Category Archives: Diary entry

The day by day account of Steve’s trip

19th-20th February

All up I only walked 13.7km for the day but it was enough to cross the Shoalhaven River. Most of the way was painful because of the damage to my knees. The highlight was watching two sheep dogs working a flock. They watched each other and the sheep but the farmer seemed to not be issuing commands. It was fascinating as they stopped, waited looked, sprinted at times and finally got the sheep where they wanted.

We had Chinese dinner at then Services Club and returned to our room at the pub where I took a Mobic. That’s a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory prescribed by Dr Ross Stinton, my doctor over more decades than either of us would want to count.

20th February         Very cool start again with Lyn complaining about “icy” winds. My mood was buoyant because I was able to walk almost normally after the drugs. Yee Haaaa!!!

From the bridge over the Shoalhaven for a few kilometres is the area with the most road kill I have ever seen. Many kangaroos, lots of wombats, a fox and a turtle all dead on the side of the road within the space of maybe three kilometres.

It was a very busy day at the office. Larry O’Loughlin, executive director from the ACT Conservation Council, waited beside the road to take a photo. Jeremy, a contact from years ago in Townsville pulled up with his son to say hello. I didn’t remember him but after he drove away the pieces came together. A couple of ladies pulled up to take a photo and a quick chat but they really should have been at the Westpac protest so off they went. I did feel sorry for the woman who added to the road kill. She had hit a kangaroo and was trying to get a tow sorted out. The bit she was worried about was just a plastic guard but when I asked her to start the car I could see the bottom of the radiator housing was busted so no joy there. I had to leave her to her wait.

At 11.30 am Lyn arrived exactly on time. She drove on a bit to find a spot to pull over by which time I was well and truly ready for a sandwich and sit down. The rest of the day was uneventful, finishing at 1.45pm with more than 21km done.Day 6 KINGS Highway 170219 (17)A busy Sunday on Kings Highway

Day 6 KINGS Highway 170219 (5)Crossing the Shoalhaven

P2193266Goats are no fun. They are like the city media and take no notice.

IMG_4735That last bit wasn’t much fun.

IMG_4744I’m happy to share mate. You can have most of it, just leave me a narrow bit on the side.

IMG_4759More than 21km, nearly there

IMG_4762Turning into Allan’s where we left the kayak. Allan has lived in the area many decades and has seen the gradual change in the climate. 50km walking to go to the Molonglo River entry

LYN    19th Feb            As the weather is cooler and the walk flatter, there is not the need to start so early, so we enjoy a leisurely sleep in. We then catch up on our blogs and emails and mid morning we join Jenny for an early lunch. Jenny has a friend picking her up around 1pm to take her home. We head back to the Royal to get ready to hit the road.

Steve pulls Old Yella out from behind the pub into the sunshine for another day on the road, or half day that is. He rounds the corner and heads out into the Main Street at 12 noon he then turns right and heads towards Bungendore. As the road today is flat and the heat has abated he suggests that I stay behind and catch up on other things. (Washing in particular) and then come out with lunch in a couple of hours.

So I drop him off and return to town. Alas the laundromat is closed until tomorrow, so I decide to explore Braidwood. It’s a small town between Canberra and the coast and has been quiet since we arrived, but it has suddenly come alive. Seems that around lunch time everyone stops at Braidwood for lunch and a look around. I return to the pub and catch up on my blogs and then head out to check on Steve and have lunch with him.

All is good and he walks a few more km, before finishing for the day, he has done 13.7 km in total today. His knees are swollen and sore, not just from today but from the hard work they had to do climbing the mountain.

He loads Old Yella onto the beast and we head back to Braidwood for a quiet afternoon and early night.

Monday 20th February                We head out to yesterday’s finish Point, the Shoalhaven River Bridge. It’s now 8.30 am and there is a cold wind blowing from the west. Like yesterday I head back into town to get the washing done; I succeed this time. I do a few more jobs, ring Melinda from Bungendore who is organising a small welcome as Steve enters their town.

I head out on the road, I catch up with Steve at 11.30, he has walked 13.7 km so far. He has a quick break and heads off again. The road is busy and not all flat, there a few rises to climb, however nothing thing like the Araluen mountain.

I pass a car which appears unable to continue after hitting a large kangaroo. I later find out from  Steve who stopped to help her, that she sustained damage to her radiator and was later towed into town for repairs. Sadly there are many roos and wombats hit along this road as happens along many of our highways around Australia.

I travel along the road until 21.5 km from today’s start, then I look around to see if there is somewhere we can leave the kayak rather that lift it aboard the truck. I see a house not far in off the road and venture in. I meet the owner of the property, Allan Pearce and explain what we are doing and ask if we could possibly leave the kayak inside his property (Valley Heights) for safekeeping. Allan is more than happy for this to happen and when Steve arrives we stow Old Yella safely for the night and head back to Braidwood for one last night.

16th – 18th February

Thursday 16th Feb    The day didn’t start well with a collapsed bearing on the front wheel followed by the bolts holding the wheel halves falling off the replacement. Also, I probably should have asked Lyn if she knew what an axle was when I said 16mm not 5/8″. You will note below that even though what an axle is might elude her, she is pretty good on the birds and the bees.

Anyway all turned out for the best and you can read about it below. I must say that walking into the Araluen pub was one of the best endings to a walk that I can remember. The beer was heaven.

Friday 17th Feb    The big hill had been worrying me since I said that I would do this trip so it was with a mixture of trepidation and enthusiasm that I set off.

It turned out to be a bugger. On and on, up and bloody up it went – relentlessly. In the end I was walking 20m and then resting for 30 seconds or so before moving on. We had been told that there was a lookout about halfway up but I could see how far I had climbed and I reckoned I could see the top. Luckily I was pretty right because my legs were complaining as were my arms because I pull the frame with them.

At the top, which is where the road started going down again, we loaded Old Yella onto the ute and headed for Moruya to do my talk. What a night that was with about 120 people there.

Go Eurobodalla!!!!!

Saturday 18th Feb      We met Jenny Goldie at the SAGE evening and picked her up at Moruya Heads before 7.00am on the way back to the mountain top. Unfortunately the down was only about 500m and the next up was about 3km but it only had one steep bit so it was nuthin’ compared with the previous day.

After 6km the land went pretty flat and Jenny and I strolled into Braidwood about 1.30pm with 19.7km on the clock. A 45 minutes interview with Radio Braidwood was followed by a beer and a sleep. To be honest I should have had a day off after the hill but I have never said that I’m smart in that regard. Left Achilles is swollen as are both knees but I can resort to drugs. This has come as no surprise so I have a prescription from my doctor for some strong anti-inflammatories that I can take if necessary.

