It’s amazing how things change and in a short time. When I started paddling I was terrified of leaving the safety of Lake Macquarie. Even the lake itself could at times be pretty hostile. These days the lake is pretty boring. I still like to cruise around with friends on relaxing day trips, especially when newer paddlers are with us, but mostly not much happens and it usually ends up a chat-fest.
Lately, we’ve made our coast our playground. It’s as it should be for sea kayakers. We are fortunate to have easy access to some very beautiful and varied coast and you can be sure things don’t always turn out the way you planned. We have accumulated some handy local knowledge on the conditions our backyard can hand out despite our recent trips being calm and uneventful.
From Swansea down to Catherine Hill Bay, you can expect hidden bommies with waves that stand up out of nowhere, tricky rebound and swell that doesn’t do what you think it will. From Newcastle harbour down south, there’s loads of rebound, reefs and some very large ships to avoid. Swansea bar is either flat and calm or an unpredictable mess that requires nerves of steel to cross. Our region boasts some of the best beaches in the world but what looks beautiful from the shore looks life-threatening when you’re trying to land a kayak. From Newcastle to Swansea there’s nowhere to land without a beach landing.
The great thing about handling all this all the time is that you get a feel for what is being dished out. We now know where the threats are lurking, where to land easily and where to explore and when. We have cathedral-like caves, cut-aways and gauntlets that are as good as anywhere and we are learning how they operate in varying seas. Some of these places can only be accessed by kayak so it is a privilege to get to know them.
All this makes it more attractive to visiting paddlers who would like to see what our part of the world offers. So if you are coming our way, gives us a call.