Well I finally made it out of the office, stuffed the ingredients of a folding kayak in the boot, gave it all a good shake at 110 km/h for a few hours and hey presto, I arrived ready for action in South Durras for the Trip Leader’s Course… sort of.
If you count being 6 hours late on the first day and leaving 4 hours early on the second day, I was there in fine form. Of course everyone else had been learning important stuff all morning and had headed off for a practical session by the time I arrived, so I amused myself at a local beach for a few hours until the wine was suitably chilled and the 20 ‘real’ Trip Leader’s attendees returned.
It was not all beer and skittles for me though… I had to argue with several ferocious kangaroos at the beach who insisted on testing the ‘bounceability’ of my kayak’s skin as they checked out the flavour of the grass-green Cordura deck. Thankfully we didn’t argue for too long and I was swiftly into the water, battling the bluebottles and chilly winds as I headed in no particular direction for no particular reason.
After a couple of hours of confusing my GPS with erratic paddling patterns, a nasty shore dump attracted my attention and I headed in. Conveniently forgetting about the bluebottle infestation, I messed about there for a few minutes, only getting a small sting on one hand as I tumbled onto the beach for a muesli bar and a drink.
It wasn’t long before dusk started to settle in, bringing with it a nice soupy fog. Diplomatically deciding the wine should be suitably chilled by now, I hugged the shore to get back to my launching site, dodging the lines of several beach fishermen, and I arrived back to a warm shower, a cool glass and still-empty kayakers’ cabins. They were somewhere nearby though – a gaggle of kayak-covered cars littered the car parks.
It wasn’t long before they were found (you just have to follow the sandy footprints), and the evening turned out to be most educational, where we discovered such gems as the real reason why Stuart ‘Grand Bruiser’ Trueman wears boxer shorts on his head… regrettably this is a family magazine and I can’t divulge the sordid details here.
We also learned why Mark ‘Fishkiller’ Pearson always capsizes to the left, and it can be entirely attributed to his 4½ kg ‘wrist device’ that provides useful data such as plywood density, colour pigmentation of seaweed and the current value of the Nepalese rupee. Alas, in the short time available, we weren’t able to get the time out of the device, but that is just as well… who wants to be asked the time and have to say, “Hang on, I’ll just check menu 46 on my wrist device.” Anyone for a couple of snags? I’ll just initiate ignition on my outdoor cooking system.
Thankfully the night also had its intellectual moments, where we discussed the intricacies of shaving off Nick Gill’s eyebrows as he sat sleeping soundly amongst 20 rowdy kayakers.
Oh, I nearly forgot… back by popular demand we have the member’s contact list, somewhere towards the rear of the magazine. Actually, to tell you the truth, it’s not back by popular demand… the real reason is because a certain TLC paddler cornered me on a desolate South Coast beach and threatened me with a split paddle until I agreed to print it.
Nevertheless it’s a jolly handy resource for finding new and exciting paddling partners, and it’s also rather useful for when you’re sitting at home, alone on a Sunday night, and you need someone to prank call… just don’t call me, I’m busy next weekend… but I think everyone else on the list is free…