Training Notes [32]

By David Winkworth

Advanced Sea Proficiency Assessment

On the October Long Weekend, Frank Bakker and I conducted an Advanced Sea Award Assessment on south coastal waters between Bunga Hd and Montague Is. In addition to a Victorian paddler, NSW club members Andrew Eddy, Doug Fraser and Bruce Payne were successful in gaining the award. Congratulations to you all!

During the weekend Doug Fraser’s alter ego Doug Headwind was present because we certainly copped some headwinds! Still, it was good paddling with plenty of wildlife and surf action – a 6.2 metre double Pittarak standing on its nose in a 2 metre wave is quite a sight. A female paddler ended up with a few bruises in this encounter, and so did the Pittarak, with big splits around the bilges. Could we please have some better construction in ocean boats? This one was “out of it’s depth!”

A couple of issues emerged on the weekend that warrant the placing of this piece in the “Training Notes” section.

Firstly, rolling, re-entry and rolling and bracing. It’s one thing to practise these skills in flat water such as a lake or river and quite another to HAVE to do them in steep 2 metre seas. So, the message is push your skills!

If you are a proficient roller in relatively calm water, it’s time to move into the rough stuff. Try it in strong winds and try it with half only of your spare paddle. Doug, Andrew and Bruce will give a demo and assist you in practice at the Rock n’ Roll Weekend. On the subject of bracing, if you can do a high brace or sculling high brace down into the water as far as your shoulder, you should be working on get- ting your head into the water now. Similarly, if you can scull right down to water level and hold it, you should now be working on sculling to the surface from an upside-down roll-set-up position instead of coming directly upright. Push the skills!

We’ll be having a Skills Session on all of this at the Rock n’ Roll Weekend. Valuable stuff for kayakers. Don’t miss it! It’s for all skill levels.

If you want to practise this, find some water about a metre deep. In this depth, you can push off the bottom if you go too far instead of having to roll or wet exit. Do it this weekend!

The second issue I want to mention is paddling fitness. Before you all jump up and down and say you don’t want to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger let me say neither do I! In fact bodies like that are useless for most sports. I guess I’m looking towards bodies like Paul Caffyn! Perfectly normal … yet he was cutting successive 100 km days in his round-Australia paddle. OK, so he developed a lot of paddling fitness during the trip but you do get my meaning.

Now, there are essentially 2 sections to this ramble on paddling fitness. I’ll call them Style/Speed and Fuel in the Tank! That’s got you curious eh?

Style and Speed

We should all be looking regularly at our paddling style. Sometimes it’s easy to slip into bad stroke habits and it can often be hard to identify the problem yourself. So, have a friend check your style from time to time, talk to club mem- bers who race kayaks and come along to Dirk Stuber’s skill session on Advanced Paddling Techniques at the Rock n’ Roll Weekend!

It’s important that your efficient style carries through from calm water paddling to strong headwinds. Anyone can move a kayak along in calm waters but smooth efficient paddling in a 20 knot headwind is a bit different! Have a look at the various club paddle grading levels in this magazine. Grades 2. 3 and 4 specify distances of up to 15km, 25km and 40 kms respectively .

There is always wind on the ocean so these distances are effectively increased in headwinds. Remember Jervis Bay a few years ago? You obviously need good style for these situations. you also need some reasonable speed (which comes with style) to finish the day’s paddle before midnight and most impor- tantly you need some Fuel in the Tank! Fuel in the Tank

When I finish a day’s paddle. I always ask myself. .Do I have enough energy left to paddle back to the day’s start or halfway back or whatever? This is the Fuel in the Tank and there’s ~ got to be some there otherwise you’re in big trouble on the ocean Suppose you arrive at a planned landing after a long distance of non-landable coast and find the exit non-negotiable? You’ve got to go somewhere and it means lots more paddling like it or not. Total exhaustion is dangerous. unfair to four paddling partners and it leads to disaster.

So, Fuel in the Tank. What can you do? Obviously , attention to style efficiency is Important…so is nutrition. Carry plenty of your favourite energy foods and water. If you’re serious about your paddling and you paddle more than once a month, you may want to look at some general fItness exerCIses. The very best is getting in your boat at every opponunity and cutting those miles but not always practical or possible I know. Try some swimming andl or go to a nearby gym and get the resi- dent trainer to develop a spons specific program for you. That is, one that is basically aimed at endurance, not strength or power

Try it for a few weeks. You’ll be amazed at the results. For those that are inter- ested, in a future issue we’ll have a look at weight training principles for strength, power and endurance. I’ve got some good reference texts on the subject.

Happy Paddling
David Winkworth

The South Coast Cruisers Go North [32]

By Norm Sanders

I don’t know who had the idea first. Paddling along a pristine tropical rainforest and lounging around on the Barrier Reef has an attraction for everybody. This trip finally boiled down to Tony Petersen, Mark Pearson (AKA Fishkiller) and me.

Tony and I were always definite starters, but Fishkiller needed a pass from his wife. Fortunately, the lovely and sympathetic Kerrie readily agreed. Fishkiller has a young, vigorous family, was moving into a new house, and must make a good impression at work lest he be downsized. All this meant he could only be away for three weeks.

Never mind. Tony and I would drive up to Cairns in Tony’s 4WD Hilux, towing a trailer with the three Inuit Classics on board. Fishkiller would fly up from Canberra to meet us. O.K., so where exactly did we want to paddle?

