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29 April 2011 - Kangaroo Valley Report
The very wet weather on Monday didn’t daunt the 8 hardy souls who arrived at Kangaroo Valley. The park itself is enormous. Grass sites, tap water, flushing toilets, 24hr Security Guards during school holidays, fantastic river for kayaking, fishing etc. The park has wombats roaming everywhere at night, visiting campsites to have a back scratch under the vans or cars, kangaroos are in the next paddock and the bird life is prolific, – all free! I’m still stunned. Gail, Glenn, Bill, Chris, Alan, Sandra, Doug and Sue were all able to set up camp next to one another, so we were lucky, given it was still school holidays.
On Tuesday, the 8 of us headed up stream for a glorious paddle, even though it rained over night, it was warm and reasonably sunny. We arrived back for late morning tea/lunch and as we finished lunch, Stan and Bev arrived. When they were settled we took off down stream for yet another delightful paddle. 18.9 km was paddled today in total. After our morning paddle, we approached the local Kayak hire bus and trailer driver Michael and he agreed to take all of us and our kayaks, on Thursday, a further 6km upstream, so we could paddle down through the rapids - whoo hoo!
On Wednesday after more rain overnight and a misty start to the day we all decided to have a walk through this immense camping area, where we came across a wombat that doesn’t know that it should be nocturnal and it was out eating and wandering around. One of the Security Guards doing his rounds advised it was hand raised and therefore eats in the day time. We were all having a ‘pat’ of the wombat when all of a sudden out of its pouch pops the tiny pink nose and face of a tiny baby wombat – what an “ahhh” moment.
On a high after our encounter, we headed back for morning tea/lunch and then headed out on to the river - upstream again, to try to get up the rapids against the flow – just for fun. Today we paddled 8.6km. After we were all showered and changed it was time for the “Championship Tournament” of Boules (Bocce) which was very hotly contested, but convincingly won by Bill. After overnight rain, again, we woke Thursday to misty rain, but not enough to deter any one of us from heading off on our adventure with Michael from Kangaroo Valley Adventures. Michael drove us and our kayaks to a crossing on Upper Kangaroo River, unloaded us, gave us a few words of wisdom and then left us to our own devices. Let the games begin!! Where we entered the river, the flow was quite rapid but manageable, but we were soon to discover the rapids in no uncertain terms. The first set was flowing very fast under a fallen tree over fairly shallow rocks, which we had to negotiate, well, yours truly, Sue, didn’t quite make it, hit my head on the tree (that’ll teach me to pull my head in) and out I went into the very 'fresh water'. Straight after I gathered my senses, Gail followed suit and went in too – so that was 2 down 8 to go. We negotiated the next few sets really well, with our fearless leader, Doug, paddling ahead, to gauge which was the best and safest way to approach them. He did a great job, considering he had never been there before and had no idea until he was actually on the rapids to have to make a judgement for all of us. At this stage the sets of rapids were about 50 metres apart. Hardly time to gather your senses when you were on the next one. Next victim was Chris, but we soldiered on regardless (had no choice really!). That was now 3, 7 to go. We came to a fairly large set of rapids, Gail took the bit between her teeth and just went for it, Chris on the other hand had second thoughts and she and I decided, as difficult as it was to try and walk around the rapids, we would. Above the sound of Chris’ refusal of paddling through, all that could be heard, apart from the rushing water was Bev’s “wheeeeee” as she and Stan tackled each and every set. Glenn was the next to join the 'in' crowd - that’s 4. Then was Doug’s turn, trying to suss it out for the rest of us, in he went - that’s 5. Bill didn’t actually fall in, but he was just as wet as those that did, trying to help Chris, so we will count him as 6. At one stage, Stan became the ‘life coach’ to Chris, encouraging and assuring her, which worked, as by the time we reached the weir at the Kangaroo Valley Bridge, she couldn’t stop laughing, as, originally, that was what she and I had dreaded the most and it turned out it was the easiest section of the whole river so far.
