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.



My Paddling heros

You hear lots of things about fantastic journeys by bike and kayak and I’d like to tell  you about 2 people in kayaking that few people know about, let alone understand the enormity of their undertakings.

Dave Williamson and Ben Woodcock are a bit of an oddity, being a 20 year age difference, but their extreme love of outdoors brings them together in some of the great kayaking adventures, and they are both involved in number of other outdoor activities. Some friends came across a lone cyclist traversing the desert on his way to Darwin from Adelaide. Yep, it was Ben.

Everyone knows about “Paddling the Ditch” (Aust to NZ) but few people have heard of New Caledonia to Aust. (1700 km of open sea) in a plastic double kayak, or Aust. to East Timor (700km) in a Mirage double kayak.

Fantastic paddles, or should I say Voyages.

Read Ben’s profile at

I’ve been lucky, I paddled a Bass Strait Expedition and  Southern Ocean Islands with Dave a number of years ago and I worked with Ben for a while. I hope some of their enthusiasm rubbed off on me – hope to keep paddling for many years to come.

PS. The double Mirage 730 was the one that Robyn and I paddled to Tasmania  a couple of years ago. A very well travelled craft.

Ian Pope