Canberra News [21]

By Nicholas Gill

At the risk of trespassing onto Dave Winkworth’s “South Coast News” the following is offered to keep others up to date on the Canberra Pod (CP).

As I write members of the CP are scattered across the country and the globe. Jackie Windh is in Canada, hopefully fulfilling her kayaking plans. Previously she was inhabiting some Pacific Island idyll (the name of which temporarily escapes me) with her Feathercraft in hand.

Arunas Pilka is off with others from Sydney (I believe) in the Whitsundays, and Norm Sanders is also in Queensland, checking out the Russ Hinze Dam, among other delights.

The Canberra winter has put our Tuesday night paddles on hold.

However, the milder weather of the coast has proven attractive. Both myself and Mark Pearson have been out with Norm Sanders around Tuross on weekends. Norm and myself also launched ourselves from Guerilla Bay, south of Bateman’s Bay, and pottered northwards for a few kilometres, before heading back Guerilla Bay is very sheltered and struck us as possibly a good place to launch in rougher weather.

On the weekend of the 30th and 31st of July, myself, Jeff Blamey, Jeanette Mill and Mark Pearson headed for Murrumarang National Park, just north of Bateman’s Bay. In view of the presence of hot showers, and a less than hopeful weather forecast, we camped at a caravan park at North Durras.

Saturday saw Jeanette walk around Durras Lake, while the rest of us paddled north to Pebbly Beach After a few attempts at surfing the small waves, we gave up and headed back, stopping at Point Upright for a little rock shelf paddling and enjoying the rollercoaster ride off the shelf with receding waters. In the afternoon Jeff and Jeanette paddled up Lake Durras Mark and I tried the surf, but the weather turned nasty, and we headed back for hot showers.

On Sunday Jeff and Jeanette walked along the coast, while Mark and I paddled south to Wasp Island, at the southern end of the Durras bay Although only a few kilometres we managed to take most of the day as the surf was brilliant, and we couldn’t help ourselves. We also found and investigated a sea cave near South Durras and came across a pod of dolphins. Having circumnavigated Wasp Island, we paddled back into a ferocious headwind, stopping constantly to savour the surf. As a result, we practically fell out of our boats as we landed, all muscles having given up.

The area around Durras and in Murrumarang National Park is stunning and great for paddling. A classic NSW south coast area, with sandy beaches lying between exposed cliffs and rocky headlands. Spotted Gum forest comes right down to coast in many places. It was my first visit and I’ll definitely go back. If you haven’t been there I can thoroughly recommend it.

Any kayaking photo buffs out there? I recently bought a Nikonos camera, mainly for use when sea kayaking. I’d be interested to hear from anybody else of their experiences in taking photos from kayaks and of the ways they have dealt with any problems.