Garvellach’s

In the 1990’s I was fortunate to be able to paddle regularly in the area around the Firth of Lorn. At the time there was a campsite next to the beach in Arduaine. It was possibly the best located sea kayaking campsite in the UK. A favourite paddle for many of the visitors were the Garvellach’s, a few miles to the west.

The campsite closed, other paddling opportunities arose and the last time I paddled there was in 2002. It is hard to believe that 17 years have passed. This summer the opportunity arose to paddle to the Garvellach’s and I seized it with both hands.

We headed out from Belnahua on a day of bright sunshine but reasonably large tides. A direct route wasn’t possible but the use of transits was the only navigational tool required. We left Belnahua in the crisp light, which is experienced after the passage of a cold front. The winds from the front were the reason why we hadn’t paddled the day before. Today though the Islands of the Nether Lorn were calling.

Behind us there was a steady stream of yachts using the southerly tide to assist their passage down the west coast of Luing. Ahead though, the sea appeared empty apart from the distant hum of a fishing boat. We were pushed south by the tide despite our best attempts at maintaining our course. Once in the eddy behind the rocks we were able to work our way back to Garbh Eileach. The most substantial of the islands in the Garvellach’s.

One of main memories of my last visit was of a magnificent stag standing on the cliffs at the north east end of Garbh Eileach. In the swirling mists of that July day, it struck a striking pose and amazingly on this visit there was a superb stag standing in an identical position. It didn’t look stuffed so one can only assume that it’s a popular location for the resident deer population.

Garvellachs
Heading along the southern shore of the Garvellach’s. There are magnificant views to the south towards Scarba and Jura.

The paddle along the Garvellach’s is always spectacular with plenty of evidence of sea level change, a geographers dream. There is always the sense of expectation as you approach Eileach an Naoimh, knowing that you are going somewhere really special. As we pulled into the small anchorage it was clear that we were going to have the island to ourselves, a first for me.

Island Exploration

Garvellachs
Pete by one of the preserved Beehive cells

We passed a virtually perfect couple of hours wandering around the amazing remains, which are to be found on Eileach an Naoimh. As the only people on the island we were able to let our imaginations run riot. On a warm June day with light winds it seemed an idyllic place to live but what it must have been like exposed to the full force of an Atlantic storm on a December night, is hard to imagine.

This is probably the best preserved early Christian settlement on the west coast of Scotland. It dates back to the 6th Century A.D. It may have been founded by St Brendan the Navigator, which was before St Columba reached Iona.
17 years had passed since my last visit but I am certain that it won’t be 17 years before I step ashore on the these islands again. Classic is a word, which at times is used far too frequently but there is no doubt in my mind that paddling out to the Garvellach’s is one of the classic sea kayaking trips.

Eithne's Grave
This grave is traditionally identified as the grave of Eithne. St Columba’s mother
Garvellach's
Me standing on the summit ridge of Eileach an Naoimh, looking back towards the mainland of Scotland. Mull is on the left.
Garvellach's
On the summit ridge in 1999. Nicky and Phil Harriskine. Gordon Brown has his back to us and Duncan Winning is still walking upwards in the white shirt.

Alderney

Alderney, is the Channel Island closest to both England and France. It also has the distinction of being the the most northerly island in the group. Well known for the strength of its tidal streams its not visited by sea kayakers that often.

We had been planning to visit the west coast of Canada this summer, in particular the Haida Gwaii. Quite early on in the planning it was clear that costs were spiralling out of control, so we looked for some where cheaper. Out of 8 in the group I was the only person to have paddled to Alderney, so a plan was developed. Let’s head north.

Instead of flying 4,000 miles we drove 5 miles. We spent 3 days paddling to Herm via the superb coastline of Sark to find ourselves on the small beach just to the south of the harbour on Herm. We were ready to go. It was an early start but light winds and sunshine were the forecast conditions.

Herm Beach
Early morning on the beach on Herm. Packing for our departure for Alderney

I radioed in to Guernsey Coastguard, which is something I had never done before. Little did I realize the consequences. As we paddled north towards Grand Amfroque, which was to mark the start of our crossing to Alderney, things started to change. Unfortunately the sunshine and good visibility of earlier was replaced by pretty thick fog. Then I could hear the Coastguard calling me on the radio. What was my position, what was the visibility and what were our intentions? I gave our position and would confirm our intentions shortly.

Herm
Paddling north along the west coast of Herm. The first wisps of fog were starting to appear, a precursor to what was to come.

