Tour of Lefevre Peninsula

The Loop

Great suggestion from Mike Dunn on the WhatsApp channel on Friday for a paddle with a difference – doing a loop of the Lefevre Peninsula. The plan was to  launch from the Outer Harbor area, paddle down the Port River, portage across Bower Road into West Lakes, paddle south to Oarsman Reserve,  portage again across Military Road over the Tennyson Dunes and into the sea again – just in time to catch the southerly wind for the 13km final leg back to Outer Harbor. Distance was estimated to be about 28km. We had an ebb tide to begin the paddle so expected to work on our way up the Port River.

I felt I couldn’t resist Mike’s suggestion and was feeling pretty good about our Training Session at Tiranna Way on Friday so agreed to join up with Mike for his adventure.

The Start

Departure was from the small boat ramp just down from the Royal South Australian Yacht Squadron (RSAYS) at 9am, plenty of space for leaving our cars. Once we had loaded our very important trolleys for this paddle, as it requiring a couple of portage sections we were on our way by 9.30am.

Our sightseeing started with the Container Terminal – no shipping in sight so we explored underneath the concrete wharf which looked all very well maintained. As we approached Port River past the Snapper Point Power Station the ebb tide was very evident and even managed to practice some ferry gliding.

Mutton Cove Conservation Park

We had the river to ourselves as we paddled up past Mutton Cove Conservation Park. It’s great to see the increase in mangrove growth. This was a regular lunchtime break and the area has gradually improved, largely thanks to the local community group.

The regeneration of Mutton Cove Conservation Park become very evident as we approached ASC and were almost swept into mid channel by the tidal flow coming out from the small creeks that have been restored. This was all noted as a potential area for some whitewater skills practice when tides are favorable.

We made sure we were on the correct side of the Exclusion Zone buoys of the ASC building to ensure we didn’t set of any alarms. Brought back lots of fond memories to see a Collins Class Submarine on the Hardstand outside the Production Shed. The work on the Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) seems to be progressing well with one in the water for final fit-out prior to Trials and another on the hard stand under construction.

Snowden Beach

Near Snowden Beach we spotted a small wooden boat in the distance. As it approached we saw it was skippered by club members Bernard and Frances Goble. They were doing a Sea Trial prior to departing for the Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart. Bernard had previously given Mike a call to advise that we might encounter them on water. We kept them company as we paddled into Port Adelaide and stopped at Cruickshanks Beach for a leg stretch and lunch.

After lunch our little flotilla continued on its way under the Birkenhead Bridge. We past all the construction happening around the old Fletches Dock and then up into Port Creek and what used to be called Port Misery when sailing ships moored there.

Crossing Bower Road

Water was becoming shallower as we approached the railway bridge before Bower Road. We said our farewell to Bernard and Frances. It was great having their company as we explored the Port. I’m sure our little flotilla was observed by a few of the locals.

We soon ran out of water after managing to navigate the many small rocks leading up to Bower Road. We must approach the council about a nice sandy beach for future trips! The portage across Bower Road went well, interesting dodging traffic with a 5m kayak in tow.

The new home for Paddle South Australia and West Lakes Canoe Club is looking near to completion. It should be a great venue for aquatic activities. We rolled our kayaks down to the beach and were soon back on water for the West Lakes leg of the paddle. Plenty of rowing activity around so we kept out of the way as we approached PAC Rowing Sheds and a busy event.

The forecast southerly had picked up as we approached West Lakes Boulevard bridge. And yet another surprise as we approached a group of kayakers – club members Bella and Anthony out on the water with visiting family.

Oarsman Reserve

We soon reached Oarsman Reserve and brought out our trolleys again. We navigated Military Road and found our way down to the beach via the backstreets of Tennyson. Much easier portage and no rocks to avoid.

The wind had certainly picked up and we searched the horizon for Matt Condon paddling his Audax up from Semaphore to join us on our final leg.

After safely getting through the surf on the Tennyson sandbar we headed further out and headed for Semaphore with Matt. Swell was on our beam and wind picking up so we delayed putting up sails until we reached Semaphore South when the wind was on our backs. I hadn’t used my sail for over 12 months. I asked Mike to stabilize my kayak until I got the Pacific Action rigged and we headed towards Largs Bay. All went well and Matt kept us company until Semaphore then headed back to his beach.

No wind

We had Outer Harbor breakwater in sight but the wind had dropped considerably. Down sails and back to paddling – just as well as the conditions as we rounded the breakwater were very messy but thankfully no water traffic around. Soon had the Overseas Terminal in sight then around the corner and back to our departure point. We both agreed we would sleep well that night after 32km and roughly 6.5 hrs in our kayaks. A fantastic paddle in various conditions with lots of interesting sites on the way.

Thanks Mike for organsing and many thanks to Bernard, Frances, Bella, Anthony (and family) and Matt for joining us during our adventure.  This is definitely a paddle that we will repeat, so keep your eyes on the calendar.

Basic Skills Training — 8 October 2022


Preparing the boats

What a great inaugural Skills Day Session at Tiranna Way West Lakes we had today. Four (4) new, or recently new club members braving the chilly 15⁰C, ranging from 8 to 12kn SW. Well done to all, I didn’t see anyone shivering.

Our new members were Anthony Keller, Giresh Chandran, Jeff Nieuwenhuizen and Robert Phiddian. Our Instructors were Bernard Goble, Anne and Simon Langsford and Charlie Walker. Club President Mark Loram had the responsibility of photographer and the BBQ – no mean feat on a windy day!

