Category Archives: Diary entry

The day by day account of Steve’s trip

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.


1st February

There were a lot of kayaks and other paddle craft on the water for the welcome into Wollongong. Tom’s hobie tri displayed “NO MORE FOSSIL FUEL” while we all hovered around waiting for the word to paddle into the harbour. When we do this I hang around out of sight until Warren calls. He knows if the dignitaries or something important like the Ecopella are ready or not. When I was waiting with the first bunch of kayakers I saw a shark and took off to get a photo. Not sure why but the others didn’t follow. It was camera shy but I did manage to get one shot that clearly showed the fin before it shook me off.

Yesterday we were talking about collective nouns, you know, the flubber argument. Well, now Warren and I know what the collective noun for a bankers is. You won’t guess unless you know. It is a wunch. If you don’t know what a Spoonerism forget it.

Coming into the harbour the flotilla was well grouped and looked like pros. I’m not sure what the demand is for a well behaved flotilla but there is one in Wollongong if anyone is interested. Flotilla behind me, dignitaries and people with large letters making up “ILLAWARRA WANTS CLIMATE ACTION” in front of me, singing and chanting, inspirational!

After it was all over we went to Steelers where we would have all starved if it wasn’t for Warren who got us food 20 minutes after last orders. I am not going to tell you his secret but it was inspirational.

Over a beer after dinner there were five engineers discussing what the future might hold. Perhaps I am odd but I don’t see engineers as radical or ratbags but it was disturbing. The consensus was that because the world is not taking action on what is scientific fact, the future is probably grim. None of us understands why people cannot accept science and facts. We now live in a world of lies camouflaged by the term “alternative facts”. The way we see it is we either accept the facts and fix the problem or we let the “alternatives” win. Mankind will fight before he starves and the wars that are coming over climate change will make the first one, Syria, look like a picnic. Is this radical? The evidence points that way and some of us who have based our whole careers on science think that is the future unless we do something NOW.

IMG_3638Kiama camp site

IMG_3648Doing the blog. Rain and cool but cosy inside

P2013183Shark no.10 for the trip

P2013193Challenging Warren for photographic excellence

IMG_3675A tidy flotilla. That’s as close as you are ever gonna get ’em

IMG_3674Some of our view paddling in

IMG_3679Lining up for the camera

IMG_3694People arriving and dreadful feedback through speakers. (No swearing)

IMG_3698Three levels of govt.    State – Paul Scully,       Federal – Sharon Bird,      Local – George Takacs

Warren                Whilst awaiting Steve’s arrival it was inspiring to see the number of excited people gathering to welcome Steve, and quite a few collected signatures including two teenagers who rose to the challenge, and experienced signature collection for the first time. The organiser, Tom Hunt, had done an amazing job, with the Federal Minister for Cunningham, Sharon Bird, the State Member for Wollongong, Paul Scully, George Takacs, Councillor for Wollongong, and Arthur Rorris, Secretary, South Coast Labor Council being amongst the welcoming crowd. Steve was accompanied to shore by a flotilla of kayaks, paddled by concerned locals, and as he approached he was greeted by a marvellous cheering and applauding group. After a musical presentation by Ecopella, and lots of photographs, we all  adjourned to the Old Court House across the road for the formal welcome, speeches and Steve’s presentation.


In total there were approximately 80 people there. Steve’s presentation held the audience captivated and there were many gasps and awe at Steve’s experiences, particularly on the flooded Mississippi, and the canals and locks when he crossed England. Steve isn’t shy about saying what he really felt, and this resulted in many outbursts of laughter. It is the first time I’ve seen the presentation, and although I was an avid follower of his Paris blog, it was a very powerful hour and a quarter. When Steve finished the applause was deafening and seemed to go on forever until Steve and Tom brought everybody back to Earth.


There are so many people to thank and acknowledge here, I know there are deficiencies, but a sincere thank you to everybody who was either involved, or attended, and a sincere apology to anybody not mentioned. I wish to acknowledge in particular though, the following people: Tom Hunt who organised the event, and the assistance given him by Peter Todd. Tom, Peter and Howard, are all from Citizens Climate Lobby Australia. Video was taken by John Devenish and Brian Harvey, photos and press by Brian Mason from The Wilderness Society. Other members of the Wilderness Society also collected signatures. The Illawarra Knitting Nannas were there and collecting signatures. Rowan Huxtable and members of Wollongong Climate Action Network were there, University of Wollongong Young Greens were represented, and Cath Blakey, Rowan Hu and other members of the Illawarra Greens were busy collecting signatures. Thanks again to Ecopella who provided our musical entertainment, having also been at The Opera House welcome.