From the bridge back to the campground was a breeze, only 3 sets of rapids – barely rapids at all, and a pleasant paddle in sunshine all the way back. For those of you counting – yep – the only ones that came out unscathed, were Alan and Sandy, and Stan and Bev, both in doubles. There was about 20 sets of rapids in total. Not one injury was sustained except for the prides that were dented when we fell out and Doug’s camera. What an adventure, wouldn’t have missed it for the world, a total of 41 km was paddled in the 3 days. Oh, I forgot to mention, at one stage, I have no idea when, Gail and Bev both saw a platypus, so that almost makes our native fauna spotting complete for the area. I think the boys would have loved to have tackled it without us girls slowing them down, but we all really enjoyed the experience. We paddled 13.6km in total today. Bill and Chris, Alan and Sandy, and Doug and Sue all left for home later in the afternoon, Gail and Glenn and Stan and Bev were leaving on Friday. Once again, we had a fabulous time, great company and paddling.
Thank you one and all for making it such a success.
PS Photos are here.
28 April 2011
Jennifer and Graeme's latest travelog from the USA is here. Link button now in Menu Bar.
26 April 2011 - Interim report from Kangaroo Valley
Monday 25/4 saw 4 couples arrive at Bendeela Camp Grounds in the Kangaroo Valley. Chris and Bill arrived first followed by Glenn and Gail and the Tuckers. Later on in the afternoon Allan and Sandra also arrived.
We found the camp grounds to be busy but still with plenty of space and a lot of families packing up to leave. The site is large, well-grassed and patrolled by wombats, kangaroos and Security Officers. After light rain during the night we woke to a fine morning and we set off up stream to a series of rapids. We conquered the first, portaged the second and succumbed to the third. We had a quick trip back to the camp grounds floating with the current.
After lunch we were joined by newbies Stan and Bev in their sit-on double. We paddled downstream for several k's and explored some small side streams. Overall the day worked out at 18 k's.
Sue was able to negotiate with a Kayak Hire Operator for us to be picked up with our kayaks at the camp ground and transported 6 k's upstream of the Hampden Bridge where we will enter the water for a 3 hour paddle downstream with many rapids to negotiate. To prepare for this we will have an easy day tomorrow. Sue asks did you remember the milk? [Yes, thanks, Sue]
26 April 2011 - Budgewoi Lake from Toukley Bridge
The main concern of those game enough to front today was the rain, but in fact there wasn't any. There was however a 20 knot SE breeze (see Seabreeze graph below), so we chose the Beachcomber Toukley Option from the four available, it being hopefully a bit sheltered. The 12 of us set off across the channel next to the bridge into a pretty stiff header, but once we got near the houses there was quite a lot of shelter allowing us to enjoy the interesting vista of posh houses and waterfront facilities. As the sky cleared and the sun shone we kept going for a total of 5 km up around the un-named point in the golf course.
With a mix of sleek kayaks and plump sit-ons there was a wide range of average speeds, so we re-grouped at the point, then headed back, some straight across the lake and others sticking closer to the shore. It was hard work out in the middle, with the wind coming from the aft quarter and very choppy, but the speed was good so we soon got back. I paddled most of the way on one side to keep on course.
John had a new kayak today, first time out, and it went well but it's a bit hard for him to get in and out of, and he came to grief a few times (stopping for a leg-stretch) and cut his knee on a rock.
We all had a great time. There were 3 photographers and their photos are here.
19 April 2011 - Narara Creek
About 27 kayakers came to Dell Rd, West Gosford, to explore the top of Narara Creek. Same old gorgeous weather. It's a very pretty creek and badly neglected by kayakers. We all banked up at a fallen log but once I barged across, then removed a loose log, we all (except for a few pikers) proceeded north to ever more interesting places, culminating in a rocky weir with rapids.
Pete and Rolf and I carried our kayaks over the rocks, only to find a worse barrier a bit further on, so then I kayaked back down the rapids (all ten metres of them), while P & R carried their boats back down the slippery rocks again, while we all watched hoping they didn't come to grief, though Harry had his camera ready just in case there was a good action shot. He did take plenty of good photos and they are here.
We explored all possible tributaries and still made it back quite early. We had morning tea next to the creek - too close really as I stepped back to let Wayne through, and was gone over the one metre drop except for Wayne catching me by the arm. I'm beginning to think I might be accident-prone after all, but I survived that one anyway.
12 April 2011 - Kilaben Bay
This beautiful part of Lake Macquarie near Rathmines south of Toronto has not been explored by us before, so it was interesting to cover new territory. The launch venue was quite nice, with toilets, and grass down to the water and plenty of parking, though I did manage to park my Pajero on Bill and Sandra's paddle. Sorry! Luckily Doug had some spare paddles so I didn't have to move my car. Don't tell Mike about this!
