On Sun April 23 I picked up Matt Condon and Bernard Goble at 5am and set off for Port Parham planning to paddle across the Gulf to Ardrossan 36 km away. We were unpacking the boats in the dark at about 605am and by the time we had the boats on our trolleys and all the gear ready to go we had enough light to see the beach but not the water. We knew it was about mid-way through the out-going tide and we would have to walk a bit just weren’t sure how far. The wind was light about 8-10kph from the east and a comfortable cool paddling temperature, conditions were looking great for the trip. We caught up with the outgoing tide after about a 500 m walk and carry and were quickly into the boats at about 7am and headed out on about 280 degrees straight across the prohibited area along the line of channel markers. Bernard tried to call Sea rescue on the radio and we had some trouble being heard but the Rescue squadron were able to catch me on the phone so we set off in earnest keen to put some distance towards the white square on the horizon which we assumed was the Ardrossan silos even if it seemed a little south off of our heading.
As the sun came up so did the wind freshening to about 15 kph but still thankfully coming behind us. It was a fun paddle for the next couple of hours as the sea rose a little and we were catching the occasional little runners and making good time as we headed true to our float plan of paddling 280 degrees with the outflowing tide pushing us a little South. Bernard was making great time in his Nadgee solo, Matt was in his Epic 18 and I was in my Galasport and all paddling well. After a couple of hours the tide dropped away and we could change our heading for what became obvious as the Ardrossan silos and we headed straight to them. The sky was overcast so even at 10 am the light was low and the coast was not distinct enough for us to be able to see the Ardrossan town ship. The small housing settlement of Tiddy Widdy beach just North of Ardrossan was much more visible from the water so we headed between it and the silos.
We pulled in to the town jetty just on 11am 4 hours after setting off and were pretty happy with the time for the 36km journey. The beach was a bit of a disappointment and after a slight struggle we were able to get the boats up on the trailer which my son had driven around for us. A quick pasty and a coffee from the bakery and we were back on the road and home by 2.30pm.
The day ended up providing perfect conditions for the paddle, light easterly winds, a relatively low tide movement and easy paddling temperature helped by an overcast sky.
Paddling from Parham means you will need a trolley in order to get to the water’s edge, but knowing that the silos are visible from the shore will make the next trip much easier.
This was a trip I had on my bucket list so many thanks to Bernard and Matt and my son Sinchai for the driving.