Peter Drewry, Peter Vincent, Maria Kubik and Marina Walker joined Anne and Simon Langsford for an exploratory paddle from Port Victoria south 40 km to Port Minlacowie.
On Saturday morning Anne and Peter V did the car shuttle to leave a vehicle at Port Minlacowie, the finish spot. We then all set off from Port Victoria in beautiful conditions. There was a 13 knot south easterly wind which we avoided most of the day by sticking close to the coast. The water along this part of the coast was so clear we could see the range of sea weeds and sea grasses beneath us. Much of the coast is very rocky, even adjacent to the sandy beaches. When the tide was out this limited our choice of landing spots. However, there were enough clear sandy areas where landing was easy so we could enjoy lunch or snacks on the beach.
We were surprised at the numbers of campers, caravans and 4WDs on Wauraltee Beach. It looked like a nice spot to camp but not exactly ‘getting away from it all’. We arrived at Port Rickaby just before 5pm and managed to sign into the caravan park before the office closed. It was too late though for Peter V to order a hamburger from the shop. We used our wheels to get all the kayaks up to the camping area. It was a bit of work, but we had a nice grassy area and no sand blowing into everything as we would have had camping on the beach.
Sunday’s paddle continued south with milder (10 knot) winds, rewarding us with lots of wildlife. We had a close encounter with a pod of about seven dolphins, including a young one, swimming around us. We also saw a seal floating with one flipper in the air (from a distance it looked like a shark fin moving slowly around). Having identified the ‘fin’ as a seal flipper we were not so scared when we encountered a second seal doing the same graceful flipper wave. Peter V identified a couple of Wedge Tailed eagles attacking a Nankeen Kestrel, which managed to get away from them. We also saw Crested Turns, Sooty Oyster Catchers, Cormorants and of course Silver and Pacific Gulls. We arrived at Port Minlacowie boat ramp about midday and quickly got the boats ashore and did the return car shuttle to Port Victoria.
This was an enjoyable paddle. Highly recommended for another trip perhaps with an extra day to allow time for some snorkelling.