From 'The Sea Canoeist', Vol 1. 1979.

Recherche Bay to Southport Lagoon
November, 1979.

Scribe: Ellen Cornish
Recherche Bay - Southport Lagoon. November, 1979. As this was a novice trip an unsuspecting novice was appointed as reporter. Not only am I a novice canoeist, but I am also a novice reporter.

PADDLERS:- Using various slalom and sea touring boats, including a plywood double. Cecily Butorac, Pamela Butorac, John Evertze, Tony & Jill Gaiswinkler, Les Linsell, Bradley Hudson, Victor & Helen Saund & friend John, Mike Emery & Kathy, Trevor Roddem, David McInnes & Ellen Cornish (trip reporter), Laurie Ford, Stephen Ford, Scott Rimon, and David Bird.

On Friday night David, Trevor and myself left home hoping that Laurie would be ahead of us and got the fire going but guess who pulled up behind us at Huonville for last minute shopping, none other than Laurie and his three companions. Our only other hope for a roaring fire was Cecily, and on arrival at Recherche we found Cecily, Les, Pamela & John had not let us down.

We also had another ‘surprise’ in store for us. Cecily had borrowed a hammock and there it was strung up between two trees. At first it seemed like a good idea but after a few people testing it , and David breaking it, together with Laurie’s threats of cutting it down during the night I began to doubt whether it was such a good idea. After repairs were done to the hammock, a mug of Port to warm us, and with Laurie’s threats of cutting the hammock down, we snuggled into sleeping bags. Cecily snuggled into her hammock with a lump of wood for protection. Unfortunately for Cecily, Laurie did happen to wake during the night and decided to test the sharpness of his knife. Cecily then tested her lump of wood out on Laurie’s toes.

Next morning after packing up, the main group left the beach at about 1030 - Laurie, David and myself waited for Brad, Mike and Kathy. We finally left about 1100. Rounding the point we were confronted by the main group at the Images. Much to Laurie’s delight, Cecily had to do some running repairs to hers and John’s slalom boats. After a quick snack we were on our way again, with Laurie disappearing into the distance with the aid of his sail. It wasn’t long before we reached the beach near Southport Lagoon where everyone landed through the surf without losing any camping gear. We set up camp and those of us who do eat had some lunch. Cecily, Laurie, Les, and Trevor then decided to paddle to the mouth of the lagoon while some of us walked. Some also stayed in camp and slept. The paddlers did a bit of surfing at the mouth where the light swell was building up beautifully over the shallow bar. Trevor got caught up in a wave, did a beautiful POP-OUT, capsized and lost his paddle. Unfortunately it was not of the floating variety. Cecily also came out and it was found that her canoe was lacking in sufficient buoyancy (Cec’s motto is ‘do as I say, not as I do’, ED) When we got back to camp David, Mike and Kathy took to the water for a bit of surfing (Kathy never having been in a canoe before this trip).

Having had tea, Cecily encouraged the majority of us to go for a walk along the beach, and Jill even persuaded Tony into going for a moonlight walk. The lagoon certainly looked nice with a bushfire reflected into the calm water.

Next morning Victor, Helen, and John left the camp-site early to paddle back to Recherche. After further walks along the beach and Trevor returning to the mouth to look for his paddle (to no avail) we repacked the canoes. The water was certainly rougher than the first day but after only one spill we all made it through the surf. I was glad that I had the security of being in a double with David. Jill was having a bit of difficulty keeping her Clubman going in the direction she wanted and looked at Laurie with a great deal of envy as he went racing past with his sail up.

I was relieved when we rounded the point and had the wind behind us. We stopped at Little Lagoon Beach for lunch. Tony paddled across to the Images to do a bit of skin diving while David and I paddled out to do some fishing. Tony had a lot more luck than we did, and arrived back with several crayfish and some abalone. We then sat around a fire while Cecily and Kathy did some body surfing. From Little Lagoon Beach we had a very easy paddle back to Recherche. On entering Recherche a beautiful sight met our eyes - the mountains, one of them snow-capped, were very blue, the tree lined foreshore studded here and there with a few houses. The only sign of life was a drift of smoke curling from one of the chimneys.
Ellen Cornish

Post Script - by David (trip-leader) This is a good one for novices or just anyone who loves paddling. The scenery is good, the beaches white, and the camp sites dry and sheltered. There are parts that can be a challenge to a good canoeist, such as the mouth of the lagoon, or as easy as paddling the quiet waters of the lagoon. If the weather is right it is a good paddle for anyone.

P.P.S. - If the weather is not right you still have the whole of Recherche to paddle in. ED.

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