Metric madness

We have been visiting Memory Cove in the Pt Lincoln National Park again. This is certainly one of my favourite places to spend a few days, either kayaking along the coast or if it’s too rough, spending time exploring the area by Mountain Bike. The park consists mainly of Sheoak and Eucalyptus woodland with a number of species being represented. The sandy beaches are unspoilt and the sheer cliffs and granite outcrops along the coast make for stunning paddling and the opportunity to see Southern Right Whales in winter.

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This is a place that has remained much the same since the days of Whaling in the early 1800’s, when whalers who were based at nearby Spalding Cove and Thistle Island pulled into this cove. They established a “mailbox” among the rocks on the southern end of the cove, where letters and messages were left for other passing vessels to collect and deliver to the township of Port Lincoln.

The letterbox is marked by an inscription in the rock, 4 ft and a direction arrow, meaning look 4 foot above this mark.


Now Australian currency was metricated in 1966 from pounds and pence to dollars and cents and distances gradually changed from feet and inches to metres and centimetres but I’m sure Whalers were still in the old ways.

However if you read the Department of Environment brochure  on Memory Cove the letterbox has moved somewhat to 1.2m Λ, changing to metric measures. Maybe the job of “proof reader” has been abolished with the job of “Whaler” but I certainly think it’s just a case of Metric Madness. 🙂

Ian Pope
Still Paddling South….




Sea caves and scorpions

We had decided to explore Memory Cove, in the Pt. Lincoln National Park for a few days.  The park, which is one of my favourite parts of South Australia, starts a few kilometres from Pt. Lincoln, is over 70 sq. km in size and includes a number of islands that I have visited by kayak in the past.

The park boasts some spectacular coastal scenery, and features the vast Sleaford-Wanna sand dune system, as well as the offshore islands.  Access to the cove is via a 15km 4WD track and only 5 vehicles are allowed camping access at any one time.

Matt decided to drive the track fearing that I might get us bogged again in sand dunes, however the drive is more rocky than sandy.

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We set up camp just metres from the beach and launched the kayaks.

Cove view

After being greeted by the local sea lions we explored the coastline.IMG_0013


and found some sea caves to poke around in.


Everywhere is luscious underwater growth with large abalone growing on the rock walls.


The warm evening was enjoyed along with a few cold beers.


The next day an approaching storm kept our exploration landlocked.

storm coming

We travelled a sandy 4WD track that hadn’t been used for some time…….


and we found out why.


Matt and Kathrin did some rock climbing and explored a deserted beach. If you look closely you will see them on the beach.


Back at camp that night, while enjoying dinner and a red wine, Matt found a couple of unwelcome visitors heading for his tent. He quickly despatched the Scorpions back to the bush on the end of a shovel.


Edithburgh : paddling the old wheat ports

On the road again. Kayaks, mountain bikes and other toys.


Six of us met in Edithburgh for kayaking and bike riding. We managed a couple of paddles along the coast and offshore but the wind and catastrophic fire danger alert kept our mountain bike riding to the main tracks. The town of Pt. Lincoln was threatened by a bushfire and 50km away fires burnt towards the coastal town of Ardrossan. A week later and the Pt. Lincoln fire is still burning within containment lines.

Edithburgh on the Yorke Peninsula coast. A main street, jetty, 2 hotels, a couple of cafes and a wind farm.


The Wind farm


Old and New. Abandoned farmhouse with old windmill and the Wind farm in the distance.


Glenn and Kathy decided to visit Troubridge Island 8 km offshore.
They landed at low tide.



The sea is held back from the Lighthouse but only just.


Kathy explored the walkway behind the Lighthouse.


Meanwhile, Gavin and Ian explored the coastline between Edithburgh and Wool Bay 12km to the north.


Past the Jetty and on to the Tidal swimming Pool. Deserted even on this hot day. I remember swimming here when I was about 10 years old and nothing much has changed.


Following the coastline on a flooding tide we passed the oyster beds at Coobowie.


Rounding the point we could see the wheat silos at Port Giles.The silos are full and waiting for the grain ships to arrive.


A coastline of limestone cliffs, small caves and beaches that are only accessible at high tide.

Pulling into Wool Bay we see the old Lime burning kiln near the jetty.


Best thing to do on a hot day – relax in the deserted swimming pool.


Old Paddles

In a dark corner of the shed hidden behind an old Canoe Polo kayak and some old kayak seat moulds I found some very used paddles from the 1980’s. Now I remember why I like the look of wooden Greenland paddles.

A Greenland Paddle ? No thanks !!. That was what I remember of my first introduction to Greenland paddles in the 1980’s.  I was paddling a Nordkapp at that time and just getting into long distance sea touring when I came across a couple of “salty old dogs” who were dabbling with GP’s they had built from plans sourced from magazines ( no internet in the good old days). However, I ended up owning a paddle made from these plans as well as one purchased from overseas. (Mitchell brand I think).

Then arrived a new Kober Augsburg, followed by a Nimbus Capilano and a Linimat racing paddle, along with commitments in Canoe Polo, Marathon and Sprint racing for many years as well as instructing Sea Kayaking. Lots of other paddles came and went after that.

I now spend my days paddling or pedalling and the lure of the GP resurfaced using the Elver Greenland Paddle (made in Australia). I find that I like the feel of the GP and it seems to relieve my creaking joints. I even found rolling easier with the GP, maybe it’s just the longer surface area; and that’s rolling a Nimbus Njak kayak, not some low volume Greenland rolling kayak.

I did take time to get used to the GP in heavier conditions and clapatis but it all seems pretty normal now, no matter which paddle. I like the idea that I can move my hands up and down the GP to change direction which is quite different from what I have taught others in the past.

I worked out the approximate surface area of the Greenland paddle compared to my Feather brand Spoonbill paddle and found that they are actually very similar, which sort of surprised me a little as I always had it in my head that the GP was smaller in overall surface area and offered less support when bracing. I know that it feels that way when bracing sideways in a wave but maybe it’s just that overall it has a “softer feel” (is that a technical term ?).

I don’t get into the “which paddle is better” arguement. Have both and have fun – I also have a ruddered and a skegged kayak !. I find them equal, just different.

What next ?  I have ordered a new Greenland paddle from a local craftsman made exactly to my dimensions, and I have found a box of old kayaking photos in the shed so maybe more laughs to come.

Happy Paddling

Winter Solstice paddle and other madness

Well the worst is over, the shortest day has come and gone and we look forward to longer warmer days in South Australian waters. I dream of summer when I wont have to be donning wetsuit, thermal and heavyweight paddling jacket just to go out for a quick splash around; it will be back to board shorts and sun screen. Well maybe in another 3 months or so, right now its still “penguin” weather in Adelaide with the thermometer reading a balmy 12 degrees and the house full of drying bushwalking, cycling and kayaking gear.

Managed to dodge most of the rain and storms long enough to get on the water for a couple of hours with Mal and Gavin to celebrate the passing of the Winter Solstice. We bobbed along the local Adelaide coastline in the wind-driven chop. Luckily we were accompanied by a couple of dolphins for most of the way which certainly made the paddle enjoyable. It’s amazing how the company of these guys gliding along just off your bow makes your hands feel warm again and you forget about the occasional showers.

Speaking of other madness have a look at Dave and Benno’s latest extreme paddle;  New Zealand to Australia the long way. These guys are amazing and well worth paddling hero status.

Check out their Facebook site with this link.