Once we hit the water we headed west to Stockyard creek, past lots of beautiful boats and into a little shith-olé of a drain, but soon found our way to the real creek and had fun wandering up it out of the wind, till we reached a 3" waterpipe and cable across the valley which pretty-well stopped us dead. We then turned back and paddled down the north side of Kilaben Bay (the bay), past all the beautiful houses and boats in Kilaben Bay (the suburb), on Kilaben Road. It was so peaceful we didn't realise we were drifting with the wind till we turned around to come back across 1000 metres of 15 knot headwind on choppy open water. Still, the ones who might have struggled were smart enough to turn around earlier and we all made it back in time for a wonderful morning tea provided by us all. By-the-way, there were 36 paddlers!
PS Harry, Bob and Ray's photos are here.
5 March 2011 - Ourimbah Creek
Today the 27 of us paddled up to the weir and most of us went over it to extend our paddling pleasure. From there one can go another 3km, battling all sorts of challenges and interesting obstacles, so we did about 11km (return) to the furthest point, less for those who turned back earlier. It did rain a little bit but we didn't even notice. A lovely creek and a top kayaking adventure.
Today's photos are here.
Ray's photos of last Tuesday's Newcastle trip are here.
29 March 2011 - kayaking up the Hunter River
Another perfect day for kayaking - 27 water enthusiasts arrived at Tully Street, Carrington, after fighting our way through the traffic in Newcastle. We paddled down Throsby Creek, past the giant Forgacs dockyards and the Grain Terminal, like we did last time. This time however we turned left and went upstream in the Hunter towards Stockton Bridge.
Bill and Chris's son Matthew came with us with his partner Julie. Matt is a motorboat skipper and knows his way around the port of Newcastle. He spied a big coal carrier out past Nobby's and advised us to keep right so the big ship could pass on the left. Unfortunately some of us had already gone up the wrong side of the channel and had the ignominy of being chased by the Pilot and told to keep out of the way. Not me, I was one of the good kids.
After paddling up the eastern side of the river for a while we realised we were fighting a 3 knot downstream current, so we swapped to the other side. We went up as far as Walsh Point which is the southernmost end of Kooragang Island, still 2km short of our target, the Stockton Bridge. That was far enough so we headed back from there. Some kayakers turned around 1km short of the point, so had time to explore the Newcastle waterfront. It was all very interesting and quite different from our usual lake and creek paddling.
Rolf arrived late due to getting lost, and we had long gone, but he knew where we were headed, but didn't know how to get to Stockton Bridge. He hailed a tug skipper from his kayak who was pushing a barge around, and who stopped his boat, turned off his noisy radio and came out on deck to answer Rolf's question on the whereabouts of the Bridge. What a nice guy!
We paddled about 10km, or at least Darryl did, though I noticed it took only 45 minutes to come back from Walsh Point, partly due to the strong current, so most of us were back at 11.30am, only two and a quarter hours after we started. A brilliant day kayaking. Next time we will start at 9.30, given the distance and traffic. Ray's photos are here.
PS Alan who paddles and cycles with us is still in hospital with a brain tumour, and is having surgery at Mater Hospital, North Sydney, on Friday. We will keep you informed.
27 March 2011 - Paddle up Wyong River again
As Doug missed last Tuesday's paddle up from the Old Milk Factory through injury he was keen to do it today, so I joined him rather than go on the scheduled bike ride, as it looked very rainy. It didn't rain, and we had a grand time heading upstream for over 2 hours, so we're pretty confident that we have never got this far upstream before. We had our little pruning saw and secateurs and did quite a bit of flower-arranging and landscaping to make it easier in the future.
There were only about 4 places we had to disembark and portage our kayaks, mostly we just forced our way through any vegetation-based obstacles. The water level was about 10-13cm (4-5 inches) lower than earlier in the week, which helped us get under logs, but not over them. We went up past a great little river-crossing (love to take my Pajero up there) between a couple of turf farms, so we will check Google-Earth to see if we can put a grid reference on our high-water mark. Coming back we took the right-hand turn before the hidden channel and found it quite navigable, with just one log about 10cm above the water, which Doug portaged over and I jumped my kayak over without disembarking.
The weather finished up quite perfect with sun and everything, so after three and a half hours of paddling we felt that was as testing as a ride up to Mangrove Mountain.
