On the Queens Birthday long weekend Monday 13 June, a group of five paddlers did the trip from La Perouse to Watsons Bay, some 27 km. There was Shaan, Raewyn, Cathy and Ian and myself.
The interesting thing about this trip were the solid southerly conditions. This of course was the attraction. We aimed to ride these southerly conditions northwards to sydney Harbour and created a one way trip to maximise the impact.
It is times like these to calibrate my knowledge of the sea state and winds by comparing my impression of the conditions against the BOM observations.
According to the BOM Weather observations for Little Bay, the winds were mostly in the high teens, early 20s gusting up to 29 kts. Seas were as forecast: 2-3m. Swell was around 2m.
We had a slog out of Botany Bay until we rounded the corner and then the riding began in ernest. We slid, surfed, broached, swamped, rose, dipped, twisted and turned for 20 odd klm up the coast.
For a long time, I was thoroughly enjoying the conditions and making the most of the surfing opportunities. As time progressed though, my energy levels depleted (I was bonking on energy gels) and towards the end, I have to say, it was tough going to muscle the hard acceleration needed to latch onto the waves.
Someone apparently telephone the Westpac helicopter to say five kayakers were in trouble. We had an interesting conversation with the Police Vessel once we reached inside Sydney Harbour.
Police: Are we in some kind of distress?
Police: Oh, someone rang and said you were.
Us: Wasn’t us. We didn’t see any other group of five out there. Hmmmm.
Who knows what that was about or why people ring the police. It was probably a concerned member of public. We were well prepared though. We all knew each other well, knew our skills and aside from our skills and judgement and good boats at Grade 3 standards, amongst us we had two vhfs, two plbs, numerous mobile telephones and flares, etc so we could have done a pretty darn good job of attracting attention and raising the alarm had we needed to.