Campfire tales – Gundagai

WORDS: Scott Rawstorne from Global Paddler.

There is nothing like a crackling campfire at the end of a big day on the water to bring out ripping yarns from past adventures. Most of those stories have never made into Global Paddler guides so they have only been heard by a select few. Until now…

A day of biblical proportions

My paddling companion and I had gone to bed the night before our Gundagai paddle feeling sure that it would be bigger than Ben Hur and that it would sort the men out from the boys. We just weren’t sure which category we would fall into.

Campfire Gundagai Photo 1

A quick check of the map over breakfast in Gundagai’s famous Niagara Café resulted in 15 kilometres being sliced off what was previously going to be a 50 kilometre journey. I then placed a call to our local contact Ron Moses to let him know our plans. Despite never having met us before, he had kindly agreed to give us a lift back to our car at the end of the day.

The first third of our journey was to be on the Tumut River with the remainder on the Murrumbidgee River. We launched into fast-moving waters and spent the rest of the day enjoying the challenge of manoeuvring our less than purpose-built 5.4 metre sea kayaks through grade 1 and grade 2 rapids while eluding the grasp of the rampant willow trees that reached out from either bank.

As our adventure neared its end, black clouds started amassing above the horizon. Before long, there was lightning all around and we were scampering for the comparative safety of the shore. The temperature dropped very quickly. When we realised that to stay warm we would either have to share body warmth or start running on the spot, no discussion was required. We promptly set a pace that would have made Usain Bolt proud.

Campfire Gundagai Photo 2

Thankfully the storm passed quickly. The electricity in the air raised one or two whiskers on our faces but luckily the lightning struck elsewhere.

Ron Moses arrived with his mate Drew to take me back to the car while my companion stayed on the beach to look after the kayaks. Along the way, Ron told me that they had been driving up and down the river looking for us because golf ball sized hail had been falling in town and they thought we might have copped it. They were extremely relieved when we finally floated up to the finish line.

It was only after I had waved goodbye to Ron and Drew that I realised the worst. The car had TWO flat tyres! Not only that, I was a long way out of town with no phone reception. There was nothing for it except to start walking, look for the nearest farm, and hope for some mobile coverage. Things were looking bleak, especially since my companion was stuck on the beach, and the mercury was plummeting towards zero.

Campfire Gundagai Photo 3

Then the Moses mobile came over the crest in front of me. I swear that I heard the Hallelujah Chorus and his car had a halo-like glow.

Ron’s actions increasingly reminded us of his biblical namesake as he led us out of trouble. He and Drew took me and our clothes back to town; picked up the kayaks, gave us a place to stay, and contacted the local NRMA guy to organise a rescue mission for the next morning. I cannot praise them highly enough for what they did for us.

The next morning I awoke with the knowledge that the car still had two flat tyres and it was on a dirt road about 20km out of town. I braced myself and dived out the door for an early morning rendezvous with Don from the NRMA. He turned out to be a man of few words, but that was fine with me as his actions did plenty of talking. Not only did he get our car back to Beaurepaires, he overcame the seemingly disastrous bogging of his rescue vehicle without so much as a murmur.

Campfire Gundagai Photo 4

The Paddler’s Guide to Gundagai is available for members to download for free from the Global Paddler website and it is also contained in The Paddler’s Guide to New South Wales 2nd Edition.




Sea to Summit Blitz Booties – Product Review

WORDS: Scott Rawstorne from Global Paddler.

As a paddle sports tour guide and instructor, I need comfortable paddling footwear that offers great grip and a high level of protection from oyster shells and other nasties. I also want it to be “set and forget”. Distractions of any kind resulting from footwear that is poorly designed or constructed takes away from the enjoyment of my paddling adventures, and that is not something anyone should have to contend with. It is at the very least inconvenient, and it can sometimes even be dangerous, when your shoes unexpectedly slip off mid-paddle or when you are walking through deep sand or mud to get to or from the water. That is why I wear Blitz Booties from Sea to Summit.

Sea to Summit Blitz Booties Photo 1

Sea to Summit calls the Blitz Bootie the heavy duty workhorse of their range. It has a super grippy laminated rubber sole that is strong enough to offer protection from sharp objects but it is still flexible enough to give you a good feeling for foot pegs, rudder pedals, and any ground that you need to walk across. To protect you from the cold, the Blitz Bootie has a 3 millimetre neoprene upper with a high cuff that can overlap with a wetsuit if required.

