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Esperence Sea Kayak

Posted by robjwall on January 23, 2014

17 – 23 January 2014.

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Remote Rocky Islands – Strong Winds – The Southern Ocean – Three Men – Sounds like an epic doesn’t it?  Actually it was a remarkably straightforward and beautiful trip.

We left Freo on Friday, and after a delay while Rob welded my trailer rack after Bryan broke it, were on the road.  We arrived late and crashed at the launch site at Lucky Bay (leading to the predictably grumpy ranger the next morning.  After way too long putting things in and out of dry bags, we paddled off at 10am around to Thistle Cove for morning tea. (Taking in the sights of the by now famous Kangaroo Rock climbing area :)).  Then it was time for a long fast downwinder around past Cape Legrande itself (it looks to me like there would be some ok Trad Climbing here) to an unnamed cove.  It was hot and windy so I wasted a lot of time putting up a tarp using lots of tension to stop it flapping, and paddles as supports.  Then the paddle broke!  We had been wondering if we should take one or two spare paddles and chose one (bad decision).

 

DAY ONE MAP

We all slept well until the 5am Mosquito alarm clock, and were back on the water about 930 for the 11k crossing to the island “Sandy Hook”.  I am paddling a Mirage 530, lent to me by Yvonne (Rob’s Wife), its nice to paddle despite my overloading.  Bryan is in my Lettman Speedliner (impossible to overload), and Rob has a borrowed plastic sea kayak (would be slow but he has a sail!).  The crossing was long but pretty quick being almost downwind again.  We spent a nice afternoon listening to Kelp Gull, and took a short walk up to the Ridge before sunset.  We are on the one beach on the island (pictured) which is the most beatifual place to hang out and contemplate nothing much.

 

DAY TWO MAP

In the (monday) morning we left at 9am and paddled around the West side of the Island which was out of the wind, and had some great rock formations to look at. (No picture – you will have to go there yourself :)).  We landed at one point because I didn’t want to pee in the boat!  This proved to be difficult, even in calm sea…  Then we had some quite difficult cross wind paddling through a gap, and on to “Woody Island” where we got an actual bed, and all slept for a couple of hours.  For an evening walk I went over the main hill and then rock hopped / bush backed back to base (hard).  The permanent camp on the island is looking very run-down which is a shame as its a great spot and deserves to be a popular “Eco-resort”.

 

DAY THREE MAP

On tuesday we got up at 6.15am and got a scheduled forecast on Marine VHF 72 (this was the only time we used the radios, I’m not sure we could actually have reached anyone) which was not good.  The wind strength was forecast to pick up to 40 Knots by lunchtime which could make our craft uncontrollable, so we decided to take the less risky option and paddle 17k downwind to Esperence town, not 10k upwind back to the bike we had left on the shore as planned.  This was a long but uneventful trip – my mid-morning pee was accomplished by climbing out of my boat in the middle of the sea to the amusement of the other guys.  My back was sore by the end of this day (perhaps because this is the day we did NOT do yoga?).  The taxi back to our car was $230 – Ouch.  The kids texted me and are having fun at the National Whitewater champs at Penrith!

DAY FOUR MAP

On the final day I abseiled down some climbs I want to do at Kangaroo Rock, but the wind was 30 Knots, so I gave up looking, and went for a walk up Frenchman’s Cap instead with Rob and Bryan.

Lessons.   Water bags are better than bottles.  Take fewer smaller dry bags.  Take more spare paddles. Take printed Satellite photos (these are better than charts for finding beaches to land on).  Make sure your charts cover enough that you can see Islands in the distance as well as close ones as they make very useful landmarks when navigating (my compass broke, and I don’t trust the one on my watch).

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