22 April 2011 - Wyong River Upper
We all turned up at the Old Milk Factory in Alison Road, Wyong, before 9.00am for a cool morning of paddling the river. Following all the rain, there was plenty of water in the river, and the weir and fish ladder were running briskly, though we didn't see any sign of fish all day, unusually. We did see plenty of water dragons though, and on the drowned barbecue during morning tea there was a tiny green frog, of which young Shannon took a photo so I hope it will arrive soon.
It's a hot day today, 29°, but out of the sun and on the water it was beautiful. We only did about 7 km because it's slow going in spots where there are obstacles. Some of the adventurous types went over the big log at the top, but the others turned around there and headed back. I found them all wandering lost where the river appears to stop with no way through. They had forgotten the little channel we came up, but we found it and were on our way. I thought the adventurers would not find the way, so I waited for them, then had a little fun leading them the wrong way then suddenly appearing behind them after dragging my kayak over a bank. They completely missed the channel too.
There were about 26 of us with 5 doubles. Even after all the work it is still a bit rocky at the weir, but it wasn't made for kayakers, and is better than it used to be. A nice spot with all facilities. Harry and Bob's photos are here.
Here is Shannon's photo of the frog:
PS There is now a page on the website for buying and selling stuff. If you're after something kayakey, or have something to sell, go to this page. The link is on the Navigation Bar above, or click here.
15 March 2011 - Lake Munmorah from Elizabeth Bay
Such a nice day for a paddle! About 25°C, 10 knot SW breeze, cloudy... So about 28 of us paddled round past the pleasant Lake Munmorah The Town waterfront, coping with a bit of chop from the breeze, and into Colongra Creek. After going all 500 metres up to the end, we then tried the Power Station water inlet, which was great fun, I imagine, as I went further to the swamp and drifted around the drowned trees, where I saw a marine creature, possibly an eel - 1 metre long, wriggly, and not at all worried about my presence.
From there we kept going south along the western shore of the lake till we came upon a nice resting place, with a boat ramp and a concrete driveway, where Barry and I got out to stretch our legs. There were signs saying 'Restricted Area' but we didn't know exactly what was restricted. Our legs perhaps. Anyway, Baz set off an alarm and this grumpy old bastard came down from on high and abused us and threatened us with: a. Hospital, b. arrest, c. big fines, d. nasty diseases and generally made a complete arsehole of himself. Apparently it's an animal quarantine area and there are all these loose animals wandering around giving people rabies, which accounts for his attitude.
From there we set off back across the lake with a strong breeze from our starboard flank which scattered kayaks all over the lake. We all left from Colongra Point and all went to Lizzie Bay, but in between we covered a square kilometre of lake.
However we all got back safely and had a lovely morning tea and a good chat.
Harry and Bob's photos are here.
8 March 2011 - Saratoga to Erina Creek
It started off a perfect day, no clouds, no breeze, glassy water, then the breeze gradually built to about 15 knots NE to help us on our way back. We paddled around the coast past Green Point to Erina Creek (Punt Bridge) where the energetic/fast paddlers went up the creek for 1 km while the rest of us headed back, totalling about 9 km for the weakies, and 12 km for the tuffies. The temperature rose from about 20 to 27° or so, the breeze not cooling as we had it behind us. On the foreshore for morning tea it was perfection again while the 23 of us enjoyed an excellent pig-out.
New people today were Dennis and Wendy from Toronto who sent this message:
To all Toukley Kayakers ( if that's the right term) our thanks for today (Tuesday the 8th March) for a great morning and your hospitality, we will be all aches and pains tomorrow but that's life.
See you another Tuesday, Dennis and Wendy
Bob's photos are here.
|Friday 4 March - Kerrie and Bill's trip to Belize - Photos are here.|
1 March 2011 - Blackalls Park
Another good turn-up today - 33 kayakers, not counting the ones who went home before the start owing to the wind, which was blowing WNW at 20 knots before reaching 33 at Nobbys by 12 noon. Did we care?
We launched on the lee side of the peninsula into Edmunds Bay where the not-so-game kayakers headed down to Mudd Creek, which is quite nice despite the name, and which goes up to within metres of Stony Creek at the western end. The others, led bravely by Hans, paddled north-east around the first point, touching Fennells Bay where the wind was at full force, into Stony Creek, a very pleasant though slightly murky waterway which goes for miles, and was mainly free of wind and chops. Some of us went to the very end which made the total distance about 9km, quite enough for such a day.
