Rocky Islands paddle

We continued our journey along the South Australian coastline staying overnight at Mambray Creek campsite. A short walk in the morning meant a meeting with some of the local wildlife.

A number of kangaroos bounded across the track…..IMG_5601

and then we spotted a rarely seen Yellow Footed Rock Wallaby watching us from a safe distance.

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A goanna about 2m long strolled past

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and had a good look at Matt and Kathrin.

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Kookaburras watched us from the gumtrees and had a bit of a laugh.

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Later we packed up camp, finished our drive to the launching point and prepared the kayaks for a paddle 9km offshore to visit some small rocky islands and the White Rocks Sea Lion colony. As we left the protection of the bay the headwind increased to above 15 knots making for a rather wet paddle.

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We punched into the head winds for a few kilometres before sheltering from the wind at a low rocky Island. Our efforts were rewarded as we watched the Pelican chicks being fed by their parents, although being downwind from the colony made for an interesting aroma to accompany my energy bar snack.

The colony was quite busy with the Spectacled Pelicans rearing young as well as large numbers of Pied Cormorants nesting nearby.G1

The young chicks were estimated to be around 30-45 days old with their feathers not yet fully developed.G3

Paddling another few kilometres we reached the protected side of the outer islands and hugged the coastline until reaching a remote sheltered bay where we camped for a couple of days.G4

At about his time the Lumix waterproof camera decided to stop working and we discovered that I had left the battery for the spare Canon waterproof in the car. So Matt and Kathrin’s encounter with 30 or so sea lions at White Rocks went unrecorded.

They had paddled out to the Sea Lion colony late in the afternoon and were rewarded by a group of 30 Sea Lions coming into the water to investigate them. They swam and jumped around the kayak, dived under it and generally made friends. The video would have been awesome !!

But we did get some nice photos of Matt’s attempt at hopscotch and the hazy sunset.

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Our return journey to the mainland a couple of days later, started soon after dawn to race an approaching weather front. We paddled the last hour of the trip with the wind gusting well over 25 knots beam on, making it quite an interesting paddle. Again I was happy to be paddling the Seaward Passat G3 double which gave us a very controlled and mostly dry ride.

Kayak Sail for Passat G3 Seaward kayak

I’ve been mucking about sea kayak sails for many years and had a variety of shapes and types fitted on lots of my kayaks, starting in the early 1980’s. I’ve been using the common fold down mast on my single kayaks with a 1sq metre sail for many years and thought this was the simplest model.

With the arrival of our Passat G3 double from Seaward Kayaks, Robyn and I have had to rethink the sailing idea. We looked at a couple of normal style mast fittings, but decided that we needed a” through the deck” mast socket. I wanted it to be able to paddle effectively whilst the sail was up so I decided on a central sail mount, between the 2 paddlers, and close to the front paddler, meaning that I couldn’t actually reach the mount to insert the mast.

I enlisted the help of Mal B, our Mr Gadget on this one. His design was  a stainless steel tube with exterior flange, matching underdeck reinforcing plate with a bracing bracket to the bulkhead. It incorporated a “lead in” section in the tube so that the mast could be inserted at an angle, and then pushed upright by the rear paddler. Luckily Mal had a few ideas and some expert engineering skills to install it and make it work. After buying some tube and plate it was off to the workshop to cut and weld it together. The fairlead cleat for the boom rope is not attached by bolts through the deck as is common practice, but threaded onto a spectre cord that is attached to the deckline mounts meaning fewer holes drilled in the kayak.

Then the problem of deck storage. Because the sail mast was not attached to the foredeck as in my previous fit-out with single kayaks, I had to get a more streamlined full length bag made for the furled sail and store it on the deck.

As my sewing skills are well known to be zero, I contacted an old friend who makes kayak sails as well as doing windsurfer sail modifications and repairs.

Di knocked up a perfect storage bag suitable for storage on the deck. Di had previously built lots of sails for me and all are still in excellent condition, so if you’re in Adelaide, or infact anywhere in Australia, and  need a sail repair or bag made give Di a call on (08) 82965464 or her mobile 0404040593.
I’m sure she will be able to help you out.

I took a couple of photos and filmed a little of the Passat under sail during our recent trip along the coast of Yorke Peninsula. Hope it gives you an idea of the mounting system and sailing fun.

This is only a basic overview of the system so if you want more information please contact me. The next project is to design a sail fitout for my Nimbus Njak kayak, that doesn’t involve extra holes drilled in the kayak and can be easily fitted as one unit. I’ll get onto that one when I get back from our next holiday.

Happy paddling
Ian and Robyn

PS. There is a review of the Passat G3 double sea kayak here

New Kayak – Seaward Kayaks G3

Just thought I would give you an update on the Seaward kayak G3 double that Robyn and I have been paddling. Bought it a while ago, looking for a double kayak that paddled easily, behaved in rougher water and had enough volume to easily handle all our gear.

“Mission accomplished” as Bush once said. It is the best double we have paddled and we’ve had a few. We both felt comfortable straight away, although I have now moved both seats forward a few centimetres as we are both a bit short in the leg department. This allows better contact with the thighbraces which needed a bit of padding out as well.

Have installed electric pumps (automatic Rule 500) to both cockpits in case of capsize. We went out for a paddle and did some rescues. Problem no 1. Bloody difficult to capsize, with both primary and secondary stability being high. Had to work out a rescue technique to get both of us back in the kayak, but soon worked out that I could “scoop” Robyn back into front cockpit then climb into the rear cockpit whilst she braced..

Had a few more upgrades to do on the kayak, including a sail system. Will put up more on that subject when I have it completed.