Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Biking, Bouldering and Bracing

I tried to come up with a word that starts with B and means “playing on small waves in a sea kayak that would be better if they were just a bit bigger but lets not complain about something inconsequential” but, strangely, I couldn't think of a single word that covered that concept and began with B or even a C, or D, or E....

My day started with a bicycle ride down to the Esplanade and the bouldering area. On the way, I stopped at the old quarry and did a few laps along the bottom of the quarry cliff to warm up – not that you really need to “warm up” when it is 28oC and 85% humidity. The old quarry is not really a great bouldering spot as the bottom is too easy, and climbing higher exposes you to a nasty fall, but, it a reasonable spot for a lap or two on your way past. I was sweating so much by the time I finished that I looked like a balloon someone had filled with water and poked holes in – water was literally oozing out of me.

Down at the Esplanade, I got to business, shoes on, chalk bag, MP3 player with a paleo indoctrination podcast playing. There were a bunch of new chalked routes (chalk instead of tape) since my last visit, courtesy of “Topknot” I assume. They were actually pretty good routes. One had a bit of a reach that I had to dyno for, which I made first time but, as I got more fatigued over the session I never managed again. I briefly thought about coming down for the group bouldering sessions (every Tuesday at 5.00 pm) and then decided that would be foolish for someone as introverted as myself. Chances are, I wouldn't like anyone I met. I'm that kind of person. After about 45 minutes my fingers were getting sore so I called it. I've popped tendons and got tendonitis from bouldering walls before so I know how important it is to restart slowly and not stress weak ligaments and tendons. 

Cairns bouldering park

It would have been good to cycle down to one of the fitness parks and do some pull-ups, ankles to bar, and have a swim in the pool, but Doug and I were planning to go out with the kayaks before lunch so I had to get home.

We took our kayaks down to Yorkeys Knob where you can easily launch at the marina. A small wave breaks off Yorkeys Knob immediately north of the marina. I'm not sure if the sandbars in the vicinity make the wave break or if the tide coming out of Moon River also contributes. The winds were pretty light to non-existent so we didn't have a big wave. Last time we came down to try this we came at high tide and found the wave washed out. The best time is low tide.

Today the waves were a little bit too small so you had to wait quite a while for a “set” of bigger waves to come in to be able to ride any. Even then you didn't get a very long ride. Once I got dialed into not expecting a long fast ride I had a much better experience. Sometimes it is good to have low expectations. 

Baby waves at Yorkeys Knob

After a couple of hours we paddled back through the soup zone to the marina. A couple of blokes had just finished loading up two sit-aboard kayaks preparatory to paddling to Cooktown and were hanging around smoking. They were strikingly ill prepared without life jackets, stinger suits, or much of anything and their entire food supply appeared to consist of green bananas, small mangoes and a few star apples that they had filched off local trees on the way to the boat ramp. They seemed pretty amped up about their trip and said that “if things were going well” they might carry on to Cape York or even right around Australia! I snapped a picture of them by their boats for posterity and the rescue team. 

For the rescue crew

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