Paddling back around the edge of Fennells Bay was a challenge in the big headwind, but it was only about 100 metres till we were in the shelter again. We made the best of what looked like a wild scenario, and all finished up having a beaut time. As we used to say once. Well done everyone!
Somebody dropped a set of house-keys and money in the carpark, so if you lost them, ring somebody. (See above)
Bob's pix are here.
|Carol's Dunns Swamp photos are here.|
|Thursday 24 Feb 2011 - Kee's photos from Tuesday are here.|
22 February 2011 - Dora Creek
A cool, cloudy and windy aspect did not deter many would-be kayakers from their mission - to get in the water and paddle! What was expected to be a quiet day for the club turned out to be a record attendance by 43 paddlers in 37 kayaks (they managed to get two people in some boats). Holy Mackerel!
We paddled down the river (no way is this a creek) to Lake Macquarie with the idea of crossing to Shingle Splitters Point (like we did last time) but the lake was too choppy and the wind too strong. So we just hung around Stingaree Point, or had a quick look at Lake Eraring, then paddled back for morning tea. There was no interest in following a leader today so we never got together for a big raft-up for a group photo as most people just did their own thing. Which is fine! Consequently the distance covered was only about 7.5km except for those of us who paddled up to the bridge before going ashore in which case the distance was 7.7km.
We're going to have to buy a marquee to fit everyone in if it rains, which luckily it didn't today. Morning tea was spectacular with our little table stacked three-deep with containers of delicious tucker. Our 5 hot-pots barely supplied the water needed, but that's OK as we ran out of cups anyway. Don't forget to bring your own to stretch the supply.
Bob's and Bill's photos from today are here.
Last week's photos from Tuggerah Lake are here.
Dunns Swamp photos coming soon.
19 February 2011 - Tucker Tours, Dunns Swamp
Make yourself a coffee and sit back get comfortable, ready to read, as there is a lot to report.
On Monday, 12 paddlers arrived at Dunn’s Swamp. The campsite is run by Parks and Wildlife and is very basic but in beautiful surrounds, but at $5 per head per night, we didn’t expect it would be any different. The weather was muggy and the air was “wet” - misty sort of rain on and off, but not enough to stop us doing anything.
On Tuesday we paddled – twice, and late in the afternoon we all headed off in different directions for some very scenic bushwalks. The paddling at Dunn’s Swamp is just beautiful. The whole “swamp” is lined with masses of bull rushes, and the rock walls that surround the whole place are just awesome. You can paddle for hours and see different things all the time in the formation of the rocks. It is so peaceful and picturesque, you never tire of it.
By dinner time that night our numbers had swelled to 22. That night Doug and I had arranged a BBQ for everyone – sausages and salad etc, which seemed to go over very well with everyone. We paddled a total of 9kms and some swimming was also done today. Unfortunately, Jenni wasn’t too well and had to forego the day’s activities. There was night-life activities in the camp as the resident possums created havoc after everyone had gone to bed. But at least they shared the love – a different camper or van each night.
On Wednesday we paddled a very short distance across the lake, approx 500 mtrs, where we all left our kayaks in the bullrushes and, under the guidance of Hans, we made our way through the bush for about 1km, to an amazing “Hermit’s Cave” that has been turned into a little mud brick hut which has been bricked up to the contours of the cave– it looked just like something out of “Lord of the Rings”, you would fully expect to see a hobbit come bounding out – it was truly stunning.
After we all climbed all over this little house and had lots of photos taken, Hans took us a few metres further along through the bush to the remnants of a couple of other little huts, one even had stained glass windows – bizarre! To date, Hans has not been able to find out anything about the origin of these buildings (or part there of) since he came across them some 10 years ago. You would never know they were there without someone having prior knowledge. We were all so grateful to Hans for leading this expedition and sharing this amazing find with us. All this hidden away in a National Park – go figure!
After all that excitement we had to go back to camp for morning tea and then we were all ready for yet another paddle and a swim. A few groups set off for more paddling and bushwalks in the afternoon. Wayne was “Mr Life Be in It” - when he wasn’t paddling, bushwalking or swimming, he was running or cycling. I am worn out just watching him. Kee and Dennis arrived late in the afternoon but wasted no time in hitting the water to see what they had been missing out on. That took our number to 24. Today we paddled 9km, most of which we had paddled the day before, but just as beautiful and as interesting as the day before.