The conditions above were quickly replaced by those below.

Alderney Fog
The banks of fog rolled in as we headed north from Herm

We spent a few minutes chatting about our options before contacting the Coastguard and confirmed our intention to continue the journey to Alderney. Their request was that we radioed in every 30 minutes with our location, the visibility and the welfare of the group, which seemed particularly strange. As we were using hand held VHF’s and were working at some distance from the nearest aerial the signal was deteriorating rapidly. In one 60 minute period over 15 minutes were spent on the radio. This was having a significant impact on our average speed and the accuracy of our navigation.

Eventually we lost communication with Guernsey Coastguard only to find Alderney Coastguard were calling us on Channel 16. Suddenly we went from using a duplex channel, where only the Coastguard could hear us, to broadcasting our information so that anybody with a VHF could listen in. Unfortunately we had to keep radioing in every 30 minutes. Our progress slowed even further. We were not happy paddlers. We were within a couple of hundred metres of the shore before we saw the first rocks. It had been a 17 nautical mile crossing in dense fog.

Alderney
As we headed north from Herm we were enveloped in fog, which persisted for the majority of the crossing.
Alderney
Our first view of Alderney. Blue skies with the remains of the fog over the higher parts of the island.

The coastline of Alderney is pretty dramatic, so once we were alongside the coast and the fog had thinned our progress slowed. This time not to talk on the radio but to savour the superb scenery. Alderney has a rich military history, with numerous fortifications dotted around the Island.

Alderney
Paddling along the southern shore of Alderney.
Alderney
Heading past Fort Houmet Herbe, one of the numerous military fortifications around the island. Finished in 1854, 61 soldiers were based there.

We paddled around the northern tip of Alderney before landing in Saye Bay, a perfect horseshoe shaped bay. Within 100 metres of the campsite. A great days paddle. 22 nautical miles covered, most of it in fog. From one delightful Channel Island to another, less frequently visited other one.
It was time for a celebratory beer and a meal in one of the harbour side restaurants.

Phare de Kereon

A reasonably early start was greeted by some low cloud and mist. The plan was to visit the Phare de Kereon, a classic lighthouse. There was a good window of opportunity because the tides were very small neaps, no 7 knot currents today. The lighthouse looks across the Passage du Fromveur, which separates the Molene archipelago from Ouessant.

Navigation
As we launched from Molene the visibility dropped. Nicky, Agnes and Alice checking the navigation.

We headed north through the small harbour and anchorage. Avoiding one of the potential hazards of kayaking in this area, the ferries. Several operate daily between the islands and the mainland. Our first destination was the Ile de Balanec, the plan was stop here for lunch so we didn’t explore the coast too intimately.

From there we ferry glided across to Ile de Bannec, although it did keep disappearing in the deteriorating visibility. To the west we could see another group of sea kayakers. It was clear that their objective was the same as ours. The Phare de Kereon. The next island was Ile de Bannec. No landing is permitted on this island, apart from accredited ornithologists. So it was another island we paddled past.

Ahead we could just make out the outline of the Phare de Kereon. Although it was close by there was no sign of Ouessant. Automated in 2004, the last lighthouse in France to loose its lighthouse keepers. The lighthouse was built between 1907 and 1916, an amazing feat in such demanding waters. As we approached the lighthouse the other kayakers were present. Amazingly on an overcast Sunday in August there were 25 paddlers around the base of the lighthouse.

Phare de Kereon
The Phare de Kereon rising from the waters of the Passage du Fromveur. Still no sign of Ouessant.

As the tide started to flow we realized it was time to retreat to the calmer waters inside the reef. As we turned away the visibility improved and we became aware of just how close we were to Ouessant. We returned to Ile de Balanec and because we were outside the bird nesting season, 1st April to 15th July, we were able to land.

Ile de Balanec - Phare de Kereon
Ile de Balanec
The only building on Ile de Balanec, which was still habitable. On top of the rock behind the hut we discovered the leg of a bird with a ring. It turned out to be an Irish Racing Peigeon released in St Malo a couple of months earlier. It appeared to have been a main meal for a peregrine.

Walking around the island it was hard not to think of the harsh life of the inhabitants lived in this remote outpost. The last families left in 1947. From 1954 to 1959 the island was once again inhabited. It was used as a centre for young people with challenging behaviour. It was closed in 1959 following allegations of mis-treatment of the young people.

