open ocean the swells started to pick up, luckily they were big lazy, slow moving swells that gently picked the kayak up and lowered it as it passed underneath.

That changed as we approached Port Elliot and navigated the entrance between Pullen Island and the rocky headland. The breaking swell was creating lots of rebound waves and interesting conditions, compounded by the swell picking up in the shallower water and creating some surf-able waves. Luckily no-one was brave enough to try, and we landed safely near the new lifesaving club for lunch.

Visitors

Victor Harbor

Mark Loram, the club president, joined us for lunch as he was in the area visiting friends. He was unable to join the paddle due to family commitments. After a nice relaxing lunch and chat in the warm sunshine on the beach we climbed back into the kayaks for the return trip.

This time we went around the outside of Pullen Island for a change of scenery, which was interesting due to all the rebound waves on the ocean side of the island, even worse than when we came in. Nothing too serious, but not conducive to taking your hands of the paddle to take photographs!

We were expecting the conditions to improve as we moved away from the rocks into the more open sea.  But, for some reason, the unsettled conditions persisted all the way back to the shelter of Granite Island, resulting in frequent correcting strokes and bracing. We were all very glad to get out of the kayaks after getting back to Victor Harbor after 3 ½ hours, having done a round trip of 18 kms.

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.

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

Surf Play at Middleton — 6 February 2022

About to catch the wave

Four intrepid paddlers had a very wet Sunday morning playing in the surf at Middleton. Apart from the side wind, which made conditions a bit choppy and caused us to drift away from the carpark, conditions were great, with mostly manageable waves and the occasional bit of rolling practice.

It was a nice warm sunny day, and the beach was busy with surfers and swimmers taking advantage of the good conditions. The waves were a manageable 1-meter waves, and the SE wind tended to push us along the beach, but at least did not make for steep waves.

After a warm up in the smaller surf near the beach (with a couple of worrying capsizes on my part, but at least my roll was working), we threaded our way through all the swimmers and surfers to find some bigger, cleaner waves out near the backline. We sometimes had a long wait between sets, but were rewarded with some lovely rides, with the waves dying out as they reached the deeper water of a gully rather than breaking right on top of you!

Anthony had a great time in his new boat, and couldn’t stop smiling. He must have doing ok because he had fewer capsizes than me. Simon was looking very comfortable, and even managed to show off by waving at the camera as he surfed past.

After a couple of hours of play aching muscles suggested that maybe it was time to call it quits. Unfortunately, while we had been having fun the wind had pushed us quite far down the beach, so we had a stiff paddle to get back to the launching spot. Deciding to catch one last wave back to the beach, we waited patiently for a good looking wave, and were rewarded with an excellent one, and had a good run in. This wave however was not so well behaved, and promptly broke right on top of me, tumbling me over a few times, knocking the breath out of me and wrenching the paddle out of one hand. Choosing discretion over valour, I did a wet exit and had the walk of shame back to the beach while the others watched, having made it back to the beach with their kayaks.

We retired to the nearest bakery for the customary pie and de-brief, and all agreed that it was an excellent day!

Bernard’s Kangaroo Island Challenge – solo 10 – March 2014

A Kangaroo Island Challenge!

Departing towards KI

An enthusiastic interest in sea kayaking will naturally lead to any one of us wanting to improve our skills, from paddling, personal fitness, an understanding of environment we are about to enter, our own readiness to set ourselves personal goals and the challenge of actually getting out of one’s own comfort zone!

Hugh Stewart and I after much paddling together on coastal trips including a Wardang Island circumnavigation now recognised each of our strengths and weaknesses and felt that with the right conditions, a crossing to Kangaroo Island together was feasible.

Fitness wasn’t an issue, boat preparedness was good, equipment carried was fine, our respective partners had even given approval, however, was Mother Nature going to play ball?

This is always the key factor in planning a paddle across the notorious Backstairs Passage, as two previous successful and some cancelled crossings for myself had clearly shown.

For a safe crossing, it’s essential to ensure that wind strengths, directions, wave and swell heights and very importantly, tidal movements are all carefully monitored and factored into any decision to attempt this paddle. Canoe SA and the Adelaide Canoe Club for years have offered excellent training and advice to enable ones skills to reach the required level and recognise which conditions are appropriate. My strong advice is, do not attempt this paddle without serious research, advice and training!

Our chosen day for the crossing was to be the Adelaide Cup Day, 10.3.14.  For several days prior, the forecast had shown favourable conditions, gentle to moderate winds from the south and tidal movement was minimal.

However, an important lesson is to never take forecasts “as gospel”, an 8 to 10 knot Southerly predicted, proved to be a 10 to 12 knot North Easterly on arrival at Cape Jervis.

This was actually ideal for our crossing and after 2 hours of surfing down 1metre waves we arrived at Cuttlefish Bay on the East coast of KI.  Whoohoo!!

Clearly, the weather wasn’t behaving as expected, so a call to American River Voluntary Marine Rescue confirmed that a trough of low pressure that had moved in could result in winds of 20 knots later in the day.

A decision to paddle south to Antechamber Bay into now Southerly winds of around 12knots along the dramatic eastern cliffs of KI was most rewarding. By lunch time, conditions were still very benign so we decided a return to Cape Jervis was quite achievable and by paddling initially to a more Easterly location of the Cape, a safety margin could be built in to our course should the southerly wind increase in strength.

Forty minutes after leaving Antechamber Bay and nearly 3Nm’s from KI, well into Backstairs Passage, conditions began to change rapidly. From the occasional white cap, very quickly a mass of white caps were developing.

Whilst still manageable, two choices were evident. Continue, but head in a more northerly direction up the Gulf to Cape Jervis and hope the wind strength didn’t increase too much more, or run diagonally with the sea back to Kangaroo Island. The latter was definitely one of the best Kayaking decisions we have made, as the wind did increase, a mass of rolling white caps developed further out in Backstairs Passage emphasising that it was certainly not a safe place to be in a kayak.

A long paddle surfing waves along the East coast of KI eventually to Penneshaw and a safe return crossing by ferry was the culmination of a great day of adventure Kayaking.

In conclusion, although the return paddle was not possible, the satisfaction in knowing that the years of training, skill development and  awareness of sea conditions led to all the right decisions being made, resulted in the trip being so rewarding.

Kangaroo Island is definitely one of Australia’s Kayaking jewels!

Bernard Goble.