NSW Sea Kayak Club – Friday on My Mind [74]

By Julie Gibson

Julie shares her experience of the new weekly Friday club trip led by Owen Kimberley

Little Manly must be one of the most luxurious places for starting off for a paddle in Sydney harbour, or anywhere for that matter. On weekdays or early on weekend days there’s parking right next to the grass next to the beach. There’s a hose and lush grass for washing off afterwards, and there’s a shower.

Launching from the beach is mostly easy — sometimes a few wind-waves challenge.

There is a wide range of choices about where to go, depending on the weather. We don’t go outside the heads, which for Grade 2 me is fine; there are plenty of harbour places to discover.

So far we’ve paddled across the heads against a southerly to Camp Cove and caught a few swells on the way back past Quarantine Head. We’ve crossed over to Middle Head — taking in a bit of wave catching there — then back to Reef Beach for some rolling practice.

Today our destination was Clifton Gardens, admiring the old gun emplacements in the rocks and stopping for some great coffee at the Bacino Bar.

Gradually we’ll extend our range. The next plan is for Nielsen Park (I hear the coffee’s good there too), and Bradleys Head.

It was amazing today — one of those days when the water is sparkling and turquoise to blue, depending on the depth. The wind was gentle. Owen saw a flying fish as we went across the heads.

There were all sorts of boats out — freighters, ferries, racing yachts, tinnies. I was glad of Owen’s knowledge of boats and how to navigate among them.

The leadership aspect is why I love going out in this way — I’m a relative beginner and still finding my way. I do lots of paddles alone where I can’t stretch myself because I stay well within my skill level for reasons of safety.

These club trips take me further and I’m getting better every time, along with having a great day.