President’s Report [27]

By Dirk Stuber

Access to the Wilderness

In the last presidents report I discussed the issue of access and asked for a response from members. I’ve spoken with a few members and the issue was also discussed at the recent training weekend. The general consensus seems to be that sea kayaking is a low or no impact activity and therefore access should not be restricted. For example we should be able to land on the little beach at Montague Island and have some lunch, this would not cause any harm to the bird life or its habitat.

The other issue is that of monopoly practices. The National Parks and Wildlife service has given one contract only and that to a tour company in Narooma. If you wish to visit Montague lsland you must use the company’s boat and guide.

A similar problem occurs in The Royal National Park on The Port Hacking River. You cannot paddle a water craft on the fresh water section above the Audley weir. Why? Because the contract with the boat hire business at Audley includes provision for exclusive use of the waterway. There are signs everywhere: No private craft allowed. Premier Carr, when recently speaking about new national parks said The parks are for conservation and recreational use., He wants to encourage people to use the parks. Surely the two examples mentioned above discourage use and access. What can be done? At this stage David Winkworth is having a quiet chat with the ranger in charge at Narooma.

David has also spoken with the ranger in charge for the Nadgee area. Apparently there are many kayakers visiting Nadgee, some are Club members, most are not. She said the rules apply to all, ie only 20 people per night are permitted to camp in the reserve. So before you go give her a call or write and make a booking. She is aware that weather can effect the kayakers itinerary and we might not always make it to the reserve camp. However if you land at a camp Site reserved by others, we must vacate. We don’t want to get bush walkers off side. David has written about this in more detail elsewhere in the magazine.

The Club Calendar

We are always looking for people to organise club activities especially in the winter months. If you have a trip in mind and you want some company give Gary Edmond a ring. Please Note the last calendar lists a paddle for late September in the Wollongong area. The paddle has been cancelled.

I know many people are organising private paddles, this is great. A group of us are currently organising one to Torres Strait. However if possible, try listing it on the calendar as well. People say it is more convenient to organise a private trip, you can select your company etc. That is true but you can do the same through the club calendar, e.g. if you only want vegetarians say so up front. I can’t see how this could be a problem.

Broughton Island Paddle

I attended the paddle in March. It was an excellent weekend and I enjoyed The company of the Mirage boys and the passionate debates about rudder design and plastic versus fibreglass. It was unique in that it was stipulated that you should be able to paddle at 8 km per hour on calm seas. As some 16 paddlers showed up and not everyone could sustain that pace, a group A (fastest) and B was formed. I know some people are against splitting the group but I think a group of 16 can easily be split 3 or 4 times with safety assuming the necessary skills and experience are present in each group.

I hope Paul, the organiser, puts it on the calendar again next year, I’ll be back (I hope that does not give him an excuse to not run the trip). Also it is excellent to have some trips north of Sydney.

Boat Building

I have to congratulate the builders of the Mirage. I was very impressed to see that Mirage paddlers don’t put their luggage in dry bags. It appears to be the only make that is consistently water tight when it leaves the factory.

Running the Gauntlet

Unfortunately a kayak was damaged when leaving a gauntlet, this created some consternation and much discussion. For my opinion about paddling in gauntlet; see my article: Running the Gauntlet in this edition.