When you paddle Middle Harbour as often as I do, there is a section of Sydney Habour that seems to rarely ever get visited, and that is the southern part (ie Watsons Bay, Rose Bay, Double Bay etc). In fact, I’ve never crossed over the shipping channel to explore this part of our waterway, and have been waiting quite some time for the right weather conditions to do so. Last weekend, I finally got that good weather.
Striking out from The Spit in my BD Nanook, with fellow paddler Jonathan in my Folbot Cooper, we paddled past Balmoral Beach and around Middle Head, bracing ourselves against the ocean swell coming through the heads. Then as we came around into the Harbour, we had the task of finding the right point to cross over the shipping lane (and importantly, the right point to avoid the constantly crossing Manly Ferries).
Once we found that point we waited for the Manly ferry to pass and then struck out at full speed across the Harbour, steeling ourselves against the 2-4 foot multi-directional chop which was threatening to tip us into the drink. Once across, we found ourselves in the calmer waters of Watsons Bay, desperately seeking somewhere to grab some coffees (no such luck).
We took off to the hidden Parsley Bay in search of an open café, crossing over a gap in the shark net floats to get into the bay. Parsley Bay is a beautiful spot for picnics and family outings, but unfortunately, still no coffee. So we decided to strike back across the shipping lane and over to Chowder Bay, where Jonathan promised me we’d find coffee. After Jonathan managed to un-beach himself that is – haha!
Back into the Harbour we found ourself in the one position we didn’t want to be in – in the middle of the shipping lane with a Manly Ferry bearing down on us. Both of us put in the hard strokes (me using a sliding paddle stroke with my new Elver Tour Greenland Paddle) and despite both of us nearly soiling our respective kayaks, we made it to the safety of Chowder Bay as the ferry passed behind us.
Chowder Bay itself was teeming with people as we discovered it was the site of the World Masters Games open-water swimming event to be held that morning. But we cared not about that, because importantly Chowder Bay has a cracking little café serving the black gold we’d been seeking all morning. And indulge in coffee we did!
With our bellies nicely full of coffee, we decided to paddle back and call it a day, happy that we’d finally crossed over to the Dark Side for a visit, whilst avoiding the dangerous Manly Ferries. Gotta love paddling Sydney!