Five Go to Wilson’s Prom [60]

By Elizabeth Thomson, Paul and Leonie Loker, Dee Ratcliffe, Harry Havu

The storms that disrupted the 2004 Sydney to Hobart race also disrupted the Five skirting Bass Strait in their kayaks. In all, we spent four days paddling and four days waiting for the wind to drop. But we didn’t just wait and grumble, we hiked! We saw Wilson’s Prom down the middle and round the edges. Total number of kilometres travelled: 95 by kayak, 70 by foot.

The journey started at Tidal River heading south, then east around the lighthouse, turning north up the east coast, continued west through the entrance and across Corner Inlet to finish at Yanakie.

Day 1: Tidal River to Big Oberon (ET)

This was the biggest kayak trip in my experience. I was nervous because we had to be able to paddle non-stop a minimum of 25 kms in 15 knot winds in order to get around the bottom. No pull outs, lots of rebound and three direction changes. We had to be able to manage surf exists and landings, paddle into headwinds, handle a following sea and manage tail winds. Basically everything I learnt in Sea Skills 2 training was going to be put to the test. I was nervous.

Just after we launched through small surf, I felt sick. I thought it was just nerves, but by the time we landed at Big Oberon, thankfully just a 6 km paddle, I was nauseous, shaky and weak. The campsite was almost a km from the beach so the boat carry and gear carry was huge. By the time my camp was set up, I was dizzy. The rest of the day was spent asleep trying to recover. Meanwhile the others surfed, beach-combed and lazed around reading a novel. I was worried that I was going to be the liability of the group.

Day 2: Oberon Bay – hiking (Paul)

Unlucky. We awoke to strong nor-easterly winds, and a good swell. This area has strong tidal flows and when combined with high winds is a good place to approach with respect and caution. The first few km’s leaving Oberon Bay would be a hard slog, followed by sizeable rebound all the way to the lighthouse on South East Point. Not a good day to tackle the 24 km of cliff line to Waterloo Bay.

A unanimous decision was made to stay at Oberon Bay. It was frustrating for me – planning a day’s paddling and being caught out by the conditions. But it was still a warm sunny day, so we set off along the walking trails back to Tidal River for lunch, returning via the scenic coastal route. This enjoyable 20km walk kept us busy most of the day.

Day 3: Oberon Bay (Dee)

A look out to sea from the slight rise along the path to sea convinced Harry and I that we’d be able to paddle. Back to camp we informed the others, half-packed then fell in a heap when Paul cast his more experienced eyes out to sea and decided it was not to be. Another day at Camp Oberon, now beginning to look quite homely. Paul, Leonie and Elizabeth hiked over the saddle to have a look at Waterloo Bay. Their reports on return were sobering. If we had ventured out, the toughest paddling would have been for the last 5 km, when we would have expected some shelter from the westerly winds. However the wind was howling over the saddle and down into Waterloo Bay, churning the bay and sending white caps far off shore.

Camp fever was beginning to set in. We went to bed with Paul’s words for Christmas Day ringing in our ears, “To the lighthouse or bust”…. we were to see the Prom lighthouse, getting to it by foot if necessary.

Day 4: Big Oberon to Refugee Bay (Harry)

Our pod seemed a mix of feelings, from elated curiosity to cautious tentativeness, as we launched and then turned the corner at Oberon Point and the passage between Anser Island and South West Point came to view. To me, this was uncharted territory – and that’s the best kind. I paddled with a lightness borne from the freedom only us kayakers know, and yearn for when on land.

The sea was not forcing our decisions, and the winds were gentle. The pod glided along at a leisurely pace. The camaraderie of good friends and the slight expectation of adventure made it a perfect moment. In the south distant islands could be seen, tempting a keen paddler by their sheer presence. I didn’t know their names but wanted to paddle there just the same.

As we were entering the passage inside of Wattle Island, I caught up with Dee who had slowed down. It turned out to be good timing, as she then proceeded to lighten her load by transferring the contents of her stomach into the ocean. Amazingly, immediately after that, Dee promptly resumed paddling at twice the speed and vigour; this would last for the rest of the day.