In the afternoon sunshine we returned to Molene. Ensuring that we circumnavigated the island. Landing back at the campsite we went in search of a celebratory beer. It was then that we encountered another group of paddlers. This area of Brittany really is a mecca for sea kayakers. A truly memorable location, especially on neap tides.

Molene
Nicky crossing to Molene from the north. Increasingly pleasant conditions.
John
John crossing one of the smaller tidal streams. We were on neaps but there was still plenty of movement.

Molene

I have been sea kayaking in Brittany on a regular basis for over 40 years, exploring the rivers, canals and coasts of this wonderful region of France. An area, which has always eluded my explorations are the islands to the west of the peninsula. It was with some excitement, therefore, when Agnes, a long standing French member of the Jersey Canoe Club arranged a paddling trip to Molene over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

As the weekend approached it was clear that the weather was going to co-operate, which was perfect when combined with the small neap tide. This meant that the normally swift tidal streams would be greatly reduced in strength, resulting in a much more relaxing experience.

Sadly personal issues resulted in me being unable to join the early arrivals in France for the opportunity to paddle Sept Iles and Ile de Brehat. So the first time I pushed my kayak into the water was as we left Porsmoguer, towards the western extremity of the Breton Peninsula.

Molene
Packing the kayaks prior to the departure, for Molene, from the beach at Porsmoguer

Our route initially took us south towards Beniguet, a low lying island with some beautiful beaches before turning north west. Lunch was on the west facing beach on Ile de Litiri, a beautiful spot for a picnic so it was inevitable that we would be sharing the beach with other boats. The island is privately owned so it isn’t possible to wander around above the high water mark.

Ile de Litiri
Looking across the beach on Ile de Litiri, a perfect place to stop for lunch.

In common with so many other islands in this archipelago access is limited at times. This is an important breeding area for birds, so be aware of where landing is restricted. Heading west we passed our first group of sea kayakers, there were about 15 in this group. It was the first of a number of groups that we encountered over the next three days.

Molene Archipelago
Ferry gliding between the islands whilst en route to Molene. As we were on neaps the moving water wasn’t too fast.

We did land on Ile de Trielen, part of the Reserve Naturelle Iroise, to explore the abandoned settlement. There is a beach on the northern side of the island, which gives easy access to the footpaths. There were numerous small birds flitting around in the vegetation, Wheatear’s seemed particularly common.

Ile de Trielen
One of the old buildings on Ile de Trielen. The blocked out door seemed rather strange
Ile de Trielen
The small pond on Ile de Trielen. There were a couple of small stone shelters, probably used by hunters in search of ducks and other water birds.

From here it was an easy paddle to Molene, an island with approximately 200 inhabitants. Landing is on a narrow slipway to the south of the harbour. The campsite is to the left of the slip and it was clear that a number of kayakers were already on the Island. Surprisingly two of the first people we met were Veronique Olivier and Guy Lecointre. They had written the book “Sea Kayaking Guide 60 Brittany Paddles.” Essential reading for anybody paddling in Brittany. I had last met them at the Spanish Sea Kayak Symposium, just over 2 years ago. At times the world of sea kayaking seems really quite small.

Molene
Walking through the narrow lanes, which wind their way through the delightful village.

Once the tents were up it was time to head off is search of a bar and a restaurant. To toast the success of the days paddle and to plan for the following days. Agnes was a perfect guide and highly recommended if you are visiting Brittany. Why not check out her courses and guided tours.

Isla Danzante

After an evening spent at one of the most easily identifiable campsites in the Sea of Cortez it was time to start our journey south. Initially we headed north along the shores of Isla Carmen as we wanted to cross to the northern end of Isla Danzante.
The views towards the hills of Isla Carmen were spectacular, as we started the crossing another kayak group left the larger island heading west. Our paths seemed to be parallel to each other but we were clearly heading to a similar point.

Isla Carmen
Heading north along the west coast of Isla Carmen. We were getting ready to cross to the northern end of Isla Danzante.

Eventually our paths crossed and we stopped for a talk with the group who were out of Loreto. It turned out they would be the only group we spoke to whilst on the water in the next 10 days. Baja might be a popular kayaking destination but you rarely encounter other groups.

Isla Dazante
Rachel paddling past one of the attractive beaches on the west coast Isla Dazante. There were a number of suitable places to stop, which offered the opportunity to some superb swimming.

The decision to paddle along the wext coast of Isla Danzante was based upon the fact that on every other visit to the area we had paddled the west coast. It was great to get a different perspective on a dramatic Mexican island. Rising to a maximum height of 1050 metres, the island is home to 16 different types of reptiles, including a number of snakes. Not being a fan of such things I enjoyed my time of the beach and snorkeling but resisted the temptation to wander around inland.