Last but certainly not least, thank you to the kayakers who accompanied Steve into the beautiful harbour, Steve and Tim aboard the “No More Fossil Fuels” kayak, and Dave, Alan, Dennis and others whose names I unfortunately missed.



31st January

On the water before sunrise there were about twenty racing skis and two outrigger canoes (OC6) who just beat me out of the harbour. It takes half an hour from when we arrive to getting on the water. That usually includes a lengthy conversation with Marine Rescue while they confirm details.

The water was glassy and the sky overcast so I made good time past five islands and down to Bass Point which projects a long way out, making the paddle past Windang more than 4km off the coast. The 9.00am sked went smoothly and I passed Warren on the point at 9.30 where he practiced his photography skills. Next sked was 10.30am.

Just before that sked I saw three mutton birds on the water about 200m ahead. They flew off but I investigated what they seemed to be pecking at. I overshot trying to take a photo so had to back paddle and come at it again. Something bumped the rudder three times while I was doing that, so I hastily took a photo of whatever it was and paddled off at speed.

The 10.30 sked was fine but Warren said the southerly had just passed him. That was a bugger because I was watching clouds that I thought heralded the wind and they were an hour away. The southerly was predicted after 11.00 and I reckoned I would make it to Kiama or at least to the shelter behind the headland before it hit. I was less than 5km from Kiama and about 3.5km off the Kiama Downs beach.

Suddenly all hell broke loose as 40knots ripped into me. It was all I could do to maintain a line perpendicular to the wind. Left full rudder, many more right stokes than left and 45 minutes of full strength paddling before I made it to the beach. By then the wind had ripped up a messy lot of waves but I managed to land on the beach without disgracing myself and dragged the kayak up the path to the surf club. The sand stung my legs as the wind still buffeted even there on the beach and behind Bombo Headland and Cathedral Rocks.

So near and yet so far. Another 20 minutes and I would have been able to get into Kiama but it wasn’t to be. Might just be a bit more wary next time. 40 knots on the nose is a bitch. 28.9km on the log

IMG_3578Warren reflects light off my head

IMG_3600Only seen by the support crew

IMG_3620Good photography past Bass Point eh

P1313178The bit below the water is about 1m long and the  bit that is bitten off is about 20cm wide

Warren     This is becoming a habit, up at 4 am, so Steve could try to beat the Southerly, and paddling early. My photography skills seem to be improving, largely due to a tip Lyn gave me. Anyway, I got a series of shots as Steve left Wollongong and turned south around the lighthouse, then I headed South hoping to get to a very prominent headland for our fist radio sked.

Despite what the other blogger, who only has to keep the land on his right might think, access to headlands can be quite obscure. I asked a young fisherman of about my age how to get to the point, and following his advice, got right to the spot for the nine o’clock check in. I got what seemed to be great photos of Steve paddling past. It’s worth looking the location up, it is Bass Point at Shellharbour. It is the site where the American tanker “Cities Service Boston” ran aground on 16th May, 1943, and four Australians died saving the sixty two crew members. The Australians killed included members of the 6 Machine Gun Battalion AIF. There are memorials to the ship, and to the soldiers at the site. Bushrangers Bay Aquatic Reserve is also on the point.

Anyway, I scurried south and because Steve was forced to land due to the Southerly, collected him and we finished early for the day. It’s the first time I’ve seen Steve’s kayak in such a dishevelled state, it was liberally coated in sand, he’s usually a bit more refined (ha ha).

30th January

Early start for the boys today. Warren’s new buddy was back home working so it was all work for him in temperatures near 40 degrees.

I set off from La Perouse just after 6.00am with a light northerly ruffling the water. A sea fog drifted towards the land and just as I was about to cross the entrance to Botany Bay an oil tanker loomed out of the fog. There were two tugs in attendance and it appeared to be going really slowly but it covered ground quite quickly, so I was pleased that I saw it before committing to the crossing.

By 7.00am the wind was strong enough to fill the sail, about 4-6knots. I didn’t go into the bay in front of Cronulla and aimed for the furthermost cliff that I could see in the national park. As the fog rolled in these cliffs disappeared but the sun was still there so I used it for direction. When I could see the cliffs again I was on course so dead reckoning worked fine.

