The Mysterious Sinking SeaYak [38]

Day Two of the Pancake Paddle, Mystery Bay, 1999

By David Whyte

The next day saw the surf still pounding the beach at Mystery Bay.

Feeling a bit lazy and full of Arunas’s pancakes it was decided that a nice easy paddle up the Narooma River was the order of the day. So we set off up the river for a few k and ran some training sessions. These involved filling the entire cockpit up with water and testing the paddling characterics of our boats.

Rolls, re-enters and rolls but it wasn’t long before a bit of frivolity crept in and someone pulled the back hatch of Dirks boat and filled it up with water. And if that wasn’t enough they pulled the front cover off as well.

Fortunately for Dirk his boat had neutral buoyancy though not with him sitting in it. The water temperature was superb and cooled us down nicely before heading back to our cars and a feast of fish and chips.

Press Release [38]

State Government Protects Prime Coastal Site

The State Government has paid $3 million to protect 106 hectares of pristine coastline between Bermagui and Tathra in southern NSW from being developed.

It is the largest acquisition under the Carr Government’s Coastal Lands Protection Scheme, and follows the $1.5 million purchase of Cullendalla, north of Bateman’s Bay, late last year.

Announcing the settlement today, the Minister for Urban Affairs and Planning, Mr Craig Knowles, said the Goalen Head property, which has a 3 kilometre coastline, has been bought from the family company of Mr Geoff Hammond, a retired transport company director from Sydney.

“This site has long been regarded as among the State’s most outstanding areas of coastline, given its spectacular views over Murrah and Bunga beaches and its proximity to the coastal forests around Mt Dromedary,” Mr Knowles said.

“The acquisition will not only provide a significant addition to the South Coast national park system, but will enable the public to have access to a previously closed off piece of prime coastland.”

Since March 1995, the Carr Government has acquired more than 520 hectares of coastline under the scheme, including properties at Bega Valley, Byron Bay, Eurobodalla and Greater Taree.

Mr Knowles said the property would be immediately transferred to the National Parks and Wildlife Service as part of the Mimosa Rocks National Park. The NPWS will assess the best means of providing public access across to the coast without detracting from the environmental and scenic values of the areas.

Mr Hammond began negotiations to sell his property to the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning in June this year with the desire that it remain in the ownership of the State Government. He will retain his house and a small parcel of land on the site for private use.

Mr Knowles visited the property with the newly appointed Chair of the Government’s Coastal Council, Professor Bruce Thom.

Further information: Helen Willoughby 0419 239 178

Presidents Report [38]

The Club is well on its way to achieving a successful remodelling after the turmoil of the past months. Dirk Stuber has been investigating insurance and has come up with a promising quote on a policy which should give us all peace of mind. On the legal front, the Waivers are now required for each paddler in a Club event and the Constitution will be amended at the upcoming meeting.

I think the members now have a greater appreciation of what it means to be in the Club and realise the importance of cooperation with the Paddle Coordinators. The policy of holding a Sea Proficiency rating for Grade 3 paddles and above will soon be in place. With this in mind, the Club will hold more training and assessment weekends and will pay for the Certificate out of the treasury.

The recent Sea Proficiency session at Barlings Beach was a great success. Some 20 paddlers attended the weekend — and signed the Waivers, in spite of the warning that “Kayaking Can Be Fatal” at the top. About a third of the group were in the “Pre Proficiency” stage when they started on Saturday morning, but their learning curves were very steep and by Sunday afternoon they were happily surfing and some were learning to roll. Their progress was due both to their own ability and the expert tutelage of Gordon Carswell. (I did a little tutoring, myself.) The more advanced paddlers practiced under the watchful eyes of David Winkworth and Andrew Eddy.

