A Ramble From the Editor [50]

By Ian Phillips

The idea had its merits. Another leisurely paddle in a picturesque setting, and so progressing a little further towards that almost forgotten friend — the open sea — far too long a distant and foggy memory.

After weeks and months of poring over ‘classic’ articles from the bowels of NSW Sea Kayaker, culling until we had but alas a select few (no doubt destined to become kayak lore after reprinting in the formidable 50th edition of the magazine), I had developed a massive itch that needed scratching (kayak itch, that is), and I was riddled with outstanding potential destinations for my selfish sojourn in place of actual Editorial work.

Broughton looked great, Tassie looked spectacular, south NSW looked sensational and New Zealand even scraped in a mention, but the omnipresent concerns over my pathetic paddling fitness crowded my mind and so it was David Whyte’s seductive photos of Myall Lakes that made the decision.

It was ideal — a luxurious destination with clear water and campsites, and, as a bonus, little chance of a bumpy ride which would give me half a chance in my port-weakened and drug-induced state. I should have read the fine print a little more carefully.

Nothing actually went wrong, and nothing outstandingly nasty happened, but the 3,000 knot winds for the 10 hour paddle back caught us slightly off guard.

Particularly after the ‘out of left field’ arrival of Professor Extraordinaire Eddy a couple of days before, with a subtle request for 400 dry bags for his trip to North Queensland. What me worry? I was about to paddle the serenity of Myall Lakes — surely no need for waterproofing?

With my dry bags doing far more worldly travelling than I, we set off in the darkness for a weekend of cruising, snoozing and boozing (Proof Reader – please find another word that rhymes with cruising and snoozing – make sure boozing doesn’t make it into the mag – this is a family publication and I have a reputation to uphold – Ed).

We arrived, built, packed and paddled (in that order), and a splendid day’s paddle was had by all. Fish flew and birds swam as we gulped port at our lakeside camp, blissfully content after consuming an entire kayakful of spaghetti bolognaise.

The salubrious day had involved some erratic circumnavigating of a few little bits of land and some not-so-erratic circumnavigating of a couple of bigger bits of land, then the expert directions of Presidents Mercer and Betteridge put us in an idyllic bay for the night with our very own beach, our very own soft grass campsite and our very own ‘No Camping’ signs.

The following morning was a feast of healthy, goodness-enriched bacon and eggs, washed down with lashings of espresso coffee, courtesy of our gourmet camping coffee-maker-thingy. Our arteries hardened and our hearts slowing we headed off, paddling blissfully into the morning sun. Until we rounded the point…

Well I’m sure you can guess the rest — we battled Hopi’s wrath for the best part of the day, punching waves and humungous chop and swallowing half of Myall Lakes until nightfall when we collapsed on a quiet stretch of sand back at our launching spot. Miraculously, the wind abated almost immediately (bastard Wind God).

Anyway, I thinks it’s time to introduce the 50th edition of NSW Sea Kayaker before I run out of space. I was trying to think of something really inspirational and memorable to say about it, but it never quite worked out, so all I can say is… Here it is! Enjoy!