25 June 2011

Winter Down Under

It's winter in Australia at the moment. In sub-tropical Brisbane, that means generally good weather and clear blue skies. We get our rain in the summer.

Earlier this week I picked up a kayak on loan from my niece Katrina and her husband Tony. It's been sitting under a tarp in their backyard, unused since Tony bought a new kayak for their tour business. I've been looking around for a kayak I can take out by myself while Donna's at work during the week. I can paddle our two-seater single-handed, but at 33kg it's a popped shoulder waiting to happen getting it on and off the car by myself. The Old Town Nantucket is no light-weight at 27kg, but with a bit of forethought it's manageable, just.

As Donna's been on leave this week, she suggested I take the Nantucket out while she's there to help me load and unload if need be. Kind of a trial run. So I loaded everything into and onto the car and we drove to Wellington Point, about five minutes from home.

Once I was in the water, Donna sat in the car reading "Southern Exposure" by Chris Duff. It's about his solo circumnavigation of the south island of New Zealand in a sea kayak.

Just off Wellington Point is a little island called King Island. It's only really an island at high tide, at low tide you can walk out to it. From where I launched it's about a two kilometre paddle. About half an hour after setting out I was on the beach on the island. I would have got there quicker, but I kept stopping to look at the soft corals on the bottom. The water was so calm, I could see the bottom all the way there.

Off in the distance between those two trees is
Wellington Point, where I'd set out from.

Once I got to the island, I pulled my camera out of the waterproof bag, put the lens cap on my lap and took a couple of photos of the bird life and the beach, then got out of the boat. I took a few more photos of the kayak, then switched off the camera and went to put the lens cap back on. That's when I remembered I'd put it on my lap. I looked in the kayak, hoping it would be in there somewhere, but it wasn't. Then I saw it floating in the water behind the boat. Needless to say, it made the trip back separate from the camera.

These little guys didn't even realise I was there
till I got out of the boat.

Somewhere in there, there used to be a house.

My lens cap.

Back at the car, Donna was engrossed in the book she was reading. She'd just got to a bit where the author was having difficulty landing due to rough seas and a rocky shoreline. That was when I decided to call her on my mobile to tell her how peaceful it was out on the island. She wasn't able to get to her phone in time to answer it, and by the time I tried to ring again, she was trying to ring me. She had visions of me soaking wet, having fallen out of the boat, so she decided to come looking for me. I could hear the relief in her voice when I finally got through.

By the time I got back to the car, Donna was standing on the boat ramp wishing we'd taken out our double kayak instead. I don't think she'll make that mistake again.

11 June 2011

15 minutes of fame

Okay, it wasn't really fifteen minutes and you'd only know it was me if you knew me personally, but I was on the tele recently.

A couple of months ago, my niece Katrina told us one of the local TV shows was doing a segment on their kayaking business and they needed a few volunteers to come along for a paddle on the day. Well I jumped at the chance, not so much because I wanted to be on TV, but it was an opportunity to go for another paddle, and also to see how the show was made.

So on the day I met everyone at our launch site, we spent about an hour on the water, followed by a nice morning tea of tea and muffins while we chatted with the crew.

When the show was aired about six weeks later I was surprised to see they'd filmed me in closeup in a panning shot as I paddled past the camera boat. And I'd spent all that time trying to avoid getting too close to the camera in case it looked like I was trying to get my face on TV.

The video is now online, so if you'd like to watch it go here.

I've watched it so many times, that it probably adds up to 15 minutes now.