Today was the largest klan trip since we formed. Since most of us had today as a holiday, we planned to paddle out of Swansea channel, out to Moon Island and down to Spoon Rocks near Caves Beach. South of this point is a series of sea caves and cutaways which might offer some decent play.
Eight of us set out at 8:00am under the watchful eye of Henry Van der Kolk, a NSW club instructor who recently joined the klan, and broke out of the Swansea bar soon after. To greet us, a pair of large dolphins ripped through our ranks defying all attempts to photograph them. We decided that the Moon Island leg would delay us too much as there was a cold front heading our way and we didn’t want to get overtaken by bad weather. Next time.
We made Spoon Rocks in good time and beached in a little sheltered beach made just for us. A quick chat and some photos later and we were on our way to the caves. The rebound off the shore was pretty strong and when we got to the main cave, we found it a bit too dangerous to enter. A little further south is a cutaway guarded by fierce rebounding rock gates. By picking a good line through these, we could get right into the cutaway which was calm and we could inspect a narrow gorge, more a long crack in the coast. Returning to the open water again, we headed home as time was important. The trip back was uneventful and calm with a gentle half meter swell. The problem was that Leonie became seasick and her paddling became very lethargic. The gentle swell was making me feel a bit nauseous as well and I don’t usually get seasick. Unfortunately, Leonie didn’t make it and the seasickness took its toll. We tethered her up and towed her to Swansea Heads beach for a rest. Henry towed her boat back to the cars and Graeme picked her up in their car.
This was a lesson in making sure tow lines are always available and in making sure the group doesn’t scatter too far. We were on top of the situation but had someone got sick with a large distance to go then things might have been more problematic. It can happen any time and to any one. Leonie is a good paddler and well equipped but there you go – sick. She recovered quickly enough but some don’t. Best be prepared.
Apart from this, the trip was enjoyable with loads of dolphins and mixed conditions; a good solid outing for the klan. With so many new members, it was good to get this many at once and find out each other’s strengths and personalities. Not a big trip by any measure but a milestone for the team.