Amid ooh’s and aah’s as we carried on past the most southern tip of the Prom, the lighthouse on the South East Point came into view. To some of us it brought back memories, to me it was all new and exciting. It must have been that excitement that left me in the path of ET, as we were just beneath the lighthouse. A shriek made me look back, only to discover our beloved vice president bobbing in the swell next to her upturned boat; a surreal sight, her feet seemed oddly tiny as they trod the green translucent water, rather without a result. A snappy comment emerging from the waterline woke me up from my dreaming, and I had my second moment of being useful that day, helping her back into the kayak. What a place to go for a swim – classic ET! We stopped at Home Cove, just inside of Waterloo point, to regroup and talk about the events so far. It was shaping up to be a really good day.

On we paddled, through Waterloo Bay, past Cape Wellington and on along a beautiful section of the coastline to Refuge Cove – what a fantastic place, a fully sheltered bay, with a beach like on a tropical island, and a nice spot to camp to top it off. Sorry Santa – THIS was the place to be at Christmas!

Day 5: Refugee Bay to Tin Mine Cove (Paul)

It was a shame to be leaving Refuge Cove, but we had a good forecast of light SW winds, and needed to get back on schedule having already lost a few days.

We paddled past Horn Point, then stopped in at Sealers Cove for a quick look, and to fill up at the pipe diverting water from the stream.

Passing along Five Mile Beach, with a light tailwind was too tempting. The sails were hoisted, and we ended up sailing through the passage separating Monkey Point and Rabbit Island as a rafted group of five.

Approaching Johnny Souey Cove we passed by lots of fish, so we stopped for lunch and a bit of reasonably successful fishing. The afternoon plans were then determined by the BOM forecast which predicted strong westerlies to increase and continue for the next few days. The entrance to Corner Inlet has a reputation as a dangerous area to navigate, so we thought it best to push on and make the campsite at Tin Mine Cove while conditions were favourable.

We had a bit of a slog into the increasing SW headwind for the last section, then to our dismay we noticed kayaks on the beach as we approached in the failing light around 9pm. It had been a long day of 43km, and we weren’t keen to share the beach campsite. But we landed to a cheerful greeting from Ian Ribbons (Meridian Kayak Adventures) who had a small group out from Yanakie for a couple of days.

A good day of sea kayaking, we were now in the relatively safe waters of Corner Inlet, with the extra bonus of the girls having people to hear about their longest day of paddling.

Day 6: Tin Mine Cove – hiking (ET)

As predicted the weather changed over night. Facing west at Tin Mine Cove, we woke to 30-40 knot winds in our faces. Any paddling that day was going to be straight into a headwind all ….. the way home. And so, this little piggy ran all …. the way back to her tent. Even the fellas weren’t that keen. It would have been an interesting exercise in surfing/paddling backwards.

So to keep the heart rate up and stay warm, we hiked across the peninsular to Lighthouse Point where we had a picnic happily sheltered from the westerly and enjoyed the site of Harry trying to fish while basking like rock lizards in the sun between sun showers.

Upon return, our beach camp was still blowy and miserable so we adjourned to a secluded tea tree and melaleuca forest where we cooked dinner and recounted our day.

Day 7: Tin Mine Cove – yoga (Leonie)

…..still waiting for the headwinds to abate. A real rest day until mid afternoon, when we felt the need for exertion. So we ventured to our wind sheltered vista in the woods above our campsite. It had been our “dinning room” the evening before, and breakfast “nook” that morning, and now proved to be the perfect spot for a session of yoga.

Day 8: Tin Mine Cove to Yanakie (Dee)

The howling had finally stopped, the sun shone and we were in top gear again. Lots of smiles as we loaded and laughed while taking photos. We knew we had it in the bag, a short 14km paddle in pleasant conditions across Corner Inlet and the Circumnavigation was ours. We farewelled Ian Ribbons and his crew, gladly lessening their load of fruit drink and set out. The only feature en route was Granite Island, inhabited by many birds. The only possible difficulty was running into shallow water as the tide drained from the inlet’s three main channels.