The wind increased and it looked like a nor’easter was forming but it was fickle. Sometimes it was very strong with crashing waves, sometimes a westerly and sometimes nothing. Warren was on the hill at Stanwell Park ready for a sked at 11.00am. He was hot! We agreed to meet at Coalcliff where I pulled in at 12:15 for half an hour and a cold ginger beer. The shore dump was a bit strong so Warren held the bow straight and dragged it towards the waves until Old Yella floated and I crashed through a couple of smaller waves before resuming the paddle south.

To get into Coalcliff I had battled a head wind and as I paddled out there was a head wind. Ahhh such is life. The nor’easter was doing battle with the land winds, sometimes winning, sometimes not. Out to sea it was strong so I tried to stay out there where it was a mad scramble down the waves trying to keep as straight as I could but sometimes I would drift in or maybe the land breeze would win and the sail would go limp.

There were more bluebottles than any other day and when I didn’t concentrate the right blade would pick one up. The first I would feel would be a tug on my arm from something like a piece of string. Then I would have to unravel the blue line very carefully. This happened half a dozen times with two getting tangled up and stinging me as I came into Wollongong Harbour at 3.30pm.

I logged off with Marine Rescue with 61.6km completed.

P1303156What’s that coming out of the fog. Look carefully and you can see the ship and two tugs

IMG_3519Better let him pass

P1303167Cliffs in the national park. What a difference to the way up two years ago when the wind was onshore and the waves crashed over me at chest height. Seemed there were a lot more cliffs that day

IMG_3534Just finished applying more sunscreen at Coalcliff

IMG_3561See how hard it is for the support crew. You can just see me and that is only 400m

IMG_3564Although speeds are high in these condition it is hard work. As the wave picks up the kayak I will push down as hard as I can with my right toe but the kayak will still slew left. It then takes about ten sweeping left side strokes at full strength to bring it around and sometimes even that doesn’t work and it slews off to the left until the sail flaps

P1303169Cliff bridge

P1303168The blue thread is quite strong (as well as painful)

P1303173Coming into Wollongong Harbour

IMG_3571Done, over 60km

Warren     Well, up at 4 am, as you do, driving at 4:45, waving goodbye to Steve at 6:05 at La Perouse, and I was ready to start my day. We’ll try to make contact at 11:00am, and half hourly from then, and won’t pass Coalcliff until we make contact, that was the plan. And it worked perfectly, two experts fully in control of the situation at all time. Visual contact was very difficult because of the myriad of white caps looking for all the world like Steve’s sail, as well as the haze and shimmer off the water, except, dear reader, they didn’t look like sails. Must report accurately, I know.

Despite my slight misgivings when Steve was trying to leave Botany Bay while a container ship with two attendant tugs were entering, all went well, once the ship moved over.

Apart from the heat, and Steve’s remarkable paddle today, it was not an eventful day. Waiting at Coalcliff I was excited to see a group of seals playing, until I realised i was seeing divers’ flippers flapping in the air. Oops!

My first day after Lyns departure and I was feeling the isolation, nobody to talk to about the excellent Stanwell Park/Bald Hill coffee, or the passionfruit muffin. Oh well, life’s tough, I enjoyed them and resisted the temptation to do a selfie. The first two sips of beer at the end of the day were like angels’ tears on my tongue but we both felt we had earned it.

28th January

The plan was to be at Fort Denison by 9.40am ready for a paddle across to the opera house at 10.00am. Made it with just 5 mins to spare but Warren held me in position for another 15 minutes while some stragglers arrived.

When the call came I hoisted sail and paddled across. The wharf was crowded with people holding placards and banners. It was a noisy welcome and uplifting to see all of those people. David Bell took a photo as I threw the rope to Warren. Perfect timing. I climbed up the ladder, dragged the kayak onto the wharf and we all trouped off to the park, about a hundred metres away.

Perhaps you will recall that Kerry from my school days met me at the beach at Newcastle. Well the same thing happened in Sydney, Neil Schafer popped out of the crowd. He and I used to compete with Kerry for top spots all through school. We had seen each other in 2010 at the fortieth Grafton High School reunion but the three of us go way back to when we started school which is quite a long time ago seeing as we are all 64 now.

The meeting in the park was superbly organized with a number of speakers. Warren has them covered below but starting with Uncle Allen I have to say that the quality of the talks was inspiring. We do need to feed off each other. We do need to support each other. This is a battle about psychology, facts do not seem to work for the majority of Australians and they certainly don’t work with most city media and major party politicians.

