Three generations of the Fitzhardinge family hosting me in Port Denison. Thanks!
I thought that low surf wouldn’t be a problem, I won’t even need my PFD on, just time it right and paddle out! I should have remembered my long broaching in on a bigger wave last night…it bloody actually threw me on a bigger breaker that morning! A high brace wasn’t quite enough, I had to dig in more under, but came up instantly and all right, but very wet! And my PFD was dangling sideways from my back deck…
It actually bothers me in case of a roll hanging to the side, so I usually put it on on a surfy launch, but this time…a classic case of underestimating or/ and mistiming the surf! Well, I had my cag on with the hood pretty tight, so the water impact was somehow luckily limited.
The paddle itself today was friendly with only light to moderate headwinds. I stayed well offshore the reef breakers, which were guarding most of the coast south of Greenough River mouth. Good I went in early last night! I wouldn’t be sure if I would have found a safe landing spot…
I was nearing Port Denison, and thought I won’t need anything, I’m freshly showered, had plenty of fresh water and enough food, so going in somewhere before Dongara/ Port Denison out of sight of people’s houses would be best. But there was simply no inviting landing spot! Either the beach was narrow and guarded with some steep sand cliffs, or the reef break didn’t look very inviting to go in. I caught even two fat breakers and got eventually freezing wet and cold without my cag on, looking for a decent landing spot!
I spotted an “official” campsite to the left of the harbor entrance with easy sheltered landing, but I simply didn’t feel like signing up for a campsite amongst all those “old people”…so I decided to make it into the easy sheltered harbor of Port Denison and see what will happen…maybe there would be a yacht or surf club, someone on a boat inviting me to stay, or some person on the beach inviting me in…or I simply would start to make camp on the town beach!
I slowly paddled into the quiet sheltered harbor, I couldn’t even remember when I was landing in a “real” harbor!
There was a beach at the far end, good for a camp a bit off the town, and as I was seeing nothing more inviting, I decided to land there.
I was just about to climb out of my kayak, when a car came up with a guy and his about 12 year old daughter, asking me if I was the “Lady paddling around Australia”…yes, sure I am! How do you know? Ah, that article in the Geraldton paper about the cliffs…
Tim Fitzhardinge, an experienced sea captain himself on quite some bigger boats and dedicated sportsman, had actually read it just recently, spotted me by chance from the balcony of his house right across the campsite, and said to his three daughters:” Look, that’s the lady paddling around Australia! Let’s drive out and see if we can help her in any way…” they didn’t really believe him, but there she was!
Help in form of a shower, feed and stay in a house was eventually welcome by my side having to land in that town harbor, and it didn’t take much talking to unload my kayak, secure it behind a bush on the beach, jump in the car and arrive at Tim and Toni’s beautiful house!
The shower was heaven as usual after a long day on the salt water, and I was pretty chilly and wet that night anyway.
Later, after Tim showed me the house and all his plenty “toys”, the whole family, he and his lovely wife Toni, three daughters and the youngest 4-year old son Levi, walked me over to Tim’s parent’s house, where we had a yummy dinner and some good talks. Thanks to John and his wife, cooking a delicious feed! And thanks to Tim and Toni, hosting me that night!