Isla Danzante
Crossing from Isla Danzante towards Punta Candeleros. This point marked the start of our journey south along the Baja coast.

Leaving Isla Danzante we passed on the inside of a number of small islands before reaching the headland of Punta Candeleros. In many ways this was quite a significant milestone as we would be following the Baja coast, in a southerly direction from there.
It was a really warm day so it is a relief to round the point and land on pebble beach, which we remembered from a previous visit. There was plenty of shelter from the midday sun.

Baja, Mexico
A delightful beach with some very welcome shade. 2 years ago we had watched whales breaching whilst sitting on this beach.

The afternoon paddle was relatively short and we were fortunate enough to have a light following breeze speeding us on our way. Camp for the evening was on the large beach of Playa Triunfo, perhaps better known as ‘donkey poo’ beach. We camped on the northern end of the beach, where there was plenty of evidence of visits by our four legged friends!

It was a perfect place to sit and sip our evening tequila after a memorable day on the water, which included paddling along the shores of Isla Danzante one of the more special places in this unique area.

Punta Baja

It’s a long way from La Paz to Loreto, could be the opening line of a badly written country song. In fact, it’s the reality of the shuttle north. Nearly 5 hours of driving through the Mexican desert, found us on the beach at Puerto Escondido, surrounded by piles of kit. Our destination for the day was Punta Baja, only just over 6 miles away so we were in no rush.
The sea kayaks we had hired, from Mar Y Aventuras in La Paz, simply swallowed our equipment food and water. We were carrying at least 30 litres of water each in addition to fruit juices and Sprite. Kayaking in a desert is thirsty work.
In less time than anticipated, we were floating the kayaks away from the beach, prior to jumping in and heading to the east. As we left the shelter of the bay we were greeted by Mobula Rays jumping, surely one of the most magical sights for the cockpit of a kayak. Dolphins swam past heading north whilst the bird life was something special.

Baja, Mexico
Looking east towards Isla Danzante, a delightful island which lies between the coast just south of Loreto and Isla Carmen.

There was a slight northerly swell running, something I couldn’t remember experiencing in Baja before. Perhaps an indication of stronger winds further into the Gulf of California. Our aim was to pass through the narrow gap to the north of Isla Danzante.
The kayaks would float through the gap as long as there was nobody in them, so we split. 2 people opting to float and walk whilst 3 of us chose the longer and lumpier paddle to the north. The paddle was entertaining but the floaters were quicker!

Isla Danzante
Crossing towards Isla Danaznte. Within the firts 30 minutes we had already seen Mobula Rays and dolphins

Ahead lay Isla Carmen, the largest of the islands in the Loreto area and an essential part of the National Park. We had our wristbands and our booking for the campsite at Punta Baja. Without doubt one of the most recognisable locations in the Sea of Cortez, it’s the palm trees, which give a clue to its identity.

Punta Baja
Arriving at Punta Baja. It is one of the most perfect locations for a camp site, a great place to spend an evening.

As we were relatively late in the season daylight saving time had come into force, the extra hour of daylight in the evening allowing us to adopt a more relaxed approach to the proceedings. There was no need to multi task. There was time to savour the Tequila before starting on the evening meal.

Punta Baja
These were our neighbours for the evening. Brown Pelicans and their amazing powers of flight provide endless hours of enjoyment.

A superb first day, with a feeling that things could only get better over the next 10 days although we were aware that it might be difficult to beat the campsite as a location. We had been here before and all the memories were good ones, this time shouldn’t be any different.

Punta Baja
The tents are in place as the sunset sets behind the mountains of the Baja Peninsula. Its for moments like these that we go sea kayaking.

Early paddling adverts

Whilst browsing through some of my rather large collection of canoeing and kayaking magazines I looked at some of the old adverts.  They show how the sport has changed over the last 60 years.  Prices were certainly considerably lower than today.

Early Paddling Adverts
Single and double folding canoes (kayaks). All for the remarkable price of £23. 10. 0. This advert appeared in The Canoe Camper Spring 1960 issue. This was the magazine of the Canoe Camping Club.

Early Paddling Adverts
This is the earliest mention of a specialist sea kayaking craft, I have found. The Sea Rapier at the time was the fastest kayak to be paddled across the English Channel. This advert appeared in Canoeing in Britain in October 1962. At the time this was the in house magazine of British Canoeing.