Today’s session was the first of our monthly Basic Skills Days. We plan to have over Spring, Summer and Autumn to help integrate new members into the club and get new members joining trips. All trainees from today have successfully completed Basic Skills and should receive their certificates from Paddle Australia next week. Thanks Anne and Simon for submitting the paperwork.

After I welcomed the group I handed over to Bernard and the Team for the hard work (Bella, you did say I needed to delegate more)!

Bernard then explained the overall objective of Basic Skills. He then walked the group through kayak construction and what we normally have fitted to kayaks for safety as well as personal safety equipment. We then moved to the beach to demonstrate forward paddle stroke technique and torso rotation.


Basic Skills Session

Once  in the water Bernard demonstrated the safest way to enter the cockpit by using the paddle to act as an outrigger and stabilise the kayak.  The group were soon on the water to put all their new found knowledge into practice.

From the beach I could see the group enjoying the activity, a little apprehensive at first but soon building confidence and improving their techniques.

The first two (2) hours concentrated on forward paddle stroke, emergency stop and reverse paddle stroke. We then returned back to shore for a stretch and quick refresh.

In the next phase Bernard and the team introduced the concept of edging, leaning and support stroke. All done in the safety of the sandy beach at Tiranna Way. It wasn’t long before the group was starting to master the concept with good recovery being demonstrated.

The training ended up with everyone getting wet with wet exits before moving on to wedge rescue and heel hook re-entry to their kayaks. All looked good from the safety of the beach while I was cooking my onions and snags.


After everyone was safely back on the beach and in warm clothes with a snag wrapped in bread and onions we debriefed the day. I think everyone enjoyed this first training and if you missed out the next one is scheduled for Saturday 12th November at Dotterel Reserve.

West Lakes Sunset Paddle — 3 February 2022

Choppy waters in West Lakes next to the North Bridge

Eight (8) paddlers – Bella, Anthony, Phil, Bruce, Abelardo, Charlie, Marina and Mark set of from Tiranna Way West Lakes about 6.30pm last Thursday (3rd Feb) to enjoy an evening paddle around Delfin Island. This paddle was a big day for Abelardo now in possession of his nice shiny Delta, a very racy looking red and white colour scheme.

We met up with potential member Tony, who Bella had invited to check out our kayaks and gear prior to launch. Sails being erected when I arrived – oops, mine is no good sitting in the garage!

We were soon on our way – bit on the windy side which does seem to be normal in the afternoons recently, I just had to paddle faster to keep up with the kayaks fitted with Flat Earth sails – at least for part of the lap around Delfin Island until we were all paddling into the wind.

Bella led us down towards Bower Road end, hoping to maximise the stretch under sail. Met up with another kayaker on water for a training run in his green P&H Delphin and getting along at a good pace. After an on water chat we discovered it was new member Pawel who joined the club only a week ago. He is jumping in the deep end and will be joining the Canoe Polo training group at Corcoran Drive footbridge at West Lakes. Pawel continued with the group for most of the circuit, but was in training mode and continued up to the Trimmer Parade at southerly end of West Lakes, while we relaxed on the last leg of the paddle.

Finished up with a bit of rolling practice back at Tiranna Way before adjourned to the Bartley to discuss paddling tactics.

Another great Thursday paddle and thanks for organising the outing Bella.

Skill training

Skills Training Day – West Lakes 16 October 2021

Start of training session

Start of training session

A good turnout on Saturday 16 Oct for our training at West Lakes! Especially considering those nice spring days are a bit intermittent now! We had ten club members and two hopefully soon-to-be club members attending.

Members were Bernard Goble, Peter Carter, Mark Loram, Charlie and Marina Walker, Renata Perez, Abelardo Pardo, Simon Delaine, Greg Watts and Brian Slater. Both Greg and Simon are recent members and very keen to start attending regular trips. Greg had booked for Sunday’s Beacon 19 paddle, making the most of his drive from Port Augusta.

Big welcome to both Julie Palmer and Uday M for coming along as Trialist members. We are hoping to see you joining the Club and participate in future trips.

The car park was full when I arrived and Dragon Boats busy on the water– oops. I thought I’d checked the Calendar before setting the date! My panic was soon over, just an early morning training day from 6am, phew! Peter Carter was there nice and early and all prepped and ready to go. Our training time was a bit more civilised, 10.30am arrival for 11am start.

The Session

Skill training

Skill training

We began with new member introductions. It was great to see Greg coming all the way from Port Augusta and Julie from Meningie. After introductions we got Uday and Simon set up in the kayaks kindly arranged by Peter and Bernard. Many thanks to Bernard and Peter for helping with the Training and everyone else that participated in the Towing Exercise.

The day was a bit overcast with a hint of SW winds but as the day progressed things improved better than forecast. We started with warm-up exercises then went through primary paddle strokes on the grass before getting on water. We spent the next hour and a bit on water, primarily putting the strokes into practice.

The time flew by and soon the tummies started to rumble so we took time out for a short break. Short before we demonstrated various towing configurations on land. Peter’s kayak models came in very handy for showing group dynamics when setting up and changing over the tow. Again, all keen to put things into practice, so headed back on water.  We were soon tired out, so we returned to the beach to clean up the gear and prepare the BBQ.



Barbecue after the training session

The BBQ provided a great opportunity to talk about aspects of the training and the upcoming club events. New members went away happy, Peter had been “Spring Cleaning” his kayaking gear and brought along several very handy Flatwater and Sea Kayaking Booklets for our newbies. Many thanks to Abelardo for showing his culinary skills and cooking up the very tasty onions and snags.

Overall, a great day!