It was a simple plan. Get up at 5am, head to the Spit, get the kayak out on the water whilst still dark, paddle to the Heads, and watch the sun rise over the Pacific Ocean.
It started well. I managed to get out of the house by 5.10am and had a quick drive to the Spit. With the kayak on the water, a small dome light clipped to my PFD, I pushed into the murky darkness before 6am and paddled off towards the entrance to Sydney Harbour.
To say paddling in the dark is surreal is an understatement. Distant boat light reflections give the harbour a magical twinkling look. City reflections show off the best of the Sydney skyline. And of course unseen splashes in the nearby waters raise the heart rate to panic levels!
Then of course there is the discovery as the sky lightens that the sea is not going to play ball. Thick high swell pushes into the harbour from the sea, with large breakers crashing on the middle harbour headlands. And of course in the twilight I’ve barely noticed how much water is pouring over the sides of my kayak from the massive swell, but can now see clearly that I am sitting in a bath.
It is at this point that I develop that “sinking” feeling. And I mean literally, because as my boat fills with water I start to imagine that the swell may indeed send the boat to Davy’s Jones Locker! This sit-on-top just isnt designed for ocean swell stability, no matter how hard I try.
So, turning around I ride the swell back into the safety of Middle Harbour, pull up on a nearby beach and empty the kayak. Then as I continue up through Middle Harbour the sun finally rises from below the horizon.
Not quite as planned, but still pretty magical.