Sea Kayaking – A report on the Victor Harbor to Cape Jervis trip Nov.2009

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Day 1 – 29.3 kms

Departing the Victor Harbor Bluff boat ramp at 9.30 am, the tranquil, crystal clear seas beckoned all and sundry to venture further afield along part of South Australia’s coastline renowned for its spectacular scenery but often treacherous waters.

After a brief, on-water stop at West Island to view the cluster of buildings remaining from by-gone days, we headed for Newland Head, with south westerly winds slowly picking up to around 12 knots.  After a pleasant 7 km paddle, we tucked into the leeward side of Newland Head to replenish energy supplies before setting off for an 11 km stretch to our lunch destination.  With swell and winds rapidly increasing as we passed Waitpinga and Parsons surf beaches, it was heads down and hard paddling as our cruising speed of around 6 km/hr quickly dropped a notch or two.

Winds subsided shortly before reaching Ballaparudda Creek beach and we had an easy landing before enjoying the beautiful, secluded beach with the temp in the high 30s and a slight sea breeze.  We headed off in pleasant seas for Tunkalilla Head only 3 kms away, and our overnight campsite at Tunk beach a further kilometre on.

Conscious of the many recent shark sightings in the area, there was a moment of relief when wild thrashing in the distance and numerous fins revealed the customary dolphin.  A visit by a pod of over 20 adults and many calves made for a perfect ending to a glorious first day of paddling.

Following another relatively easy beach landing into Tunk beach, tents and swags soon adorned our claim of the beautiful stretch of coastline.  A game of beach frisbee and body surfing whetted appetites and before long there were the traditional lighting of tranjias and “popping of corks”.  There were photo opportunities galore with a spectacular sunset over the magnificent view of the Southern Ocean and the Pages Island group in the distance.

Day 2 – 27.1 kms

After a night of tossing and turning to the sound of thundering waves and with a sky alight with stars, we rose bright and early to the sun rising like a beacon through a thick sea fog.

As we were set to go at 7.30 am, a pod of young dolphins demonstrated their surf skills.  One youngster rode the wave, back turned, flew off the top of the wave and did a back flip in the air, as if to say, “That’s how you do it guys”.

Whilst our navigation of the break zone wasn’t half as spectacular as the dolphins, I was thankful for the unusually calm conditions in an area which would undoubtedly normally have hearts racing.

One couldn’t help but feel exuberant as we set off on our final day’s adventure, aligned side by side with 9 fellow kayakers, powering effortlessly through the large rolling seas, enshrouded by a thick sea mist which enveloped the rugged coastline.

Passing the protruding land of Porpoise Head with a portside following sea, the weather was quiet with a menacing cloud band hanging over Kangaroo Island’s eastern tip, set to head our way.  Rounding Porpoise Head, we entered Backstairs Passage and tucked into the spectacular cliffs of Deep Creek Conservation Park.  The seas were choppy and with the temp lower than the previous day, we again had pleasant paddling conditions.  The cloud band over Kangaroo Island soon reached us and, once again, the cliffs were blanketed with a mystical fog which made the whole experience feel quite surreal.

We had an easy landing into Blow Hole Creek beach, another stunning beach flanked by rocky outcrops, where we enjoyed a lunch stop before hastily heading off to avoid an oncoming tide change.

With fluffy white clouds spilling over the cliffs, which were a rich tapestry of greens and autumn shades, and rolling hills and valleys in the background, the scenery continued to be breathtaking.  We completed the final 7 km leg of the trip through mild, following seas to arrive at Cape Jervis at 1.00 pm.  As we reluctantly left the water and unloaded kayaks, I couldn’t help but wonder how the rest of South Australia had spent their weekend in 40 degree heat, but felt certain it hadn’t been a patch on ours.

Thank you to fellow paddlers and Phil, our leader and trip organizer, for a great weekend.                    Julie