Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Kayak Sailing From Machans Beach to Palm Cove

Light winds again overnight but by 11 am a decent 15 knot wind was blowing in Cairns. A couple of days ago, I'd spent about an hour working out how we could take public transit back to our car if we paddled north from Machans Beach before ultimately realizing that we could simply borrow a car and do a shuttle – dumb and dumber. We dropped one car at Palm Cove where the wind was blowing a shore dump onto the beach and headed south to Machans Beach. You wouldn't want to launch a kayak at Machans Beach at tides of under about 1.5 metres as there are large mud flats exposed by lower tides. We were about mid-tide and launching was easy.

Easy launch site at Machans Beach

The wind seemed a bit droopy until we got to Yorkeys Knob. We were able to sail, but were not whipping along at the high speed we had hoped for. There was some clapotis off the rocks at Yorkeys Point and we both got a good bouncing around in our unloaded kayaks. I had a bit of a tussle with my sail bringing it in as I wanted to go inshore a bit to cross the dredged channel that runs out to sea from Yorkeys Knob as there were a lot of big cruise ships going in and out of the marina. In the clapotis, however, I had difficulty taking a hand off my paddle to haul it in. We were a bit dismayed to see that there were really no waves breaking at Yorkeys Knob despite similar winds and tide heights to the day before. 

Doug sailing towards Yorkeys Knob

From Yorkeys Knob up to Palm Cove the wind seemed to pick up a bit and we got a good ride along with a following sea. We are pretty new to kayak sailing and I find that the sail tends to keep my kayak going straight down a following wave instead of veering off to either right or left, whereas Doug believes his sail (exactly the same sail and kayak as mine) tends to cause his kayak to broadside more. Obviously we can't both be right, but we are each convinced we are. 

A bit of a shore dump at Palm Cove

We backpaddled into shore at Palm Cove as the dumping waves were not conducive to riding in. We got some good practice kayak sailing and bracing – an essential skill in our fairly tippy boats – but the hour long car shuttle isn't something I would want to do everyday.

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