South Coast News [21]

By David Winkworth

Big Water

On the Wednesday prior to the June long weekend, I launched my kayak onto the waters of the Myall Lakes for three days paddling prior to joining other club members at Shoal Bay for a long weekend Advanced Proficiency Assessment around Broughton Island.

An enjoyable but windy three days culminated in a paddle down to Myall River to Port Stephens where I met Frank Bakker, John Wilde (the examiners) and candidates Arunas Pilka, Gary Parker, J Dirk Stuber and Evan Shillabeer I was part of the latter group.

I lay in the tent each night on the lakes and listened to the roar of surf whipped up by strong southerly winds. “This is going to be a true Advanced Proficiency test”, I thought and it was I suppose.

Big swells pounded the entrance to Port Stephens and the southern shore of Broughton Island.

Landing was easy on the northern beach where we camped two nights. The high point for me really, was almost paddling into a whale on choppy rebound seas on the SE end of the island closely followed by frustration in not having a camera handy! A good lesson learned.

We all passed and enjoyed the weekend. If you have the opportunity next time a similar course is run do it.

When I got home, local surfers told me the southerly winds brought the biggest seas they could remember to the coast.

Big Bucks

Wanna make a thousand bucks just for being observant on the water? You do?

OK. All you’ve got to do is dob in an abalone poacher that is they get convicted.

The reward, recently upped from $500 to $1000 is offered by NSW Commercial Abalone divers management groups via NSW Fisheries.

So, as you paddle up and down the south coast, look out for anything suspicious around rocks and reefs like divers with big heavy bags, people hiding, from you, people shelling lots and lots of abalone. Mind you, you could also stake out your local Chinese restaurant as plenty of abs also end up there!

Vehicle numbers, descriptions of divers etc are all useful but you’ll have to be quick. Your information must be fresh… and if you can’t contact Fisheries Officers, call the Police instead. You never know, one pinch could pay for your new boat!

Travelling North

Ron Mudie is off again this time on a repeat paddle to Sydney. He and Gordon Carswell will leave Wallagoot Lake (near Tathra) on August 20th, taking up to a leisurely two weeks.

Ron told me he is looking forward to good tailwinds on this trip…last time he punched nor-easters nearly all the way!

The only unpleasant part is cold early morning starts when you mis- time your launch through the surf. Good luck guys

A Long Way North

By the time you read this, Arunas Pilka, David Malcolm and crew will have returned from Hinchinbrook and the Whitsundays for three weeks paddling in all.

Had a card from Arunas today (July 25th) he says conditions are a bit windy and he is looking forward to a skeg on his new Arctic Raider. David Malcolms Mk III Arctic Raider (with skeg) is handling the wind well.

We’re looking forward to some good pics guys any Mirages on your trip?

No Feathers

If you’re new to paddling and haven’t had your brain flooded with messages to twist your paddle shaft every second stroke, please consider (just consider) using unfeathered paddles with your boat.

Myself and three other paddlers down here on the south coast believe there are advantages to unfeathered blades which make them worthwhile.

We’re outnumbered heavily by the “ninety degree brigade” and even though we may just be voices crying in the wilderness we’d like to let everyone know there is an alternative to feathered blades.

So, if your kayak retailer can’t offer you an unfeathered paddle for a test, hold off buying a feathered version until someone can.

Better still, give me, Norm sanders, Ron Mudie or Gordon Carswell a call. We’ll put you straight!

Panache

Norm Sanders strip-planked “Panache” is taking shape slowly. norm says the bevelling and fitting of each strip takes about 1 5- 2 hours !

No doubt this 18ft kayak will be the pride of the fleet this summer!

Don’t expect Norm to take this boat through any gauntlets. He says after 40 years of trying to stay away from rocks in sailing boats, he’s too old to change his spots now! Fair enough.

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