Parramatta to Paradise [29]

By Mark Pearson

After a brief but eye-opening river paddle in a touring kayak, Johnno has finally persuaded his mate Wozza to join him on an expedition in rented sea kayaks.

“Ute locked?” asked Johnno.

“Yeah” said Wozza.

“Got everything?”

“Yeah’..

“OK- jets get mine down to the water -grab that loop thing at the back!”

Wozza grunted as he lifted the rear of the Puffin.

“Geez mate, how many stubbies are in this thing?”

“Nearly two slabs in the back,” said Johnno. “Stored the rest in the front bit with the tent and stuff.”

“My Piratak …”

“It’s Pitt-ar-ak. It’s Norwegian for somethin’.”

“Weird friggin’ name. Anyhow, my Pittarak would only take a slab and a half, and even then I had to leave me coat an radio out. Is that why yo got the Puffin?”

“Thought you’d like the Pittarak, that’s all.”

“I s’pose I do -it looks mean, like a ’57 Chev -you know, the one with the fins.”

“You’re right Wozza, front bit’s like a big tailfin. Sleek lookin’,” admitted Johnno. “Would’ve liked an Arctic Raider meself, but there wasn’t one – they’re pure filth -better than Pittaraks, even.”

“Well this friggin’ Puffin weighs a bloody ton -you should’ve sculled a few tinnies first.”

“Mate, where we’re goin’ we’re gonna be miles from a grog shop -you gotta think ahead -12 stubbies is me daily ration” Johnno said smugly.

Wozza mused for a few seconds, surprised at his companions foresight.

“But I’ve got 24 Fosters, a dozen Reschs and even some Coopers, buggered if I’m gonna fart-arse around working out what piss to drink each minute of the day -besides, maths ain’t me strong point!”

“Ok, but don’t come sniffing after my grog when you run dry” warned Johnno.

They reached the water and lowered the Puffin beside the waiting Pittarak. Johnno eyed his companion critically.

“Are you goin’ to wear that?”

“Yeah -why not!”

“Parramatta guernsey’s aren’t made to get wet…”.

“Never feel the coid mate -I’ve worn this at Friday night footy in Canberra -no worries!”

“Bring any water?” asked Johnno.

“Ain’t got room, anyhow, there’s plenty in the beer.”

“OK- so what’ve you got to eat?”

“Cornflakes, Mars Bars, Muesli Bars…errr, and a few spuds and carrots that me mum put in. What about you?”, grunted Wozza as he tugged his spray skirt up over his ample stomach.

“Better than that crap for sure – hope you like what you’ve got – it’s all yours.”

“But I thought we’d sort of share the tucker.”

“No way! Don’t expect to get your mits on my stuff.”

“Geez Johnno, yer attitude’s really pissing me off I’m startin’ to wish I’d stayed home or gone down the TAB or somethin’. Remember, this is your friggin’ caper, mate, and far as I’m concerned I’m doin’ you a big favour in coming along at all! And it’s a big friggin’ hassle, that’s what it is. Picking up the boats, tying them on, taking them off, loading ’em up with stuff that won’t fit in, stuffing me friggin’ back carrying the heavy bastards.. what a pain in the arse.”

“Give it a chance Woz”

“…and all this so we can scare the crap out of ourselves and get friggin’ sea-sick! I’ll tell you something Johnno -give me a Canadian up the Hawkesbury any day -carry heaps of piss no worries and there’s no friggin’ waves! And this dumb skirt thing makes me look like a poofta in a corset!”

“Mate, settle down… I’m just getting some things understood from the start OK. Every expedition needs a leader that sets out the rules and stuff -you’ll read that in any Soldier of Fortune..!”

“Well you’re starting to really piss me off big time, Captain Bligh, and we’re not even on the water yet. Come on, lets get goin’, were wasting friggin’ drinking time!”

“Woz, once we’re out there, it’ll be good'”

Wozza squeezed himself into the Pittarak and pushed off unsteadily.

“Thought the sheilas’ re coming to wave off.”

“Knew they wouldn’t get up this early.”

“Yeah, they’re not like us – no sense of adventure!”

Wozza suddenly looked worried.

“Hey, we wo’nt be doin’ any o’ that Eskimo Rolling, will we?”

“No mate – you’ll be right.”

“Mate, I’ll tell ye somethin’ -I’d rather roll me Ute pissed than be stuck upside down in one of these bastards!”

“Did ya bring bog paper,” interrupted Johnno as he climbed into the Puffin.

“Shit…”

“Christ you’re friggin’ hopeless…”

“I’ll give ye two o’ me Coopers if you let me share yours,” shouted Wozza as he tried out a few hesitant paddle strokes.

“Four, but use more than six sheets a day and you’ll be looking for seaweed.”

“You’re a deadset bastard Johnno. Just you remember what happened in that Bounty movie, that’s all! C’mon, lets get rowing, I’m getting a thirst already “

The boys paddled off in their sea kayaks headed for adventure…

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