A very pleasant surprise was that there were two young and very active engineers there. I still hold out hope that Engineers Australia can be a major voice for climate action.

The only complaint that I have is with the weather gods. Having just paddled four days straight against the wind, it was favourable today and impossible tomorrow. Bugger.

BTW, there were a few Knitting Nannas there. Two years ago one of them gave me a small knitted triangle that I kept with me all round the world for luck. Unfortunately a mate in Ballina has cancer and I gave it to him. Rosie, a nanna from Byron gave me a knitted rosette to replace it.

P1283155Wow, look at all those people

David ropeWell timed David. Got the rope perfectly

IMG_3488What a group!

IMG_3445Uncle Allen in full flight

IMG_3442Signatures coming in

DSC06497 (002)Ecopella in brilliant form

IMG_3484David Hood, Kate Smolski and Cr Jess Miller

IMG_3490That’s Neil. How about that eh Kerry.

IMG_3492Very similar to the photo taken 31st January two years ago. A lot of water under the kayak since then!!

Warren     Today was a day of celebration, as Robert Garnsey and his team had arranged a fantastic welcome for Steve, including a picnic in the Botanical Gardens, a Welcome to Country, a number of invited speakers, and entertainment.

I will list the people involved later, and as there were many, I apologise in advance for any errors or omissions, and I will happily correct  any if I am advised

A crowd assembled on the Eastern side of the Opera House forecourt to welcome Steve who was scheduled to arrive at 10 am. There were quite a number of groups represented, and many signatures were added to the petition before Steve paddled in.

We all moved onto the pontoon at the Man O’ War jetty as Steve approached. Two groups of kayakers totalling approximately 50, approached Steve, from his left and his right, converging around him about 100 metres from the pontoon, to welcome him. The crowd on the pontoon numbered well over 80, and Steve was given a tumultuous welcome as he arrived.

Following a quick welcome, all adjourned to the shade of two beautiful trees in the Botanical Gardens for the official welcome, speeches and the picnic. It was great to see Janet Ellis join us, following her coordination of the welcome for Steve at Shelly Beach on Australia Day

Uncle Allen Madden, from the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council conducted a Welcome to Country, and under the guidance of James Dagher our MC, we listened to Kate Smolski, CEO of The Nature Conservation Council, Councillor Jess Miller from The City of Sydney, and David Hood, from  Engineers Australia, BZE and other duties too numerous to list.  Petitions were handed in by Alex Pye, Wilderness Society, who handed in 300 signatures, Angela Michaelis, Climate Change Balmain-Rozelle, who handed in 500, and Annie Nielsen, Parramatta Climate Action Network, who handed in 300.

Lunch was generously provided by Climate Change Balmain-Rozelle-Rozelle members Kate Marcus, Fred Piper and Kim Zegenhagen, and entertainment by Ecopella conductor  Miguel, and members Patrick, Chris, Roy, Dallas, Cathy, Jo, Deb, Sue, Meredith, and Louise

A series of wonderful photos was taken for us all by Jemima, and video by Gabriel

Lastly, I want to acknowledge and heartily thank Rob Garnsey, Phil Bradley and Dominic Case from Climate Change Balmain-Rozelle for organising and coordinating the event. It was a massive task, and the result was an inspiring event. Thank you and congratulations


27th January

Started at Shelley Beach with a southerly breeze and a nor’easter predicted. Before I got to Sydney Heads about half a dozen kayakers came past on their way to where I had from. They were from the NSW Sea Kayak Club. You can’t see kayaks from very far away and to have a group of them bob up in front of me was a weird feeling. We had started late, hoping to struggle the first couple of hours and then be blown down to Cronulla. Warren was to collect Lyn from the airport and we would radio sked at 11.30am. Warren picked Lyn up on time but I was slowly falling behind schedule as the southerly showed no sign of relenting. They were at Maroubra and I was still north of the sewerage stack at Bondi for the sked.

Lyn had advised me that a group of jellyfish is a called bloom.  In other words she reckoned that my advice that the collective noun is a flubber was wrong. Wrong? Me? Because Warren is a civil engineer and like me, very clever, I asked his advice. Our code of ethics does not allow us to practice outside our area of expertise so Warren said he was not sure about jellyfish but that he did know about jelly beans and that the collective noun is a packet. You can understand why I revere the advice of such a man, but I just thanked him courteously and thought about it. My conclusion was that it could also be a jar.

