Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Day 11 - Banks Strait to Tassie

A quick geography lesson- The Bass Straight is the remnant land bridge between mainland Tassie and mainland Australia- making that the average water depth of the strait is just 80m. What makes the strait so unique is the shallow depth which plunges to the deep ocean (thousands of metres deep on each side). Because of this difference in depth between the Strait and the neighbouring oceans, each tidal movement sees large volumes of water move across the strait creating in one spot the world's largest underwater waterfall. The Banks Strait is one area of the Bass where the tides are at their strongest.

A little nervous, we headed out this morning into forecasted 15-20knot cross winds for the final crossing to mainland Tassie. Our initial trepidation proved well founded as we left the safety of our cove and were blasted with these ferocious winds coupled with huge 2m+ waves that were running against the tide flow. After 12 days of paddling some of calmest Bass Strait waters imaginable we now got a little taste of the reason for it's reputation. We were all thoroughly soaked within 20min as the waves often hit chest height and took a moment to check in with one another and consider a retreat. Pumped with adrenalin and knowing that the Tassie "mainland" was less than 25klm away we ploughed on into the headwind and the waves.

Yet less than an hour in the weather settled a little and we got into a rhythm. We went with the high tide flowing east until it turned and tacked back towards our destination, Little Musselroe. As we continued on, the Albatross and Shearwaters swooped down low, showing us the way and bringing out the sunshine. The indefatigable Danni was there with waving arms to meet us on the shoreline with a celebratory soda water. 12 days since leaving Victoria we had made it to Tassie mainland - a lot sorer, stinkier and hairier than before.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

A post from the Landcrew

Hi all,

Thought I'd tide you over with a brief report of the boys plans so you don't think they are lost somewhere in the Bass.

They set off early this morning for the final 2 legs of their paddle. Today's goal is getting to Preservation Island today and then wait until the right conditions to cross Banks Strait-  the very fast moving strait between Preservation and mainland Tassie. This will hopefully happen either tomorrow or even Saturday.

Yesterday was a rest day and unfortunately pretty dreary weather here on Flinders. A local Flinders resident, Noel (whom the boys has met on Hogan Island earlier in the trip) somehow hunted us down at our camping site on the south of the island and brought us the famous WALLABY PIE!  What a guy!! The weather didn't let up, so Noel took us on an island tour which included the local museum, Max's cafe in Lady Baron and back to his house where we met his orphaned baby wallaby he and his wife are minding. Wally was sound asleep hanging in a green Coles bag on the coat rack! Dav and Reece played with some baby wombats too (photos to come).

The day ended with "Parmi night"- monstrous chicken parmigiana at the local pub.

Special thanks to Noel for a great day on Flinders!

Thanks for all the comments/emails/facebook love. The guys love hearing about all the support from home.

Here's a few pics of the guys setting off this morning. Bit gritty sorry (iphone/early morning light).

Landcrew is back on the plane now to Launceston to get the Champagne on ice.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Day 9 - Emita to Trousers Point

Our first Bakery in nine days, 4 hours and 56mins !!!!!! As they say time apart makes the heart grow fonder. Unfortunately the local fauna special (wallaby pie) was sold out, however we still managed to fill our bellies with hot cross buns and other Flinders Island delights. We spent the morning in the boats, exploring the rock gardens around Emita, and challenging each other to paddle through ever narrower gaps between the giant lichen covered granite boulders. We timed the paddle into Whitemark very poorly (just before low tide) which meant we would probably have been quicker getting out and walking the kayaks to the wharf. A delicious lunch, supplied by our trusty land-crew, and we passed out on the beach for a nap.

While getting ready to get back on the water some friendly local fisherman pulled up and threw us a bag of freshly caught flathead, bloody friendly locals in these parts. Excited about the feat ahead, we jumped back into the boats for the a short trip down to Trousers Point. The beach was alive with kayakers when we pulled up at Trousers, with a group of veterans (Mates 4 mates) also paddling across the Bass Strait beating us in for the night. Delicious flathead for dinner, thanks Harry and Jim!!!

Day 8- Killiecrankie to Emita

A long deserved sleep in the Killiecranke campground and we woke up to the smell of frying bacon wafting down from Charlie's Cafe. We wandered up for a meal with our fellow paddlers from Perth whom we'd crossed paths with on Deal and Hogan Islands. We were looking forward to a rest day to check out the sites of North Flinders although Reece was quick to crack the whip to keep pushing down the coast. We made the most of the outgoing tide and cruised around past Royden Island and into a healthy head wind down to Emita. What was supposed to be a lazy afternoon paddle ended up being a 5hr slightly energetic afternoon.

The afternoon wasn't all hard work. Danni was there to meet us and take us all into Whitemark pub for a beer and feed. Unfortunately there is not as many alcoholics on the island as we'd hoped and the pub doors were closed by 6pm with no food on Sundays. On to the golf club for a delicious home cooked meal and a couple of beers.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Day 7 - Deal Island to Flinders Island (the big one!!!)

