Thursday, March 24, 2016

Sea Kayaking Weekend Adventures II: Guerilla Bay to Corrigans Beach

On Sunday the wind was forecast to be lighter, but was actually stronger, and the swell was considerably bigger hitting 2 to 2.5 metres on the bigger sets. Only eight kayakers lined up on the beach at Guerilla Bay for a one way paddle to Corrigans Beach. Originally, the plan had been to paddle north from Tomakin but that means rounding Burrewarra Point which gets pretty rough in windy conditions. Launching from Guerilla Bay put us on the north side of Burrewarra Point.

Guerilla Bay

After a quick briefing by Wildey, we headed out towards Burrewarra Point. Doug and I had paddled around Burrewarra Point the weekend before and, even in very calm conditions, we found quite a strong current and many haystacks. The swell was really picking up at Burrewarra Point and it was a bit challenging paddling up and down over the swells. After a short time, Wildey pointed us north and we turned downwind and started heading north up the coast. 

Heading out to Burrewarra Point

I found the paddling relatively challenging all the way to Circuit Beach. The wind was only about 10 to 12 knots, but the swell was around two metres with a confused sea on top. Paddling was a matter of continuously adjusting balance and throwing in correction strokes to maintain tracking with a following sea. Doug and I both had our sails, but the sea conditions were far too challenging for us to try sailing.

There are various bomboras off the coast and these were all breaking solidly. As we paddled past Jimmies Island, I saw Wildey paddling about 2 metres off shore while the rest of us kept a cautious distance from the waves. I guess forty years of paddling experience conveys a lot of skill.

Jayne paddling into shore with grey clouds behind

At Circuit Beach we landed for a short break in a small swell. There was some minor carnage with two or three people dumping, but most of us managed the landing with some degree of style. Launching was also easy with Wildey acting as beach master and launching last. I found the launch much easier than when we paddled out from Cormorant Beach a couple of weeks ago.

Doug and I managed to get our sails up and kayak sailed almost all the way to Corrigans Beach. With my sail up, and paddling lightly, I was actually at the front of the group for a change and Doug was getting quite a way ahead of the rest of the group. Near Sunshine Beach, the wind really picked up and I pulled my sail down for a little while as I was afraid of tipping. I always feel a bit unstable with the sail up.

Easy paddling as we get closer to Corrigans Beach

Once we got to Caseys Beach, the swell was much diminished and I was brave enough to put my sail back up to cruise around Observation Head. Once into Batemans Bay there was insufficient wind for sailing so the sail came down for good and we paddled the final few hundred metres into shore.

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