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Stanley to Wynyard with Geoff Murray

June 23, 2014

Continuing my paddle across the northern Tasmanian coastline, I drove up to Stanley in NW Tas and left my car in a safe spot in pleasant sun and little wind. It was low tide in Stanley and it seemed like miles to the water. I always carry a trolley on solo paddles and it is absolutely invaluable for situations such as this.
I had timed the paddle to match the flood tide to speed me on my way but it didn’t work out quite that way…

Mont Ambassador Geoff Murray

Leaving Stanley and aiming for the kilometre long jetty at Port Latta, it wasn’t long before I was out of the wind shadow of the land to the west of me. I raised my sail and made good time with a steady 15-20 knots from the WSW. By the time I was nearing the jetty, I decided it was time to drop the sail. Conditions on the water were much worse than they should have been for the amount of wind that was blowing. It was then that I realised that even though it was a flood tide with the stream heading east, there must be a large eddy in Sawyer bay and I was paddling in wind over tide conditions. Bouncy!
 

A highlight of the day was an Albatross that flew in and landed close to me. It just sat there on the water watching me paddle by and I had the distinct feeling it was a friendly meeting.

I had intended to continue across the bay to Rocky Cape, round the Cape and land a few kilometres further on but as I neared the Cape it became lumpier and lumpier with an underlying swell sneaking in from the West just to add to the overall confusion of the water I was on. There was a beach on the western side of Rocky Cape with a bunch of shacks lining the shore. I decided a landing at the beach would be a better option than paddling around the Cape in worsening conditions. Working my way towards the beach, I was contemplating what the landing would be like with a definite possibility of a crash landing but luckily the wave heights eased as I made the final run onto the sand of Rocky Cape Beach.

Mont Ambassador Geoff Murray

Somewhat relieved, I unpacked my trolley and dragged the kayak up to a nice little grassy patch in a sheltered spot hoping that the shack residents wouldn’t mind this new “blow in”.

Mont Ambassador Geoff Murray with his Mont Epoch Tent

First things first, get changed into dry clothes and get the camp set up. I put my Mont Epoch Tent up, spread my mattress inside and unpacked my Mont Spindrift Sleeping Bag. Even though it has been very mild in Tas this winter there was still the possibility of a cold night so the Spindrift was my best option. This bag will cope with whatever Tassie throws at it.

Then it was time for a walk out to the Rocky Cape light house for some evening views.

The forecast was for easing winds so after a pleasant night in the tent, warm and cosy, I woke to almost flat water and a clear sky.

Gear packed and kayak trolleyed to the water’s edge, I stepped into the kayak for the day’s paddle to Wynyard, 31km away.

Rounding Rocky Cape I enjoyed watching a sea eagle moving from jagged outcrop to jagged outcrop following my progress. I paddled past the light house that I visited the day before and pointed my bow east in pleasant conditions. Nearing a medium sized island just past Sister’s Beach I was intending to paddle past the northern end of it but as I watched I saw a very large back broach in the water a few hundred metres in front of me. Ok, I thought, must a big dolphin. It will surface again shortly…..but it didn’t. Other possibilities, a whale, or a shark. Right then, the southern end of the island looks really good, let’s go that way.

black-and-white

Table Cape gradually loomed closer and finally I was paddling past it’s rugged and densely vegetated cliffs. Rounding the Cape, Wynyard came into view, only a few kilometres way.

I landed just south of Wynyard at a business that had agreed to let me leave the kayak there while I bussed back to Stanley to retrieve my car. Another stretch of Tassie’s magnificent coastline done:-)

Geoff Murray

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