1P2163253The offending wheel

2The things you find in the Deua Valley

3Day 2 Araluen Road 170215 STEVE'S camera (8)This looks like a good place for a sleep

4aP2163254Seeya in 4km

4PNot all it seems – still 4km to the pub

5P2163259If only the media were that attentive

6Day 2 Araluen Road Lyn's camera 170315 (17)Lookin’ good!

7Day 3 Araluen Road 170217 Steve's Camera (18)I’m glad the bushrangers have gone

8Day 3 Araluen Road 170217 Steve's Camera (16)Giving directions like a local

9Day 3 Araluen to Braidwood 170317 Lyn's Camera (5)The start of a long climb

9aP2173261Pretty close to the edge. Plastic guidepost only just held Old Yella

10Day 3 Araluen Road 170217 Steve's Camera (1)Tired but satisfied

11Day 3 Araluen Road 170217 Steve's Camera (11)The hard bit done, let’s go speak

12IMG_4669People arrive and the AV gear works. Time for a quick beer.

13IMG_4670Councillors answering questions. Impressive!  Anthony Mayne (deputy mayor), James Thomson (5th generation farmer), Patrick McGinlay (Greens)

14IMG_4671Thespians provide a very amusing play about Adani and  the Charmichael mine

IMG_4672The new wheel. All the way round the world to find the perfect wheel about 150km before I don’t need one any more.

15Braidwood 170218 Steve's camera (33)Starting near the top of the mountain with Jenny Goldie

16Braidwood 170218 Steve's camera (2)Back in phone range and talking to a mate in Ballina

17Braidwood 170218 Steve's camera (10)Big fires at Captains Flat yesterday

18Braidwood 170218 Steve's camera (25)Braidwood

19Braidwood 170218 Steve's camera (31)Radio Braidwood

Lyn selfieSelfie Queen

Lyn   16th February   We left Anne and Allan Rault’s property ‘Round River’ at 7am; thanks for being such a great hosts last night, we had an interesting evening swapping stories and shared laughter.

We travelled to Trish and Fergus’s place to pick up the kayak, Steve Was ready to recommence the Araluen walk at 7.45am. I asked him were the wheels ok as the front one looked a little crooked? ‘ No they’re fine he said and off he went.’

Just outside the gate he turned onto the road and then stopped. ‘All ok?’ I asked. ‘No the front wheels buggered.’

So out came the tools and a spare wheel and he changed the tyre. ‘I’m a bit worried about these  wheels, the other spares aren’t much good.’ He said.    So a plan was devised that I would drive back to Bunnings at Batemans Bay, as Steve said they were the only store to stock these particular wheels (they are wheelbarrow wheels). Steve gave me strict instructions to only get 16mm ones not 5/8’s as they wouldn’t fit.

So with the old wheel in hand I headed off for the two hour round trip.  WHAT CAN I SAY HERE BUT….  I messed up. When I returned Steve said. ‘They’re not 16mm.’

I replied. ‘They told me these were the right tyres as the numbers on the rubber of our tyre was the same as the number on their box.  But are they 16mm? I asked the salesman, and to assure me he called another attendant to make sure. And he also confirmed it was the correct number.’

‘But that not the axle just the tyre number.’ Steve said.

‘Oh, what’s the axle?’ I asked.

Ask me about bees, or birds or frogs and I would know but axles…..

The other problem was that while I was away the wheel Steve changed before I left after another 6 km or so had also fallen to bits. So he was sitting beside the road waiting for his new tyre.

I apologised profusely and Steve said ‘It’s ok, don’t worry. I’ll go back and change them.’

I offered to go back but he said he couldn’t walk anyway with no wheels. I suggested he try Moruya on the way, just in case their hardware store had one. Instead of going all the way to Batemans Bay.

Steve dropped me back at Anne and Allan’s so I could catch up on some of my other business work load.

As a great believer in Fate, my mistake didn’t turn out too bad. (Well that’s what I tell myself and Steve was very understanding)

Steve did get three new tyres at Cameron’s Hardware Moruya; and he said. ‘These are the best tyres I’ve seen. They are solid and don’t need any air in them.’ Also as it was a very hot day when he came back to pick me up he decided to have an hours rest and walk later when it was cooler.

In the cool of the afternoon Steve got walking. He walked all the way to the Araluen Pub, at the base of the Araluen Mountain. After having a couple of coldies with the locals, Steve stored the kayak behind the pub and we returned to Ann and Allan’s.

17th Feb   We left Anne and Allan’s at 7am, heading to Araluen. Steve was in the harness and on the road to Braidwood at 7.45am. It’s 2.7km to the base of the Araluen Mountain, then it’s all up from there, well at least for 10km then it flattens out as we get closer to Braidwood.

Steve is planning/hopeful of getting halfway up the hill this morning. I go ahead to the base of the hill and wait. Steve gets here around 8.10am he has made good time on the flat ground. I grab some photos near the signs then he’s off up the mountain.

I drive ahead until I find a safe spot to stop, it’s a lookout point 2.9km up the slope. I park facing the oncoming traffic and pull out the caution kayaker ahead sign. This is the first time we have needed to use the sign, this road is very windy and difficult to see ahead so we are playing it safe.

Where I am positioned is just ahead of one of the worst bends on the road, I guess it’s what’s known as a hairpin bend. I can hear the cars/trucks approaching up the rise, then I hear them change down a gear, then another and then they cautiously round the bend. A very large cattle truck gets to the bend and has all sorts of trouble negotiating it. He stops puts into into first and goes about 2 metres; he stops again goes through the same procedure and finally gets going.

The vista looking back toward the valley from this vantage point is spectacular, I even take a selfie of me, the beast (with caution sign) and the view.

A smaller cattle truck approaches from the Braidwood side heading down the hill, he waves, I recognise him, Hilton from the Araluen pub the day before.

The vehicles approaching me from the Braidwood side wave at this strange woman sitting on top of the mountain with a Caution kayaker ahead sign. I think to myself,  just wait until they see the really CRAZY guy towing a yellow kayak up the mountain!

Steve makes it to the lookout in pretty good time, when you take into account the steep climb. He has a brief stop to refuel his body and then heads off again. Usually I go ahead 4km but on these big climbs I only go ahead 2km.

The next stop I make is Sawyers Ridge Road. The vegetation changes as we go further up the mountain and the pungent aroma of eucalyptus is in the air even before I see the trees. I walk up Sawyers Ridge Road a km or two and see a sign which tells me that this area is a Wildlife Refuge. I recognise what I call Argyle Apple or Silver Gum trees, a favourite tree of mine. These trees have an intense aroma which fills the fresh mountain air.

I return to the truck and Steve arrives not long after; he has had enough for the day. He has put a big dent in the walk up the mountain. Today was planned as a shorter walk as Steve has a presentation tonight back in Moruya at SAGE and will need a rest before then.

