Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Look at what Santa brought us!

Christmas holidays are over and it's time to get back into training for our Bass Strait crossing in March. It's amazing how just a little time off the water can effect your performance when you are tying to achieve 40 and 60 kilometer days in sea conditions. This weekend was where we were to test our kayaks, myself in my my very new Nordkapp which I had only received the day before and wetting the hull for the first time, Brian in his Aquanaught which came in on the same shipment and Craig in his new improved Outersea. We were also testing new bits of gear and of course, ourselves.

This was a good weekend to pick as it was a king tide on the Saturday, the 44 kilometer return journey to Jumpinpin from the Gold Coast Seaway was what I would expect to paddle in on Bass Strait. We didn't stop at the Pin as it was way too rough that day, particularly with the outgoing tide against the 20-25 knot Southerlies. We just had a quick on water lunch and turned back against the wind which fortunately was easing off, the waves at the Seaway entrance on the other hand, had only gotten bigger, I had never seen this area like this before. I remember looking in the distance and seeing all these green hills and thinking, that's surely not the Gold Coast Hinterland that I'm seeing in the background, they look more like the green rolling hills of New Zealand. After removing my suncream smeared, salt caked sunglasses, I soon realized that I was looking at the water I had to negotiate to get to my camp spot for the night.

Fortunately for me I was with two Gold Coast locals who were able to pilot me in without any problems, although Brian did get a bit of a scare from one particular monster wave that would have certainly claimed him, had he not put in a few hard strokes to get over it's peak just in the nick of time.

The first day proved to us that we should be able to do the first day of Bass Strait and the second was to show us that we could follow it up with a 66kilometer paddle. So at 5.00 AM on Sunday morning when most people are still snug in their beds, we hit the water and headed for Point Danger on the QLD/NSW border and back. This day was nowhere as exciting as the first as the winds had eased off but we were soon realizing how much water and food, or what types of foods we needed to carry to keep up the energy required.

I personally learnt how much time I could keep my hands wet before losing the two fingernails on my pinkies and where my new paddling garments were to give me serious chafing, I also found that my paddling gloves weren't going to prevent me from getting blisters on every finger . As unpleasant as this sounds (trust me, it was very unpleasant!) I'm glad it happened now and not in the Middle of Bass Strait with another couple of hundred Ks ahead of me.


  1. Silvio, when is the scheduled "kick off" for you guys?
    Are there going to be "live" updates from the ground crew?
    I would like to follow your progress and possibly estimate the conditions you will be paddling in via BOM's forecasted weather.

  2. get another life gnarlydog and leave sylvio alone!

  3. Wish you all(3) the best--- wind at your backs and fine conditions....stay safe....have fun ...see you at Rock and Rock.........loved surfing the wave the other day Silvio...
    regards Gary Forrest Mooloolaba

  4. Hey Gary, I will never forget that wave! I get butterflys in my stomack everytime I think about it!

  5. Hi Silvio, Mark Schroeder here from NSW SKC...hope you're well. Mate I'm looking for a nice photo of Bass Strait photo for the mag and found this which I think you took?

    Wonder if I could use it in the mag? If so could you send me a high res file to mark(at)swordfishgroup.com.au
    Many thanks