Coffee Cruisin’ up South West Arm [57]

By Dee Ratcliffe

31 August 2003
Bonnie Vale, Royal National Park
Trip Leader:
Trevor Gardner

Not knowing what the TLA NLT actually meant, getting it from a trip leader signing off his emails as Deer Hunter made an impression. All participants turned up at Bonnie Vale well before the NLT 0800, and were set up and ready to go 10 minutes before the designated start time of 8.30am.

Trevor gave us an excellent trip briefing, using weather forecasts, various weather maps, tide charts and his local experience and knowledge. He quickly put us at ease about concerns that today’s winds might turn into those of last Sunday (24 August 2003).

As we worked our way up Port Hacking towards South West Arm on an incoming tide Trevor, in his role as trip leader, kept us informed about the local flora and fauna. Of particular interest is the local Homo Sutherland Shireus — a species that transports itself short distances on flat water in large white boats, also termed Gin Palaces. These craft travel to a local mating spot. Trevor explained that this activity is usually associated with summer months, however to his surprise a number of the species braved the last day of Winter for some ritual mating.

A bushwalk to Winifred Falls was a highlight of this trip. The water flowing over the rocks and down the falls being so pure and pristine that (female) members of the paddling party braved the cool water to fetch liquid supplies at the request of our leader. Indeed, so fussy was he that, of all the males present, he alone took to the chilly rock pools in search of his water.

This paddle demonstrated how first aid should be administered on club trips. Once away from the water, and more than 2m above sea level, the trip leader rendered no assistance to a paddler (now bush walker) who got a splinter in his leg. Yet when another paddler got a splinter while only 1 metre from the water’s edge, a fully equipped medical kit appeared and tender caring attention was given to the splinter’s removal. Then again, perhaps it was because the lovely Lisa is his wife and Kevin is well, Kevin, that Trevor chooses his patients with great care.

Trevor showed what the term Coffee Cruiser truly means and set standards that the rest of us can only dream of….morning tea was held on a picturesque rock platform at the upper end of South West Arm, the kayaks having been lifted out of the water with the greatest of care. Trevor and his sous-barista Mark provided chairs and stools for the comfort of all. Our preferences were carefully noted and an amazing array of coffee machines were used to supply us with cups and mugs of glorious caffeine brewed from the pure waters gathered at the Falls.

Discussion on the return paddle centered around the need for constant boat maintenance and care. Many participants were shocked at the obvious lack of cleaning given by this boat’s owner.

The trip ended with some towing and rolling practise. Dee and Peter sadly stuffed their rolls (at some considerable expense to Peter) while Claudia had great success under Mark’s tuition.

Note: TLA NLT = Three Letter Acronym No Later Than

Another note: Mark Berry will be running a trip in this area, have a look at the calendar on the club’s website.