Sunday, February 17, 2008

I long ago discovered that you paddle the sea conditions and not the sea forecast. Yesterday the bureau's promise of 10-15knot SSE winds always looked a little on the low side and as my group huddled in a picnic shelter planning their first ever open sea paddle they weighed the corners of our marine charts so they didnt blow away.

We launched from Frenchmans Bay with Long Bay as our objective.

By the time we reached our first checkpoint beyond Bare Island It was obvious that we were paddling into a building breeze and 'lively' conditions. The Bureau of Meterology observed wind speed for 9.00 am was: "SE14-18Knots" (recorded at Little Bay AWS).

Cape Banks is a classic 'hotspot' for wave action: the outgoing tidal current worked against the onshore wind to produce a fairly short steep sea and as we rounded the point a little rebounding swell added to the challenge.

We decided to move wider at this point to give ourselves more seaway and allow for the possibility of 'spontaneous rescue practice'.

The conditions were ideal and as the wind lifted ("ESE 16-22knots" at LB AWS) approaching Little Bay, the group's confidence also lifted to meet the challenge.
Tim earned two hearty cheers one for each roll after being hit by couple of bigger waves off Little Bay, Rob demonstrated a few very nice low braces in the rebound off Magic point and David and Rochelle drove their double hard over the steeper waves making it land with a resounding thud.

It was smiles all round when we landed for lunch at Malabar to a warm welcome from a group of experienced paddlers from the NSWSKC.

After lunch the morning breeze faded to a whisper and some fine mist settled on the entrance of Little Bay. We practised rescues, rolls and caught some of the remaining wind waves home.

Safety is always number one, but staged and careful exposure to some light to moderate wave action is essential.
Three of the four paddlers on this activity had been paddling for less than three months and all felt that the skills they had been learning on flatwater made more sense when they got to use them on the sea. Everyone felt had achieved something worthwhile and had a lot of fun doing it.

The only way you will learn to SeaKayak is to find a safe way out to the Sea.
If you stay on the bay it's just kayaking........

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