In Yanakie car park we met a couple about to set out, hoping to do the trip in reverse. Watching them load brought out some envious feelings for what they were about to encounter.

My chest swelled with pride when a complete stranger approached asking to shake my hand and take a photo. He had learned of our feat and was very impressed. This acknowledgement of our adventure made me look at our team with an inner glow. I had become a sea kayaker.

Trip Details
  Launch Landing Distance Wind Conditions
Wed 22 Dec Tidal River Oberon Bay 6 km Light SW
Thurs 23 Dec       NE 20—25 knot winds
Fri 24 Dec       W 20-30 knot winds
Sat 25 Dec Oberon Bay Refuge Cove 32 km W/SW 10-15 knot winds
Sun 26 Dec Refuge Cove Tin Mine Cove 43 km SW 10-15 knot winds
Mon 27 Dec       W/SW 20-30 knot winds
Tues 28 Dec       SW 20-30 knot winds
Wed 29 Dec Tin Mine cove Yanakie 14 km SE Light

Thanks to Andrew Watkinson for collecting weather observations for the Prom during our trip.


Southern Sea Ventures [60]

Sea kayaking adventures from the tropics to the Mediterranean to the Ice

Southern Sea Ventures, based in Sydney, is a specialist sea kayak holiday operator, offering a diverse range of adventures around the globe.

Our warm water destinations include Fiji, Turkey, Panama, Australia’s Hinchinbrook Island and Tonga. Our ice-strengthened mothership, Polar Pioneer, supports our Antarctic, Arctic (Svalbard), Greenland, Amazon River and Scottish Isles kayak adventures. Fleets of single and double sea kayaks allow us intimate access to beautiful and rugged coastlines, secluded tropical islands, rainforests and unforgettable polar landscapes and to experience the history and culture of the areas we visit.

Fiji, Yasawa Islands

After a boat transfer from Lautoka to our base in the Blue Lagoon, we spend six days paddling a loop among four of Fiji’s northern Yasawa Islands. We spend two nights as honoured guests in a traditional Fiji village and then paddle to a secluded uninhabited island to camp for two nights. We take in spectacular sunsets, limestone caves, white sandy beaches, swaying coconut palms, and snorkel among exquisite coral reefs.

Fiji – Private Groups

We can organise Yasawa trips for private groups, with the itinerary tailored to suit participants’ level of experience. More experienced groups can opt for more paddling time. Alternatively, this is an ideal place to introduce a novice to the joys of kayak touring.

Turkey, Mediterranean Coast

This 13-day adventure offers a sea kayaking paradise with a smorgasbord of history and culture, and suits kayakers with some previous experience. Using plastic kayaks (mostly singles), our first 7 days are a self-contained paddle from Köycegiz Lake to Göcek Bay. Camping on remote beaches, paddling beneath Lycian tombs carved into sheer rock faces, hiking up rugged hills, visiting hot springs and exploring ancient ruins, we experience a wild and natural area of Turkey. At Göcek, we board a comfortable gulet (traditional motor sailor) for a cruise to Kemer, with onboard kayaks for optional paddles, and take in ancient cities, historic sites and delightful harbour towns.

Panama, San Blas Archipelago

This 9-day Caribbean kayaking adventure explores Panama’s San Blas archipelago. With special permissions from local chiefs, we’re privileged to kayak among the archipelago’s 350 islands and sand cays, and to be welcomed into indigenous Kuna communities where tourism is strictly controlled and traditional culture remains strong. Paddling our single kayaks through this area of outstanding biodiversity, we’ll camp on deserted islands, snorkel over some of the Caribbean’s most diverse coral reefs, and explore Panama’s vast undisturbed rainforest jungle that is home to monkeys, toucans, birds of prey, giant otters and tapirs.

