Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Storm That Never Was

After a little bit of kayak sailing on Sunday, and all kinds of winds forecast as Tropical Cyclone Dylan ambled it's way closer to the coast at a leisurely 9 km/hour, we had big plans for surfing and sailing during the coming week. 

On Monday, we kayak sailed from Machans Beach to Yorkeys Knob in moderate winds (20 knots) with our new 0.65 square metre test sails. Monday's trip actually felt like a doddle compared to our trip from Machans Beach to Ellis Beach back in December when I was sailing in circles and barely able to stay right side up. Either the new smaller sail is the key or we are getting better at kayak sailing. I think it's a little of both. Certainly, reducing the size of the sail by 35 cm2 greatly reduces the heeling force and, with the boat not broaching on every wave, steering is much easier. We tried doing some surfing at Yorkeys Knob but we could only manage catching a few short waves. 

On Wednesday, with some trepidation as gale force winds were forecast, we went up to Yorkeys Knob at low tide. Before we left, we storm proofed the house bringing in all the outdoor furniture, tying things down and putting all potential missiles away. When we got to Yorkeys Knob, the tops were blowing off the waves and the tide was low enough, but the waves were not really that big. There is a continuous cycle of dredging at Yorkeys Knob which is really changing the sea bed and, to our minds, reducing the wave potential. 

 Saltwater Creek

Right now, the waves are very narrow and tend to rise up, only to drop away again in 50 metres or so. Rides are consequently very short and haphazard. You get on the wave and seconds later, the wave subsides back down and you are left as flat as the actress with the bishop. The presence of a hundred metres of dredging pipe that is always inevitably anchored right where the best waves break adds to the frustration.

On Thursday, with Cyclone Dylan far to the south of us – where it is undoubtedly wreaking havoc – the wind pretty much dropped off to nothing, and we did not even bother taking the kayaks up to Yorkeys Knob. I cycled down to the Esplanade and bouldered for an hour - the first time in almost a week as we have had lots of rain. The walls were washed clean of routes, but everything was dry, except for the cycle path which was 40 cm underwater by the big king tides that are running this week. Apparently, a few of the beach side communities in Cairns were flooded as the tide ran up to 4 metres. And so the week that was supposed to wash in on a torrent of rain and maelstrom of wind, came in as gently as a mothers caress.

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