Monday, October 26, 2009

Beecroft Peninsula.... A Compact Adventure

I was sorting through some imges from the last few months to assemble a general blog and realised I had quite a few from the Beecroft Peninsula taken during a short break a in early spring.

The idea of a compact adventure close to home has a special appeal. It can be organised with a few like minded individuals at short notice. If you have the requisite skills then you just need a weather window and the comittment to make it happen.

If you choose the Beecroft Peninsula, the rugged scenery and sense of wilderness are just a few hours drive from Sydney.

I always enjoy sharing the Beecroft Peninsula with adventurous kayakers like Chris. This was his first paddle from Currarong into Jervis Bay.

With the sun setting and a few miles left to cover, we paddled harder, enjoying the light, the solitude and the anticipation of landfall. We were all ready for the companionship of our evening meal and a warm brew.

Chris off Point Perpendicular enjoing the same sunset as in the previous image but this time the light is reflected off the cliffs.
Images like this one taken facing over my shoulder are a reminder of how important it is to look around. There is more to see than the view beyond the bow of your kayak.
Matt considers running the gap between Drum and Drumsticks but only from a distance and only for a second. The photo shows wave action during a lull, on the larger sets the cliffs you can see in the background between the stacks were obscured by spray.
A heavy north east swell kept us out of the renowned caves, gorges and gaps.

Like Matt, I am drawn to the challenge of running the gauntlet. It is a bit about bragging rights but a lot about the raw energy and immediacy of the zone between waves and rocks. The smells, sounds and adrenaline are intoxicating and can easily blur your judgement if you are not careful, but on this day the swell length and direction left few options but to keep out of the white water.

Up close on a smoother day or out wide when the swell is working this is a superb paddle and a healthy and humbling experience.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Spot The Paddler.

In moderate conditions the waves regularly obscure a clear view of paddling buddies.
Often I try to set up an interesting snapshot only to see my subject disappear.

Note how easy the bright coloured boat is to see in the shots above and below

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Broughton Island Day Trip.

(above) Ian approaching Esmerelda Cove with Looking Glass Rock in the background.
(below) Sharon leaving Broughton Island after picnic lunch and power nap.

The Plan was fairly striaghtforward, Paddle to Broughton Island in easing tailwind conditions, camp overnight, and pickup the afternoon sea breeze on the homeward journey the following day.
When Sunday dawned with pouring rain and a steady Easterly over 20knots we decided to take it easy and see what the day would bring. I called the local VMR and was advised not to go to Broughton because conditions were still stirred up from heavy weather the previous day.
After a short paddle from WindaWoppa we had a leisurley lunch at Shoal Bay and waited for the ebbing tide to ease a little and then headed out through deeper water around Tomaree and into the "conditions".
The group looked very happy in the waves that had been stirring up the fishermen so with weather on the mend we decided to tackle Broughton as a daytrip the following day and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon paddling in the rain and wind.
Ian off Tomaree heading out to point Stephens.

Anne pushing into a headwind off Fingal Spit

Sharon off the heads of Port Stephens

Gina looking happy to be out despite the rain.

The following day provided ideal conditions for an express trip to Broughton.

Gina arriving in Esmerelda Cove for lunch.

Ian off the jagged tail of Cabbage Tree island on the return leg.

We paddled in moderate seas on Sunday exploring the spectacular clifflines to the south of Port Stephens in a heavy overcast with squalls and rebound. The disappointment of not making the crossing was soon forgotten as we engaged with the drama of our surrounding
On Monday, our patience was rewarded with milder conditions and we squeezed the usual two day 46klm Broughton overnighter into a day trip with short walk and picnic lunch included.
We didnt explore the sea caves or clefts, mindful of the occasional large and unpredictable set and we kept a respectful eye on the weather.
By working with the conditions and seizing our opportunties we had covered a fair number of sea miles, attained our goal of an offshore crossing and left some exploring for another weekend.