Hinchinbrook Island, Queensland, Australia

Hinchinbrook Island’s mystique lies in its solitude and breathtaking beauty. Towering peaks rise 1100 meters above unspoiled golden beaches. Over 7-days, we explore this magical wilderness, paddling past temperate rainforest, granite cliffs and countless sandy bays, and allowing time for photography, beachcombing and excursions to refreshing waterfalls.

Tonga, Vava’u Group and Ha’apai

Vava’u’s cluster of 50 hilly coral islands with palm-fringed shorelines is separated by protected waterways teeming with life, and is home to some of the friendliest people in the Kingdom of Tonga. It is an ideal place to combine a kayaking adventure with visiting traditional villages, camping on uninhabited islands, whale watching, sailing, biking, snorkelling and diving. The more remote and relaxed Ha’apai archipelago is way off the tourist path. Here, we paddle among pristine coral atolls, snorkel, explore colourful lagoons, and visit traditional villages.

Mothership Kayaking onboard Polar Pioneer

Our Antarctic, High Arctic, Greenland, Amazon River and Scottish Islands trips take place aboard the comfortable 54-passenger expedition ship, Polar Pioneer, home to our fleet of sturdy plastic kayaks. Her enthusiastic Russian crew are among the world’s most experienced ice navigators. Onboard lectures by naturalists and historians unlock the mysteries of the areas we visit.

Around 10 passengers may select to kayak, accompanied by an experienced guide. Waterproof dry-suits are provided for polar paddling. These small-ship expedition cruises are not fully programmed tours, and each trip enjoys new and exciting experiences.

Our mothership fills extraordinarily fast, particularly for Antarctica, so it’s wise to plan over a year in advance.

Antarctic Peninsula

Antarctica is simply the most humbling and powerful place on earth. Every day holds new wonders, from face to face encounters with whales, penguins and seals to serene paddles among brash ice and through narrow fjords dwarfed by enormous icebergs. These 11 and 12 day voyages depart from Ushuaia in southern Argentina. You’ll have the option to kayak every day that conditions permit – or even twice a day – while you are in the Peninsula.

High Arctic, Svalbard (Spitsbergen)

Life explodes during the brief Arctic summer, and sea kayaks are a superb way to see walrus, reindeer, and millions of migratory birds. Departing from Longyearbyen, our 11 day circumnavigation of Spitsbergen takes us within 600 miles of the North Pole, well into the realm of the polar bear. Making the most of our 24 hours of daylight, we paddle through narrow ice-choked fjords beneath towering mountains, hike over flower-speckled tundra, explore a fossil-rich polar desert, and visit 16th and 17th century whaling remnants.

Greenland, Spitsbergen & Iceland

Greenland is home of the original qajaq, a whalebone and sealskin contraption developed as an Inuit hunting boat. So it is appropriate that we explore by kayak during this 14 day expedition voyage to the world’s largest fjords. After 2-3 days in northwestern Spitsbergen, we cross to Greenland. Here, we’ll paddle in Scoresby Sound where massive icebergs are born, visit remote Inuit communities, and watch for musk oxen, reindeer, arctic fox, polar bears, walrus, whales and narwhale.

Scottish Isles

From the Orkney and Shetland islands up north, to windswept specks like Foula and St Kilda, and to the Hebrides and Skye in the west, Scotland’s rugged islands and intricate waterways are a paradise for sea kayakers. On our 11 day voyage between Aberdeen and Oban, and with long summer days, we’ll spend as much time kayaking as possible. We’ll also visit World Heritage Neolithic sites, remote crofting communities, picturesque villages and ancient castles. We’ll paddle beneath rugged cliffs of some of the world’s largest seabird colonies, where gannets, terns and puffins fill the air, or sit quietly as seals play nearby in waters patrolled by whales and dolphins.

Fact Box

Southern Sea Ventures offers a wide range of sea kayak holidays and is constantly adding new destinations. Its warm water Fiji, Tonga and Hinchinbrook trips suit beginners and experienced paddlers alike. For Antarctica, High Arctic, Greenland, Scottish Isles, Panama and Turkey, previous paddling experience is required. Trip costs include kayaking equipment, most camping equipment and most meals.

