Tuesday, 1 December 2015

All @ Sea IV - Bouncing Beecroft

The All@Sea weekend with the Sutherland Shire Canoe Club would have to be one of our favourite weekends away in the year.

These guys are accomplished racers, punching miles above their weight in the NSW Marathon Series and iconic races like the Myall Classic & Hawkesbury Classic, yet they refuse to be pigeon-holed and will have a go at anything.

Many are regulars at the Dolls Point Paddle each Thursday on their skis & fast kayaks, they regularly have surf days at Bundeena, paddle canoes, take their sea kayaks along the challenging Royal National Park coastline, and there isn't even a whiff of the stifling pecking order of importance that can undo many clubs.

When the plan for this year's All@Sea was hatched & they indicated a willingness to take on a circuit of the very committing Beecroft Peninsula, Sharon, Rob & I jumped at the chance to help out.
The forecast promised a building northerly, which would push us down the fortress-like cliffs of the exposed edge of the peninsula, allow protected entry into the very cool caves & features on the inside of Pt Perpendicular, and then maybe a battle across the breeze to Cullala Bay, our amended landing spot due to the huge bushfire preventing access to Honeymoon Bay. 

Dropping the cars off at Calalla for the shuffle home, we noticed a strong Sou' Westerly wind blowing across Jervis Bay, but with every single forecast saying that it could only possibly be a very local land breeze, we went ahead with Plan A, a clockwise trip. It was a good lesson in 'playing what's in front of you' instead of what every weather guru says is gonna happen, as the southerly stayed up for the entire passage! By the time we'd reached the cars 35km later, we calculated that we hadn't had a single puff of wind from astern....

Last time we tried this with the SSCC, in 2013, we didn't make it past Little Beecroft Head, essentially on the map above the point where the first orange line turns yellow, so this was going to be a challenge for all involved.

Once out of the protected northern coast of the peninsula, we turned right & headed down south. Those who haven't been along this stretch should grab a cuppa & watch the 8 minute video above. It's like kayaking through the set of Lord of the Rings, serrated cliffs, huge cathedral-like sea caves, sea eagles soaring on the thermals, seals basking, and the fierce & unwanted bonus of a constantly flaring bushfire on the tops of the cliffs, that had nearly forced the evacuation of our launching spot at Currarong. Some of us got up real close & personal with the multitude of arches, caves & gauntlets, for others it was adventure enough just to be out there in the mayhem, 100m from the cacophony of booms & crashes as the swells careen into the immovable cliff face.

I'll let the pics tell the story, but this was a day to remember, paddled in great style by a group of paddlers who really are an admirable bunch for their capacity to have a go at anything.
Pre-paddle briefing at Currarong
Janet sets out through the creek
Rounding Little Beecroft Head & into the swell (pic by Steve Dawson)
Rob in the first cave of the day

View from the inside, 100m back
Rob & I exiting the very dodgy in & out cave (pic by Steve Dawson)
Rob around the corner from Gumgetters (pic by Steve Dawson)
Steve riding the surge up close
Paddling towards Pt Perpendicular with the bushfires flaring above.
Rob & I pass Lamond Head
Pt Perpendicular looking more like Mordor
Bob at Boat Harbour
The contrast of a sultry Honeymoon Bay.
Well done to all, can't wait for All@Sea V! 

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