On Thursday, Doug was our fearless leader, so back across to the “Hermit’s Cave” with the late arrivals and Jenni, who had also missed out the day before. Again they all trampled through the bullrushes and on through the bush and it was still just as fascinating the second time around as it was the first for me. Again, everyone was enthralled by what we had brought them to see. The rest of the group, again ably guided by Hans, went on yet another bushwalk to the ‘water gauge’ and the rock formation called the ‘chimney pots’. The walk was further than first thought and they didn’t quite make it all the way to the chimney pots. We all arrived back at camp for morning tea and then we all paddled to the furthest end of the ‘swamp’. Yet more rock walls, and beautiful scenery, Blue Wrens and stunning turquoise blue Dragonflies skimming the top of the water everywhere you looked.
We paddled around the 9kms again today. After lunch, 13 of us packed up camp and moved across to Windamere Dam, out the other side of Rylstone for a change of scenery. A nice camping area, lots of water to explore, grassy campsites and all for $6 per head per night including hot showers – bargain!!
I hope all the others that were heading home from Dunn’s on Friday had a safe trip home. Having arrived there we were disappointed more of you didn’t come – maybe next time.
On Friday, Kee and Dennis arrived to paddle with us, but unfortunately, Wayne and Jenni and Hans left for home. So, 12 paddlers headed off across this great expanse of water and it was so interesting. We encountered turtles, cows, goats, kangaroos. ‘Woody’ even saw a Red Bellied Black Snake swim across in front of his kayak, Blue Wrens, Black Swans, Ducks, Green Grass Parrots, Pink and Grey Galahs, Whistling Kite and Silver Gulls (not Sea Gulls ‘cause we were nowhere near the sea!) as well as the usual suspects, Magpies etc.
Kee and Dennis headed off home around lunchtime, and after lunch 4 paddlers went up a little side creek and lo and behold what did they find, acres of blackberries all covered in ripe berries – no need to mention what colour some of them were when they got back to camp. Richard and Pam headed off home late in the afternoon. And guess what?!?! We finally had a full moon, that rose around 8pm, so 7 of us headed out onto the water with our headlamps and glow sticks looking a picture and paddled around in the balmy night air for about an hour, mostly with full moonlight – bliss! Including the night paddle, we paddled 15kms today.
On Saturday, there was only 8 of us left and we all hit the water for yet another paddle out toward the dam. We waited until most of the fishermen in their power boats left and then we headed off. The water was like glass and there was a slight warm breeze – perfect. We again saw all the wildlife and yes, we found more blackberries – yum! After about one and a half hours we started to head back to camp and the wind came up from nowhere so the decision was made that we might as well, as sad as it was, head for home. Gail and Glenn and Doug and I were the last to leave around 1.30. Today we paddled about 6-7kms.
Carol was the resident photographer on this trip and by the time she left at lunchtime Saturday, she estimated she had taken between 600 and 700 photos – wow!!
Not all paddling shots, lots of animals, birds and insects as well, but she is kind enough to download them on a disc for all that are interested to have a look. If we are very lucky, she might have some ready for us to see on Tuesday.
Doug and I would like to thank everyone for their company and the great time we had – we hope you all enjoyed it at least half as much as we did. We are very blessed to have met such a wonderful group of individuals that have all come together through one common interest – kayaking, we are still stunned. I must say a very special thank you to Hans for all the guiding on the bushwalks and the wonderful trek to the “Hermit’s Cave”; to Rob and Wayne for cooking the BBQ to perfection, to Gail, Glenn, Bill and Chris for sharing their ‘find’ of Dunn’s Swamp’ with all of us, to everyone for their contributions for morning tea, afternoon tea and ‘Happy Hour’ and last but not least to Gail and Glenn for suggesting we go across to Windamere, which was just the icing on the cake – thank you, thank you, all of you.
Regards, Sue and Doug.
15 February 2011 - Tuggerah Lake
Another perfect example of dreary, threatening conditions, turning into a beautiful, if cloudy, day on the water. A couple of people turned up at the Gorokan Fish Co-op who were less than enthusiastic, but were press-ganged into making the girl-free voyage. A couple declined, but in the end 10 kayakers set off under Toukley Bridge and around Wallarah Bay, past Pipeclay Point, where Barry was waiting for us under his umbrella to wave as we cruised by, then further south down the western coast of Tuggerah Lake. Some of us stopped at Karraganbah Point, Tuggerawong, while the 5 more adventurous continued down the coast to the Wyong River at Tacoma, adding about 5km and 1 hour to their trip. They paddled about 14 km, and we pikers did about 8.