We have all heard stories about the overcrowded Whitsundays and other tropical tourist destinations. It seemed that the only undeveloped area left would be far to the north, starting where the good roads end: Port Douglas. A paddle from Port Douglas north along the Daintree coast would be scenic and would have good possibilities for obtaining water .

Water availability is a very limiting factor in touring by kayak. We could only carry about 20 litres, enough for some 4 days in the heat. Since we chose August for our trip, there would be little rain and we would have to depend on coastal streams.

How far north should we paddle? Cooktown was the obvious answer. The climate changes abruptly at Cooktown. It is much drier to the north, less scenic and increasingly difficult to get water. Another major factor was road access. Tony could take a bus back to Port Douglas and then return with the Hilux to pick up the kayaks. The road was dirt, but in good condition. Access was far more difficult further north.

Tony got some charts and we found two ii islands off the coast which looked interesting: Snapper Island and Hope Island.

Most of the offshore reefs are submerged 1 at high tide. These two islands offered t the only chance of spending some time away from the mainland. We packed our tents, sleeping bags, a few clothes and 21 days worth of paddling food (mostly noodles) and departed Canberra on the morning of 1 August, 1997. It was -4 degrees at 0700 and we had to scrape ice off the windscreen before we could leave. We were very glad to be heading towards sunny Oueensland.

By 2230, we were setting up our tents in a caravan park at Condamine, Queensland. Unfortunately, the cold hadn’t let us out of its grip. We were north of Brisbane, but well inland. It got down to -1 degree that night, which encouraged us to be on the road at 0630 to get warm. A long day of driving put us in the tropics at last. We camped at a roadside rest at the edge of the ocean near Bowen at 2200.

It was a relatively short drive to Cairns the next day. We camped at Trinity Beach and winced at the Los Angeles type development in the area. The place is a zoo. Tony got very depressed, having lived in the area in the early 1980s.

The next day we got a few items at a huge, urban shopping complex and met Fishkiller at the airport. He stepped off the plane looking crisp and fresh, every inch the prosperous Canberra public servant.

We had no idea of the details of launching at Port Douglas and drove up to investigate. Things looked pretty bleak. The weather had finally turned good and Port Douglas was crammed with tourists heading out to the reef. There was no accommodation available, even for tents, according to the tourist bureau. We had dinner in town and the friendly cook/waitress (a kayaker) told us to try the 4 Mile Beach Caravan Park.

They had one on-site van left, which we snapped up. This was a stroke of luck, because we found that we could load up the kayaks next to the van, put them on the trailer and drive right down on the beach. Then, we could leave Hilux and trailer at the caravan park for $3 per day until we returned. All problems solved!

We were farewelled away from the beach by the crowd which had collected. It was g 1000′ 5 August, 1997. Cooktown was ~ 150 km away. There are a few individuals in the kayaking movement who adhere to a the “No Pain, No Gain” philosophy. They streak from Point A to Point B in the shortest time possible, heads down, revelling in the screams of their joints and muscles. Not for them a serene paddle along a paradise coast. Several of these individuals have pointed out that Paul Caffyn paddled from Port Douglas to Cooktown in two days as he made his epic circumnavigation of Australia. Big deal. Did he savour the aroma of the rainforest in the mornings? The rainbows of colours on the reefs? If speed is the object, it only takes 45 minutes on the plane from Cairns to Cooktown.

We cruised along in the sunshine, soaking up the white clouds in the blue sky, the sparkling, clear water and the dark green of the shoreline. One of the reasons we had picked August was to take advantage of the southeasterly winds which prevail at that time of year. Now we hoisted our sails and devoted ourselves to sheer pleasure.

We were crossing a wide bay at the mouth of the Daintree River, which, with its legendary crocodiles, we wished to avoid. Our course to Snapper Island took us about 10 km offshore from the river mouth, a very safe distance. We reached the island at 1430 after covering 28 km without any suffering at all.

The island is a National Park and has camping sites which require the permits which we had obtained in Cairns (although nobody ever checked.) After we set up camp, Tony and Fishkiller went off to catch supper. We had planned to eat a lot of fish, to go with the noodles. Tony had regaled us with tales of monster fish, easily capable of capsizing a kayak. That night, I had noodles and peas.

Next day we paddled off on a voyage of exploration around the island. On the north side, we encountered a commercial kayak outfit named Crocodylus Tours. They had paddled 3 double Roscos from Cowie Bay, about 8 km. away. We were greeted by these friendly natives, who were mostly bikini clad backpackers. Eat your heart out, Paul Caffyn. Tony scored in a cup of coffee and a cigarette. I won a pancake and Fishkiller went fishing. He lost two lures after catching a number of small, ugly fish. I had a packet of Fettuccine Carbonara for dinner.

On 7 Aug., day three, we were up at 0645 after listening to the ABC weather on the transistor radio. Emanating from Cairns, it was the best broadcast weather: a briefing I have ever encountered. The announcer talked directly with the weather bureau and covered the synoptic situation, present conditions, short and long range forecasts and coastal weather. It was good, solid information, without the distracting attempts at humour which pollute so many weather bulletins.

We left at 0945. Fishkiller had succumbed to the flu overnight, a relic of his parental duties. He was pretty miserable and was not able to enjoy what Tony and I called a magic morning. There was a light, warm sailing breeze ruffling the water. We ghosted along past the dense, green wilderness. We finally landed at a little beach just south of Cow Bay so that Fishkiller could lay down. There was water, but no place to camp, so we eventually paddled on to Alexandra Bay near the mouth of the Bailey River, 15 km north of Snapper Island. We found good camping on a beach ridge, but no water. Tony went trolling and hooked a 60 cm mackerel which escaped. Dinner was instant potato and canned “steak and onions” (I was trying to avoid the noodles as much as possible).

