paddle group. Launch from Lucky Bay.
from the track to Lucky Bay. Photo
Wolfgang and Pel, en route to Thistle Cove from Hellfire.
Lucky Bay - Martin, Bob, Rod, Jane and Pel in conference over gear. Photo Julie Turner.
Martin flying a kite - honestly! Photo Bob Bright.
paddles his Greenland kayak around the point from Le Grand Beach.
Helen at Lucky
Bay, with Phantom Cave behind.
|We left Martin’s house
at about 7:45am having a lengthy discussion about paddle lengths then
settled into a comfortable silence. After driving for 30 minutes,
circumstances required that we take a little break for a short
discussion on the method of securing boats to trailers.
On Saturday those that had arrived early went for
an exploratory paddle in Lucky Bay – beautiful fine white sand that
squeaked under your feet, between granite boulder headlands, with
granite islands dotted across the horizon. We poked our nose outside
the bay to feel the force of the Southern Ocean before heading back to
Greenland kayaks attracted plenty of interest.
The afternoon was spent exploring our surroundings (the
coastal walk offered stunning views and variable terrain), before
waiting for the rest of the group to arrive. The remaining
were put up in the dark – 2 McMansion tents, 5 regular tents, and 3
On Sunday the paddle was from picturesque Hellfire Bay around to
Lucky Bay. Given the weather forecast was unfavourable for the
remainder of the week we got a good turnout for what looked like
possibly our only paddle for the week. We experienced quite “clapotis”
seas with around 1m vertical waves in the open ocean. We were all ready
for the pleasant break when we got to Thistle Cove. The decision was
taken to follow the coast around inside the cove and some of us played
in the shore waves. Paul and I survived a larger than usual
wave that got the adrenaline running. I then caught a larger wave in
the dump zone at 45 degrees and was duly capsized, and seeing a second
wave about to break on me quickly separated from my boat. On reaching
the beach I found I was missing my forward hatch cover. Bob followed me
in while the others stayed outside the breaker line – no Bob, I was not
worried about my hat , it was the hatch cover I was looking for. Bob
radioed the group to report the problem, only to be met by silence.
Shouting from the rocks was a more successful communication method and
it was decided that Bob and I would carry our boats up a rather large
boulder to be collected by car, while the remainder of the group
paddled for home and then collected the cars.
Meal times at camp
were always interesting as different culinary traditions were revealed.
Bob believes any meal is enhanced by the addition of chilli sauce and
pepper. Al opens 2 cans and combines the contents before heating. Paul
learnt that a full packet of pasta is a LOT of food. Those visiting
from campervan land brought exotic dips that require refridgeration.
Helen makes an awesome fruit cake, reserved for those that have
finished their dinner. Jane used vegetables and a knife (slight
difficulties were encountered because the local kangaroos have learnt
to use zippers and like lettuce and tomatoes). The variety of stoves
were compared and then underwent non-rigorous scientific
– the jetboil was only slightly faster than Bob’s gas stove (yet Bob
was heating about 4 times as much water).
Monday morning saw the creation of a new hatch cover, very sporty
blue tarp with a yellow cross - thanks guys it worked well, only
letting a couple of cups of water in over the next few days despite
some harsh treatment. The winds were less than forecast and
put in at our local beach and paddled around to Rossiter Bay – with two
beach landings to practice our skills. This was the scene of a second
popped hatch – this time only a pair of sunglasses was lost. Duct tape
was duly added as a tertiary securing devise and on we paddled with a
nice tail wind.
afternoon I walked to Thistle Cove for some purposeful beach-combing;
no hatch cover but an enjoyable costal walk all the same.
got the better of paddling on Tuesday, so we took advantage of it and
used Martin’s kites – we all had longer arms as a result, useful for
all those beach launches. Who can forget the “WhooooHooo” that Helen
shouted as she felt the force of the wind in that kite. We then formed
a convoy and drove along the beach to Esperance – where good coffee was
winds had been too strong for Mary to paddle so Laurie and Mary left
the group to find some inland water to paddle on. Bob had to return to
Perth early as well, so our group was decreased for the remainder of
Having watched the local wind patterns at Le Grand beach
(yes those boulders do create their own local wind pattern) it was
decided that Le Grand Beach was a suitable launch spot for the next
morning. We paddled out with a tail wind exploring the small coves,
conscious we may need this knowledge on the return trip.
the headland we had a breather in a rock bay before rounding another 2
headlands. This brought us to yet another pristine white beach – this
one with the unique rabbit shaped rock at one end. There was debate as
to whether we should continue to Hellfire bay or return to the cars,
and it was decided to wait until we got to the headland to see how the
wind was developing before we decided. Once we were there it was clear
that continuing on was unwise so we turned back to Cape Le Grand. After
rounding the last headland we had a full headwind and it was tough
paddling. We took a second break on the small beach that we had
explored on the way out. A tough, short, but enjoyable paddle. Kites
were the appropriate toy for the afternoon.
Thursday it was
decided to do some training exercises in Lucky Bay. There was a very
friendly shore break in a small cove on the far side of the bay.
Wolfgang did his first low brace on breaking surf – and Rod reports
that it was textbook perfect! There was a dolphin feeding frenzy
occurring at a small opening to the bay, which was fascinating to
watch. Once we were near the campsite a number of people practiced
their rolls. By this time we were long stay-ers in the camping area, so
much so that the local kangaroo couple ignored us totally as they had a
With strong winds forecast yet again it was
decided to pack up early and use the weekend in Perth to clean all that
sand out of our boats and make some repairs.
did an excellent job in planning the week, and which was enjoyed by
all. Thanks also to Bob and Rod who provided instructor support along
the way. Last but not least thanks to those whose company made the week