See or contact or +61 2 8901 3287.

Skyak Adventures [60]

As you drive from Broadford, you are aware that you are entering a slightly different world. Everyone waves to you. Cars slow down. People stop and photograph sheep. Eeverything seems gentle until you start descending towards Elgol. The first thing that most people see is the view, Rum to the left, Skye Cuillin to the right and in the middle, Soay. Much further west are the Outer Hebridean islands of Barra and Mingulay.

Soay (Sheep Island) is a great destination for a day trip as there is so much to see, from the Torridonian sandstone cliffs with sills of intrusive basalt to the otters and seals that play around the coast. Crossing from the slipway at Elgol is relatively straightforward and the best option is to head for the line of cliffs that are visible from the setting off point. On the way across, keep a look out for Manx Shearwater as these aeronautical wave skimmers nest on Rum just a few kilometres to the south.

It is best to go along the north coast of the island first due to the tide flowing in a westerly direction for most of the time. On the way around this coastline, it is well worth paddling close to the shore and being as quiet as possible because of the numbers of otter that frequent this small island. After about three kilometers, the entrance to Soay Harbour opens up to your left and a visit ashore here is worthwhile. As the tide drops, a small rapid forms over the bar at the entrance. Gavin Maxwell (of Ring of Bright Water fame) bought the island in 1946 and set up a shark fishery in this sheltered inlet. There are many remains of the industry including the main house (two storey building on the left), outhouses, steam boiler and winch together with many broken pieces of mincing equipment. Maxwell’s book, Harpoon At A Venture, tells the story of the industry. A look about will also reveal an abundance of dreadlocks or Soay sheep’s wool, this is unbelievably soft and the sheep are not shorn but the wool is plucked from their backs.

Never much higher than ten metres, the sandstone cliffs are always above you, in places the sills and dykes become so angled as to make a perfect rock saltire. All of the southerly facing coast is interesting as the rock is fairly soft and has been eroded by the sea when it had been at various levels in the past. A visit to the world’s first solar powered telephone exchange is an option if you intend stopping in Camas nan Gall, the large bay on the south east side of Soay, although this can also be easily done from Soay Harbour.

The last few kilometres of Soay are interesting enough but the views that tend to dominate are those of the Cuillin ridge and the surrounding hills. Heading back to Skye, crossing Soay Sound at the narrowest place allows you to land on the boulder beach where wood can be gathered for a fire if you intend to camp later.

By keeping fairly close inshore there is a reasonable chance that you will see either of our two largest eagles. Golden Eagles are fairly common around there as the terrain is fairly steep, Sea Eagles are less common but still make a great spectacle when overhead. Re-introduced on Rum in 1975, these magnificent raptors are huge, bigger than Golden Eagles, with a white tail and very wide wings. They look almost like a flying piece of scaffold plank.

The common seal population at Eilean Reamhar is steadily increasing and it is almost impossible to pass within two hundred metres and for them not to follow. The young are more inquisitive than the adults but all come to within three metres of the kayaks. Heading towards the outflow of the Scavaig River the seals still follow and entertain you even when the water is more fresh than salt.

A landing is best made below the white hut and, depending on the height of the tide, this is either easy (straight onto glacier scoured rock), or slippery (glacier scoured rock covered with weed). Camping here is an atmospheric must, the Cuillins surround, the sea shimmers and the roar of the waterfall is always heard. A tour boat from Elgol, the Bella Jane, operates a frequent service for foot passengers wishing to experience the solitude of the place. However it is when the boat finally departs for the night that the true feeling of this wilderness comes alive.