The next day, the fourth of the trip, we were on the water at 1000. Fishkiller had recovered somewhat. It was calm at first, then a light southeasterly came up which was enough to fill the sails.

Another perfect day. We had planned to stop at Cape Tribulation to visit the store.

We paddled around the Cape and encountered hundreds of tourists wandering around on the beach. Buses disgorged more even as we watched. Tony and Fishkiller went looking for the store while I minded the kayaks. They returned an hour and a half later with an ice cream and a Snickers bar for me and a tale of woe. They couldn’t find the store and had to settle for a resort kiosk where they had chicken and chips. We departed Cape Tribulation at 1500, paddling on to Emmagen Creek to camp. We had covered 21 easy kilometres from Alexandra Bay. My dinner was rice and canned tuna. Fish at last!

We got up to watch the dawn on Day 5 and then went for water up the creek beyond the 4WD track. I had a Sweetwater Guardian filter along, but we decided to take a chance on unfiltered water. We had no problem but I later heard of people who had caught giardia from Emmagen Creek.

We were on the water at 1030, paddling in a sunny calm. Fishkiller finally managed to catch an edible fish when we stopped at Cowie Point Beach to clean. We were soon buzzed by an ultralight which then came in to land. The pilot had flown up from Cairns that day, landed at Cedar Bay, been chased off the beach by Park Rangers and was now on his way back. The Rangers had also torn down some humpies belonging to the ferals before departing the area. The pilot assured us that they wouldn’t be back for another two weeks.

We paddled on to Weary Bay, at the mouth of the Bloomfield River. Captain Cook named the bay after days of struggling to keep the Endeavor afloat following the collision with a reef. We had now done 18 kilometres from Emmag en and located a good campsite among the casuarinas. There was no water, but we still had a goodly supply. Noodles and surprise peas for dinner .

Day 6 was calm and oppressively hot at first. Then a good sailing breeze came up and we cruised the 24 kms to Cedar Bay. We disturbed a nude female feral on the south end of the beach and politely paddled on with eyes averted. We camped in the northern comer of Cedar Bay to be near running water. Two ferals bearing gift coconuts wandered by. In return we gave them some fish hooks but couldn’t help out with cigarette papers, which we had none of. Noodles and dried beans for dinner.

Day 7 was spent lazing around Cedar Bay. We visited Cedar Bay Bill’s tomb, went to get water and talked to a bunch of kayakers on a commercial trip from Cape Tribulation to Cooktown. They were using gigantic New Zealand doubles called Sissons –the widest kayaks I have ever seen. It was fortunate for them that the wind was from the Southeast. Deb instant potatoes with onion and surprise peas for dinner.

We were up at 5 AM on Day 8, packed up in the dark and were on the water just after dawn. Our destination was East Hope Island, about 14 kms. offshore. Hope Island was named by Captain Cook because it offered a haven for the sinking Endeavor. The sky was clear, the wind a light south westerly and the paddling was marvellous. Later we hoisted sails in a 10 knot southerly. West Hope Island lay across our course. We tried to cross the long reef to the north of the island but the tide was too low and we were forced to back-track to the southern end.

Then began a glorious paddle down the passage to East Hope. This is a treasure island, excruciatingly beautiful. It is a complete, discrete island about the size of a city block, with white sand beaches, a fringing reef, palm trees and a luxurious campsite well back in the trees. We set up camp and then ventured forth to explore the island. We found two osprey nests, one with a chick, reef herons, terns and a host of other birds.

Later in the afternoon, three yachts anchored just offshore. One was a 46′ cat from Miami which was sailing around the world in a race which had started in Lisbon, Portugal. The skipper and I had mutual multihulling friends back in California. I asked nervously if they could spare some water. Not a problem. They could desalinate 10 gph. I not only filled all our available water containers, but enjoyed a gin arid tonic (with ice) as the sun went down. We scrounged water from other boats as days went by, which meant that we could lengthen our time on the island. Fish and pasta for dinner.

We stayed on the island for five days, lounging, snorkelling, hiking, paddling and generally enjoying life in the tropics. Fishkiller and Tony caught many huge fish, including Giant Trevally, most of which they released. They kept enough for dinner each night, to make amends for their previous failures.

Towards the end of our stay on the island, the wind came up from the Southeast and rain squalls periodically swept by. When we finally left on Day 13, the wind was a steady 25 knot southeasterly. We were on the water at 0845 with reefed sails. The seas were 1.5 meters and steep. We made good time, but it was hard work. At one stage, a ship came straight towards us, but finally turned away. On shore, the rainforest had given way to grasslands interspersed with trees. Our goal was Rocky Island, which we reached at 1145 after sailing 22 kms from Hope Island.

Rocky Island was just that, a little rock outcrop just offshore from a 4WD infested beach. We set up camp on the leeward side of the island, but willy willies kept swirling around and hammering the tents. Tony’s fly split and Fishkiller broke a tent pole. It was a windy night, and the tents kept flapping, like sleeping in a shooting gallery, I noted in my diary .The locals say the stretch from Hope Island to Cooktown is the windiest part of the coast.

On August 18, Day 14, at 0745, we eagerly left Rocky Island for Cooktown. The trip was now an anticlimax after the joys of Hope Island. The wind was still howling and we made good time. The sky was overcast, but the air was warm. Fishkiller didn’t believe the charts, so I had to get out the GPS to convince him where Cooktown was located. I had been entering positions religiously in the GPS, but found the gadget absolutely useless (except for settling arguments)!

