I could have titled this blog post Rolling Bay to Rocky Island by kayak, which would have been overtly truthful if a little dull. As we all know, style beats substance in the early 21st century, so I've gone with the stylish – yet truthful – alternate title.
We set out this morning to paddle from the boat ramp at Brown Bay, east past False Cape and across Mission Bay to Rocky Island. Our nautical chart shows massive amounts of dry ground all through this area so we were timing our trip to last two hours either side of high tide.
With our usual aversion to driving, we pulled off at Rolling Bay, the first place we got to where you could launch a kayak, rather than driving the last three kilometres to Brown Bay and the boat ramp. Given the name of the bay, it seemed appropriate that I practice a few eskimo rolls – that accursed skill that still evades me. In lieu of practicing in water, I've been doing a few dryland rolls (go here), which bizarrely enough, has been helpful if a little painful on the shoulder. Doug was very enthusiastic, but I believe I only got one proper roll. I felt somewhat hampered by not being able to see my paddle as the water is a bit murky around Cairns (something the tourist literature doesn't let out).
Doesn't this look like fun?
In the past, I've made attempt after attempt after attempt, racking up probably somewhere near 20 or 30 tries in one session. People are amazed at my tenacity (not to mention my inability to master the skill), but, it's a strange thing, more attempts doesn't necessarily mean better efforts. Once I pass about 5 or 6 attempts, my form always deteriorates. I really want quite desperately to get a solid roll, so I find it difficult to stop trying even when I should.
After about six attempts and some hip-flick practice (Doug was enthusiastic about that too), we paddled north along the shore-line past some big boulders in the water at Lyons Point and passed the boat ramp where a couple of aging bikers were gazing thoughtfully out to sea. In another 3 km we reached Sunny Bay and stopped for a swim. When we paddled from Flying FishPoint to Cairns, we had breakfast our last day at Sunny Bay after camping the night at Turtle Bay. There are some big slabs that come into the water at False Cape. You could put some climbs up here, but the rock is black and you'd be cooking hot trying to climb there. Access would be tough too.
Paddling past Lyons Point (DB photo)
From False Cape we paddled over to Rocky Island and circumnavigated the small island. We stopped for another swim on the west side. It's pretty warm paddling when it is 32oC, there is no wind, and you are wearing a full body lycra suits as it is marine stinger season. As soon as your suit dries, you start feeling very hot. Yarrabah Aboriginal Community lies at the end of Mission Bay and judging by the junk on Rocky Island, there was once an old camp there.
It was a bit later than we had hoped to pull out so we paddled straight back to Rolling Bay which took about two hours. We were probably fighting the outgoing tide a bit, but we did get a slight push from the wind for the last kilometre or two. Coming past False Cape we paddled past a pod of dolphins. By the time we got back to Rolling Bay my shoulders and back were sore and tired so I was glad I had already done my rolling practice.