Loch Coruisk (cauldron of water) is simply a stunning place and a visit here by kayak would not be complete without carrying your boat up the river and then launching onto the inky water. To paddle the length of this mountain encircled pool is an experience that most people never manage, but for the sea kayaker, it is an opportunity not to be missed. From the launching spot about halfway up the loch is the Dubh ridge, which is the longest scramble in the United Kingdom at just over two kilometres in length with a climb to nine hundred and forty four metres. This, starting from just ten metres above sea level, makes for a sustained scramble of grade 3 standard. There is abundant bird life on the loch including Merganser, Goosander and on the islands in the loch there are about one hundred and twenty pairs of Arctic Tern, fitting for the finest glacially scoured basin in Britain. The loch itself is around one hundred and ten metres deeper than the sea level on the other side of the outflow sill. Above, around the corrie walls, you might catch a glimpse of Golden Eagles as they carry out their search for their evening meal.

Sitting by the waterfall it is not difficult to be seduced by the calmness and colours of the sunset as the sun dips behind the Cuillins. You may, as I have, hear a lone piper on a yacht anchored in the shelter of Loch na Cuilce, playing a few slow airs, which makes sure that the last hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Perhaps by sitting still for half an hour or so you will be rewarded with a close view of a female otter and her cubs playing and hunting in the fast fading light. As night finally takes over from day, you head back to your tent – perhaps a wee dram to celebrate another magical day on the water? “Slainte Mhath”.

Contact information

Skye is the largest of the Inner Hebrides and is accessible by bridge from Kyle of Lochalsh on the mainland of Scotland. As one of the best world-class paddling destinations around it is a “must visit” destination. The article above describes one of the trips. Gordon is BCU Level Five coach (sea and inland) and Skyak offer the full range of BCU courses.

More information, guiding, instruction and travel consultancy available from

Skyak Adventures
Gordon or Morag Brown
13 Camuscross
Isle of Skye
Scotland IV43 3QS

Roof Rack Ruckus [60]

By Trevor Costa

The guy at the roof rack shop looks me straight in the eye and says “you’d have to be an idiot not to tie a long load front and back.” Well… I thought about this for a second and I figured that maybe he was wrong. Sure, I have done some dumb stuff in my time, but on this matter, I didn’t consider myself so much as an idiot, more perhaps I had suffered from a lapse in judgment.

The roof rack technician was commenting on the fact we had nearly lost both our sea kayaks off the roof of our car. I had returned to the shop that had sold me the roof racks to try and recuperate some money to pay for the damage done by the racks failure. Needless to say I wasn’t totally successful. But I was also after some answers as to how such a thing could happen in the first place and the explanation wasn’t sitting well with me.

But lets rewind for a second…the whole sorry affair of the roof rack incident occurred while we were returning home from a weekend of paddling at the coast with our two kayaks on the roof of the sedan. On clearing the hills of the Great Divide we got hit by fierce cross-winds. There was an all mighty bang, followed by a less than elegant screech to a halt as the kayaks started to disappear from view over the back of the car.

We were lucky. We were able to pull over in time to stop the kayaks from doing a full back flip. My partner was out of the car before we had even stopped moving and hung onto one of the bucking kayaks like a real rodeo pro, holding the whole structure down while I freed the kayaks from the racks. Such was the force of the wind that once freed the kayaks became 5 metre sails and with us in tow, both of us nearly did a beautiful spinnaker run straight back out onto the highway. But with an effort worthy of an America’s Cup contender, we were eventually able to wrestle the bucking sails, I mean, kayaks to the ground. Talking serious wind here.

As I stood by the side of the road surveying the damage I realised with a shudder what could have happened if the kayaks had gone over and hit the busy highway. It became crystal clear at that moment that when dealing with cross winds and a long load such as sea kayaks (even plastic ones) there was no avenue for complacency. The guy at the shop had been half right. They should have been tied front and back to counter such forces.

So how was such a bad judgment call made in the first place? Well….over the 18 months or so that we had been hauling our kayaks around the countryside I had studied in detail the roof rack set up. The racks were attached to the car’s roof by L shaped metal fixtures that hooked under the sill of the four car doors, adjusted by Allen screws. These fixtures were supported by rubber mounts on the roof. The cross bars were attached to the fixtures by adjustable metal plates, again with Allen screw adjustment. The roof racks stated maximum carrying capacity was well beyond the weight of the two kayak load. The sea kayaks were in cradles and tied securely with strong webbing straps immediately fore and aft of each cockpit. To me all seemed very robust and that there was no way these kayaks were going anywhere, especially not off these racks. In retrospect the biggest factor that may have lead to the poor judgment was that in having plastic kayaks I thought they would not need tying front and back as they weren’t going to crack under the strain of any sideways force as a wooden or fibreglass kayak might. The theory was that they would stay happy and unscathed in their roof top cradles.