Just around the point from Cooktown, I ran over a lazing dugong. It exploded r under my bow, scaring us both, with no damage to either. We arrived at Cooktown and landed almost on the exact spot where the Endeavor was careened. We too found succour, in the form of Magnums from the kiosk. We also found a motel just across the road. We checked in to a ground floor unit and carried the kayaks to our front door.

Next day, Fishkiller and Tony took the bus south. Fishkiller to Cairns and Tony to pick up the Hilux and trailer at Port Douglas. Tony returned to Cooktown that night at 11 PM and we left the next morning for home. It was a painless ending to an absolutely enjoyable trip.

Shark Island Report [32]

By Kenji Ogawa

On Sunday 18 May I woke up early and went out for a walk to suss out the weather. I was a bit nervous as it was the first time I had organised something for kayakers and I wanted everything to be perfect. It was raining and wondered if anybody was going to turn up after all. It slowly dawned on me that a few drops of water from heaven would only increase a true kayaker’s sense of adventure! And so we packed and drove to Double Bay and paddled across to Shark Island in our friendly neighbour’s Canadian canoe.

When my wife, two daughters and I arrived on the island there was already half a dozen people there, the rain had eased and the sun was threatening to shine. I knew it was going to be a fabulous day.

Kayaks came from all sides until a total of sixty five boats were on the island. The small beach was absolutely full with no space anywhere to land. Norm Sanders came from Tuross Heads with his Inuit Classic, Larry Gray in his Pittarak and ex Olympian Helen Jacobson paddled a surf ski from Manly.

Larry gave a short talk on his trip to Greenland and demonstrated some of the new eskimo rolls he had learned in Greenland. They looked so simple and the ease with which Larry performed them was quite remarkable. My Japanese instinct tells me that when something looks so simple it rarely is.

As this event was so successful and was supported by so many paddlers from so many clubs we decided to make it an annual event in Sydney Harbour exclusive for kayakers and their families. See you same time next year.

President’s Report [32]

By Norm Sanders

AGM time again. It doesn’t seem possible that a year has passed already. We’ve had some very successful Club paddles and a great number of exploits by individual Club members. Training, under the guidance of Dave Winkworth, has continued to upgrade our skills. The contact list has brought together many new friends. The Magazine goes from strength to strength through the magnificent efforts of that Magazine Negus, Fishkiller.

All in all, the Club seems to be functioning quite well. Think about it. Is there any way to improve the Club? Anything the Club should be doing that it isn’t? Bring your thoughts to the AGM and let us all hear them.

Over the year I’ve dealt with a couple of bureaucracies on behalf of the club. I carried on considerable correspondence with National Parks about the way the Honeymoon Bay Campground is being run. Whether or not this made any difference will be revealed when we arrive at Honeymoon Bay for the AGM.

The other issue was the rumoured move by Waterways to frame laws for Sea Kayaks. At the moment the situation seems to be that they are looking mostly at commercial operators. In my conversations with Waterways, I get the impression that they are relatively satisfied with the status quo regarding private sea kayakers.

Nominally, Sea Kayaks are just another small boat, for which there are already guidelines. However, we’ll keep an eye on the situation. At the very least, Waterways has now learned that the NSWSKC exists and is concerned about the welfare of sea kayakers.

That’s about it. See you at the AGM.

Pain and Gain at Mimosa Rocks [32]

By Doug Fraser

There we stood, on the beach at Mimosa Rocks, watching as the twin Pittarak was slowly moving towards the rocks still stuck in the surf zone. Suddenly it was picked up by a breaking wave and the two occupants, Kate and Darren, were thrown out. The five of us on the shore ran into the surf to try and recover the kayak and its passengers. Another two metre breaking wave picked up the craft and drove it onto the sea floor. By the time it had surfaced a couple of the rescuers had reached it and were dragging it away from the rocks. On reaching the beach however, it was clear that it had been damaged and was in fact, holed on both sides. The two occupants – made it to shore, Kate bruised from the wild ride she had been given in the surf.

I looked at the damaged craft and thought “Gee this is great, I hate trips where nothing happens!”.

Yes this was the ACF Advanced Sea Proficiency weekend held on the October long weekend, organised by Frank Bakker and Dave Winkworth. The candidates were myself, Stumpy Payne, Andrew Eddy and Andrew Lewis of Victoria. Kate and Darren were also from Victoria and were attending to be assessed for their Sea Proficiency. We had set out from the Wallaga Lakes Caravan Park that morning and had paddled south past Bermagui to Mimosa Rocks National Park. In keeping with my reputation we had a headwind of about 15 kn all the way. This was accompanied by seas of about 1 m which made the 29km quite hard going. For part of the way, Andrew Eddy had volunteered to be V towed by Stumpy and myself . In the choppy conditions this proved to be quite difficult as the tensions taken by the two towers were invariably different, causing rapid deceleration when the slack was suddenly taken up. This episode gave Stumpy and myself blisters, which just added to the general aches and pains we were feeling by that night.

As usual the beach at the night location showed the signs of paranoid paddlers, all making sure their boats weren’t the closest to the ocean that night. Some almost made it into the camp site. Unfortunately due to the size of the surf, Dave decided not to run his night rescue activity, which apparently was going to involve a degree of healthy bastardisation. We were so disappointed we went to bed early.