Our plan to take the multitude into the beach at Sunpatch (Tomakin) for a surfing session was curtailed when Dave and I got caught in the channel leading to the beach. There was a big swell running, but I assured David that they never broke in the channel. Most of them didn’t, but one rogue wave did. The ever-conservative David rated it as 3 metres, plus. All I know was that it was VERY BIG. We both rolled over in front of it. I got turned every way but loose and at one stage felt my paddle hit the bottom. I finally exited when I couldn’t find the surface. Dave had rolled up successfully and I soon followed with a re-entry and roll. We paddled quickly back to the group and continued with slightly less exciting exercises, many of which involved the trainees getting very wet. By the end of the weekend, four members, Sundra John, Stuart Trueman, Nick Gill, and Rob Mercer had won their Sea Proficiency Certificates. The participants were unanimous in the opinion that the session was very useful and enjoyable. For my part, I thought that it was an excellent example of the value of being a member of the New South Wales Sea Kayak Club.

The Old Sea Dog’s Gear Locker [38]

by Norm Sanders

The OSD has bowed to the hundreds of requests for reprints of his invaluable compendium of gear to be taken on kayak trips. Since he feels that extended kayak touring is the ultimate sea-going experience, he is happy to refresh the memories of older members and assist newer paddlers to venture forth on overnight trips in comfort and safety.

Kayak Essentials

  • kayak
  • paddle and leach
  • spray skirt
  • maps and charts
  • compass
  • signalling devices (mirror, flares, V sheet
  • 15 metre towline
  • drinking water (accessible on deck)
  • snacks (jelly beans, chocolate)
  • deck knife
  • sponge and bailer
  • sunglasses and sunscreen
  • hat, helmet

Additional kayak gear

  • spare paddle
  • repair kit (duct tape, pliers, screwdriver, 5 minute epoxy, needle and thread
  • first aid kit
  • dry bags

Kayak Clothing

  • PFD
  • spray jacket or cag
  • poly top
  • shorts
  • wetboots or sandals

Camping gear

  • tent, ground cloth
  • sleeping bag
  • sleeping mat
  • sit pad (cut from and old foam sleeping mat)
  • swiss army knife
  • grog (in moderation, of course)
  • matches
  • stove and fuel
  • cooking set and utensils
  • water in PET bottel or wine cask bladder
  • water filter
  • food
  • headlamp or flashlight (torch)
  • candle lantern
  • 30 metres of nylon cord
  • toilet paper and trowel
  • toothbrush and paste
  • bug (insect) repellant
  • small towel
  • personal items
  • camera and film
  • watch
  • camping and fire permits
  • money and phonecard
  • notebook and pencil
  • map and itinerary of trip, including name of the nearest ranger station, left with someone at home

Other gear to individual requirements eg.

  • Tiger Balm
  • fish-killing apparatus
  • kite, Frisbee

The Next Step Training Weekend [38]

By David Winkworth

Currarong 17th & 18th April

This weekend will have 3 sections:

  • Training in Sea Kayaking Skills following on from the Rock ‘n Roll Weekend
  • Advanced Sea Kayaking Skills (as promised at the Rock ‘n Roll W/E)
  • Special General Meeting.

For those paddlers new and relatively new to sea kayaking, we will continue with skills training, including roll practice to get members up to and through the Sea Proficiency Award. If you haven’t been to one of our training weekends, this is your chance. You’re guaranteed to learn heaps. We will be doing Sea Proficiency Assessments

Our venue is Currarong Caravan Park – plenty of shady flat grass for camping, great amenities and a superb undercover meeting area for the meeting. They also have a gas outdoor BBQ so if you like bring along a BBQ meal for Sat. evening. From the caravan park you can launch your boat straight onto the creek and paddle out into the bay. Use the boat wash facilities on your return! Luxury!! If wind or sea conditions are not too your liking, Honeymoon Bay is a short drive away for a launch.

Currarong has a pretty good take-away shop, mini supermarket, grog cellar and service station.

If you have your Sea Proficiency award, why not sit in on the two advanced skills sessions and contribute your knowledge! The sessions, to be held on Saturday afternoon are:

  • Handling difficult conditions
  • Techniques for big surf

On Saturday evening we will hold our Special General Meeting to discuss our insurance position and to vote on an amendment to our Constitution. If you are unable to make the meeting, please, please send in your proxy form. Bring along any sea kayaking or outdoor slides you have and a projector. The editor will be bringing along a screen and slides from the last Rock n Roll weekend. If you plan to learn to roll at this weekend, please help us to help you by making sure that you are a secure fit in your boat! Bring your dive mask too.

