NSW Sea Kayak Club – Broughton Island [79]

by Peter Levy

We staggered from our slumber and gathered on the lawn
gobbled down our muesli on this early April morn
he said we should be ready to leave around first light
Broughton Island beckoned, we planned to stay the night

David was our leader, the one who gave commands
this early morning madness was the first of his demands
he said there would be nine, experienced and keen
that’s a lot of bloody kayaks for anybody’s team

Mick had started packing when Bruce and I got there
then Tony, Karen, John and Dave emerged with pillow hair
Claudia and Wendy followed after that
in silence we got ready, with such a lot to pack

The wind was calm and water still when at last we got away
clear skies above and weather warm; t’was to be an awesome day
starting from Pindimar, in the back of Nelson Bay
our first stop would be Jimmies Beach, that’s just eight clicks away

As we paddled to the east we had the tide behind us
we were moving at a cracking pace, though none of us would notice
’cause we talked a lot, like you do, when groups like this do gather
nothing special ever said but that doesn’t really matter

And when we stopped to have a break John went out to have a look
at conditions on the ocean side to see if it looked crook
all was fine, looking good, couldn’t even sense a swell
Dave, you’ve done a champion job, you’ve planned the weather well

So off we went around the heads where the waves sometimes get choppy
we rode the wash in and out but the mighty crew was happy
being on the sea, Broughton bound, one more stop before the crossing
a snack, a drink at Cabbage Tree but little time for fishing

It’s funny when you stop and think of stories that we’re told
of other trips on other days with wind and rain and cold
of mishaps in the gauntlet or Mike’s run-in with the cleft
that couldn’t happen to us at all, not on this magic trip

Then Dave spoke up, he told us straight, from the point he did not rove
“the Commodore will join us at Esmeralda Cove”
to see the look on Bruce’s face was something to behold
John, Dave and he from one last trip shared something still untold

They kinda went all silent as if they had to plan
how to hold the bugga off and keep him on dry land
so we rallied round to help them, for their focus not to slip
from the stuff we had before us, this was still an awesome trip

Our kayaks plied the waters blue until the hours past
and planted us before the Isle that was the Looking Glass
we poked around, in and out, then noticed to the left
what we all had sought to see, the cave they call Con’s Cleft

We didn’t stop or play too much, we were a hungry bunch
we made a plan to hit the beach and have ourselves some lunch
then head back out, do the Cleft and a lap around the isle
a great afternoon of paddling in good company and in style

(So now it’s time to talk a bit about the stuff we’re eating
’cause you see I thought the boss was wanting some competing
I brought along a pasta dish of which I’d surely boast
but didn’t really seem that great compared to David’s roast)

That night we sat around the fire — Mike, Audrey and us gang
with rough red wine and jelly beans thank heavens no one sang
but solved the problems of the world, all philosophers most deep
by nine o’clock we’re off to bed to get a good night’s sleep

The morning comes, I rub my eyes and make a cup a tea
as others crawl from sleeping bags and stare out to the sea
with one thing only on our minds and that’s to do with Mike
the Cleft’s a’calling, he’ll want it done, you know that’s what he’s like

We stow our gear, prepare to launch, that’s all of us but one
John’s fussing round and not yet packed even though the briefing’s done
we get away, we’re set to leave, but still another’s missing
Mick’s taken off, nature’s called, at least that’s what they’re saying

Eleven now, that’s the count with Commodore and Audrey
and out of Esmeralda Cove — this pod’s a mighty party
we’re heading round to do the Cleft and David’s still quite nervous
safety first, that’s the thing, “be sure to wear your helmet”

I’m not the last and not the first but still I feel the danger
the walls are steep and swells roll through, no need to linger longer
this narrow gap, a broken wave could put you in the water
we all got through or so I thought, where’s Michael and the leader?

In point of fact he made him roll to prove that he was ready
to re-create his last attempt but this time hold it steady
and roll he did and Dave agreed he had the skills he needed
so off he went toward the Cleft and patiently we waited

We were on the other side and couldn’t see him enter
I’m guessing things were looking fine ’cause he didn’t falter
he paddled strong and looked composed on which we all agreed
but only when the job was done could we feel at all relieved

Now it’s time for our return before the wind starts a’blowing
an offshore breeze at fifteen knots is what the Bureau’s saying
nearly back at Cabbage Tree was when it came upon us
we paddled hard and all split up — Dave thought we’d lost our senses

We gathered back as one big group on the lee side of the island
ducked in and out of rocks and caves while the wind began to lessen
then pottered back to Jimmies Beach, this stop will be our last
lunch time for us hungry souls, much time since dawn has passed

So we paddled back to David’s place with dolphins by our side
those tourists on those tourist boats thought we had a hide
to hang around these gracious beasts, we didn’t pay a cent
“Followed us, they surely did”. Hey guys, no trouble meant.

We’ve made it back, we’re at the end, great time was had by all
to Dave and John and everyone, thanks, I had a ball
I’ll paddle with you anytime, that’s if I get invited
I’ll even do the trip report — you know, the sort that gets recited.

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