For our entertainment both Trevor and Daryl went arse-up in one foot of water at the start, but were then less concerned about getting wet in the rain. In fact we didn't really have any rain, conditions being mostly calm, flat water and hazy air, clearing later to quite warm, especially for those who took the longer option.
My mate Stan, whom I know from sailing, made his debut in his nice little sit-in and will be a regular now he is retired. Others present not yet mentioned were Ray, Peter, Russell, Rolf, me, Mike and Bill. Many of our friends were at Dunn Swamp and we can expect a comprehensive report from Sue later in the week. Sue, I did forget the milk, but Merrill was able to buy some at the Fish Co-op. Otherwise morning tea went well and we ate everything.
Several people were taking photos so I expect a good show later when they arrive in my mailbox.
11 Feb 2011 - Skylarkers paddle up Wyong River
Danny, Richard and Doug met at the Old Milk Factory this morning for a spot of upriver fun. Visitor John St also turned up equipped perfectly for the day with a light sit-on kayak and joined us for the paddle. Barry and Gloria Squ also presented themselves but sans bateaux to check us out and get advice on the right craft to buy.
The four of we paddlers went upstream till 1100am then turned back, much to John's relief.Weather was spot-on with cloud, warmth and very little breeze.
The facilities at the Milk Factory aren't quite finished, so our only access to the water was down some stone steps, with sharp bends to negotiate with long kayaks. The old access via the back track will be available as soon as they shift their stuff out of the way, then it will be business as before, and we'll all go up there. Another very pleasant morning paddling, but no swim, as there is nowhere to go and the water behind the weir looks stagnant. The new fish ladder works well and the water upstream is chocka with biggish denizens.
8 February 2011 - Lake Munmorah
Another big turn-up with about 35 kayakers today. The weather was much milder than the last 2 weeks with just a moderate SE breeze to make us work on the way back. We paddled from the footbridge at Budgewoi, up the west bank of Lake Munmorah as far as Colongra Creek and the similarly named wetlands.
Cloud cover kept the sun off so we weren't tempted to go swimming today. The morning tea was still going an hour after we returned and will soon be longer than the paddle. Very enjoyable!
Carol and Bill's photos are here. (Sorry for the delay)
3 February 2011 - Californian Correspondence
Here is some e-mail traffic with an admirer in the USA:
HI OUT THERE wherever you are! This morning I couldn't sleep so turned on my computer when I came upon pictures of a lot of happy kayakers. Last year for the first time in my life I went kayaking and absolutely loved it! I am planning to purchase one for this next summer. Love the gentle river you were on and I have no idea how I even came upon your pictures! Tried to find out where you are from and could not. I live in Modesto, California, should be retired but I am not however I am going to try and get in the water this summer. Would love some tips on kayaking. You are probably not around Modesto but I would love to find out. Hope you're closer than India or Africa but you never know on the internet. Would love to hear from you. Shirley Chiburis
Nice to hear from you!
Bad news I'm afraid... We're here in sunny Australia, on the NSW Central Coast, about 60 miles north of Sydney. The whole area is a mass of rivers, creeks, lakes and ocean, so we never run out of interesting places to kayak. We have some keen photographers so we have an excellent record of our outings. Here is a great shot from last week (Bill's photo). It is going to be about 95°F tomorrow, so we will probably go for a swim again.
All the best with your kayaking. You won't have any trouble finding others to share your sport.
Toukley Kayak Klub
Absolutely love the picture and what a beautiful country. You are so lucky. What a great group of people. When we finally get in the water I'll try and send some pictures too. I really enjoyed seeing all your happy friends and the wonderful times you are having. I'm going to save pictures on my computer. By the way I love the hats! And Danny was that you not getting your hair wet? Keep laughing it's good for you. Thanks for writing.
