Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Blythe Heads to Ulverstone By Sea Kayak

A daily (Monday to Saturday) bus service runs along the north coast of Tasmania from Burnie to Devonport which opens up the possibility of a one way paddle (with a tail wind) along this section of coast. Burnie, with ports and industrial development is not so interesting as a starting point for a paddle so we began this trip from Blythe Heads near Heybridge instead. Doug dropped me and our two kayaks plus gear off at a small boat ramp at Blythe Heads and then drove into Ulverstone. After parking at the boat ramp in West Ulverstone and he hopped on the number 70 bus from Grove Street in Ulverstone, arriving about a half hour later, back at Blythe Heads. 

Doug passing "bird rock"

The tide was dropping and we had a little rapid run (grade 1+) out to the ocean via the Blythe River. The coast to Penguin is low rocky reefs with very few sand beaches, and it took us about 1.5 hours to reach Penguin where we pulled in at Penguin Beach, just inside Stubbs Point to stretch our legs. While pleasant, this is not particularly interesting coast-line to paddle, especially compared to Rocky Cape or Circular Head. 

Doug disappearing into a trough

It was 11 am when we left Penguin Beach and the usual westerly wind was blowing. I'm sure we had the current against us for this section as it took us almost an hour to reach Three Sisters, some small rocky islets just past Penguin Point despite the 15 knot tail wind blowing. We paddled around Three Sisters looking for seals (no luck) and then into Goat Island, a big conglomerate blob of rock near West Ulverstone. Immediately we passed Three Sisters we were sheltered from wind and sea and the paddling became much calmer. 

 Hello seal

Paddling out around Seagull Islet we came across large beds of huge seaweed waving about in the current and on a steep rocky islet near Ulverstone we found five or six large seals lounging on the rocks. They were not overly disturbed by us and we were able to paddle by quite close. The final section up the Leven River to the boat ramp was quick and easy with the tide helping us along. 
 Goodbye seal

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