The next day saw Andrew Lewis, Kate and Darrren remain behind to repair the broken Pittarak while the rest of us set off for the 39km open water navigational leg to Montague Island. The forecast predicted that we would now have a northerly headwind, however, thankfully this never really eventuated. After a failed attempt to find a rather ill-determined submerged reef few kilometres south of the island, we decided to head for a small inlet just to the north of Mystery Bay to the SW. On cue, a stiff southerly change came through, but at least this time we were not battling straight into it. The inlet itself was lovely, however after eight hours and 44km the first action of the candidates on exiting their boats was to have their legs collapse and fall promptly back into the surf [this dismounting ‘style’ was first developed by Arunas Pilka – Ed].

The next morning was calm and saw the sitting of the exam. This went a bit longer than anticipated as we didn’t realise that we only had to do one quarter of the questions. Anyway with that finally completed the next southerly change accompanied by dark skies and rain came in to make sure that the last day wasn’t going to be easy. The seas rose to about 2m and we headed south for Wallaga Lake. We were to meet up with the Victorians at the mouth of the inlet, however a couple of kilometres short Dave made us all re-enter and roll at sea, just to make sure we would be dribbling sea water from our nose for the rest of the day.

Finally we made it into the Caravan Park Nhere we enjoyed a hot shower. Once we Nere cleaned up we then had a debriefing session where a number of valuable lessons were brought out. All the candidates achieved their respective qualifica- tions which was just as well because we were exhausted. All in all it was a valuable activity to have undertaken and I would recommend all paddlers to strive to achieve the qualification.

Lessons learned

  • If you are unsure about landing don’t hang around in the surf zone as you are guaranteed to eventually pick up the big one! Either go back out to sea and gather your thoughts (or courage) or come in – broaching is usually a safe option [Good advice, especially if you are in Pittarak, but why not just simply purchase an Inuit Classic and take on ‘the big one’ with total confidence – I’m really going to miss writing these smart arse comments! – Ed]
  • A hand pump is too difficult to use by yourself in any sort of sea (which is when I you are likely to come out). A foot or , electric pump is needed.
  • Dave has succumbed to KDS (Kayak Designer Syndrome) and is beginning to sound like Norm.
  • Pittaraks rule, OK.

The Old Sea Dog’s Gear Locker [32]

The OSD is still marvelling at his latest piece of gear, a breathable dry top made by HotNDry Drysuits of Ulladulla. The proprietor, Erwin Fischper, came to the OSD with the idea of making a dry top for kayaking to add to his line of survival, diving and water ski suits.

The ever-helpful OSD contributed some thoughts and, in due course, tested the finished product in Ulladulla Harbour. What a treat! Painless Eskimo rolls, in the coldest water and weather. No sweat paddling, due to the breathable Milair fabric. No more water up the sleeves when bracing in a wave. (Or water running in the holes which he had to punch in the elbows of his CAG for drainage.) He later took the dry top on the epic South Coast Cruisers trip to the Barrier Reef and actually wore it comfortably on two very windy days. Why oh why, he asks, did he not discover the dry top sooner.

There is a very good reason. Price. Most dry tops are well over $200. Some of these don’t even have latex cuffs — only neoprene which will leak. HotNDry dry tops are truly dry and only cost $160 (from HotNDry in Ulladulla, or Batemans Bay Power and Sail.).

HotNDry also make a wonderful line of inexpensive dry bags (also designed by the OSD, who hastens to point out that he makes no commission on these items, having created the designs for the benefit of all kayakers.)

The OSD would like to update his results on the road testing of the new Princeton Tec Solo The Old Sea Dog’s Gear Locker. He has decided that the Petzel Micro is his The Old Sea Dog’s Gear Locker of choice and has since gone back to the Petzel for general camp use. There seems to be an ongoing problem with the bulb contact in the Princeton Tec, which requires constant attention in the form of frequent scraping of the electrical connections.

Radios are also on the OSD’s mind. He carried his 27 Mhz transceiver all over the Barrier Reef and heard absolutely nothing on the air. It turns out that everybody up there is on VHF, Channel 16. This is a pity, because VHF gear is much more expensive. However, anyone planning an extended trip in the far north could find a VHF radio handy in case of an emergency not serious enough to fire off an EPIRB. Using an EPIRB is a good way to invite a million dollar rescue bill and an appearance on the evening news.

That’s it for now. Happy, warm, paddling.

Letters [32]

Dear Sir

I understand. from comments you have made over recent months that this edition of the NSW Sea Kayak Club Newsletter is to be your last as Editor, after 2 years in the position.

May I congratulate you on a job well done. You have produced a consistently high quality product over the last two years and I am proud to say that I belong to a Sea Kayaking club that has such an interesting magazine.

We should remember that apart from our training days and our club paddles, it is the magazine that is the primary binding agent (sounds a bit like a recipe?) for members. We have many members who we never or rarely see on club outings and it is much to your credit that they maintain their membership as their only club contact is the newsletter .

Now, lest all this praise gives you a swelled head, let me say that you are not without your faults or bias [I was tempted to cut this letter off here, but what the hell –Ed] there’s many a time I have opened my copy of the magazine and cringed as I read my name in the Hall of Shame. Mr Editor, this stern rebuke each issue drives us “Hall of Shame” regulars to drink! We sink deeper into despair with each issue (and have another drink) and wince as we read your incisive comments to each other. We are even thinking of forming a therapy group called Cave of Depression Anonymous!

To continue…

I live in hope that for this issue you will take the time to proof read my contributions after scanning them in. It seems computers have a mind of their own in re-arranging text!

