Thursday morning started early, as I needed to take care of my normal duties at home before I could set off. Today was the day that I decided to take my Kayaking to the next level… to paddle out from shore, explore an island, and paddle back. I feel that this is the next level of kayaking, and doing so would prove to myself that I could make use of a kayak.
The target for my exploration was Hope Island. It is almost 900 metres from shore, which is a significantly longer distance to paddle. I had been building up the strength and stamina over the last few weeks, so I felt I could do this. I decided to keep my provisions for the trip to a minimum. I would not be over there for more than a couple of hours, so I took ½ a litre of water, a few muesli bars, and some zip lock bags to keep my phone and car keys dry. While the day was overcast, I still slathered on the sunscreen before setting off from home around 11:30am.
It took me around 30 minutes to find the place from where I wanted to launch. It was along a dirt road, near the Tassel plant, and several times on the journey I had to check my map as I was sure I was in the wrong location. Eventually I found a place to park and start my paddle to the island. The island didn’t look very far away, yet after many minutes of paddling I realised it was much further than I had anticipated. I took several breaks from paddling to try to keep my stamina up, and when I reached the other shore my arms were aching and shacking. I had a lot of trouble holding my camera still for the video.
I carried the kayak up from the shore so that it was well above the high water mark… I didn’t want it to go floating off without me. I noticed I had a couple of scratches from getting into the kayak and landing on the island, yet they were not serious. Apart from the drone of the nearby fishing vessels, I was alone. I started to head inland on the island. I was very happy to notice not a single piece of trash on the island, so obviously it was well maintained. After a couple of minutes of walking I encountered a roughly marked animal trail amongst the densely growing plants. The island had an overabundance of Black Berry bushes, with many ripe berries ready for eating, so I filled the pocket of my bag as I walked and explored.
The island is over 800 metres at its longest, yet with all the thick vegetation, it is slow walking. I noticed many signs of large animals walking through areas, yet I wasn’t sure if it was a cow or a horse. Eventually, after 5 minutes of walking, I came to a structure that appeared to be a small barn. It was chained shut, yet I could see through the gap in the door to note several farming implements within. I left that and began walking to a large, metal roofed house. When I could see it clearly, I realised it was an old ruin, that (upon inspection) was part of the old Convict settlement in the area in the 1800s.
I sat down for a rest on the grass near the ruins and ate my muesli bars as well as the large amount of black berries I had collected on my walk. It was very peaceful there, with the sounds of the birds and bees around me, and the beautiful view of the bay before me. After 20 minutes of rest I decided I should begin my walk back to the kayak. As I stood, I noticed that not more than 10 metres from me (in the long grass) were two cows! The stood and watched me for a moment before walking away. Now I knew with who I was sharing the island, and it answered the questions of how the animal paths were created.
I considered that the island would be a great place to camp for the night, the quiet solitude would be great. The close proximity of the salmon farms could mean great fishing (according to people who I know), as well as the blackberries, there were also large amounts of mussels on the rocks of the shore and many clumps of good seaweed. This is something I will have to consider for the near future.
I walked back to the kayak and was very relieved to see it wasn’t stolen or washed away on a tide. The paddle back to the shore was a little easier this time as I had realised I could use a slow, steady stroke rather than the hurried one I used to get me to the island. Once at my car, I loaded the equipment and drove home, where the exhaustion of the trip finally kicked in. I will be back to Hope island, as it was a very restful place. I am sure if I circumnavigated the island I would see many other structures of interest, and that may be something to do soon.
All in all, my first solo Kayak exploration was a great success. 10/10 – would do again.