It was a wet start to the day but it all cleared ready to head out the bar at Evans Head. There was no wind in the river and outside it was 5-7 knots from the south west.
Evans Head brought back a host of memories from when we used to camp there in the 1960s, being stung by a bluebottle in the river and having it taken off with sand, Jonathan thinking he would die in the surf a few years back, the CSSM (who remembers them?), the beach where the songs came from that I would like at my funeral. These stories are too long to tell now, except to say that "Down in a Blaze of Glory" came to mind on that beach as I hurtled down a 3m wall of exhilaration on my wave ski, with the only possible prospect being a rush of adrenalin and a severe crunching, followed by gasping for breath and testing of the body to see that it still worked. That's living!
With only a very light headwind down the coast it was a very pleasant paddle. A blue 4WD was testing the fishing holes along the beach at the bombing range but I don't know how he got access to that area.
Sitting in a kayak your eyes are not far above the water so you don't see much. However, some whales rolled high enough about 200m away to be clearly visible.
About an hour from Woody Head the wind turned head on at 15 knots. It was hard going but the water was flat and I pulled into Woody Heads at 2.00pm. We discussed what the sea would be like round the corner and decided to go for the Clarence River.
Out into the breeze the sea was very bouncy. It took half an hour before I was game to grab the water bottle on the deck and take three quick swigs. The cockpit was collecting water through the skirt but it was too dangerous to even think about taking it off and bailing.
A large dolphin leapt out of the water about 100m out to sea. Movement like that draws one's eyes in a flash. "That's big," I thought as it came out of the water. "Faaaark, it's a shark!" It was flat but wriggled its body rapidly in the air before crashing on its side into the water with a loud flop. I wish I was brave enough to take this without my heart racing. A real man would have just enjoyed the spectacle.
After slogging and bouncing along, the breakwall was very welcome after two very hard hours. I turned right and headed up the river where the support crew had the beer ready.
John Schulstad's stats:
We have resurrected our old GPS and it gives us what we need.
My comment on today: "It was very, very hard at the end. That was the limit of what I can do. It was 20 knots of south easter. I had to hold the wall of the shower tonight to stop falling over. That's how rough it was. My shoulder still hurts. But it will all be worth it. We will win."
Out the Evans River
Master John Schulstad lays down the law at Woody Heads
Leaving Woody Heads
Arriving into the Clarence River
Is there a beer in here?