And another thing …

It will be a relief, after you’ve gone, to see the end of this pathetic Editorial Inuit Classic Bias (although I fear this may not be the case). I mean it really is embarrassing! I show my copy of the magazine to non-member sea kayakers and reel from comments like

“I thought you belonged to a sea kayaking club, these are bathtub boats!” or…

“These Inuit things are for junior members are they?”

Also. Mr Editor … you should realize that this “All things White and Inuit” bias is exposing your underbelly to accusations of graft and corruption. The next lines in the song could be

“For paddlers short and tall
We like boats short and dumpy
‘Cos the President made them all!”

Your gold watch may be a few years away yet! To conclude: thank you for many entertaining issues of the club’s magazine.

David Winkworth

Legally Speaking [32]

The gear that NSW Waterways says that you must have with you on the water

By David Winkworth

The other day I picked up a copy of the NSW Waterways Safe Boating Handbook dated April 1997.

On the Safety Equipment pages in the booklet. waters are divided into “Enclosed” and “Open,” and vessel sizes are classified as “under 5m” and “5-8m.” From here they move out of average sea kayak sizes which don’t concern us. Safety equipment for both the above classifications is identical.

I called NSW Waterways to check on the definition of Open Waters. It is any waters not enclosed by a har- bour, river or bay AND any waters where the vessel is more than 400 metres from the nearest shore. This gets interesting when we look at the gear that must be carried. I’ll list the gear for the 2 classifications and the few exemptions that apply to kayaks. You might be surprised!

Enclosed Waters

PFD 1, 2 or 3.

Most of us wear PFD 3’s. PFD 1’s have big neck and chest flotation to keep the wearer’s face out of the water they are also very uncomfortable to paddle in.

To continue:

  • Bucket or bailer.
  • Bilge pump optional.
  • Waterproof Torch. (if operation at night)
  • Anchor, chain and line.
  • Navigation lights (a white light only for kayaks)
  • Sound signals (a loud whistle would suffice I guess).

OK, not too many problems there. We could leave off the anchor and not upset anyone I think. Responsi- ble sea kayakers should have all the other gear. Let’s move on to the next category

Open Waters

The gear listed below is additional to that mentioned above.

  • PFD 1.
  • Marine Radio. Compulsory when operation 2 nautical miles or more off the coast.
  • EPIRB recommended.
  • Flares. 2x red smoke. 2x orange smoke.
  • Orange V sheet.
  • Drinking water. 2 litres / person.
  • Map or chart of area.
  • Compass.
  • Waterproof torch.
  • Required day and night.

The exemptions for canoes/kayaks are: “Occupants MUST wear a PFD except when the craft is: (a) pro- pelled by paddles or oars in en- closed waters during daylight (b ) not being used as a tender (c) so constructed as to stay afloat if cap- sized ~ (d) not more than 400m from the nearest shore.

To be completely legal, your 27MHz marine radio is required to be registered annually for a recur- ring fee of $37.00. If you use a VHF radio the annual fee is $39.00 and you must complete a radio opera- tor’s course.

I spoke to the Australian Communications Authority .They were VERY keen to get my $37.00 a year but couldn’t tell me any benefit I would get for my money.

“I guess it’s just another tax, mate,” I was told.

Now, many of us regularly operate more than 2 nautical miles offshore. In fact, just crossing a coastal bay often puts you much further out than this, so we are very much in the ocean and in open waters category. I, and some club members I paddle with, have problems with the carry- ing (let alone wearing) of a PFD 1 and the carrying of flares. A PFD 1 is terrible to paddle in, inhibiting a wide range of paddle strokes, hard to turn round while wearing one and really bulky while strapped to the back deck where it can seriously add to windage and tracking prob- lems in wind. Putting one in the back hatch is ridiculous -are you seriously going to open the hatch in conditions that warrant the wearing of one?

A bulky PFD 1 strapped to the back deck would also affect rolling properties of a kayak for some paddlers. Earlier this year I did some Sea Instructor training in W.A. It is law also over there that PFD 1 ‘s are carried on open waters and all paddlers attending the course were shit-scared of Boating officers booking them for failure to have one.

Now, the few Boating Safety Officers here that I know are all nice guys and I have never been pulled up along my stretch of coast but Sydney/Wollongong/Newcastle is a different matter . There are always a few officious individuals in any bunch.

I was going to write to NSW Waterways on this matter but then thought it may be better to discuss the issues first at the upcoming AGM before putting a club viewpoint to the Government.

Please have a think about this issue and also about the carrying of flares. My experience is that they are next to useless and we are fortunate to have Laurie Ford from the Maatsuyker Club in Tassie with us for the AGM weekend.

Come along and participate -you may be interested to hear what he has to say on the subject of carrying of flares! If you would like to enquire with NSW Waterways about any issues, you can call them on 131236, 0830-4.30 7 days a week.

Good luck!

David Winkworth

The Dingo, the Turtle and a Very Large Sand Island [32]

Fraser Island, Queensland

By David Cregan

A Monday morning late in July, saw two of us depart the Urangan (Hervey Bay), boat harbour, in a Mirage 19 and a Dagger Apostle. Departure was delayed because we needed to do some last minute shopping (the major supermarkets were closed on Sunday and after a week’s hiking in central Queensland’s, Carnarvon Gorge, we needed to restock, and leave our car in a secure car park).

We were heading across to Fraser Island to paddle up the coast of Platypus Bay on the north-western side of the island for a week’s holiday.

We paddled across to Moon Point on Fraser Island via Woody Island on very calm seas. Woody Island is a part of the Great Sandy National Park and is the site of an old wooden light house at Middle Bluff, (now in disuse) dating from the 1890’s. Whales were seen breaching and the sound of their tails slapping the water could be heard cracking across the distance . An incoming tide slowed our trip across from the mainland.