After another lay day forced due to bad weather we were excited to get back on the water and paddle 65kms to Flinders Island. This was the longest crossing to date and would mark the halfway point of our journey. The forecast was for increasing NW tailwinds up to 20knts, deteriorating in the afternoon  to 30knot westerlies. Not wanting to get blown into the Pacific ocean we decided to hit the water early again and paddle out of Deal Island in the dark. It was another surreal morning, and we were treated to a spectacular Bass straight sunrise and our first glimpse of Flinders island.  Winds were a little lighter than predicted in the early hours but quickly increased, whipping up some nice wind swell for us to ride.

After eight and a half hours of paddling, 16 muesli bars, 9 cliff bars, 2.2 kgs of carob/lolly/nut mix, 6 litres of electrolyte, 2 litres of protein drink, 8 litres of water, 42 vita-wheets with happy cow cheese and vegemite/peanut butter, and more than a little confusion about which bay we were headed to, we paddled into Killacrankie, to be met by our wonderful support crew/publicity manager/social media director/logistic analyst Danni Morley. This was definitely the hardest day out on the water, and with the wind whipping up to 15-20 knots it was a relief to be off the water and to have completed the trickiest section of the journey. It was also nice to be a little closer to civilisation (albeit a little scarce here on Flinders). We set up camp at the local campground, has our first shower in a week and headed up the road to tuck into a hearty feed cooked up by local cafe owner Charlie- washed down with a couple of bottles of Tassies finest.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

The Deal Island Latte Special

3 Bushell's tea bags
4 Robert Trimms coffee bags
4 Tbsp powdered milk
3 Tbsp condensed milk
1.5L of water

Bring to the boil and stir occasionally. Serve by splashing it all around the cups for added flare.


Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Day 5 - a bit of RnR

Due to poor conditions we spent the day enjoying some R&R. We checked out the local museum, soaked up the incredible surroundings and chatted with the wallabies before paddling around to Garden Cove where it was more sheltered from the southerly winds and would allow us a better starting point to Flinders.

The forecast isn't looking flash tomorrow again, so probably wait until Saturday to make our next crossing to Flinders.

Day 4- Hogan Island to Deal Island

We were up at 3am and on the water less than an hour later to make the most of the calm morning weather and avoid fresh winds from the SW in the afternoon. Unfortunately the cloud shaded almost all the moonlight and blocked out the sunrise. It was an erie paddling in near pitch black although we had a magic phosphorescence display from our bow lines and under our paddles for the first hour. The air was also surprisingly warm and the water was incredibly calm with barely a whisper of wind. These fantastic conditions continued as it got lighter and Deal Island rose up on the horizon and grew larger through the morning.

We took a little while to decide how to best navigate Murray's Pass- a channel between the Kent Islands that can flow incredibly fast. We timed our entry perfectly as it turns out and entered the channel minutes after the tide changed, whisking us through the islands up to the cove beneath the caretaker's hut. After only 7.5hrs paddling (in conditions the ranger Wayne said he's seen only 3 times in 7 years) we were counting our Cape Baren geese of which there turned out to be plenty of on the island.

An afternoon BBQ down on the jetty was put on by the caretakers Tim and Lynne and a bunch of very friendly local artists from Flinders who were staying on the island for a week.

Thanks Noel for the sausages and chocie! Also to Julien and Mike for the eggs.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Day 3- Refuge Cove to Hogan Island

Today was the real thing. Our first crossing and our first taste of Bass Strait proper. The forecast could hardly be better- light winds to our back and small swell that would almost assist us for most of the day.

We got on the water not long after 6am and caught a spectacular sunrise followed by an explosion of marine life around 15km offshore. There were birds galore and the odd playful seal. The highlight however were the albatross. Spectacular beasts soaring effortlessly and often swooping down low to check us out.

With such good conditions and high spirits we cruised along at around 7km/hr taking hourly breaks to take on fuel and compete in a game of "who can fill the bailer with the most and lightest yellow fluid". We recommend this as a great motivator for the kids to keep hydrated on hot days.

After 52km and 8hrs we pulled into the beach at Hogan Island taking G-man's advice to opt for the southern beach rather than the more frequented northern campsite at the site of the old hut that is apparently rat infested.

Thanks for following- Turners.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Rest Day at Wilson's Prom

After packing everything up, getting ready for 5am we had one last look at the weather. Collectively, together with the local seagulls, we decided that it was better not to chance it so we decided to stay at Refuge and get the best of the weather tomorrow.

We spent the day discussing the most useless item that each of us brought along. Reece was in the lead due to an oversized air mattress complete with electric pump, following closely by Davin's glass bottled deodorant. He stinks even when he used it anyway. That was until we discovered Joel's drag outfit, complete with 10 inch stilettos. He explained to us that he wanted to impress the local "little" penguins on Flinders Island.

We have been trying our luck at fishing with no success. Tomorrow should be a fantastic paddle out to Hogan Island and then off to Deal Island the next day if the weather holds.

