Tuesday 28 July 2015

Cruising the Royal

My mates from the Sutherland Shire Canoe Club invited me along last Saturday for their weekly sea paddle from Bundeena south to Little Marley Beach & back. All up it's a 20km return trip & one of the most scenic, although committing paddles, you could hope to fit into a winter morning.

On this particular day the weather was uncommonly kind, with no wind to speak of, and a minimal groundswell allowing us unfettered access to the fortress-like sandstone cliffs that line the route. The video below shows just how benign it was, and I was pleasantly surprised when I watched the raw footage to see the clarity of the water through the GoPro lens, just magic.

Rob was busy fitting out the Evoke & Pace 17 for an upcoming trip, and as usual he had all the fun boats, Nordkapp LV, Xtra & Xcite at his place, so I turned a little mournfully to the Pace 18, knowing it'd preclude me from manoeuvring in & out of the myriad rock pools & gauntlets that for once, would be open for exploration. 

After the first 2km of the paddle shot past with the GPS hovering around 10kmh, I was grateful for the speed of the Pace, and a quick look around the group should have reminded me of what I was in for. The double kayak had the better half of current mixed double National marathon champions, the back seat was occupied by the current cup holder in the mixed double ski class for the Hawkesbury. The better half of that champion ski combo was paddling a pretty slippery single, and the other two singles were occupied by Hawkesbury record holders. I was relieved when they told me they were saving themselves for a marathon the following day, otherwise I would probably have busted a boiler keeping up....

The paddle down to Little Marley was bathed in early morning light, and the hues of gold & brown in the cliffs were something to behold. Better still, we were able to paddle within touching distance of the cliffs for most of the journey, a rare treat along a stretch which generally varies between industrial & nuclear powered rebound.

As we turned into Little Marley Bob, Kate & Kristie were treated to a couple of whales playing in the morning sun, complementing the seals, dolphins & sea birds we'd already clocked up. We also had the pleasure of being chased by a school of pilchards; forget the cetaceans, you haven't lived until you've heard the mighty roar of breaching pilchards up close.

A stretch & some pics on the beach, & back in the boats for the paddle back, again treating ourselves to the spectacular cliffs, right in tight. You know it's calm when you can see the sea urchins...

Truly one of the nicest days on the sea you could imagine, a good workout, some amazing scenery, wildlife & a few laughs with a great bunch of people.

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