There’s something magical about Autumn dawns, and with that in mind I left home at 5am for a paddle on Sydney’s beautiful Pittwater. Arriving before 6am, I was able to watch the changing colours of daybreak glimmering on the waters I was about to paddle.
I was being joined by Timbo for this paddle, with him arriving a few minutes after I did. Forunately I’d left early because I’d gotten lost finding this magnificent little put in spot (big wraps for Google Maps on the iPhone with built in GPS for getting me there in the end!!). After a quick chat and set-up, and me falling out of my kayak as I was getting in and ending up sitting in knee-high water (DOH!). We finally pushed out into the still waters by McCarrs Creek heading off into Pittwater.
It really is an amazing feeling paddling so early in the morning. Dark shadows stretch across the water in the early-morning light, especially as we weaved our way amongst the moored yachts and motor-cruisers in the inlet. The amber sky lightens and you get to enjoy the water with barely another soul out there. Absolutely magic.
The western shore of Pittwater is part of the Kuringai National Park and is stunning wilderness (if you can call it wilderness, with houses dotted across the cliffy landscape!). With sandstone cliffs wrapped in the green shroud of the rain forrest, the shore is simply mesmerising as you paddle past.
As usual Tim and I chatted and giggled as we paddled along. The conversation bounced between gossip on other paddlers, to comparisons of different kayaks, to funny stories of our most embarrassing paddling moments. There’s no doubt paddling on your own is fun, but paddling with a mate is far better. As we gas-bagged on, the kilometres slipped behind us as we cruised up the western shore.
In my plastic boat it’s quite fun for me to rock-garden in my travels, something Timbo is a bit more nervous about in his composite boat. So I ducked in along the shore, dodging between semi-submerged rocks as well as occassionally beaching myself and laughing as I seal-slide off submerged rock areas. Admittedly it puts a bit a few little scratches in the bottom of my boat, but then like me, I reckon a few scars just add a bit of character!
Eventually the sneaky coffee I’d had in the car had woken up my kidneys and was starting to create a fair feeling of discomfort, so we looked for a quiet beach to land on for a pit-stop. We found a suitable sandy beach and pulled in for a convenience stop (not an easy thing when you have a PFD over a skirt over a wetsuit). There we had a break, ate a few muesli bars and watched tiny crabs scuttling about the beach.
Like all great things however the paddle had to come to an end, so it was time to turn around and paddle the 8km return trip back to the put in area. Timbo and I set off ready for a stiff paddle against the tide, but instead found the northerly winds helping to push us along the surface, and instead of a slow slog back, we felt like we’d barely paddled.
Paddles like today are so good for cleansing the soul after a stressful week at work. The beautiful waterways, the sounds of nature and fresh salty air all work together to remove your stresses and bring a smile to your face. No wonder so many of us paddlers are addicted to it! Cheers – FP