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