Our first camp site was reached at Coongul Creek late afternoon after a leisurely , uneventful trip of 4 hours and we camped in a grove of casuarinas on a small sand dune between the creek and the beach. A lot of these creeks are dry at low tide and attract large numbers of sea-birds and waders including sea-eagles and Jabirus.

The peace of our quiet campsite was disturbed early in the morning by professional fishermen chasing schools of mullet along the coast with four wheel drive utilities and small dinghies. We were to see these hard working men and women nearly every day of our trip.

From the first day, we slipped into a pleasant routine and spent a few hours paddling, reading and beach combing. The weather was warm enough to swim and the seas were calm. The only blight was my battle with a recalcitrant MSR XGK stove that had a violent aversion to sand. A major problem on this, the largest sand-island in the world!

Most days ended with a splendid sunset – and happy hour was celebrated in a civilised manner. Isn’t it wonderful how much essential gear a 19′ Mirage can carry? As the trip progressed ‘happy hour’ seemed to held earlier and earlier on the premise that “it’s five o’clock somewhere in the world”.

As we progressed along the coast we had some great campsites at Awinya Creek and Bowal Creek, all with running water, some with creeks deep enough for swimming. In spite of it being a national park and a World Heritage area, there were unsightly piles of bottles and other rubbish left on the beach. Rubbish that was carried in, but not out by four-wheel drives. This is regrettable because there are a number of rubbish tips or large bins near most of the major designated camping areas.

Each day, we could see the whale watching boats heading out from Urangan to the northern end of Platypus Bay to view the humpbacks on their way to the warmer waters of north Queensland. After the first day, we saw no further whales, however, there were large numbers of the common dolphin, the rarer striped dolphin and stingrays to be seen as we paddled close in-shore. We managed to disturb endless schools of tiny bait fish which shimmered across the water like handfuls of thrown gravel.

According to local residents, humpback whales have visited Hervey Bay for at least 35 years. From mid-August to mid -October on the return journey from the Great Barrier Reef breeding grounds to their Antarctic summer feeding areas hundreds of whales enter Hervey Bay for one or two days rest.

We camped for two nights on the northern side of Yuthumba Creek. We discovered there is a formal camping ground on the southern side which apparently gets very busy at peak holiday season, and it has fresh water showers, fire places and taps for replenishing water containers.

Yuthumba Creek dries completely at low tide but, its sheltered anchorage is used by a large number of shallow draft vessels. While we were there, the creek was home to two large sailing catamarans, a very well equipped, ocean going, house boat (a great mother ship for extended sea kayak trips?) and a beautiful junk-rigged ketch.

We had very strong easterly winds against us as we returned later in the week along the coast towards the mainland. Although the swell was not big, the wind made paddling hard work and we soon developed the technique of paddling close inshore, in the lee of the high sand-hills immediately adjacent to the beach.

We set out on the Sunday to cross back from Moon Point to the mainland but were soon battling the wind and, a very short, sharp, 1.5 metre swell and had gone a couple of kilometres when we decided that at our rate of progress we would not reach the mainland before dark. There was some discussion that we should head back to the landing site at Moon Point and put the sea-kayaks on the car barge and be back at our car before dark. Honour however, was to be maintained, we had paddled this far and we should finish under our own power and we would try to cross early next morning before the wind came up.

To meet us at our camping site at Sandy Point was a scene from a Greek fable, we were met by a very inquisitive dingo and a large turtle. The dingo wanted to chase sticks(where did he learn that?) and the turtle, high and dry, completely ignored us, while awaiting the in-coming tide to float him/her away to safety in the deep.

The wind blew strongly all night. The dingo patrolled the outer edge of the campsite and we counted our Mars Bars. The barge idea might still have some currency in the morning.

Early next day the turtle had departed, the dingo supervised our packing and we set off during a lull in the wind and had gone about a third of the way across to Woody Island when the wind came in from the south east with increased strength and once again the sea built and we were to suffer a repeat of the previous afternoon’s conditions. To add insult to injury, as we slopped along through the nasty swell we could see in the distance to car ferry crossing from the mainland to pick-up vehicles at Moon Point.

We pushed on with aching arms and eventually went ashore for a brief rest on Datum Point at the northern end of Woody Island before pushing off to cross the final, five kilometres to the boat harbour. Alas, with the wind and now the tide against us, what should have taken a leisurely 3 hours from Sandy Point turned into a 5 and half hour epic.

We finally arrived on-shore at mid-day, and, after spending a happy time amusing the locals with that old conjurer’s trick of pulling a never ending amount of gear out of the various hatches of our two sea-kayaks, we packed our car and headed south for home.

Fraser Island is a very beautiful place. It can be very busy during the school holidays when there a large number of four-wheel drives and numerous camp sites in use. While the north western shore along Platypus Bay lacks some of the more dramatic coastline of Nadgee or Hinchinbrook Island, its beaches have a quiet beauty and there are some superb lakes and heathlands to visit if one wants to spend some time out of the kayak, exploring on foot. The exposed, eastern coast of Fraser has some dramatic headlands and requires sea-kayakers to have strong surf paddling experience. Campsites are numerous, there are a couple of small villages with stores and fresh water is readily available.

Flotsam and Jetsam [32]

Hail Cretebix© – Part 1

Semolina, the much vaunted ‘paddlers food of the nineties’, is officially OUT! Unmasked by John Calwell as a starchy malnutritious pretender in Issue 30, serious paddlers have been searching for a suitable replacement ever since.

