Flotsam & Jetsam [50]

The Fishkiller Files

By Mark Pearson

Survivor 2003

The ravenous paddler bit hard into the huge spider. A rear leg of the arachnid, still twitching, fell to the ground. Seizing his chance, the paddler’s watching companion snatched up the limb and stuffed the tasty morsel into his mouth.

Could this be the most revolting opening to a NSWSKC trip report ever? Well, it could well happen in Issue 53!

In a major scoop, Flotsam has uncovered a ‘Survivor’ epic currently being planned by a hardcore element of the South Coast Bruisers fraternity. A Flotsam reporter caught up with Trip Leader Gary ‘Deliverance’ Edmonds at his secluded training compound in the Wollongong hinterland, where he and his team are preparing for the expedition.

Edmonds told Flotsam, “The trip outline is simple… my group will kayak a section of wilderness coast in January 2003. What is different is that supplies on embarkation will be restricted to a small range of condiments and a reasonable amount of alcohol. The group’s mission will be to acquire enough food from natural sources along the way. It is a challenge but I’ve got every confidence in my lads.”

Asked about how the concept had got off the ground, Mr Edmonds, who has only recently returned from two years in the UK, said, “Well, even when in England I’d heard that the Club has had problems with controlling Homo Eroticism on longer trips… so I had the idea that if the guys were spending most of the time and energy paddling or looking for sustenance, there would be less temptation in, uhhm, other areas…”

Returning to the big issue, food, Mr Edmonds said, “It is hoped that seaweed will be the dietary mainstay as it is fairly slow moving so relatively easy to catch, even for us.”

The rugged Trip Leader added, “But one of my main worries is how the group will endure tough paddling conditions on a likely diet of boiled kelp and a few fried insects.”

To this end Mr Edmonds confirmed that, despite his personal unpopularity, Mark ‘Fishkiller’ Pearson had been offered a place on the trip, given his expertise as a protein hunter and trip reporter. However, Mr Pearson, at 82 kg and (according to some high-tech bathroom scales), only 16% of that in body fat, was apparently concerned at his ‘fitness’ for such a venture. On this, Mr Edmonds added, “Mr Pearson does have a point… the rest of the group probably has enough ‘love handle’ reserves to see it through the week without any food at all, but if the fish aren’t on, the skinny bastard might be literally starving within a couple of days…”

Flotsam attempted to contact Mr Pearson for confirmation of his involvement, only to be told by his Press Secretary that he was no longer cooperating with this column after the ‘distorted press’ he received in Flotsam & Jetsam in Issue 49.

All New!

The most unusual thing I’ve seen in ten years of kayaking, it curves and twists and sweeps as far as the eye can see… awesome… like something from a different time and space.

Just some spontaneous comments from gob-smacked viewers of Andre Janecki’s new and original design, Hybrid III. Triple-chined and with a ‘gondola’ like deck profile, Hybrid III may well redefine design parameters for sea kayaks in this new century.

Flotsam tracked down Mr Janecki and his devoted partner Catherine at his workshop in Surry Hills, where, over coffee and cake, he told our reporter in his delightful Polish lilt, “Well, my friend, I wanted to build not just a good kayak, but a very beeyyyuutifull kayak to honour my sweet Catherine. My new craft had to have a special shape… so I used my lovely lady’s flowing curves and fine features as the great inspiration for me and for my design… at first I was even going to call her Catherine but then I thought if this is so all the other men would be trying to take her out all the time and I would never get to go in her… so I called her Hybrid III… OK, not such a pretty name as Catherine but I like it and it is better for tax if you know what I mean… she will be a fine boat my Hybrid III, and I will love her on and off the water for many years to come I tell you, for she is beeyyyuutifull…”

A Flotsam Apology

On 03 August, the Executive organised a general meeting at Bundeena to discuss some crucial issues facing the Club. Although Flotsam had intended to publish a full report on this important event and its outcomes, this is unfortunately not possible due to the on-duty reporter falling asleep shortly after the first session.

