What a lovely day to paddle. The weather forecast was for thunderstorms, up 30kt winds, heavy rain. That sort of forecast speaks volumes. When Claudia came over to my place, we did consider calling our paddle off, kind of. But we couldn’t and didn’t. And I’m glad we didn’t as it was a great day.
The plan to paddle from the Lane Cove River wier to Roseville bridge was on, full steam ahead.
We figured the BOM numerical forecast would be reliable enough and it foretold of 20-30kt wind gusts with winds mostly in the 10-15 range. Really, the wind kept blowing most of the day and the observations were pretty much bang on. We experienced stronger winds in the range 15-20kts gusting well into the 20s out on the more open harbour area.
It didn’t stop raining much through the day. The few breaks were appreciated though.
We started at Birong Flat and paddled up to the weir. The weir was spilling after all of the overnight heavy downpours. We had a bit of a quick play in the moving water. Paddling down the river was with the run out tide and we made a decent pace. It has been a long time since either of us have paddled these waters and it made for a pleasant paddle as we went past some nice scenery and checked out some great houses along the way.
The 13km stretch from Burns Bay Rd to Middle Head was a tough slog into the wind. We averaged 5.5 km/hr over this passage. Of course, we wanted some reward on the downwind leg from Middle Harbour to Roseville Bridge but the wind was weaker and more intermittent as we pressed into the more sheltered reaches of Middle Harbour. Nevertheless, the speeds were consistently at 7 km/hr over the last couple of hours as we closed out the day.
We were hunting around for a lunch spot from 12 noon. We were discussing what was required…..indoors, being out of the rain, cold and wind. That was pretty much it. Food and the quality of it didnt really come into it but I suppose this was a given. We ended up spying the Thelma and Louise cafe at Neutral Bay. This joint was packed and had a good vibe. We dripped all over the floor as we were soaking, even though we’d left out pfds and skirts behind at the beach. I have to say that the wait staff didnt bat an eyelid about our mess and I was able to thoroughly enjoy my seafood linguine. Mmmmm. It was much better than my staple of vita weets and tinned salmon.
As we continued to ply our way eastwards up the harbour against the wind, there was a moth sailing race going on. Now if you haven’t seen these ‘foiler’ craft then you definitely need to. They sit on two hydrofoils and lift out of the water and look totally amazing as they fly along. How those hydrofoils provide enough lift and stability is beyond my comprehension but they obviously do.
Crossing Middle Head was exciting. I caught a few good waves from Middle Head to grotto Point and the gps read a maximum speed of 22.9km/hr. Pretty normal sort of maximum for surfing.
Paddlers: Claudia S and myself