A great weather forecast for the long weekend helped make this trip a great success. Meeting at 9:30 on the beach at 2nd Valley Sat morning saw light 0-5kn winds, slightly overcast but fine sky and a calm sea – couldn’t have been better!
Overnight campers Charlie and Marina, Ian B and Rob B were joined on the beach by Peter Mc. After a quick briefing we were launched by our shore safety crew of Nicky and Louis, as a result we now have a great new photo for our Facebook page – see above!
Conditions were perfect and we enjoyed a leisurely paddle South, under the Rapid Bay jetty and on towards Rapid Head. The sea remained calm around the corner so we continued on, and a short distance around Rapid Head we met the first of many seals. The junior seals took great delight in checking us out, and ended up following us for the rest of the paddle South.
On the return paddle we came past the jetty again to see two sea eagles perched on top of the light poles – they seemed quite undisturbed by our presence only 20 metres or so away and watched with interest as we paddled on.
All up a 15km round trip back to 2nd Valley beach and 5.9km/hr which seemed faster than our leisurely pace suggested.
Peter and Marina called it a day after lunch and were replaced by new arrivals Kym and Helen. Once we re-launched we met up with Mark D who was also out on the water. As time was getting on we decided to do a short paddle North to check out Wirrina Cove, aiming to get back before 3pm when the temperature would start dipping.
Total paddlers for the day: 8
Sat evening we headed up the road to Lilla’s Cafe at Yankallila. We took over the back area outside next to the wood-fired pizza oven and had a great meal, with Bruce and Janet driving down after work to join us midway, Lee also joining us after driving down late in the afternoon. The temperature had plummeted by the time we got back to the caravan but there was still time to give Bruce lots of advice on how best to put his and Janet’s tent up, followed by some drooling over his new black torpedo boat.
Sunday morning was a 9am meet on the beach and another fine forecast. We had a great turn-out – Peter C, Shauna E and Mark L drove down and everyone else trundled down from the caravan park – Ian, Rob, Bruce, Charlie and Marina, Kym, Helen and Lee.
We divided into two groups in keeping with the aim of the paddle – “to go at a slow pace suitable for the group with focus on enjoying the scenery”.
Rob took charge of the faster group with Bruce, Charlie & Marina and Mark, with a slower ‘B’ group of Ian, Peter, Shauna, Lee, Kym and Helen.
Ian gave a briefing, Nicky updated the float plan and emergency contacts, and then to keep the 2 groups from merging Rob’s group set off first and it can be noted that Bruce was packed and ready to go at the same time as everyone else (well…almost…but he did have a new boat to organise 😉 ). Group B took off to do a slow circle to the North as a bit of a warm up then we all turned South.
The paddle was much the same as Sat except for a slightly less calm sea on the Southern leg. After getting a conditions update from Group A who were already around Rapid Head, Group B decided to also go around, and we were soon back amongst the seals. Hopefully we can get a bit of video footage up of the seals who were even more playful than the previous day.
Conditions were good, paddlers all felt strong and fresh so it was decided to carry on past the 5km mark for at least another half an hour. We soon came upon Rob’s group who had found a sandy beach to land on – very uncommon in this area, and only available today due to the low tide, but it was a good chance to join up and compare notes before the paddle back. The groups were re-arranged due to various time commitments, some heading back North and the rest enjoying the weather to paddle South a bit further than originally intended.
Conditions around Rapid Head on the way back were markedly different – although the wind had picked up very slightly, it was most probably the change in direction to NE combined with the SW swell that pushed the waves up and made for a much bumpier ride, plus we now had clapotis rebound from the cliffs thrown into the mix.Nevertheless we all made it back to 2nd Valley unscathed and everyone agreed the waves had been an enjoyable interlude!
Paddlers for the day: 11
A great weekend of paddling, based at a great campsite with very friendly hosts and a great bunch of paddlers. a special shout out to Kym and Helen who in comfortably doing 18km on Sunday by paddling within their limits smashed their previous mileage PB – well done!
We had 5 people with VHF radios and these proved very useful – rather than being another safety gadget that rarely gets used, my feeling is we should get comfortable using them all the time so that it becomes 2nd nature – we were able to check weather conditions around the Rapid Head Corner between groups, and generally keep in touch with each other, confirm plans etc.