Don’t forget a folding chair and all your usual stuff.

Hope to see you there. I’ll have the first of my new boats there (at last!) if you want a paddle.

Mystery Bay Weekend [38]

featuring the paddle to Nowhere

By David Whyte

The thunderous sounds of the breaking surf during Friday night forebode an unlikely chance of getting to Montague Island. Saturday morning saw us sitting down at Mystery Bay looking at substantial surf breaking over the rocks and this was still high tide. It was worse than the infamous kayak breaking weekend of 96. My wife was going to catch the boat cruise out to the island but as she left I said “I think I will see you back here shortly”. Sure enough it was cancelled.

We decided our best option was to head for Horseshoe Beach at Bermagui. I was a bit concerned when we drove through town I saw a camera crew rushing to load their car with gear and head down to the beach. Even as we packed our kayaks on the shore onlookers started to line up along the fence. For those who don’t understand the last bit read ‘Entering the Locals at Bermagui’ story on our web site.


John Caldwell plays in the surf

Under the guidance of Paddle Coordinator Arunas Pilka we dutifully signed our waivers and launched off Horseshoe Bay into a moderate swell.

We had a couple of new comers — a fellow called Denish and his partner Sue. Whereas Sue was a accomplished paddler Denish was very new and discovered some of the problems of surf entrys. Namely, after loosing several items of gear and been thrown back on the beach a few times, the importance of timing and having nothing loose on the outside of your boat. He eventually got off a bit battered but a bit wiser. I think he will WEAR his lifejacket next time.

We grouped up and I asked Arunas, “Where are we off to?”

“Over there” was his reply.

“Over where”.

“Over there,” said Arunas again, pointing his finger in a NE direction.

“But theres nothing over there”.

“Yep that’s where we going”.

So nine paddlers set off paddling straight into the wind to over there. When we got over there, some 15 K off shore in the middle of nowhere, we had our lunch in the kayaks did a few rolls and turned around and come back.

It was on this paddle to Over There that I noticed a problem with Arunas. Normally a strong competent paddler, he seemed nervous and a bit twitchy. I mentioned this to Dave Winkworth who had also noticed it. But as we were discussing it a pod of dolphins broke the surface not far to our right and we heard Denish yell out to his girlfriend.

“Hey Sue, Sue, look at that!”

Then it dawned on us. It was Denish’s girlfriend, or rather her name.

On the mention of Sue’s name Arunas quickly turned around and nervously replied “What, who, is someone in trouble. Do they need a tow rope? Do I need a lawyer?”

We then asked Sue if we could use her second name and it wasn’t long before Arunas was back to his former glory.

Day two — the Mysterious Sinking SeaYak

David Winkworth about to launch in his prototype Nadgee Expedition …

… balances in the white water …

… and buries the bow on another wave

Arunas’s inimitable “Jack-In-The-Box” style of egress

Mirage Designer and Manufacturer’s Response [38]

By Paul Hewitson

The first point that should be made is that the author of the Barlings Beach report was about to launch an unknown kayak onto the market a week or two after he wrote the article above.

The incident was full of inaccuracies from the start. Firstly the owner of the kayak entered the water without his rear fibreglass cover on the kayak at all. This all reads a little differently to the original article. The neoprene cover did come off in the surf. We tried an experiment when the kayak was returned for repairs, the neoprene cover was fitted & no matter how hard we pushed on the cover it would not release, I have to ask whether it was fitted correctly in the first place.

“Repairs will not be cheap” I believe was quoted in the original article. The repair bill was $70.

The opposition manufacturer then goes on to say three popular brands of Australian sea kayaks (his main opposition) do not have taped seams. Well I cannot speak for the others; there are plenty of our kayaks out there with taped seams and it has always been an option. As for the “clearly lightly built” comment, the owner of the kayak does not agree with that comment. As for the other 3999 owners of our kayaks, they do not seem to have a problem with the rear hatch cover.