Sea to Summit Blitz Booties Photo 2

Features

  • Rugged water booties for kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddleboarding, rafting, portaging, wading, fishing, sailing
  • High traction rubber sole for grip on wet surfaces
  • Stiffened sole for added protection and walking
  • Secure Y-pull velcro strap system
  • 3mm neoprene
  • Colour = black/blue

Sea to Summit Blitz Booties are available in sizes 5 to 13 (US Men’s) and have a recommended retail price of AUD $59.95. Use the store locator on the Sea to Summit website to find the Sea to Summit stockist nearest you.




Advance copies have arrived!

We are excited to announce that advance copies of the 1st edition of The Paddler’s Guide to South Australia have arrived! Thank you so much to everyone who has pre-ordered a copy of our new book. It looks great. We are really looking forward to receiving and mailing out the full shipment in mid-November.

The Paddler's Guide to South Australia Advance Copy

If you haven’t ordered your copy of the 1st edition of The Paddler’s Guide to South Australia yet, you can do so now through the Global Paddler online store for just $24.95. Discounted Global Paddler membership with unlimited access to online versions of all 320 of our guides is also available at the time of purchase.




Canoe the Coorong

The paddling community is overflowing with likeable characters but some people still manage to stand out from the crowd. Brenton Carle at Canoe the Coorong is one of those people. His love of nature is second to none, he is a great conversationalist, and he is quite simply an all round good bloke. Brenton’s brilliant company mixed with one of the most stunning and iconic paddling destinations in Australia is a surefire recipe for an unforgettable day on the water.

Canoe the Coorong Photo 1 courtesy of Canoe the Coorong

The Coorong is a “natural wonder” of Australia that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Uluru, The Twelve Apostles, Kakadu, the Bungle Bungles, Lake Eyre, and The Great Barrier Reef. Often referred to as an inland sea, it can be more accurately described as a 100-kilometre-long wetland separated from the Southern Ocean by the windswept sand dunes and tussocky vegetation of Younghusband Peninsula. The world community recognised the ecological importance of the Coorong in 1985 by acknowledging it as a Ramsar Wetland of International Significance.

Canoe the Coorong Photo 2 courtesy of Canoe the Coorong

This is a truly remarkable place where you will unquestionably see hundreds of birds, there is a good chance you will meet both long-nosed fur seals and emus on the same day, and if you are very lucky you may even be delighted by pods of happy dolphins.

Canoe the Coorong offers tours for people of all ages and skill levels. Popular tours include a three-hour Coorong sunset tour of the Murray Mouth, a full day all-inclusive Coorong tourovernight camps and, for real adventurers, a four-day expedition covering almost 100 kilometres. Kayak hire is also available. For more information, or to make a booking, head to the Canoe the Coorong website.

Canoe the Coorong Photo 3 courtesy of Canoe the Coorong




Sale to Sea Disability Kayak Challenge 2018

Registrations open soon for Sale to Sea’s One Day Disability Kayak Challenge! Taking place on Saturday 17th March 2018, up to 100 kayakers will meet at the highway bridge in Bairnsdale to paddle 30km to the Metung pub.

Sale 2 Sea Photo 1

Founder, Andrew Bedggood, says “The original four day Kayak Challenge ran again in March this year and since then we’ve received so much positive feedback. We know there were a number of people who really wanted to participate in the longer Challenge but weren’t able to so the committee has decided to hold a smaller, but still challenging One Day event in the alternate year.

“All proceeds will continue to go towards the Sale to Sea Disability Kayak Challenge Grant, which has been established to assist people with a disability within the Gippsland East community (Wellington Shire and East Gippsland Shire Local Government Areas).

“Since 2009, the Sale to Sea’s Disability Kayak Challenge has highlighted one’s ability to overcome adversity and lead an active life.

Sale 2 Sea Photo 2

“The Challenge aims to encourage active sporting activities for people of all abilities, raise funds for families and individuals with permanent or long term disabilities, encourage those living with a disability to live life on their terms and to raise awareness of the importance of a fully inclusive society.  Since the four day Challenge in March 2017, Sale to Sea has committed $17,000 in helping locals to access the vital equipment that makes their life much easier.

“The One Day Challenge is not a race and we aim for all participants to cross the finish line together.

“For safety reasons, we will be capping entries at 100 people so we encourage anyone wishing to take part to print off and send in their registration forms.”

The current Silver medallist from the Rio Paralympics Paracanoe team and current World Paracanoe Champion, Amanda Reynolds, will be attending after competing in the Australian sprint titles in early March.  Amanda completed her first Challenge in 2013 after losing her leg in 2012 and has continued onto the world stage with great success.

If you are interested in participating in this great event, as a paddler or as part of the support team, stay tuned to the Sale to Sea website for details about how to register.

Sale 2 Sea Photo 3