Day 7: Brooklyn to Patonga

At the end of my last post, I pondered some options for crossing the Hawkesbury River from Brooklyn to Patonga and hinted at maybe doing something a little different from what the guide book suggested. Having bought a kayak at the beginning of 2015, this seemed too good an excuse to get it out on the water and so, with an eye on the tide charts, I began sussing out friends to help with the necessary car shuffle.

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The first attempt was going to be on the 30th of September, but strong winds put paid to that. Next we looked at the 8th of October, with the outgoing tide in the early afternoon, but a gusty southerly change mid morning forced another cancellation. I toyed with the idea of a break-of-dawn attempt the next day but before any arrangements could be made, I received a request to drive down to Sydney that morning.

Finally a window of opportunity arose on the 12th of October, with a mid-morning outgoing tide and a light westerly wind forecast. With Barry and Ros Jones available as land crew, the plan was hatched and this morning saw me setting off from Brooklyn’s Parsley Bay just on nine o’clock.

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Conditions on the water were as close to perfect as you could imagine, with the outgoing current carrying me along and a slight breeze coming from behind onto my right shoulder. A couple of passing boats created a bit of wash, but otherwise it was easy paddling.

After forty minutes I reached Juno Point, the headland marking the junction of the Hawkesbury River and Cowan Creek where the river makes a ninety degree left hand bend. Before me opened the vista of the Bouddi pensinsula, Lion Island, West Head and the open sea beyond.

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With the wind now directly at my back, the paddling became easier, even though the water was a little choppier with an occasional small swell rolling in from the ocean.

Once around Juno point, I paddled past the NSW Sport and Recreation camp, venue for the annual Blues Across the Bay music festival in November. Today, though, the only blues were the river and the sky.

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Beyond the camp, I rounded the double headland of Walker Point and Pacific Head before turning due north towards Patonga Beach. Having left the current behind and with the wind now coming across on my left, the paddling became a bit slower. As I always find when kayaking, once the destination is in sight it seems to take ages for it to come any closer, but ever so gradually it did.

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Before you ask, the rainbow wasn’t real, just a lens artefact from looking almost into the sun with the ancient phone camera I had out on the water.

With excellent timing, Barry and Ros had arrived in Patonga just as I was rounding Pacific Head and were able to capture my final approach to the beach, one hour and fourteen minutes from when I started.

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Once I regained my land legs, we headed over the road for some much-needed morning tea.

My thanks to Barry and Ros for helping out today, and also to Matt Mee and Allan Savins for their offered help in the earlier aborted attempts. It’s all very much appreciated.

Having reached the northern side of the Hawkesbury, it’s now back to walking for the rest of the journey to Newcastle.

Coming up next: Patonga to Wondabyne.

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