By 6pm there were around 120 people present at SAGE, they have brought picnics with them and everyone mingles before the evening’s events. Our new friends Anne and Allan Rault arrive and join Lyn Smith, Steve and I at our table. We’re talking about our time spent with them and Anne points out a large burn she acquired while cooking our meal the first night, Allan says ‘I can beat that.’ He shows us his hand, which has a nasty looking wound with fresh blood. How did you do that we ask.

‘Well on the way in tonight there was a large python across the road, so I got out of the car to move it off the road. Unfortunately when I picked it up it bit me.’ He had bite marks on the top and under side of his hand, still with blood on the wound.

‘We better clean that up.’ Say Steve and I.  Luckily we carry a pretty comprehensive first aid bag in the beast. (People who know Steve would understand why). I doctor Allan up with good old Betadine and we return to rejoin the picnic.

The events of the evening began with a Q & A session with three councilors from the Eurobodalla Council. Anthony Mayne (Deputy Mayor) James Thomson (5th generation farmer) and Patrick McGinlay (Greens). The crowd agreed later that this was a great way to get to know their councilors in a less formal setting. Next there was a short play by three locals, Geoff & Silvia Sharpe from 350 Eurobodalla and Martin Thackeray. Steve’s presentation was the main event and went over great as usual.

Saturday 18th February     We say our goodbyes to Lyn Smith until we meet up again in Canberra for the big finale. Jenny Goldie, from Climate Action Monaro is walking with Steve today. Jenny will be the MC in Canberra for the welcome on Lake Burley Griffin. Jenny and Steve have known each other for about seven years via on-line contact through a peak oil group. They finally met in person last night at SAGE. Jenny lives just outside of Canberra but stayed with her friend Karen last night in Moruya, so we pick Jenny up from there and head to yesterday’s finish point.

We arrive at the spot where Steve finished yesterday, there is still about three more km of mountain before the drop down to Braidwood. After the first 2 km they are both feeling good, second two km still both good and now the road flattens out. Another 4km Jenny’s ok, Steve Achilles is starting to hurt but he No complains!

They stop for a 15 minute lunch break at the next 4km stop.  I make them both a Hydralyte drink as a boost for the next section; they’re on their way again at 11.45. They walk another 7.7km before they reach Braidwood. In total  they have walked 19.7km today. Great work!

They walk up the Main Street of Braidwood dragging the kayak, they do attract a lot of strange looks, but also some encouraging comments. We arrive at the Royal Mail Hotel our accommodation for the night at 1.30pm. After a shower and rest we enjoy the evening together. It is an early turn in tonight after a big effort by both Steve and Jenny.

 

15th February

Back at Moruya Heads and ready to rock and roll. Lyn and I had arrived at Lyn Smiths last night but waited until this morning to attack the kayak preparations. Three new wheels needed to be fitted but one stubborn bugger would not come off. Without proper tools it had to be a workshop job. The bloke at the tyre place put it on the vice, gave the axle a whack with his lump hammer and off popped the wheel. Back down to the start point only to find a bearing still on there. The bloke at 4×4 eventually had it cut off so we could put the new wheel on. All set up completed I paddled towards Moruya while Lyn drove up to the welcome area.

At 11:45am she advised me on the radio to head in with the flotilla that had paddled to meet me. This lot was well disciplined and we came in together as you can see by the photos. It was the biggest flotilla by far and the most people at the welcome group where the speeches were held. Two councilors had escaped from the council meeting and addressed us. They had just helped pass the fossil fuel divestment motion and advised that our effort had stimulated the vote. Wow, what a team Eurobodalla!

The most amazing aspect of the welcome was the list of organisations whom were thanked at the end. It was huge and truly inspiring. There is a great problem with organisations wanting to do their own thing and not help others. I have been battling this for as long as I can remember so to see the cooperation here was great.

After the euphoria of the welcome it was back to business paddling up the Kiora bridge and then the start of the long walk. It was a big day and I called it quits after 6.00pm.

Moruya welcome 170214 (17)Bugger

Moruya welcome 170214 (40)That was a good practice, now let’s try heading to the bank

Moruya welcome 170214 (93)Paddle salute

Moruya welcome 170214 (118)Lyn Smith reads Climate Emergency speech

Group imageHope the wharf can hold us

P2143244The route is up there somewhere

Moruya welcome 170214 (146)Very different to the ocean

DAY 2 Araluen Rd 170215 (23)Time to get out. Shame the only way was under the bridge

DAY 2 Araluen Rd 170215 (3)Righto let’s get this walking stuff done

DAY 2 Araluen Rd 170215 (7)Take me to the hills

Next morning was very cool. Lyn had a jacket on until the sun really got going and lifted the temperature to about 30 degrees. Most people had told me that it was pretty flat with a few small hills. I would hate to see what they call a big hill. We did 4km stints that started at 50mins and ended up at well over an hour. I walked until I could walk no more which was 22km and left the kayak at Fergus and Trish’s place to return down the valley a few kilometres to Anne and Allan Rault’s who provided dinner and a little cottage complete with gardens and kangaroos.

DAY 2 Araluen Rd 170215 (9)Athlete’s food. Lyn Smith’s chocolate cake with just a bit of cream

P2153251Lots of small pockets of farms

P2153247Horses. They have shown an interest. Now let’s see.

P2153248Yep same behaviour as the rest of Australia and the USA

LYN:      Friday 10th       After finishing the main paddle leg on Thursday, with a spectacular finish! Steve got Warren up at 3.30am on Friday and they drove back to Sydney where Warren lives. Steve then continued onto Ballina to pick me up (and the kayak wheels) for the next rigorous section of the trip, the walk up the hill to Canberra.

Monday 13th         We left Ballina at 5am and arrived at Lyn Smith’s (a friend of Steve’s) around 6.30pm. Lyn is also one of the organisers of the Moruya welcome, she belongs to 350 Eurobodalla. Lyn had a lovely meal prepared and we started by toasted the successful trip down the coast and the beginning of Steve’s next journey.

I think Steve’s new name should be ‘Marathon Man.’ He never does things by half, long paddles, long drives & long walks

Tuesday 14th        The day started with Steve being interviewed by Simon from ABC South East radio. After an interesting conversation about the science behind climate change, they began talking about the gap between rural/country people’s concept of Climate Change compared to city dwellers. Steve, Warren and I witnessed this all the way down the East Coast. Country people live in nature and they see the changes as they are happening, while city dwellers lives are more insular and they listen to what the media tells them. There of course exceptions in both cases.

The first job of the day was preparing the kayak for towing. Steve pulled out the wheels that he had brought back with him from Ballina. One of the wheels attached to the towing rig was locked on. So we headed into Moruya to find a workshop that could assist with its removal, within a couple of minutes they had the wheel off. Back in the truck we headed down to the beach so Steve could show me where he came unstuck on the bar; while it was calm day, I could see that it was shallow and in certain winds the entrance could become difficult. Talking about difficult, when Steve went to position the new wheel he realised that both he and the mechanic had missed taking the old bearing off with the wheel. No amount of WD40, filing and hammering could remove the bearing (yes that’s correct the engineer couldn’t fix this one!) So it’s back to town. Took a mechanic with the right tools to grind the bearing off. Thanks to Glen from Ironman 4×4 at AMH tyres for your help.  (Perhaps if Warren had been here two engineers could have fixed it?)