Needing a breakfast too sustain him over a long North Queensland trip, the innovative Mark Pearson decided on trusty old Weetbix. But Weetbix biscuits contains a fair amount of air – space would be a problem – so Mark took the time to blend 75 Weetbix into a fine powder – reducing the bulk by about 60%. After the trip, Mark reported

“the bran-eating dullards who were with me slagged it off at first because it does look a bit like concrete mix, but show me another cereal where two weeks supply can be contained in a 28 by 10 cm Ricoh Toner canister!”

Mark continued “of course, when the bran-eaters ran out of their pellets after only a week, they suddenly agreed that my nutritious and far tastier Cretebix© (patent pending) was a good idea after all!”

Hail Cretebix© – Part 2

Mark Pearson also reported some serious eco-concern he had about the effect the bran had on the environment. “seriously, those guys seemed to spend most of the day defecating … it was truly revolting! I’d hate to have been in a group following us … it’ll take years for some of those wilderness sites to recover!

Mark then pointed out another outstanding advantage of eating Cretebix©

“without any of the symptoms of constipation, I was noticeably less regular than usual – in fact, in an amazing coincidence, 60% less regular! This meant that not only was I kinder to the wilderness, I also had total freedom to enjoy my paddling without having to worry about an unexpected urge to drop a load”

So there you have it – undeniable proof that nutritious, eco-friendly Cretebix© should be the first choice breakfast for sea-paddlers everywhere!

Back on the Road Again

Jim Croft has asked Flotsam to pass on his thanks to the many kayakers who had called to pass on their condolences for his injured arse (see ‘Paddler hits rock bottom’, last issue). In a candid interview with a Flotsam reporter, Jim admitted to a period of personal turmoil after the event

“although the physical injury was bad enough, it was the mental trauma of having been so brutally assaulted by the ocean that really hurt. I admit I went off the rails for a while, drinking heavily and paddling nothing but TK1’s on dirty lakes … behaviour for which I apologise, but I’m ready to give the ocean another go!”

His intensive rehabilitation program now complete, Flotsam wishes Jim all the best. It will be good to see Jim’s muscular rear-end back in it’s rightful place – a sea-kayak seat, once again providing the grunt for the famous Croft power stroke!

Yet More Accolades

By all accounts the Inuit Classic (recently confirmed by the prestigious NSWSKC Magazine as “Sea-kayak of the Year”) performed flawlessly on it’s first long expedition in North Queensland. Despite some negative forecasts prior to the trip from increasingly desperate detractors, faults seem hard to find in this design. Classic paddler Tony Peterson reported

“although I knew this kayak was unrivalled in agility, handling and surfing ability, I think it could be renamed the TARDIS given the amount of gear it swallows up – I’m amazed that there are still some people out there who haven’t bought one yet …”

Stranger Danger

David Winkworth would like to thank the many volunteers who responded to his advert and visited his home to participate in the ‘clingwrap hot mould’ seat design experiment. David commented “It was very worthwhile indeed … the ladies were very enthusiastic about my research …. I’ve actually got more data on ladies bottoms than I know what to do with! The puzzled Vice-President added

“I did find it a bit odd that the club seemed to have so many female members I’d never heard of … and even stranger that most of them had obviously never been near a kayak before …”

Bitter and Twisted

Arunas Pilka remains bitter at the response to his Ulladulla to Jervis Bay paddle, which was cancelled due to lack of interest.

“What’s wrong with people these days” fumed Mr Pilka “I lay on a lengthy trip guaranteeing hours of hard competitive paddling into strengthening headwinds along a bleak coastline and nobody’s interested …. what more do they want?”

The Search Goes on

David Winkworth is still on a quest for the ultimate name for his self-designed kayak, now nearing completion. Having discarded Crest and Catcher as limp-wristed efforts not worthy of the new design, David has decided on more of a sporty, macho, even jingoistic connotation for the marque.

“I’m looking seriously at the Scud or the Shark at the moment” David said “and given the boat’s unique length I’m thinking Scud 17.5 or Shark 17.5 sounds pretty good too. Or maybe the Cracker 17.5, because this boat is really, really good, believe you me .. or maybe it’s better in metres, Cracker 5.25, that’s not bad at all, or what about the Gimlet, now that’s got a real ring to it hasn’t it, or how about …

The Big Steal – Part 1

Colourful business identity Jeff Blamey has done it again! Long known as the ‘Arthur Daly’ of the seakayaking world, Mr Blamey recently conned Jurkiewicz Adventure Sports into selling him a brand new Dagger Apostle for only $1000, then, after outrageously using OUR Magazine for free advertising, resold the boat for $1,390 to an unsuspecting Sydney buyer! Asked whether he had any misgivings about the ethics of the scam, a defiant Mr Blamey said

“not at all, it’s business, now bugger off or my Terry’ll sort you out …!”

The Big Steal – Part 2

Despite the above experience, Jurkiewicz Adventure Sports holds no grudges against the NSWSKC in general, and to prove this will hold a sale night on Tuesday 2nd December between 6.00pm & 7.30pm at 47 Wollongong Street exclusively for the club. Everything in the shop will be discounted by 20% with even better specials on selected items. It is hoped that the opportunistic Mr Blamey will not ‘rub salt into the wound’ by showing up looking for more bargains….


In the event of a scarcity of genuine news, Flotsam reserves the right to publish partially or wholly fictitious items for the entertainment of members. The individuals who appear in Flotsam items are in all cases real persons.