But there were forces at work here I had yet to fully comprehend. What I hadn’t factored in was the fact that the racks themselves may fail and detach from the car and as a result potentially take kayaks, cradles and the works with them. There was no warning of this in the information supplied with the roof racks, no indication that precautions should be taken for the-rack-leaves-car-with-kayaks scenario. Nothing like this had happened before to us or even looked like happening.

On inspection of the racks it could be seen that the two under-sill attachments on the up wind side had bent right out of their fixtures. With this, enough force was applied to the front cross bar fixture by the strong wind to allow the Allen screw mounted plate to slip. The cross bar had slid along with the attached under-sill fixture across the car’s roof leaving a deep gouge well into the metal.

We were able to patch the racks up with some fencing wire and well placed threats long enough to get the kayaks back to the nearest town and the local police station where I was prepared to make a full confession as to my discrepancy and throw myself on the mercy of the court. To my surprise the constabulary didn’t throw me in jail but kindly offered to store the kayaks in their enclosure to pick up later on a less windy day. They said, “this type of things happens all the time around these parts”, which was further reinforced by the sorry collection of shattered catamarans and bent canoes already in the enclosure.

I posted this incident on the Club’s chatline and received many responses outlining similar hard earned lessons. And apart from the obvious – always tie your kayak front and back remarks – another recurring theme was that Allen screw fixtures on roof racks can and do fail. So if you have these fixtures, you may want to consider replacing them with proper nuts and bolts. I had one guy contact me who was not as lucky as us, he had lost the rack and the attached brand new kayak he had just picked up, over the back of his car into the path of an oncoming vehicle. Result was he was up for some hefty bills to replace a trashed kayak and a smashed car.

So for this not so young player, the lesson was well learnt. Never hit the highway without stout lines attached at each end of the kayak to counter any sideways forces and I suspect any forces generated from a sudden stop. Without such precautions the kayaks may stay firmly in their cradles but there is no guarantee the racks will stay attached to your car.

Roaring 40’s [60]

Picture it — the dip and splash of your paddle blade, the clean cut of your bow through glassy water. Silent ripples on the sea. Good companionship, the pleasure of easy movement and a brand new view of the landscape — over the bow of a sea kayak.

At their on-the-water sea kayaking centre, based in Kettering, 1/2 hour south of Hobart, Roaring 40’s Ocean Kayaking offers a wide range of kayaking experiences — adventurous and exciting, or as laid-back as you like, or anything in between!

That’s the beauty of this low-impact, surprisingly accessible activity. Pick your location, go with skilled guides and anyone can enjoy the unique pleasures of explorations by sea kayak.

Roaring 40’s owners Ian Balmer and Kim Brodlieb and their guides are expert kayakers with many years of experience within Tasmania’s coastal environment. Their 1/2 day and day trips to Bruny Island as well as kayak hire from their Kettering base are popular with locals and visitors. They also lead extended sea kayak trips to other locations around the Tasmanian coast including multi-day wilderness expeditions exploring the remote and magnificent waterways of Bathurst Harbour and Port Davey in the world heritage area of southwest Tasmania.

This superb trip features spectacular access flights to and from Melaleuca, traversing the jagged crest of the Arthur Ranges close to Federation Peak, flying across wide buttongrass plains and following the beaches, crags and bluffs along the wild South Coast.

With its wonderful paddling and superb scenery, the Roaring 40s “Wilderness on Water” Port Davey and Bathurst Harbour expeditions rank as one of the world’s best wilderness journeys — a challenging and rewarding discovery of a part of the planet that is visited by very few people.