It was 11am when Steve finally launched Old Yella. He was due into Moruya wharf at 12noon. He still had plenty of time to get there. As he got closer he pulled into the north bank out of sight behind some yachts. We kept in radio contact so he would know when the organisers were ready for him to arrive. When the last craft had left the wharf he came out to meet the flotilla, and it was the best yet. I counted 20 assorted craft plus a very impressive Dragon Boat. But even more impressive than their numbers was their formation, they were a well drilled outfit. (The photos tell the story)

As Steve and the colourful flotilla approached the wharf a large crowd cheered them in.  This was by far the most impressive welcome of the trip.

After Steve met some of the organisers and invited guests they all moved over to the wharf for the welcoming ceremony. Steve was officially welcomed to Moruya by Reverend Linda Chapman. He was also welcomed by Allan Rees and Lyn Smith from 350 Eurobodalla and the deputy mayor, Anthony Mayne who handed over a large box to Steve which contained the official signature’s for the Climate Emergency Declaration which were collected in and around the area.

Two things stood out to me on the day, the announcement by the Deputy Mayor, Anthony Mayne that on this very morning at the Eurobodella Council meeting a motion had been put forward by councilor Patrick McGinlay (who was also present at Steve’s welcome) for the council to divest their interests in fossil fuels. The motion was passed five votes to four. A huge cheer went up from the crowd. A great achievement for the area. A little later when I was talking to Anthony he said that while they had talked about bringing this motion to council, he felt that Steve’s Climate Emergency journey and his arrival today spurred the councilors on to bring this to council today. I have seen many people over the past month and half inspired by Steve and what he does and says.

The second thing that stood out to both Steve and I was the camaraderie between the diverse groups in the area. They are a great example of what can be achieved when you work together for the greater good. I will endeavour to name all the groups in attendance on the day, forgive me if I miss any. They are: 350 Eurobodalla, Nature Coast Dragon Boats, Shasa, Eurobodalla Greens, Country Greens, Bawley Point Bushcare, Coastwatchers, Eurobodalla Landcare, Eurobugs (Eurobodella Cycle Club) and SAGE.

After the ceremony and picnic event in the park Steve put Old Yella back in the water for its last paddle. This was a short journey up the Moruya River to the Kiora bridge. It took a bit of pulling and tugging to get the old fella (that’s the kayak) out of the water and up onto the road. (See photo under bridge) Steve managed to drag Old Yella 6.6 km up the Araluen Road before calling it a day. Thank you to Keely Boom and her family at ‘The Burra’ for looking after the kayak overnight.

Wednesday 15th       We arrived at Keely Blooms at 7.30, Steve was in the harness in a flash and chomping at the bit to go. He headed up the Araluen Road around 7.45am. Jeff Aschmann a Moruya supporter rode his push bike out to meet Steve and rode with him for a few kms.

Then the hills got bigger…

At 4km he felt good

At 8km he felt good

At 12 km he felt ok

At 16 km he said ‘I’m stuffed!’ By this time (11.30am ) it had warmed up significantly.  The combination of the Hill climb and heat were beginning to take their toll.    I pulled out our King awning (finally christened it) and got it ready for Steve’s next stop. He had planned to have a lie down at this stop.

Alas it was to be an unbroken rest as Steve’s phone rang. ‘Hi Steve ready for your interview, just have to put you on hold for a bit and then you will be on air.’  He forgot that he does an interview every Wednesday with a Victorian community radio station, AIDT; the hosts are Tony and Mik. Tony Gleeson is a friend we have both know for many years from when he lived on the Northern Rivers.

After his almost rest, he got back on the road. Steve travelled another 4 km and then that was it for the day. We went into the next property to ask if we could leave the kayak there for the night, rather than lift it onto the truck etc. The property owners were terrific ‘No problem, come in and have a drink before you leave.’ Thank you Trish and Fergus.

We drove back to Anne and Allan Rault’s for a very pleasant evening with them. After which we retired to a cosy cottage on their property for the night.

 

 

 

 

11th February

With the chance to go home looming we both knew it would be a big day. Moruya Heads is 80km south of Ulladulla and our planned stop at Malua Bay after 67km was to be where we would make a decision on whether to finish the ocean today.

At 5.30am it is pretty dark but there was a team of women surf boat rowers already there and raring to go. They went out for ten minutes and came back so I asked the sweep ( a bloke) what it was like out there. “Pretty bumpy still,” he reckoned. When I told him I had been out the day before and that I might go to Moruya he thought I was a nut case.

He was right, it was a bit bumpy but smoothed out on the open sea after the headland. The wind threatened to blow but until 9.00am it was not enough to fill the sail. I left it up for a while but found I was faster without it.

Thankfully Warren had taken Allan up on the loan of the two way radio. We were in communication until Depot Beach where we agreed to talk again at Malua Bay on the other side of Batemans Bay. By then the wind was over 20 knots and I was covering ground fast even if it was taking its toll. Old Yella is not good on waves because he is too deep in the bow and constantly slews around necessitating a full strength battle with the paddle.

We screamed past the Tollgates, a set of islands at the entrance to Batemans Bay and I reckoned it would be better to keep going straight to the headland at Guerilla Bay. Warren agreed and headed to Moruya Heads for a 3.00pm sked. From the Guerilla Bay headland I could see where Moruya Heads would be but not any detail at all.

It was a very quick trip across the bay with top speed 20.7km/hr, a record for the trip. I also saw a shark that I nearly hit with my paddle as I planed past on a wave. That was number twelve for the trip. Eventually I could see the wall at Moruya Heads and confirmed that it went back to the beach on the north side meaning that the entrance was on the south side.

Dropping the sail about a kilometre out I edged in trying to pick the channel. Try as I might I could not see it. There were breaking waves all across the entrance. Surely a channel would open up. I was inside an area where waves had been breaking but I still couldn’t find it. I decided to treat it as a beach break, pick a wave and paddle like blazes behind it. A six footer loomed behind me. “Back paddle then go!” was the plan. Hold water, back one stroke, then BUGGER. Lifted six feet, spun 270 degrees and dumped in a fraction of a second. The paddler and everything else was violently plucked out of the kayak but like a true wave ski rider I clung grimly to my paddle and let Old Yella tow me towards the river. After  few waves passed we were out of the wave zone so I climbed in the easy way, ie face backwards, feet into the cockpit and then roll over to face up and then sit. The first bit worked fine but then I was out again. Righto try the old way. I got to a sitting position behind the cockpit, one leg in, then out again. After another go at that I thought I might just tow Old Yella to some calm water so I set off towards a beach on the south side. After about twenty minutes I tried to get in again and almost made it but a wave came through and out I went again. This was becoming tiresome so I gave up. The issue was compounded by the fact that the front bulkhead had been knocked out to put the paddle in to bring him home from England and that the seal under the seat was buggered and that the buoyancy that I had put into the bow had moved to one side.

