Broken Bay Writers – Stories of NSW Central Coast and beyond

Scribbles on life, the universe and everything… Woy Woy, Ettalong, Umina and teh Central Coast that is!

Up the bay with Al to paddle!


It’s 6:15 Saturday morning and Al is up.  Not just up, but excited.  Not that kind of excited! He wants out on the water in our new kayak.  He starts out with bouncing around the bed.

“Good morning Kitty, are you ready to go?”

“It’s 6:30 in the morning.  I will go with you at 9”.

“9 is too late. How about at 7?”

“If you don’t let me sleep, then it will be 10 when we go”

“Oh, okay.  I will go for a ride on my push bike while I wait”.

That is how the conversation went.  Al is deflated, but not about to give up. He puts on his bike riding clothes all the while making sure that he is making enough noise that I can’t get back to sleep.  He sits on the end of the bed… hard… several times.  I know he is trying to irritate me. It would be working if he wasn’t so dam cute when he is excited about something. It is now 7:15.

“Okay, I give up. I will get up and go out kayaking with you”.

Now he is excited. Really excited! Within 5 minutes he has his biking clothes off, his kayak clothes on, all of the kayaking gear ready and is standing by the door, waiting for me. This will be our maiden voyage!

Judy and Kayak at Ettalong

Judy and Kayak at Ettalong

We have bought 2 little wheels to go under the kayak as we have about one block to the beach. We put the wheels under the stern.  I take the stern handle, while Al takes the bow.  The problem is we have to cross the street.  We promptly lose the wheels at the curb. Oh well, we carry the kayak across, but the wheels back on and continue on. We reach the beach, but there is a stair and sand. We will have to carry the kayak again. By the time we get it to the water, my back is hurting. Dam, I haven’t even paddled yet!  Of course because this is the maiden voyage we have to take pictures to commemorate such a momentous event. Then the camera has to be run back home because we don’t have a dry bag yet.

Al and Kayak at Ettalong

Al and Kayak at Ettalong

We are finally on the water by 8:30. Getting into the kayak wasn’t a problem, but in all our excitement to get out on the water we forgot to adjust the pedals for the rudder. It turns out the pedals are too close and Al can’t get his knees up high enough to get his feet on the pedals.  The rudder is now useless.  It doesn’t matter because it is flat calm and a beautiful sunny day.

We head out across Broken Bay with no immediate destination in the plans.  We reach the sand bar and have to take a sharp left.  The sand bar is too shallow for us to pass over.  As we turned left, this pointed us towards Wagstaff.  Okay, that sounds like a destination.  Wagstaff it is. We reached it in no time at all, but it is getting mighty hot. We could use some water. Did we bring any? Of course not. Who would think of bringing water when working up a sweat kayaking on the water? Not us!  That’s okay. We had always talked about  when we had a kayak (which we finally do), we would take it to these little hamlets along the water, beach it and go for lunch or in this case, brunch. But wait a minute, did either of us bring money? Of course not. Who would bring money on a little kayaking trip in Broken Bay? Not us!

It was time to head home.  We made it back in no time slicing through the water like expert kayakers with a rudder except ours was useless. Imagine the speed and grace we will have when we get everything in working order.

We adjust the pedals as so as we get back to shore. We will now have a working rudder on the next voyage. Then we decide to try something new with the wheels. We place them midship and strap them on. It works great. Much easier! Now my back won’t be killing me by the time we get to the waters edge. It is a learning curve!

The trip got me more excited about future kayak trips. We live in one of the best places in the world for a kayak.  We are surrounded by an immense area of protected waters, Brisbane Water. Or, we are minutes away from open ocean if we choose to be more adventurous. I can imagine in the summer we might just play around Broken Bay at times, learning to get back in the kayak if we dump it.

I have kayaked in British Columbia several times. It is a beautiful area to kayak in and I have always really enjoyed my trips. Australia is different. What is the unique thing about kayaking in Australia?

Firstly, we kayaked without a skirt in the winter. In fact it was a warm 23 degrees yesterday and it is supposed to reach 28 degrees today.  It is the middle of winter which means the tempurature is not constant. It is expected to get cold again next week, probably about 15 or 16 degrees. That’s what winter means here in New South Wales.

Secondly, the ocean is considered to be cold right now, but not nearly as cold as BC. The average water temperature in the area we are kayaking in is probably about 16-18 degrees in the winter. Not very cold by British Columbian standards!

Finally, after it’s maiden voyage the kayak is full of sand. In fact it is unavoidable, the kayak will always have sand in it. There is no escaping it.  Oh well, I guess I will just have to live with it.  It will be like my house in the summer. Sand everywhere!

Hopefully Al will be able to sleep now that the maiden voyage is over.

I wonder if his excitement has waned at all, I will ask him just as soon as he gets back from kayaking. He was on the water again today, by 7:30 this morning, with a water bottle and money in hand!

Judy on Kayak

Judy on Kayak

2 responses to “Up the bay with Al to paddle!

  1. Margo Lattanzi August 18, 2009 at 1:16 am

    Well,you guys beat me to it,I want to get kayaks for our beautiful Departure Bay.You may have inspired me .They are gorgeous and you guys look great next to them.Missing you lots.

  2. Alan Brooks September 21, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Look at Kitty, she does not realise where to sit 🙂 Maybe she thinks it is a three seater!!!

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