Bundeena 1-2 April 2000 (no fooling!) [42]

By Jan Murrell

What might have been a three-some or four-some was finally a two-some plus three-some for part of the time!

The Weekend Began

Margot booked us camp site 33 at Bundeena in Royal National Park. We arrived to find a big tent on it! Because we live right and things turn out good, the people who belonged to the obviously non-sea-kayaker tent arrived whilst we were packing our boats and trying to decide whether Margot should put her tent up on site 33 or 34, as there was a chance of rain later and wouldn’t it be nice to come back to a tent that was already up rather than to have to set it up in the rain?!

The young woman of the couple belonging to the big tent got huge enjoyment that her friend had misread the site markers; he was somewhat embarrassed but took it in good humour. They planned to leave around lunchtime that day, and had no problem with us inhabiting the site with them.

So, after a leisurely coffee, a non-stressful packing-of-the-boats, and a conferring over the weather information and maps we’d each brought with us (plus Margot’s local knowledge having paddled here before) we agreed that today was a good bet for going out of the Hacking River and heading down the coast. We carried the TLC and Inuit Classic over the sand flat and set off.

What Happened Next

Margot noticed a group of kayakers behind us as we reached the point and were starting down the coast. She predicted they would be Rob M, Sharon B and Andrew E – she was right! We soon made a happy five-some, explored close to the impressive cliffs and generally played about as we made our way south into the breeze alongside beautiful scenery.

While the Trio went further, we decided to lunch at Little Marley Beach. Though we’d assumed we wouldn’t get that far, the distance had melted away with good company. This made a round trip of about 20 km.

The Trio was kind enough to say they’d look for us on their way back, however we got back without seeing them on the water behind us (we were looking for them as well)!

A short while after we reached camp – which was now minus the big tent – Rob, Sharon and Andrew arrived, parked their kayaks on the beach and brought out the comestibles. By pooling our resources we enjoyed a delicious variety of drinks and snacks and a fun chat together before the Trio mounted lights and paddled off to where their cars were parked (outside the campground gates that are locked from 9:00 pm to 6:30 am). This was my first look at kayaking lights, so was educational.

Note that those who were driving stayed away from the alcohol, but that it hadn’t affected the level of conversation adversely – the party had still degenerated nicely!

And, in the end, no one used site 34. But, our neighbours on 35 were special! They’d brought a guitar, fiddle, rattles, etc and played the quality of music I’d expect to have to pay well to hear.

And Then

On Sunday we did about 10 km of paddling in the Hacking River (up as far as we could go on Southwest Arm) followed by some surfing at a sand bar. As we set out, Margot saw a HUGE stingray, and both up the river and on the way back we saw some more smaller ones. From the sea kayak, and with the tide going out, we were very close to them – magic!

We also saw some pretty birds when up the river and later a pelican walking in knee-deep water (its knees, not mine!) fairly near us on a sand bar alongside the channel we floated on – bizarre!

At the rocks blockage at the ‘end’ of Southwest Arm, we’d got out for a short walk; that’s a spot with some lovely art-work scenery (though you have to see through the human rubbish in a few places, sigh).

Because the day was slightly overcast, and threatening to drizzle lightly, Margot had predicted traffic would be light on the river – the ‘fair weather’ people wouldn’t come out. That was true, and made the situation better for me as I’m unfamiliar with these popular areas.

Finally, to top off a really good weekend, after cleaning and stowing our gear we went for a walk up and around the hill behind the campground to enjoy the views before heading home.