It was good that the tide was coming in, but I had known that. If it had been going out Old Yella would have been doomed because I probably could not have pulled him around the wall to the northern beach. Unfortunately there was an eddy coming off the beach which was made up of two sandy sections and a section with rocks in front of it. Warren was pacing up and down but I couldn’t signal where I would come in because I had no idea (NFI actually). Forwards a bit on the waves, wash back a bit, pull Old Yella upstream a bit, inexorably making it closer until my feet touched the sand. Then there were the rocks Old Yella went one side and I went the other. The paddle rope got tangled, but I wasn’t cold like I was in the Southern Ocean and my brain still worked, so I freed it and finally made the beach where a relieved Warren helped me tip him over and get the water out.

I had been swimming for 45 minutes but still felt fine until Warren told me how far it was to the car. No way was I going to carry a kayak that far so we agreed to proceed to the first boat ramp we could find upstream.

After 2km I could see a pontoon and aimed for that. Warren arrived just as I climbed onto it and told me the boat ramp was 20m away, behind the wall. Back in, around to the ramp and that was me done for the day.

After calling Lyn and logging off with Marine Rescue we headed to IGA in Moruya where we met Lyn Smith before going to her place at Congo. I couldn’t walk properly and was very concerned about my leg until ascertaining it was bruised. The last thing I needed was ligament damage before a 180km walk. That night I was asleep just after 8.00pm. Everything hurt, even my fingernails, but we had finished the ocean leg even if the ending was a bit undignified.

There are many people who do not understand the sea. The point that I try to reinforce with all paddling groups is that shit happens when you least expect it. I don’t care if you find a life jacket restrictive or hot. If you are placing yourself in a position where it is possible, just possible, that you may need a life jacket then wear one. To people who think that a bum pack with an inflatable life vest is adequate I say, “Good luck, you will need a lot of it.” How you are going to make that work when you are in deep shit I have no idea. The only thing that I would recommend for paddlers is a well fitted life jacket that doesn’t float up around your face and that has plenty of room for arm rotation without chafing. For me a couple of big pockets for radio, spare sunnies etc are also essential. Communication is to be with the person, not on the kayak or canoe. My radio is always in the life jacket and the life jacket has been of great assistance every time things have gone wrong. That is probably only three or four times in 12,000km but even if it saves your life once it is worth it.

I woke at 3.00am, waited ten minutes then woke Warren for the drive home. When I turned the light on he asked “Is it morning?” and “What time is it?” I said, “Time to go, don’t look”. As usual, he didn’t listen to helpful advice and said “I have,” as he registered that it was 3.10am. We arrived at Arcadia at 8.30am where we said goodbye and I was at Lyn’s at Broadwater about 4.30pm. After an early night and ten hours sleep I am nearly as good as new and ready for someone’s 60th party this arvo.

Warren was a mate in 1972. It is now 2017. That’s 45 years. We had a great time together on this journey and we both feel the energy from people we meet. It is called living, and we experienced a lot of that together.

IMG_4338Setting out from Ulladulla

P2093238Proving to Warren that I can take photos too

P2093239Looks a bit like Mt Warning up at Tweed

P2093240The gap is behind the sail. The left is an island. The right is the mainland

IMG_4345Steve’s  out there somewhere

IMG_4347Message left on the car

IMG_4366A mate of Warren’s

IMG_4356The photographer is pleased with himself. You can have a tick for this one mate.

IMG_4382Approaching the bar

IMG_4391This caused Warren some concern

IMG_4390Getting a tow in

IMG_4392Nearly there

IMG_4397Let’s dry him out

IMG_4410Out over the rocks and up the river minus hat, GPS etc

Warren      Up at 5am, saw Steve off in Ulladulla Harbour at 6:05am, planning to head South, and stay at Lyn Smith’s place at Congo, which on the coast near Moruya.

Steve was excited about the North-Easterly, which I now comprehend to be good for sailing south along the Australian East Coast. We did our normal radio skeds, which again took me to some beautiful spots. While Steve was having a great time paddling, I had to content myself with things like a drive through Murramarang National Park, watch a couple of dozen dolphins playing at Pebbly Beach, admire a two metre monitor and watch lyrebirds scurry out of sight. A tough day at the office. The stop point at Batemans Bay was changed to “I’m gonna keep going to Moruya” by the man in charge.
For no reason that I can understand, Steve got out of his kayak and tipped it upside down for his entry into the River at Moruya. Maybe he was sick of paddling and wanted to practice dragging the kayak despite the deep water, maybe he was showing off, maybe he was celebrating the finish of the ocean paddle, or maybe he is just barking mad, I still don’t know for sure, but he seemed to be happy dragging it to shore. I do know that there were two sail boarders nearby, and I waved one in, and asked him if he could check if Steve was okay. I was stunned beyond belief, and livid that he chose to hide, rather than do this
Today included a chat with two people who embraced the petition, and one who said he isn’t interested because Australia is only a small contributor, and anyway, he is a bachelor, between him and his siblings there is one child, and because his nephew will inherit four or five houses, he will be okay. Marvellous attitude, really.

Our stay at Lyne’s beautiful house in a stunning location was a wonderful way to end my part of the journey, Lynne’ hospitality is second to none, and we had a perfect evening together.

Engineers like numbers, and apropos of nothing, while driving I pondered how many paddle strokes Steve did to get there from Ballina. A bit of rough calculating, and the answer is about 750,000. That’s a lot, folks!
Well, faithful readers, it is with a heavy heart I say adieu, my stint with Steve is over, until we all converge on Canberra. My nearly three weeks with my mate has been great fun, inspiring, and at times challenging. It is a busy role, and quite intense at times but I would not have missed it for anything. We met lots of people, many passionate about the cause, many who were inspired by Steve’ trip and his talks, and a few who don’t get it. To everybody who contributed to Steve’s trip, hosted of helped with welcome events, the petition and all other matters, thank you. This is the most important issue we face, and there are a lot of great people working to address it, so congratulations to you all, especially to Steve for his Hurculean effort.

8th February

Headed out of Ulladulla harbour with a strong easterly wind in my face. Warren took some photos from the harbour wall and then went off to talk to the Marine Rescue people. They have a good view of the bay so he watched me come back in with my tail between my legs.

I got about 2km out before I made the decision to abort. Because I don’t know the coast I wasn’t sure there was anywhere decent to get back to shore. My radio had melted on the charger and I thought communication with Warren from a rough sea would be fraught with problems.

