Scribe: Liz Caldwell
Paddlers: Cecily Butorac, Laurie Ford, Alan Stanton, Liz Caldwell.
Saturday morning dawned bright and early for Laurie and Cecily on the first ferry from Kettering, and bright, although somewhat later for Alan and I who managed to sleep in through our respective alarms yet again! Having abandoned any idea of catching the second ferry in favour of having breakfast, we finally arrived in good time for the third departure from Kettering.
At Cookville, having located Cecily's car, had a chat with the caravan park proprietors and partaken of morning tea, Alan and I finally got our boats into the water fairly late at about 11a.m. As Laurie and Cecily had a good three hour start on us, we didn't expect to meet them until they were returning from Arched Island.
The bay, until we reached Penguin Island, was sheltered and delightfully calm, but once the island was rounded and we turned south, we met the remnants of a breeze and a small swell capped by a chop. By keeping close to shore, we found calmer water inside the kelp beds, with only the occasional “interesting” formation caused by swell, chop and backwash trying to move in opposing directions simultaneously.
After an hour or so, a large white spray of water shooting skywards was sighted. Closer inspection revealed a cave-cum-blowhole forcing plumes of high pressure air and spray thirty feet or so into the air as each successive wave forced its way into the opening. At this stage, Alan decided to get out his camera for a few shots of this phenomenon, and motioned me to position myself strategically in front of the cave. Being reasonably suspicious and cautious of such events, I was not as intrepid as Laurie. Cecily later related she had him virtually backing right into the opening.
From there, Alan hoisted his sail in the now near moribund breeze, so not to be out done by the superiority of wind over paddle power I rafted up for a while as we chatted and drifted in the right direction. Eventually an island with a small arch through the middle of it was sighted, so we decided to call it “Arched Island” in lieu of the genuine one, as our stomachs were telling us that a luncheon adjournment to dry ground was becoming well over-due. The island was joined to the mainland by a not-too-hard shingle bank which provided a suitable landing. In the hope that Cecily and Laurie would see the boats, Alan hoisted his orange sail as we found a sheltered spot for lunch.
Launching again was effected by sitting high and dry in one's boat and waiting for a wave to climb the steep shingle bank to carry one out with it. On the return, we visited the blowhole again and admired the changing colours of the cliffs and rock formations of Cape Connella and Fluted Cape as the sun's position changed.
Suddenly in the distance we sighted the two figures who had overtaken us during the lunch stop. We caught up with Cecily and Laurie on the inside of Penguin Island where there was now an even lesser depth of water separating it from Grass Point than earlier in the day when we had unsuccessfully investigated the possibility of paddling through the gap.
The sun was setting and the evening calm descending as we returned to Cookville where tea was hastily prepared and consumed on the beach, before driving to Cloudy Bay.
We had just finished pitching camp at the western end of Cloudy Bay Lagoon, when a vehicle flashing a bright spotlight drove down the track towards us. Our immediate queries as to who could possibly be later than us into camp were allayed when we realised that it was the local policeman doing his evening rounds.
We soon concluded that the local grapevine was very efficient as we chatted with him, for when we mentioned kayaks, he was immediately able to tell us where we'd been and what we'd done during the day.
The following morning almost started even later than Saturday as we indulged in a protracted gourmet breakfast with courses ranging from muesli to apricot pudding and cream. Hence, it was again quite late when we paddled out through the small surf and east along the Cloudy Beaches, Laurie and Alan chasing the occasional wave as Cecily and I chatted.
In the rocky bay on the eastern side of Whalebone Point we found several wetsuit-clad surfers sitting on their boards waiting for waves. It was decided that they needed a practical demonstration of how surfing ought to be done, so Laurie volunteered, duly catching one of the larger waves from well beyond the break and the surfers.
The morning's excitement over, we adjourned (Alan and Laurie by sail) to Cloudy Corner for lunch around a warming fire. Afterwards, we continued around Cloudy Reef, south past Blue Devil Rock and into Beaufort Bay, passing some spectacular rock formations, and avoiding a diver and his accompanying motor boat.
In Beaufort Bay, Laurie decided to start heading back towards the camp site, while Cecily, Alan and I found a small island to circumnavigate and an interesting cave to explore. The cave was large enough for the three of us to enter and to turn our boats around in without leaving too much fibreglass on the rocks
From there, we paddled back across Cloudy Bay to investigate another cave and to check out possible camp sites around Inlet Beach. As we approached the outlet of Cloudy Bay Lagoon, the surf had decreased on its morning height, and although now quite small still gave us a couple of comfortable rides in towards shore.
For those who stayed away from the trip in their hordes, they missed a most enjoyable weekend, enhanced by good company and the glorious weather requested of the “higher authorities” by Cecily.
Yours ever lately,
(Note: We had heaps of time before the last
ferry so called in
on Harry & Audrey Judd - ex lightkeepers from Swan Island, who
met on her first trip to Flinders Island in '78. They are retired and
living on Bruny Island, and treated us to afternoon tea and some liquid
refreshments. It was good to see them again. ED)
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