A lot of this is based on memory as 4orty2 started several years later…
I think it may be relevant because of the learning curve and how things just happen!
Just the usual evening at the Old Post Office Cafe eating pizza and supping the house Red when the conversation shifted to the Easter break. “just an idea that we paddle across the bottom of Shark Bay”
Looking into the logistics it was an overnight paddle camping up on Faure Island and finishing at the Bough Restaurant at Monkey Mia. Two 30 km legs – easy peasy with a GPS and then the event started to grow and the problems surfaced. And then there is ‘fraid o’sharks’ comments which ended up in the perfect disclaimer for the event…
The bottom had fallen out of the Insurance business, so our local Yacht Club wasn’t in a position fund the $50,00-10,000 cover for two members! By this time there’s a couple of fool-hardy souls planning to drive the 700km north to join us. Three yachts will be there for safety and portage; all the local fishermen have offered to keep an eye out for us. My mate ‘Goodly’ and I are being viewed as “too long out in the sun” idiots – mainly because the region wasn’t used to kayakers.
So having advised the ‘southerners’ that the trip is cancel due to insurance cost Goodly & I let them know that if we see them on the water we’ll say hi! Great they’re still up for it. So Goodly & I expect 2 singles and a double to join us on our ‘1/2 adventure’.
Easter eve the Carnarvon contingent arrived at Gladstone… the local Fishers have waylaid a Southern kayaker (OK we arrived an hour late!). So we (the Organisers) have 5 out of 6 to do pre-plan… Ooops steal a kayaker off the Fishers, who is bemused at the lack of organisation. Quite simple – on water @ daybreak – paddle 2 Faure – wakeup – paddle to Monkey Mia. 4 step program… ‘Rodger the Lodger’ raised a point of order and there was a 20 minute explanation of red/green/orange flares… for safety. This is stuff that really doesn’t matter to Goodly & I. It’s a flipping paddle over 2 days, we have 3 yachts & umpteen Fishermen acting as parents in the background.
Portage gear in the early a.m. onto the Mother Ships. Goodly & I had a sleeping bag on Goodly’s yacht (plus Guinness etc). Poor SandBar suffered a re-mooring as trip after trip we loaded gear for the Southerners on board, at least 2hrs later, we’re underway.
Faure Island is just Nor of West… The Fishers input surfaces! They need 1-1.5m of water to navigate the channels so “you must go SW then W then veer NW via the Channel Markers” – the ‘converted’ from the night before ignores ‘Goodly & I’ and paddles Sth of W. So that’s that… Goodly & I head for Faure, let them be… after about 30min, the Southerners realise that our tack & the support yachts line is different… before morning smoko we’re together and all’ well. (Reality Goodly & I did not pass on info about water depth etc)
The next leg is full of variety – Dugongs grazing 10m blow our kayaks, a ‘crud’ fish that pulled the double kayak backwards, hand blisters and sanctuary.
Landing and camp -site: Goodly has the GPS and after talking to ‘SandBar’ we angle quite bit S of W; when one of our “Motherly Fishermen” hies across the flat waters to query that “you are heading for Faure aren’t you?” Well it was about another 30 deg Northward! Just added about 4nm to the ‘easy peasy’ trip! Thanks Goodly & SandBar.
The day ended with headwinds and pushing into a 3knt Tide! I ended up landing and unable to stand for a few minutes. Sandflies were prolific, however no-one was hurt or disappointed at the end of the day. Robyn & Sue have to share the ‘Champagne’ award for best effort of the day… I don’t think it touched the sides on its way down. The ‘crud’ fish I heard was eaten about midnight by the ‘double team’ & the Fishermen who had an ample supply of amber liquid…
Easter Sat morning about 03:30am I hear a voice “We should paddle now” “What! it’s 3am, Why?” “It’s romantic” “What! Romantic! I’m not sleeping with you! It’s 3am!” “It’s a full moon and the water is oily glass” So it was left to me to wake 4 paddlers and encourage them to join in the ‘romance’ of a full moon and glass waters – Great Call by Goodly!
Around late mid morning all weary and hungry we hit the Bough Restaurant for breakfast – without a wallet between us – they were on the following yachts! Around 2pm finally we could stop eating the on-going breakfast, settle a bill, shower and get some serious sleep!
All enjoyed the ‘Celebration’ Dinner and then we wended our independent ways home.