We managed two radio interviews in the morning and a drive to Moruya to see the 350.org people organising the events there. Lyn Smith showed us where I would be speaking on Friday evening 17th and where I would land on Tuesday 14th. Allan Rees also lent us an FM radio which was a great relief. The coast south of Ulladulla is not easy to get to, mobile coverage is sparse and there is a significant swell. Let’s see what tomorrow brings but the plan is to go all the way to Malua Bay which is just south of Batemans Bay. Winds look good.IMG_4276Just outside the harbour.

IMG_4289Bit of whitewater out there. I turned around after about another kilometre and retired gracefully

7th February

I reckoned that the wind was not from the South East which was what the BOM site said. We had learned many times that the BOM is not infallible and that it is a valuable tool to be used in conjunction with personal observation and experience. Turned out it was from the south west but I had to get out on the sea and use the compass to be sure.

The entrance of Lake Conjola is very shallow and the wind was blowing along the beach but only about 12-15 knots. Unfortunately it is not big enough to create its own channel so the trip out through the waves was a bit wet.

I stayed close to the coast because the wind was from the south west and therefore not as strong close in. Behind headlands it was almost calm. It was not until I was right at Ulladulla that I saw the harbour. It was tucked well back giving what looked like perfect shelter. Getting in before the wind strengthened and turned from the south was a stroke of luck. We went to the local Milton & Ulladulla Times to do an interview. With the wind blowing the rain horizontal all I could think about was my good fortune not to be out at sea at the time.

There was supposed to be a welcome at the harbour but no-one was coming out in that weather so we had dinner at the pub. Both of us really enjoyed the conversation. In fact conversations have been an important part of the trip – meeting people, finding out how they cope, learning of their experiences. We have met many brave, intelligent people who simply accept what the science is saying but form opinions on what that might mean. Everyone knows that the writing is on the wall. The end of civilisation as we know it may happen even in my lifetime but opinions on what that means varies. None of it is good but everyone seems to agree that mankind will survive in what might even be better, more compassionate societies.

IMG_4059Near the entrance with Green Island in the background

P2073226Can’t see a good way through the waves when I get there

IMG_4096Keep the nose straight

IMG_4093Yep, I’m in there somewhere

IMG_4127Nearly out

IMG_4172Master of photography at work om Bannister Point

P2073229These are all the way up the coast

P2073230Ulladulla Harbour is back in there somewhere

P2073236It is a working port

IMG_4247Allan, Sean Connery, Justin, Jane, Terry, Amanda

Both  Justin and Amanda are very impressive people!

Warren         Well, today the winds were okay so we scurried up to Lake Conjola from our motel in Ulladulla and Steve set off across the Eastern side of the lake, then out to sea.

Today, I remembered the camera, and Lyn would  no doubt agree with me if she were here, I took some damn fine shots of the kayak kid. He only put a few on the blog, I think its jealousy. I arrived at Bannister Point ahead of Steve and got photos as he approached, and as he passed. An easy day for me, I got to Ulladulla and watched as he entered the harbour.

Finally, a cool day, light rain last night, perfect support crew weather. Last night we were very sensible, and charged both radios, but sadly, Steve smelled something burning, and even more sadly, it was his mate Vince’s radio.

Once again, casual conversation, this time with the woman who served us in the coffee shop, led to her offering to distribute flyers and collect signatures. There are lots of people out there who support Steve and the petition, once they become aware of it.

The evening was dark and rain was falling as we headed to the Marlin Hotel just 100 metres or so from our motel, to meet Justin Field for a welcome chat, and dinner There were only six of us, but we had a most interesting conversation, covering a wide range of topics but all around the issue of global warming, the devastation it will cause, and what isnt being done to address it. The consensus that the issue is urgent was inanimous. It was wonderful to meet Justin Field, the Greens Member of the NSW Legislative Council, and to hear his views. Also present were Amanda Findley, Mayor for Shoalhaven City Council, and from Shoalhaven Greens, Jane Richter from Shoalhaven Greens and Triple UFM Community Radio, Terry Barratt from Shoalhaven Greens and Shoalhaven Landcare, and Allan Begg from Shoalhaven Greens and an oft times member of Greenpeace.

5th & 6th February

We packed up camp at the caravan park in Nowra and headed for the boat ramp at Currajong to meet people who wanted to do a send-off. I am very glad that this had been organised by Frances but I did have to tell everyone it was just a chat and we would be going to Currarong to start so that I could get to Hymans Beach on time for our welcome there.

Warren has written glowingly about Currarong and the rock pools on the shore and I totally agree. It is a magnificent place. The wind was against me as I headed out because the rocky shore faces north before turning south. Plenty of fishermen were trying their luck and I am not sure how some of them got to where they were.

IMG_3979Warren’s favourite rock pools

 

P2053203The cliffs start

 

P2053206Just look at the colour of this water

 

P2053209Look very closely at the horizon at 11.00 o’clock. It took me a long time to figure it out. The wind was light but I put the sail up so that I could sneak up silently. Look below for what it was. There are many collective nound for sea lions but we will call this one a bob.

 

P2053216See the grey-brown bodies under the fins

 

P2053220These guys came over for a chat at Point Perpendicular

 

P2053218More sea caves. There are lots of them

 

P2053222Point perpendicular lighthouse from the kayak

 

IMG_3987Entrance to Jervis Bay from Point Perpendicular

IMG_4000Contemplating the crowds at Hyams Beach. It is truly amazing. Sure it is a nice beach. Sure the sand is white. Sure the bay is calm and the water clear, but why drive 2 1/2 hrs to get there, line up to have a shower or go to the toilet, fight for a car space or risk a $280 fine? Beats me.

DSCN09781Notice that I dug a hole for Warren to stand in so he would be more comfortable

 

IMG_4018Some of the crowd at the speeches

 

IMG_4030Trish and Kaye

 

Warren        The day started with a farewell to Steve at Culburra Beach. Firstly we were given a welcome to country from Delia Lowe, a Miga Balaang, or Authoritative Woman of the Jerrinja Clan Group. Delia spoke of her childhood memories growing up on that peninsula, learning from her parents and grandparents of the traditional ways, and of the mission which was set up and where she received her western education. Delia explained how so much had changed in the physical environment in her lifetime, as well as culturally, and she lamented the loss of many fish species for example, bearing in mind her people were water and land based. Delia spoke also of the spirits of her ancestors who she said would ensure Steve a safe passage through their waters. We listened to her story, and all of us were moved by the changes, all within a single lifetime.

Following on from Delia, Frances Bray, President of the Lake Wollumboola Protection Association Inc spoke, and she too lamented the effects of climate change, and wished Steve well.

In all, there were twenty people there to farewell Steve, and it was a very motivating start to Steve’s day of paddling. The pelicans had also gathered around to wish Steve well, I am sure that’s what they were doing even though we were near the fish cleaning shed.

