Due to various commitments, I was unable to make the last two weekend paddles, although Doug managed to join the boys for an overnight trip from Bawley Point to Wimbie Beach which involved a pleasant night's camping at Snake Bay and a minor tangle with the rock walls in the Blue Cave on North Tollgate Island proving that no sea kayak trip can ever be incident free.
Under the gum trees down by the river at Thompsons Point
Doug and I had a fantastic week clipping ring bolts at Thompsons Point and off the Braidwood Road enjoying fabulous autumn weather and crowd-free (people free) climbs before coming back to Moruya in time for Saturday's paddle from Maloneys Beach to Mossy Point. It was another one of those weekends that are supposed to be a bit windy but turn out glassily calm.
The age of the electronic guidebook at
At first glance this promised to be a rather long day due to the car shuttle involved, but various partners of kayakers were pressed into service ferrying cars about and we ended up in the very cushy position of only having to drive to Maloneys Beach once and having our car waiting for us at the end of the day at Mossy Point.
Some kind of mine is longer than yours competition
Apart from P getting drug tested on the drive between Mossy Point and Maloneys Beach - do older bearded men wearing (spray) skirts really profile as ice users? - the car shuttle was rapidly dispatched and only ten minutes after our scheduled departure time we were all on the water and heading out to the Tollgate Islands.
Near the Tollgate Islands
I, of course, was at the back of the line, as the lads sped away on the five kilometre crossing to the Tollgates. With a swell up to two metres running, no one seemed inclined to approach the Blue Cave and we paddled past heading for Black Rock another three kilometres south. Last time I had paddled to Black Rock we stayed on the sheltered western side as my companions were a wee bit anxious, so this time I wanted to paddle around this tiny island. It didn't take long to convince the lads to add this extra bit of paddling so around we went before heading into Mosquito Bay for the ubiquitous Aussie bakery stop. If pie eating (or even grain eating) is required for becoming an Australian citizen, Doug is in trouble.
Heading around Black Rock
PL joined us at Mosquito Bay so we were seven as we headed south and a light northeasterly wind came up. I had my sail up and down all the way to Burrewarra Point and occasionally got within a few hundred metres of everyone else. PL, of course, was in and out of half a dozen gauntlets sometimes luring other paddlers in with him. We paddled inside Jimmies Island which I have not done before and had an easy passage past Burrewarra Point.
At Mossy Point
After that it was pretty much a straight-line for Mossy Point where a small wave was crowded with surfers and SUP'ers. MS was exceedingly gentlemanly and waited for me to paddle into the channel at Mossy Point perhaps fearing that as the lone female I might somehow go astray in the final stages of the paddle. The day was almost over and incident free until, in a tussle over a wave, M managed to pitch-pole down a steep wave straight into the side of P's Mirage driving a hole through the fibreglass and almost making P an involuntary kidney donor. The final, and most spectacular scene came when M's five metre long white kayak flew vertically out of the water in a maneuver reminiscent of a great white shark feasting on a seal.
Celebrating the demise of another Mirage