While the two support people got to know each other over coffee and toasties I struggled on against the wind. They said later that it was a hot day and they appreciated the cool southerly breeze. Apparently, in an effort to maintain radio contact they wandered through the rifle range at Malabar. Warren, who as I have said is very astute, worked out that when there was a target quite close and a mound of dirt that people shoot from when they looked the other way that the golf course might have been more appropriate. We finally made contact them by radio when they stood at the third tee which from my perspective was on top of a cliff. Apparently there is another story involving a sewage treatment plant and yet another pretending to be undercover with the radio but they are for the amusement of the crew.

The wind had dropped a bit but there were still a few white caps around indicating 10-12 knots. I radioed that I was ready to chuck it in and head to La Perouse. The day was only 30.5km for a slog of over seven hours.

IMG_3359Rounding Fairy Bower, Manly in the background

IMG_3362Wind is finally dropping but not changing direction as forecast

IMG_3381The crew training each other in photography

IMG_3385Can you please take this before I hit the rocks

IMG_3397I needed some help up the sand

IMG_3398From the front. Pull!

Warren     Firstly I must apologise sincerely for an omission regarding the Shelly Beach welcome on Thursday. The fourth signature collector, and somehow my notes let me down, was Judy Lambert from Manly Greens and Friends of Cabbage Tree Bay. Judy spent most of the morning talking to the public and gathering signatures, along with Janet, Anne, and Malcolm

Steve put his kayak in the water at Shelly Beach, with trepidation about the forecast southerly,  which effects his progress greatly. After waving him goodbye I headed for the airport to meet Lyn who was joining us for a couple of days. Once the composite expert support team was set up, we headed south to make radio contact with Steve. While we were doing this, unfortunately Steve overheard Lyn say we would head for a coffee shop until the next radio check. I say unfortunately, only because it seemed Steve heard this, and I’m pleased  that static muffled most of his reply, as he was not enjoying struggling a southerly. After a number of very professional radio skeds, Lyn and I moved South for another headland vantage point. This was exciting as we drove into a rifle range, and realised there were targets both sides of us, and they were a long way from the shooting positions. Proceeding on foot seemed terminal so we exited rather hastily, but with style. Next we, that is, I, tried to charm the security guard into allowing us to drive into the Malabar Sewage Works looking for the elusive headland. I failed, so we walked through a golf course at Malabar, and made contact with Steve. Next step was to meet Steve at La Perouse for him to end the days trip. Two of us had a very pleasant afternoon. By the way, the coffee was excellent






26th January

Between 6:15am and 6:30am the glassy waters of Pittwater ruffled ominously. “Uh Oh,” I said to Warren, or words to that effect. Being Australia Day, (or invasion day), runabouts started to appear everywhere. Invariably they had two blokes in them and a row of fishing rods. I did see one catch a 50cm fish just off a cliff. I had decided to go between their boat and the cliff but they drifted in so that there was no room. A bombie was about 5m from them so I just stopped and let themselves get sorted out. I don’t mind going close to a breaking wave but I would not have been where they were. Not to worry, nothing happened and they got the fish which was obviously more important than a mere boat.

A fluther of jellfish, or maybe a smack of jellfish, appeared below me. They were almost touching they were so dense and they weren’t all swimming in the same direction. With a tough camera around my neck I tried an underwater photo which sort of turned out. There are many wasted shots each day because of water on the lens. Wiping it off with a wet finger doesn’t really work that well but it sure beats Warren’s efforts of frantic lens changing when it would perhaps have been better to take the lens cap off. Just sayin’ ya know.

Another shark made it nine so far for the trip. It was a few kilometres further south that I saw some strange fins in the air which on closer examination turned out to be five people snorkel spearfishing. I said hello to one bloke who looked my way but he wasn’t talkative and the others just kept their heads down.

The wind had been fine until then but after I had finished smoko it started to blow about 12knots and eventually 15-20 knots which was a bit of a bugger. The arrival time for Shelley Beach was 1.00pm but I always organise it with some spare. Unfortunately we forgot to organise radio skeds for when I approached but at 11.30am I turned the radio on and at 11.45am Warren called and I was just five minutes away. As anticipated I hung around until he rallied the troops and I paddled in. There was a gap in the crowds right next to the rocks and Warren tried to let swimmers know I was coming. I headed for that point just as half a dozen teenage girls appeared over Warrens shoulder and walked ankle deep in water straight in front of me, totally oblivious to anything except looking good.