1 Feb 2011 - Wangi/Pulbah Island kayaking
Another fantastic day in paradise! The thirty-four of us set off from the beach at Wangi Wangi in brilliant conditions - no wind, no clouds, hot, flat water. I had a swim before we set off, then on the other side of Pulbah Gra and Jen found a nice beach and we all had a leisurely swim. When I say swim, that includes drifting around like a piece of kelp in the warm water. The same conditions persisted until we left Pulbah after a full circumnavigation for the home base, when a hot stiff north-westerly sprang up and made quite a task of paddling back into it, and creating a nice little chop for excitement. Nice to finally get back on the Wangi beach where we had another little 'swim' for good measure. The temperature when I got home at Lake Haven was 40°C.
Total distance only 8km, except for Jenny and Graeme who paddled from Murrays Beach, and went back there afterwards with a good little tailwind. Would have been a cinch in their new kayak!
Welcome to some newbies today, namely Sylvia, and Ray and Merrill's friend Digger. Digger managed to fall out of his boat on arrival at the Pulbah beach, and Sylvia's little Ocky took a lot of work to bring back through the chop. Peter B earned full points for staying with her on the way back. Well done Pete!
Bob and Russell's photos for today are here.
25 January 2011 - Woy Woy Bay.
Thirty-four kayakers including about 6 tandems made it to Correa Bay reserve, which we filled with our cars and kayaks. In stunning conditions, 25°C, 5-10 knot S breeze, cloudy - we paddled around the edge of Phegans Bay, then Woy Woy Bay and Waterfall Bay where we stopped at a picturesque isolated beach and stripped off for a delightful swim. About 25 of us in the water. Hopefully there are some nice photos coming.
I found this to be one of the most enjoyable of all our outings, with the stunning scenery, and perfect ambience. Top this off with a great social scene and delightful people.
Welcome to some newbies, Bill and Kerry from Boston, Mass., and Sandra and Bill, and Dianne, Linda's mate. Ralph came back too.
Next week back to Lake Macquarie to circumnavigate Pulbah Island, weather permitting. Can't keep away from these brilliant locations, all within 45 minutes of Gorokan!
Harry's photos are here. Bill's excellent photos are here.
18 January 2011 - Nords Wharf to Swansea
The wind website, Seabreeze.com, showed breezes from the SE today up to 15 knots, but where we were it was nothing like that. Maybe 8-10 when we started, fading to nothing for the return trip. With constant cloud cover and temp of about 25° it created perfect conditions for kayaking, and add to that the beauty of Lake Macquarie on both sides of the shore (wet and dry) and it makes you glad to be alive and kicking, or paddling.
Twenty-seven kayakers including 6 doubles made quite a sight on the water, attracting the admiration of earth-bound carbon-based bipedal life-forms. Fred and Colin are still struggling a bit with the multi-section craft, and Ralph in his new Tiwok had a tough time controlling it till Kee adjusted his rudder pedals. Remember when we were newbies?
Anyway, a fantastic day out on the water, and a great social event afterwards. Kee's pix here.
11 January 2011 - Wyee Creek
Despite the wind blowing at 15-20 knots all night, 21 paddlers turned up at Vales Point Park for the adventure up Wyee Creek. It still blew quite a bit (see graph), but the temperature was warm, like the coal-heated water, and it didn't rain at all.
I notice that it really peaked about the time that Jenny and Graeme were paddling back up Chain Valley Bay. Hope they missed it.
We're getting new members every week, but losing some of our former ones. Their loss! Anyway it was everything I said it would be and no-one was disappointed. It really is a beautiful place, with the added excitement of going through the pipes under Rutleys Road. There was very little wind on the creek, but the paddle back across Wyee Bay required some persistence.
If anyone else would like to add their comments please use the e-mail address above.
Bob's photos are here.
4 Jan 2011 - Ourimbah Creek
A very pleasant day paddling up to the weir in cloudy warm conditions with 30 kayakers including 8 on doubles. Nobody but me was interested in going any further upstream, though quite a few paddled down to the lake, thereby covering 12.5km instead of the weir-return distance of 7km. The water flow was much less than Friday 17/12, so my white-water descent of the weir was more a rock-climbing exercise than the previous helter-skelter ride of last year.
There were more visitors, some returning and some new, such as Amy and Emily, Bill and Chris's daughter, and Evol's granddaughter, respectively, and Greg who just turned up by accident. There was also Mike, Fred, Colin and Julie, there for the first or second time. Harry and Bob's photos are here. Greg has posted a record of our trip on Everytrail.
Thanks for all the nice food guys, and Sue for the sangers.
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