After a long paddle in the heat, Steve arrived at Hyams Beach on the beautiful Western shore of Jervis bay, to a wonderful welcome by 30 supporters and well-wishers. Trish had once again arranged a marvellous welcome and picnic, and after she spoke and welcomed Steve, Councillor Kaye Gartner performed an acknowledgement of country, and spoke to the hearts and minds of those present, on the issues we face, and applauding Steve’s undertaking. Steve then spoke, and it seems to me that each time he does so, he inspires people about the urgency of the problem, with facts, and with his infectious energy. I must acknowledge also the energy which Judie Dean and her helpers apply to collecting signatures, I don’t know how many they collected but it was substantial, and they succeeded in encouraging quite a few passers-by to sign and also to stop and listen to the talks.

Trish supplied a delicious selection of healthy quiches, and I thank her for her enthusiasm and energy too. We also had the opportunity to wish Trish a happy birthday, and share in a birthday cake provided by her daughter. Happy 21st, Trish.

Kaye and Jeremy Gartner kindly offered Steve and I a billet for the night, and after a much appreciated hot shower, a little alcohol and an excellent barbeque dinner, we all enjoyed a great conversation and lots of laughs well into the evening. Kaye’s sister Dale was also there and added to the occasion. Thank you so much, Kaye and Jeremy, for your wonderful hospitality.

6th February After a great night of intelligent discussion and lots of laughter, as noted by Warren, the anticipated southerly blow had not arrived. What to do????

In the end we paddled but not with the usual preparedness. I forgot my camera because I had put it in the camera case and Warren forgot to take the camera out so neither of us had a camera. Warren’s radio was an issue and mine started to crackle about lunch time even though it was turned off. Looks like it might be terminal.

A southeaster came in about 1.30pm when I was at Manyana so I headed into the beach to see how serious it would get. I asked some people on the beach where I was and after they told me I called Warren with my mobile. He arrived ten minutes later, we discussed what to do and agreed to meet at Lake Conjola. I beat him to the boat ramp by about ten minutes after sneaking inside Green Island. In 1972 I had surfed there. It is a very rare left hand point break. To get there was on a dirt road past farms with no significant development anywhere. Now houses lined the beach and there are wooden steps up to what I presume is a car park.

We would make Ulladulla for the greeting on 7th Feb after all. That had been of significant concern so we were both relieved that we were within striking distance.

Warren    Steve’s paddle to Lake Conjola was uneventful, well my part was, and he did well before the threatened Southerly arrived in the afternoon. Note to self and Steve: charge the radios and mobiles every night, not just most nights.  I’ll say no more about that.

4th February

After an early night we slept in until 6.00am. I uploaded the blogs and we still hit the water by 8.45am at Crookhaven Heads. There was very little wind as I took advantage of the outgoing tide and slipped around the headland. The sea was smooth enabling Old Yella to maintain more than 6km/hr average speed.

Gradually the wind picked up, from small riffles to small waves. The BOM said north to north easterly winds building in strength but the wind came from the south east all the way to Currarong. It was only 16.5km but it was important to do this before paddling up the river to Nowra. With a southerly buster due on Monday and a greeting at Ulladulla Tuesday the more kilometres I could get the better.

As I approached Currarong quite a few boats passed me on their way in, confirming that it was getting choppy out to sea and thus time to come in. Warren lined up at the boat ramp because that was the only suitable place to exit but had to defend his right to do that. Someone thought that a kayak didn’t count. Luckily nothing came of it because together I don’t think we are turn the other cheek type blokes.

Back to the Shoalhaven and a paddle up the river to Nowra where an enthusiastic welcoming crowd waited. Some came out on the water. David was an experienced surfer using his wife’s SUP, some were experienced and some were just keen. After the speeches we had “award winning” snags which I have to say were very good. Everywhere we go we are impressed with the enthusiasm and humbled by the efforts of many people.

The fact that the wind was still SE when NE was predicted and still shown on the BOM site was of concern but tomorrow is another date.P2043196Just outside Crookhaven Heads

P2043200View at the smoko stop

IMG_3862This one doesn’t have a name and he is a bit smaller than  George

IMG_3907Hooray, we got ‘em together

IMG_3934Shoalhaven mayor Amanda Findley with Trish Kahler, chief organiser and follower of K4e since before the Mississippi

IMG_3945Greens mayor Amanda and Greens councilor Nina Cheyne

Warren         As Steve will have explained, today he needed to get some kilometres done before wind conditions changed. Before setting out, Steve did a radio interview with Kris from community radio station 2UUU.  Arriving  at Currarong, which is unknown to me, like all the other tucked away places, I stumbled on a most beautiful series of little flatbottomed beaches, separated by short reefs, or maybe they are rock platforms,  so its like a series of natural swimming baths. A local told me its always calm, with virtually no waves, and safe for kids, and therefore probably for me.

The boat ramp, I was told,  is only for the use of boats on trailers, and they’re owned by tough blokes who will have a punch up with me, but the blokes with the trailers were fine, so I am confused about what a boat is, likewise a public boat ramp, and where these tough blokes were, the ones I met were great.

I was entertained by a large stingray, maybe 1.5 metres across, it was doing laps every fifteen minutes or so around the boat ramp, seemingly as unconcerned about the tough blokes with trailers as I was. Maybe its one of George’s mates from Kiama.

Be that as it may, devoted bloggee, Steve arrived at Nowra to a rowdy welcome, having been escorted in by a paddle boarder, and three canoes containing nine people and three enthusiastic, environmentally concerned dogs, plus three kayaks.

The welcome included an acknowledgement of country and speech by The Mayor, Amanda Findley, and a speech by Trish Kahler,  the event organiser.  After a great chat under the trees, and lots of photos, stunning ones as usual, we made our way along the river bank to where Terry was doing a sausage sizzle, with gourmet snags. They were superb. It was a great and warm welcome for Steve, and despite the heat we all stood around chatting for ages. I have to thank Trish Kahler for organising a terrific event, to Terry Barratt for the sausage sizzle and helping Trish, to Jane  Richter and Judie Dean for assisting Trish; they are all members of Shoalhaven Transition, and the Greens. As well as The Mayor, Amanda Findley,  Councillor Nina Cheyne, was in attendance, and Riverwatch were represented.

Steve is a bit hyperactive, I reckon, but he is always trying to make our little camp more comfortable, and more upmarket. If you scroll to the bottom of my blog you will see his latest improvement. After hours spent Googling, Steve decided he had found the best improvement he could make for our comfort was some great portable tables, and I appreciate the thoughtfulness. He has ordered two on e-bay from the US, and we are hopeful they will arrive before Lyn takes over as support crew, I am sure she will love them.

 

toilet seat

 

3rd February

South of Kiama you really feel like you are on the south coast of NSW. It is different to the north coast, both beautiful in their own ways.