Early paddling adverts
Tyne Canoes were a respected name in the paddling world in the 1950’s and 60’s. This advert appeared in the Winter 1965-5 issue of The Canoe Camper. This was obviously a time when it was seen as more sensible to send a young girl afloat with a dog as opposed to a life jacket.  A great early paddling advert.

Early paddling adverts
This March 1966 advert, for the Solent Canoe Centre, from Canoeing in Britain, is one of the earliest to mention fibre glass in touring canoes and kayaks.

Early paddling adverts
This advert, for the K.W.7 is particularly relevant to me as my first kayak was a K.W.7, which I received for Christmas 1969. The start of my paddling career. I used mine for playing on the sea as opposed to taking part in International Slaloms. Canoeing in Britain June 1966.

Early paddling adverts
One of the major sea kayaking manufacturers of the last 50 years. In 1970 you could buy a partly finished Soar Valley Special. I remember my friend John buying one of these kits and we spent many a happy hour completing it in his garden in St Helier. This was in the December 1970 issue of Canoeing Magazine.

Early paddling adverts
An interesting advert, which would not be acceptable today. Another major producer of sea kayaks over the last 50 years. This advert was in the February 1971 issue of Canoeing. A magazine that in its later issues appeared to enjoy publishing pictures of topless paddlers.

Early paddling adverts
Visiting North Wales in the early 1980’s one of the pleasures was to visit the Jim Hargreaves canoeing shop. Located in the garage in Capel Curig, you could nearly always find something to buy. From Ceufad Spring 1981 issue.

 

 

Final morning

It was the final morning of our pre-symposium sea kayaking trip.  We didn’t need to be away at the crack of dawn but we did need to be ready to catch the start of the flood tide to carry us towards Port Welshpool.  From there we would be heading towards Wilson’s Promontory and the start of the International Sea Kayaking Educator’s Conference.

Beach
Preparing for a low tide departure from Snake Island.

It wasn’t too early a start, which was in contrast to the previous morning. The sun had already taken the chill off the air as we headed north. I think that this was the first time that it registered, as we paddled away from Snake Island, that the sun was in the north. Clearly my geography of the Southern Hemisphere left something to be desired.

Drinks Bottle
In common with so many other trips I have used my Water-to-Go bottle for daily drinks and have managed to avoid any stomach problems.

What was surprising, was for how much of the paddle we were in shallow water, which was quite fortunate as there were quite a few fishing boats heading towards the open water from Port Welshpool.  Whalers first used this area in the 1830’s, whilst the town was officially named Port Welshpool in 1952.

Final morning
Time to unload the kayaks before heading to Wilson’s Prom and the Sea Kayaking Educator’s Symposium.

We landed in Port Welshpool, and started the unloading of the kayaks.  We had been out 4 days and covered just under 30 nautical miles. Not a great distance, but it was through an interesting environment, which also gave us the opportunity to observe some animals, which we would never encounter in the northern hemisphere.
More importantly the four day paddle gave us the opportunity to get to know some of the other people who would be attending the 2nd International Sea Kayaking Educators Symposium at Tidal River in the Wilsons Promontory National Park.

Early morning paddle

We finally got the opportunity to paddle in flat calm conditions on the third day, the only problem was that we had to get up at 04.00 to do so. The way the tidal streams were working meant that we either started early or waited until the late afternoon. An early morning paddle gave us so many more options.

Wilson's Prom
Leaving the Swashway Channel at first light. We had our first views of Wilson’s Prom National Park.

So at 05.50 we pushed away from the bank into a glorious Australian sunrise. It started off pretty good and just got better and better and for the first time in the trip we had mirror calm conditions and the tidal flow with us. Only just over a knot but that is better than nothing.
As we exited the Swashway Channel we gained our first reasonably good views of the north side of Wilson’s Promontory National Park, where we would be spending time at the International Sea Kayaking Educators Symposium.
There was a reasonable amount of quite fast boat traffic moving up and down the channel towards the open sea. Fortunately the channel was relatively narrow with quite a few buoys indicating their route. It’s always good to know your buoyage when kayaking on the sea. Crossing the channel at right angles we reduced our exposure to the boats before turning south towards Wilson’s Prom. We were soon paddling alongside rocks and a shoreline that was more than a couple of metres high.
We stopped on a couple of stunning beaches with the opportunity to explore the shoreline or slightly further inland. We were in no real hurry as we waited for slack water in the channel to allow us to cross back to Snake Island, our destination for the day. Also it was only just after 09.00, always the advantage of an early morning paddle.

