A Ramble From the Editor [49]

By Ian Phillips

Finally after all this time all was once again right with the world. All was bright… all was tranquil… all was calm… everything was back in order… and it was good.

What great revelation had caused all the world’s imbalances to suddenly right themselves? Had the ozone hole been repaired? Had pollution been stopped? Had the Editor been stopped from writing utter garbage? Nay… something far, far greater and far, far more important… your humble Editor had gone for his first paddle since keeling over nine months prior and assuming a remarkably awkward position that was as kayak-unfriendly as could be imagined.

Nothing special, nothing dangerous… just an exceptionally relaxed paddle around Dangar Island and through Broken Bay, with nary a wave or ripple in site and the winter sun beating on the back, it took a lazy 7.21 hours to paddle a lazier 23.012 km (thank the God of GPS for that statistic).

True, the trip was exactly explosive, it wasn’t exactly quick, it wasn’t even very long, and it certainly wasn’t particularly daring, but it did hold all the key ingredients for a damned good time — a bit of salt water, a crusty folding kayak and three bananas. What more could you ask for?

I’ve also now learned how interestingly difficult it can be to construct a folding kayak without using one ankle… a new record for this once relatively calm and easy process has been established — almost an hour, plus the requirement for a strong cuppa at the end of it and a little rest before paddling.

But before you all shout, “Hurrah, he’s about to come back from the dark side,” I’m more than happy to spend an hour setting up each paddling day so that I can enjoy kayaking the way it was intended (keep abusive replies to less than 4,000 words, please).

Alas, whilst my little paddle was incident and care free, my skills were severely below par and I made a complete goose of myself when a few braces, rolls and other what-nots were attempted. At least my paddling partner had amusement for the rest of the day as he attempted to capsize me at every pause in the conversation, for no other reason than the joy of seeing me flounder.

At least I can now make some use of the legendary tuition offered by the NSWSKC whilst I once again learn to roll, paddle, brace and generally prepare myself to once again go head-to-head with the tugboats and JetCats of Sydney Harbour.

And of course my mini-dramas didn’t end when the paddle ended. Carrying the soggy beast out of the water was a lengthy challenge indeed, but I eventually made it, soaked, sandy and sore, back to the house with all the right bits in all the right places.

For next time I’ve picked up a nifty kayak cart so I can happily trundle myself around until I go blue in the face. I’ve considered strapping the cart to the kayak permanently, turning the kayak in a bit of an army duck style creature, and then I can just keep paddling until I get to the car. I reckon the drag would be negligible seeing that I paddle at about one millionth of a knot anyway. The main problem seems to be the potential damage to my paddle blades as I paddle up the boat ramp.

Anyway, I’ll have to solve that problem another day. It’s already way after midnight and I haven’t started packing for my kayak camping weekend on Myall Lakes — just another relaxed, easygoing paddle… but gee it’s good to be back. Now where did I put those blasted bananas?

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