We awoke to a gentle northerly, packed the tent and had a leisurely start at 9.00am with the northerly building. By the time I got to Crookhaven Heads, just 30.5km away it was blowing 20 knots so the trip was fast. We were packed up and ready to go by a bit after 2.00pm. Because we needed to find accommodation and because of engagements in the area we had called it quits early and headed into Nowra where we erected our masterpiece for two nights.

IMG_3750Leaving Kiama

P2033195Rolling hills south of Kiama. Part of the lens is wet and I did lick it Pete.

IMG_3798Rounding Blackhead

IMG_3780Not just rocks!

IMG_3769We have plenty more images of fossils if anyone wants them

IMG_3806Towards Shoalhaven Heads

IMG_3835Safely into Crookhaven Heads past Marine Rescue and flying with 20 knots assistance

IMG_3848Greenwell Point in the background

IMG_3850Fran and Barry

Warren        Steve was given a goodbye wave by Anne and Kim as he paddled out from Kiama, heading South, with Australia on his right, as is his wont. Let’s hope he sticks to this agenda, it’s the most direct way of getting to Moruya

As I drove South I had a chance to enjoy the scenery, and it is beautiful farming land, lots of corn, and lots of dairy cattle. Steve and I had a radio sked for 11:30 which meant I needed to be at Black Head, at Gerroa by this time. I have always had a passion for geology, dismissed as  “rocks” in a hurtful way by the kayaker, but ask him how he passed geology at uni. I walked out, and down, onto the rock platform to get some exquisite shots of Steve passing, and was excited to see the rock shelf is a layer of sediment riddled with fossils. It includes a number of fossilised tree trunks, bivalves and other great stuff. I searched the net and found they are from the flooded coastline of Gondwanaland, from the Early Permian period, and are 270 to 300 million years old.  This is ancient, and they are just lying there to be wondered at. You may recall, dear reader, (or is that dear bloggee?) that the Permian Period ended spectacularly about 251 million years ago, with the largest mass extinction of all time. 95% of marine species, and 70% of terrestial species became extinct. This caused me some serious reflection, as I wondered, now we’ve left the Anthropocene Period and entered the Trumpocene Period, if we, a most recent arrival, will outdo the Permian extinction. I truly hope not.

Further south, as I drove through the Shoalhaven Heads National Park north of Nowra, I saw many cycads growing within site of the road. These are ancient plants, and hail from the Jurassic Period,  and are 200 million year old, hence a very primitive plant. Cause for more serious reflection. Will they cease to exist at our hand too?

To counteract this mood, I was delighted to meet Fran and Barry, who happened to be at the boat ramp at Culburra. Fran recognised the van and logos immediately and said she had heard about Steve’s trip on the local ABC. Both of these lovely people happily signed the petition, welcomed Steve and told him what a great thing he is doing. They took a flyer and Fran has emailed me this evening to say she has posted the photos, and information on her Facebook page, and is encouraging others to sign. It was a spontaneous welcome, and a perfect end to Steve’s paddle Two beers, a feed, and the kayak king is asleep. Peace reigns in camp

2nd February

First job was to fix the feedback through the computer. The local computer bloke is a Climate Change Activist who boosted numbers for the Kiama presentation and went straight to the problem. While there Channel Nine Wollongong rang and arranged and interview and shoot at 11.00am. Then Illawarra Mercury rang for an interview. Warren is becoming a dab hand at being the “talent”, answers questions when he is asked, lifts the kayak when they say lift and walks when they say walk. He’s got it all eh. He even seems to have the lens cap issue under control. Not sure where my lens caps has gone though, they don’t seem to float. (only joking)

It was a short paddle into Kiama. Anne and Kim paddled out and we came in together to a rowdy crowd on the wharf. Warren managed to get a photo of his new mate George, a whopping great stingray. Many of the people had seen the event advertised, constructed signs and turned up early.

The scout hall filled quickly and we got underway. With the other talks completed I had an hour left and managed 62 minutes although the last ten minutes were done at a gallop. Enthusiasm from the kids was fantastic. They almost stampeded to get to the information table at the end. Again, applause was deafening and prolonged. We took a photo of a lad with his mum’s phone and after he ran off she told me “He said ‘thanks for bringing me mum. That was so inspiring and interesting.’ How about that, I did something right for a 13 year old.” The energy that was in the crowd was palpable, so inspiring for me.

IMG_3701Channel 9. The camera man shocked the rest of his team and Warren by announcing he did not believe in climate change. I have some thoughts on that and how to deal with it but they won’t be popular. I think it is time to call out deniers for what they are, too gutless to accept the truth. It is a cop out.

GeorgeGeorge the stingray, 2m across

IMG_3723Couldn’t fit all of them in the photo

Steve KiamaFeel the buzz!

IMG_3734I love it when mum and the kids want a photo

kiama kids 1Warren took this while their mum took her photo

IMG_3742The hall was full

signatureKiama   Deputy Mayor Kathy Rice with with her signature

Warren              Another most enjoyable day, cool with showers after such hot humid weather. The day started with a phone interview of Steve by the Illawarra Mercury, which is the perfect start to his day.

As if that wasn’t motivational enough, Steve was then interviewed by Rebecca Davis from Channel Nine Wollongong. As Channel Nine is still setting up in the area, she was not able to tell us when it will be shown but they shot a lot of footage in addition to the interview.

We felt privileged that George the stingray who lives in the harbour came over to greet us. You don’t get that everywhere, and I am sure he wanted to sign the petition, he certainly would have approved.

Following on from the marvellous welcome arranged by Tom Hunt, Peter Todd and Howard Witt at Wollongong yesterday, they once again produced a great welcome for Steve. Steve was accompanied into the harbour by kayakers Anne and Kim down from Sydney for the occasion. A vocal crowd of about 50 welcomers cheered Steve into the harbour. I had cause for reflection as I had chatted to quite a number of them before Steve arrived, and many had come as a result of local media coverage, or after hearing of Steve’s trip when they signed the petition, they chose to join the welcome. Previous comments about the complete lack of interest by Sydney media were sorely reinforced. One of the Mums and her two very small sons waited for nearly an hour, the boys held placards and had photos taken with Steve. These are our youngest activists to date.

After photos we all adjourned to the scout hall on the other side of the carpark where Tom and his team had arranged a formal welcome and talk by Steve. After Tom welcomed everyone and the Deputy Mayor Kathy Rice spoke, Steve gave his talk. As at Wollongong he held them in a state of astonishment at this exploits and three young teenage boys were so excited by his exploits they kept wanting to interject with questions, and couldn’t sit still.

In what I thought was a stroke of genius, at the end of the meeting, Tom offered that anyone wanting to take blank petition sheets to gather signatures was welcome to do so. There was a rush to the table to get the blank sheets, and again, the three boys were very excited to take some, saying they would ask all their mates. That, to me, is as satisfying outcome as one could hope for.