Rocky shore
Paddling along the northern shore of Wilson’s Promontory. Although this was our third day paddling it was the first time we had seen a rocky coast.

There was a discussion as to what time we should aim to cross back to Snake Island because of the tidal streams.  As a sea kayaker I have never understood why people use different units of measurement in the same conversation. It could go along the lines of;
“We have a wind of between 13 and 15 mph from the south, the tidal stream is running at 3 knots and the distance we have to go is 10 kilometres.”
The potential for errors to creep into people’s calculations is huge. I just don’t understand why people don’t stick with one unit of measurement and if we are operating on the sea it should be the nautical variety. Knots and nautical miles. Information we need about tidal flows is always given in knots so why not stick with that unit. I admit that some people might find it difficult at first but I really think that it is worth the effort.

Kayaks on beach
Arrival on Snake Beach. We were told that the campsite might be a bit “snakey”. That’s not the sort of comment that a paddler from Jersey wants to hear.

I know many people will find this strange but a couple of us were really getting quite excited by the prospect of seeing kangaroos. Living on an island where the largest land animal is the rabbit I get easily excited. We had been told that we were likely to see them in the evening but it was still quite a surprise when when 16 of them hopped out the bush. Linked with a few small deer wandering around and it felt like a wildlife bonanza.

Tidal range
Due to the tidal range we had to move the kayaks up off the beach. It would have been a pretty inconvenient to loose some kayaks at this stage in the trip.

Animal
I know these can be really common but when its the first one you have ever seen in the wild its a pretty exciting experience!

Increasing Wind

One of the problems of jet leg is that sometimes you just can’t sleep, which was the position I found myself in on the second day. Taking advantage of this I got up reasonably early to walk along the spit. We had so painstakingly paddled along the previous day.

Drum spit
Looking along the spit on Drum Island. A perfect location for an early morning stroll.

It was one of those moments that you truly appreciate. The morning sun rising over a reasonably calm sea to the backdrop of the Australian dawn chorus. All too soon it was time to head back, as the rest of the camp was starting to stir.
Whilst on trips, individuals often develop routines, especially around the campsite. Some people are unable to sit still and have to get involved with every aspect of the food preparation, often to the frustration of the person who is actually cooking the meal. I am more than willing to allow people to get on a cook the evening meal, they normally do a much better job than I do but I am happy to prepare breakfast everyday, which was the position I found myself in that morning.
I enjoy the opportunity to reflect on what lies ahead and to have the opportunity to chat to people. In contrast to the evenings when most people are around the kitchen area, in the morning people usually arrive individually meaning that the experience is much more personal. So that is one of the reasons I found myself preparing porridge on the south side of Sunday Island.
We were away reasonably promptly but the sea, which had been so calm on my dawn walk was starting to reflect changes in the weather. The forecast had confidently predicted reasonably light winds. They just didn’t seem to be able to get it right though, the days we were on the water.
Almost as soon as we headed along the channel the wind picked up and it was either a headwind or on our beam. This had resulted in some interesting discussions about packing the kayaks. Distributing the weight depending upon the direction of the wind, in effect trimming the kayak to suit the conditions. In reality how often does the wind remain the same all day? I always recommend packing the same kit in the same place in the kayak so when you arrive on the beach and conditions are far from ideal it’s a matter of being able to go to the right dry bags straight away.
Crossing over the channel to Snake Island the wind increased even further and it was clear we were falling behind the proposed schedule. We stopped for lunch on a possible campsite, The Gulf, as we considered the options. Two further campsites we possible and we sensibly selected the closer of the two.

Snake Island
The lunch break was taken on the Gulf Campsite on Snake Island. Although the wind had picked up it was still possible to head towards the next available campsite.

We arrived at Nooramunga Marine and Coastal Park Just as the tide started to drop and managed to avoid the worst of the carry through the thick oozing mud. Tents were soon up and meal preparation underway. It hadn’t been a long paddle but it hadn’t been straightforward either. The wind proving a pretty constant adversary.

Camp site
Nooramunga Marine and Coastal Park was where we spent the night. Half the group camping in the shelter of the bush whilst others decided on a more open site, close to the water.

Paddling in this area is in complete contrast to the waters at home. The islands are low lying without any obvious physical features, resulting in quite challenging navigation. If you didn’t remain focused on your chart then establishing your location could be an issue.

Low tide
Low tide and sunset in the Swashway Channel. A delightful end to the day.