Despite the reporter’s excuse that “sudden fatigue” had set in as a result of two glasses of wine and a long period of “over-stimulation” during the presentation by Amanda Whitaker, he has been suspended from duty forthwith. Flotsam offers it sincerest apologises to our readership.

Blown Away

One man who stayed wide awake, President Mercer, considered himself a lucky man after nearly losing some very precious items during the storm that lashed Bundeena that Saturday night.

On returning to the campsite after the meeting, our busy President was shocked to find his tent had disappeared. Worse still, there was no sign of his First Lady, the very petite Sharon! It took only seconds for the terrible truth to dawn… such had been the ferocity of the squall; the tent and its contents of sleeping bags, pillows and poor Sharon, had simply been blown away.

A concerned group of friends managed to follow the trail of pegs across the campsite, along a track, through a car park and down an embankment. There, half way up a tree near the water’s edge, they found Sharon, still in the tent but luckily unhurt!

A relieved Mr Mercer told Flotsam, “I thought I had it pegged down well enough, and with Sharon already in there, I thought there wouldn’t be a problem.”

But the rueful President added, “It was certainly a lesson well learned… I’ll be sure to lash her down more securely next time I leave the tent…”

Very Interesting

Meanwhile, Professor Andrew Eddy of Flotsam’s Science Department has carried out some interesting research after being inspired by the excellent BBC Production The Battleships recently shown on the ABC. Professor Eddy informed Flotsam, “Did you know that if you were to scale down the 247 metre German battleship Bismark to a sea kayak length of about 5.43 metres, its beam would be a whopping 79 cm, compared to the average 62 cm for our boats?”

“But,” Professor Eddy enthused, “the really interesting thing is, and I’ve run this through the computer several times, is that even with a steel hull, reinforced deck armour and complete superstructure, our Bismark sea kayak would still weigh less than a ten year old Greenlander!”

Tough Judgement at Tribunal

And there were dramatic scenes at the latest sitting of the NSWSKC Judicial Tribunal, where defendant Paul Loker was charged with contravening Club Regulation 28 XI (c) by Assisting a nuisance motorised vessel in distress. The incident occurred at Box Head in Broken Bay, where Loker apparently single-handedly towed a stricken speedboat out of danger after a wave swamped its engine.

Proceeding straight to sentencing after a guilty plea by the defendant, a sombre Judge Mercer delivered the following judgement; “I view this offence as very serious indeed; witness statements show that this motorised vessel was obstructing sea kayaks in their legal and proper attempts to ride waves, that the vessel was both noisy and smelly, and that the vessel was very probably being driven by a hoon of the marine variety. In essence, Mr Loker, your inexplicable action saved this craft from a fate that was well deserved!” “Therefore, it is beholden upon me, as Chief Justice of this Tribunal, to impose a penalty commensurate with the gravity of the offence. I hereby sentence you to 12 months paddling the Greenlander belonging to Mr Matthew Turner of Wollongong, NSW. Furthermore, I order that during this time you shall not seek assistance when carrying this craft to and from the water, or when loading the craft onto or off your vehicle. It is the Tribunal’s wish that the physical and emotional stress of this sentence serve as a warning to others who would so dishonour the core values of sea kayaking… take him down.”

Outside the Tribunal a shocked friend told Flotsam, “Of course Paul is devastated, and we shall be raising funds for an appeal… surely he didn’t deserve that sort of punishment for a first offence… just one moment of madness… he’s not a big bloke, that Turner boat’ll kill him.”

Later, a tribunal insider said that he thought that the harsh sentence was partly due to Loker’s membership of the renegade sea kayaking gang, The Sydney Push. The insider told Flotsam, “Two of its most notorious members, Stuart Truman and Alan Whiteman, have already served time for Jet ski sympathy offences in the past 18 months… Judge Mercer has obviously had enough of these people, and fair enough too…” .