Joining a professionally-guided expedition is the best way — often the only way — to explore such remote regions. But even on an easy half-day paddle, the skilled leadership of experienced and qualified guides adds a degree of security and safety without detracting from the pleasure or the adventure.

Roaring 40’s can create a sea kayaking experience for everyone. So whether you’re interested in discovering wilderness waterways, exploring the hidden corners of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel or enjoying a new view of Tasmania’s coastal scenery from a comfortable seat in a sea kayak, Roaring 40’s have a trip that will suit you.

Call Roaring 40’s on (03) 6267 5000 for their 2005/2006 season newsletter or visit for lessons, rentals, self-sufficient guided tours, and sales.

A Ramble From The Editor [60]

By Ian Coles

In this issue we have an exciting special feature on kayak touring. I invited all tour operators who have a relationship with the club that is they have a link on our website, to tell us about what they do. The stories cover a wide range of exotic locations from Bundeena to the Isle of Skye, and the Greek Islands. Take a moment to think about where you want to paddle next year. Do you drive and carry your kayak? Do you fly and hire your gear? How do you maximise your time on the water?

This leads me to our next feature planned for the upcoming September issue, folders. If you have information to share with us on folding kayaks, we want to hear from you. You have until August 15 to send me something, pictures, facts, a story, anything.

I will be standing for re-election as editor at the AGM. My goals are to work towards a magazine published at no cost to the members, by increasing the advertising revenue so the magazine is self-supporting. To do this I will give commercial interests a fair go and provide free editorial space for them to tell us what they do and what new products and services are available to us. Editorial space will be reserved for informative content. This is different to advertising space that tells us what it costs and where to get it.

A big thank you to Elizabeth Thomson. Elizabeth has done an amazing job as copy editor this year. A skilled grammarian, she has pushed the literary standards of the magazine to new heights. I could not have got through the year without her help.

See you at the AGM.

From the President’s Deck [60]

“You guys are running a very nice friendly club. Enjoy being a member.”

This is the sort of feedback that makes it all worthwhile, and we have all worked hard to make it this way. (By “we”, I mean everybody — members, trip leaders, instructors, committee, Rock’n’Roll volunteers, mag contributors, etc etc)

Self-evidently (to me at least) the NSWSKC has three main threads:

  • Building our skills.
  • Paddling on trips.
  • Building a sense of community.

So what’s going on?

  • An incredible training program — just a have a look at the web!
  • A full-on trips program with something almost every weekend!
  • As for our sense of community…

    • Rock’n’Roll — fantastic!
    • Going to from a single-event to a three-event calendar (Rock’n’Roll, AGM, November event).
    • A six-event calendar if you count stuffing nights!
    • Closing the old email Chatline which offended so many members.
    • Replacing it with a superior web-based Chatline.
    • A regular mag — the heartbeat of the club now with feature issues.
    • Handling the various “bushfires” with integrity.
  • And behind the scenes…

    • A sound financial position.
    • A major effort on insurance.

When you put it all together — lots of energy to achieve something worthwhile.

So how can you help? One way is to join the team on the Committee, and have your say!

  • Secretary Treasurer — Nick is leaving us after a heroic 2 year stint. Hooray Nick! Our new Sec/Treas will inherit a fully reconciled and audited set of books — no mess! Nick will be happy to fill you in on secretary@nswseakayaker,
  • Trips Convenor — Kevin is moving on to do some serious trips of his own, after breathing new life into our program. Thanks Kevvvvyyy from us all! for any queries.
  • Events Coordinator — Mainly Rock’n’Roll which Kevin and Claudia organised so well last year. Everything needed to organise Rock’n’Roll has been tidied up and archived ready to form the base for the next event.

As for me, next year is a work / study / family crunch year so I’ll be stepping aside as President at the AGM, and nominating the famous Elizabeth Thomson for the position of President. She certainly has the energy levels required for the job! It’s a great team on the committee, and I’ll be standing for Vice Pres.

See you all at Bundeena

Cheers Richard