First day in the boat

We got off to an early start from Melbourne after sleeping on probably the finest linen the Turner Bro's have ever- and will ever- experience courtesy of Sam and Kris' extraordinary hospitality. Disaster struck only a few kilometres out of Port Welshpool when the front roof rack dislodged leaving them precariously balancing on the roof. With the help of a few trusty tie-downs we were back on the road and then loading boats at our launch site. We worked hard to convince Big Sam to squeeze into the rear hatch of Joel's kayak and had him until he remembered it was his engagement party the next day. Having paddled the Murray Marathon with Sam we knew his extra torque would be a massive asset for the big crossing (although we may have had to resort to deep sea trawling to feed him the protein he requires). Big thanks to SMP and Kris for the lift out and the 5 star hospitality.

After the predictable dramas of misplacing items and packing more volume of gear into our kayaks than we have before (we had trained with extra water to simulate the weight but not the bulk we now had) we were on our way at 11am against the current but with otherwise favourable conditions. Our 'little' 43km paddle down the east of Wilson's Promontory was slow going. Just before sunset we pulled up at Refuge Cove relieved to get out of our boats after an 8 hr effort. A quick cook up and hot chocy laced with Ireland's finest and we were out.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Day 1 done!

Just spoke to the boys. After a leisurely 11am start, they knocked out 43km down to Refuge Cove. By all reports, it was a pleasant but slow paddle. They are going to have a day off tomorrow to eat some food that's weighing down their boats. Conditions are looking more favourable Tuesday. Over and out.

- Landcrew.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Day 1

A massive thanks to Big Sam and his lovely fiancĂ© Kristine for putting us up in Melbourne last night. As always there was nothing but first rate service from the honorary Turner brother who made our last night in civilisation as comfortable as we could have hoped. After just squeezing into the underground carpark Reece had a moment of confusion and nudged one of the boats into the carpark wall - luckily no damage. 

Just about to arrive at Port Whelshpool- the start of day 1. It's a bit of a dreary morning down here in Melbourne town, but other than a few clouds the weather is looking favourable for the first day on the water. There are a few jitters in the car but we are definitely looking forward to getting out on the water. 

Thanks everyone for the generous donations!!!

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Nadgee Kayaks

For those of you who are interested, this post is about the fantastic craft that will keep us afloat through this treacherous body of water. We have chose to go with the Nadgee Kayaks, built down in Bega on the southern coast of NSW. Lawrence from Nadgee kayaks builds the best kayaks around, in his solar panelled workshop. We couldn't have asked more from Nadgee, they are strong, light and glide through the water with apparent ease. Lawrence was even able to accomodate our strange requests of a tiger striped paint job and a lady bettle.

The Route

Paddling with Stuart Trueman

We were lucky enough to spend a day paddling with Stuart Trueman. If you haven't heard about him have a look at his feat here  or read his book All the way round. Stuart was very generous with his time, and knowledge. He taught us basic survival techniques from rolling to towing and self rescue. Valuable techniques that we hope we don't have to use when we are on the Bass Strait. A huge thanks goes out to Stuey and the best of luck to him in his next adventure.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

A training run in the Illawarra

Day 1 : Bulli to Kiama
Distance : 48km

The first big training day kicked off with an early start. The boats were packed and loaded as the sun came up over Bulli beach as we trepidatiously waited for enough light to launch the boats. Reece and Joel left the beach with apparent ease, however Davin found it necessary to recieve a face wash on the way out copping a wave in the face and loosing his hat. With the hat found the three boys were on their way and enjoying the comfort of the Nadgee kayaks as they cruised towards Wollongong. 

After a quick stop to stretch the legs we were back on our way,  the wind had whipped up to 15knots which made for some fun wave surfing all the way into Kiama. At Kiama we had another quick stop, this time to fill up on a delicious milkshake (I wonder we will get these in the Bass strait), then it was back in the boats, this time heading North, back to where we had come from. We hoped to camp at a beach called the Farm but this required an hour struggle into 15knot headwinds. After 40km of paddling, this was tough!!! However, all was rewarded when we landed on a beautiful beach, protected from the North-easter. We set up camp for the night and bunkered down for an amazing lighting show.

The next morning we left at the break of dawn. The weather was predicted to turn so we needed to maximise the slight winds. The trip back to Bulli was one of the best paddles we have enjoyed. The weather was calm, the sea was flat and the sealife was out in force. We saw sharks, seals, and dolphins on our way along the beautiful coastline. All in all, it was a fantastic trip and reminded us all why we want to see Australia's beautiful coastline by kayak.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Raising funds for other sea-dwellers

The three of us are about to embark on a open water boating adventure. Unlike us, sadly there are thousands of other people in the world that are not getting into boats for the same reasons. Please help us support those that are fleeing troubles in their home country and coming to the "safety" of Australia. 

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre protects and upholds the human rights, wellbeing and dignity of asylum seekers. They are the largest provider of aid, advocacy and health services for asylum seekers in Australia. Most importantly, at time of despari and hopelessness, they offer comfort, friendship, hope and respite.