On the sand I dragged the kayak out of the water, the well wishers came and shook my hand and as a special treat a group of kids showed a lot of interest. Warren will talk about the organisers of the day but a very big thank you to them from me.

1 IMG_3333Ready to apply my lipstick with the water still glassy

2P1263125Spear fishers ignoring me

3P1263114Part of the fluther

4IMG_2988Warren likes rocks so I took this for him. I think that I have discovered gold bands in the cliff. We might come back to mine them later.

5P1263130North Head and Manly

6 Shelley beachKids on the beach. I wonder if they will come to hate our current crop of major party pollies

7IMG_3350Well organised and set out

8IMG_3345You wouldn’t believe the trouble we had getting this shot and we still didn’t get everyone in it

Warren    DAY 4   Well, devoted reader, Steve was in the water just before 6:30am this morning, it was a cool overcast morning, which makes for comfortable driving though not for Steve as he faced a southerly. I arrived at Shelly Beach, a beautiful little bay at the Southern end of Manly Beach, at about 8:30, to be met by Janet and Anne who were setting up their marquee ready for a day of promoting the Declaration, gathering signatures and of course, welcoming Steve.

It was great to see a number of other helpers turn up to show their support or to gather signatures, and I am very happy to say, Janet, Anne, and Malcolm were the three mainly responsible for collecting 174 signatures. A remarkable effort considering its Australia Day and that was people’s focus

Steve arrived ahead of schedule at 11:45, and I was caught out as I’d happily watched the welcoming team disperse on the petition quest. We moved to Plan B and looked very versatile, efficient and organised if I did say so myself.

Steve arrived on the beach to a noisy welcome which almost involved running into six teenage girls who were fully focussed on how cool they looked, and were oblivious to the fact they were headed straight for the spot Steves kayak was headed. They would all have met at the waters edge. Swift action by the expert support team saved the day

As Steve stepped ashore people gathered around and a number of  little kids swarmed over to see, which was  great to see, and their parents got some lovely group photos of the kids with Steve

A great day, and a special thank you to Janet  Ellis, from Ryde Epping Greens and Climate Action Working Group, who arranged the marquee, literature, signatures and welcome for Steve, Anne Corbett, from Ryde Epping Greens and Climate Action Working Group, who assisted Janet, Malcolm Fisher, from Save Manly Dam Bushland who collected signatures for the full three hours till Steve arrived, Tania Lamble, from Land Water Future Manly, Judy Lambert, from Manly Greens and Friends of Cabbage Tree Bay, and Kylie Hitchman, from Manly Greens

25th January

Late start after an excellent interview with ABC Central Coast, a big breakfast at the surf club café at Terrigal and then finally away at 10.00am . I told Warren that I would meet him at 2.00pm at Palm Beach after logging on with VMR (that’s Volunteer Marine Rescue) advising them 15.00hrs.

The southerly was not strong and I arrived on the beach behind Barenjoey lighthouse at 2.02pm with 22.3km logged. Not bad I thought. Four hours hard work isn’t a lot but it still deserved a couple of beers at the Newport Arms we reckoned.

IMG_3320Getting ready to leave Terrigal

IMG_3322Logging on, which unfortunately took about 10 minutes this time. Warren keeps wanting to know what my best side is.

P1253094Out of the wind and ready to head round the corner past Avoca

P1253100A couple of shanties hidden in this valley. I wonder how many people know how to get thereP1253107Barrenjoey on the left and behind it Pittwater. Lion Island towards the right. Bit overcast and misty as you can see

P1253108Nearly there. Barrenjoey lighthouse

IMG_3330Into Pittwater behind Barenjoey and out of the wind

Warren    DAY 3    After an exhausting day in the heat yesterday, the shorter trip in cooler weather was a great relief, even for me, and I only had to drive. I beat Steve by over an hour so gathered ten or eleven signatures for the petition from curious passers by, all promising to check the petition site and Steve’s site. It was very pleasing that a number of today’s signatories are parents and they seemed keen to look at the websites with their children. I’m pleased to advise that my photography skills are improving but my best photos were definitely the ones I missed. I had been frustrated that Steve when departing wasn’t waiting for me to take excellent photographs, and then I realised he was showing me his best side, dear reader, it’s the back of his head

Tomorrow is an easy run into Shelly Beach at the southern end of Manly, where quite a welcome has been arranged by Janet. It should be great fun