By John Slattery
Hi Paddlers, as I write to you I am thinking back over my recent trip to north Queensland. As we flew into Townsville en-route to a five day canoe trip on the Herbert River, I was gazing out of the window at the islands in the Whitsunday group and wondering how several of our members were going, paddling around below me This trip up north with seven or eight Victorian paddlers was organised between some of our members who had met on a club trip. This was our reason for getting the club going in the first place, and shows that the club is working. You too can use the mailing list, plus contacts from club trips, to get to know paddlers in your area, and organise your own trips.
Are your skills up to scratch? My own observation is that most members are not skilled in handling some aspects of sea kayaking. Most trips are out of sheltered bays and inlets and back into similar waters with no real danger under normal conditions. You should practice increasing your skills by white-water kayaking, and surfing wave skis or surfyaks. The reason for this train of thought is to gear you up for changing conditions during a trip, where you must come through heavy surf when conditions are too rough to continue to your intended destination. Several people in Wollongong have been organising paddles to practice these skills eg. surfing days at Sandon Point and Austinmer or Woonona Beaches.
Finally please make it a practice to stick together on trips for safety, and to help trip leaders who must always be aware of other paddlers within the group.