Two high end WA paddlers, John Wilkie in the very sexy brandnew epic V12 surfski and Ash Nesbit in some other ski :-), joined me for about an hour north of Grey!
There must be something special about a red nose – Rudolph has one, too!
It looked like an easy shelterd paddling day inside the offshore reef all the way south. It was nice and easy following winds all day, the swell was not noticable inside the reef shelter, and the sun was shining. What else do you want!
Well, maybe two attractive escort paddlers appearing suddenly out of a small breaker? I was just paddling and dreaming along, when I looked up and saw them surfing right towards me over a low reef wave! Here we go! This looked like some entertaining talk for a while!
John Wilkie was paddling his sponsored by Canoeing Down Under epic V12 surfski – a bloody attractive combination! My colors – red, black and white…with an unbeatable design line on the ski! Plus a skillfull Olympic paddler on top – that’s what dreams are made of! Well, maybe this combination is paddling *fast*, too… :-)) and yes, Ash was there as well…
Amazingly when I’m joined by strong surfski paddlers on lightweight crafts the guys know how to behave themselves and simply paddle probably less than half of their regular speed and stay along my side when I’m paddling my heavy loaded “cargo bus”…when I’m joined by a strong male well rested “sea kayaker” with an empty boat they always try to race me and like to show me who is the faster one…this happened not only once…
Unfortunately they had to get back to their car at the Grey settlement after about an hour, and I was on my own again.
I kept on paddling along, and almost didn’t even notice how the wind lifted and at some point there were some continuous surflines further out to the ocean and less and less quiet water close to the shore…
I was almost used to stay close in now and to sneak in the shelter inside reefs, I felt like I simply keep on paddling instead of searching the way out of the breaker lines into the open sea again. It almost felt like a challenge to negotiate the lowish breakers at first, which became soon quite a wet challenge! The breakers got higher, the stretch of almost unbroken water close to the shore where they use to run out became norrower, and the wind and swell lifted continuously! I didn’t even had my cag on…but at some point I put at least my PFD on as it kept on dangling to the side of my backdeck, washed off from a wave. This at least gave me some wind protection on my body.
I was looking at my map, and saw still an almost unbroken offshore reef line out there which should still protect the beach from surf – where the hell did those lifting breaking surf lines came from? Seems like the swell overall lifted that afternoon already, and the reef was not protecting it any more enough!
I had quite some fun, bracing into the rolling breakers. hey wer still lacking serious punch, and despite getting wet allover I was not suffering any stability or was close to get thrown or stranded up the beach. It was simply teaching me some nice skills!
I was determined to make it to Wedge Island “city” that night, as I knew there would be bad weather the next day and I felt like rather staying close to a settlement just an case I would need something on my upcoming day off…
The last corner to negotiate, Wedge Island’s headland itself, was done in last light and quite high winds already. The water was quite messy at that point, but still without any serious punch.
I saw three cars parked on the headlad sandspit admiring the sunset with some drinks, and as I needed to land and find a campsite soon, I had to paddle in about 300 m behind the cars where it seemed to be a dry stretch of beach before the sandy cliffs were starting again.
I was wet and cold and already shivering allover, and stupidly not welcoming the friendly lady walking over from the cars with a glass of wine in her hand, asking me where I came from and if I liked a hot shower…maybe it was the “social shock” of the comforting glass of wine in her hand which mad me rather thinking I’d prefer my privacy on my stretch of beach and my tiny cold shower out of my water bag…I told her, shivering, sorry, I urgently need to get warm and dry *now*, please give me some space to change…and she walked off again.
Later, when I had already put up my tent on he beach and *was* in warm and dry clothes and not shivering any more, the party had obviously finished their sundowners and drove by with one car for another talk, and if I needed anything. I was more in a friendly chatting mode by then and answered her questions and said I think I’m quite happy now out here by myself, and all I needed was to crash soon and to get some rest.
Who could know that the night would be stormy as hell, sandblasting my kayak, tent and me, even inside my tent?
Text message from Freya:
30.49 115.11, Wedge Island. 65 km, 7:00 am to 6:00 pm. Nice following winds all day! Got two surfski escort paddlers, John and Ashley, for an hour or so before I was paddling for two hours in the low breaker zone of a wide breaker line, getting wet allover, but fun, stubborn to go out again where some higher breakers may be lurking.
(Google Earth pic is wrong, I’m on the mainland southern side, the village is called Wedge Island as well)