South-West Tasmania



Strahan to Hobart (Nearly anyway).

By Lawrence Geoghegan with comments by the other two on the trip.

In January (2003) this year Andrew Mcauley, Paul Loker and my self paddled our kayaks from Strahan on the West Coast of Tasmania and were trying to reach our destination of Hobart in the south.

Myself in my Pittarak, Andrew in his Nadgee and Paul in his Mirage.

The trip started as an idea of mine. I lived as a child in Zeehan on the West Coast of Tassie and Geeveston in the South. I thought the idea of paddling around the outside to link the two was a great idea for a trip. I put feelers out on the NSW sea kayak club’s chat line and in the magazine, I had asked for people who had the skill and fortitude to take a trip like this on. Continue reading

Pittaraks in South Georgia



Pittaraks in South Georgia

By Wade Fairley

The barometer was plummeting and the heavy sea mist had rolled up out of the south west quickly blotting out the sun and casting the world in a uniform steel gray light . Huge southern rollers swept up in relentless rows out of the south west. Here at 56 degrees south, the southern ocean literally belts around the bottom of the globe and aside from a few tiny sub Antarctic islands like South Georgia, there is no land mass to block the path of these massive waves. The huge southern ocean bommers gather momentum and power then explode with terrible force against South Georgia’s rocky cold shores.

We steered our Pittaraks through a thin channel between the cliffs of a small rocky island and the mainland. A huge grounded ice berg partially blocked the narrow lead. To go around the island would add a couple more kilometres of paddling, so we opted to try and sneak by the grounded ice tower. The heaving swell burst against the glistening ice blue slick walls. Angus had the lead, the fastest of the three of us . We each paddled five-metre single kayaks, Angus and I in Pittaraks. These were boats that two years before we had taken to the Antarctic peninsula. And kayaks we knew we could thoroughly rely upon for serious expedition paddling like South Georgia. Continue reading

A Sea Kayaking Crossing of Torres…



A Sea Kayaking Crossing of Torres Strait

By Jonathan Papalia

The article contains an account of how four sea-kayakers crossed the tropical waterway between Cape York, Australia and New Guinea called Torres Strait. The article chronicles a twelve day, two hundred kilometre trip of open ocean sea kayaking though the beautiful and remote islands. Specific mention is made of the detailed preparations and logistics, as well as how the challenges posed by the environment were overcome. It is hoped that the article will help other adventurers planning a sea-kayak expedition.

It all started one New Year’s Eve in Swan Hill after Judd, Anthony and I had just completed the arduous Murray Marathon (an annual, five day, 400 kilometres flat water kayak race). After 400 kilometres of paddling in the muddy brown creek that is the Murray River, we thought there must be something better to paddle on. Why not try to paddle across to New Guinea from Australia; it could not be more than a couple hundred kilometres?
In the months that followed a team called “The Orbitors” was formed comprising of Judd Boeker, Christian Gallagher, Anthony Buykx and myself. Judd and Christian have been best mates since primary school and Anthony and I are first cousins. All of us have a great passion for the natural environment and endurance sports. Firstly, we looked around for a suitable sea kayak. Anthony already owned a Pittarak sea kayak and encouraged us to get in touch with Bruce Richards and Larry Gray at Pittarak International. Anthony and I first meeting with Bruce Richards was for a leisurely one hour test paddle but we all got on so well it lasted for over five hours and included dinner. Soon three more single Pittarak sea kayaks with carbon-kelvar hulls were ordered and our trip was starting to have some reality.

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Paddle to Nowhere: Out to Sea




By Richard Birdsey

“Not many people come on my trips”, The Leader observed dryly as our small group kitted up on the beach. I shuffled my feet in the Bundeena sand, a little nervous. ‘What exactly does that mean?’ a small, slightly shrill voice in my head said. Do others in the club know something I don’t? Or do people go out with The Leader and not return! Bob and Kevin laughed lightly at the comment as they adorned themselves with the gaudy accoutrements of the sea-kayaker. Partially assured by their mirth I continued to load my boat, contemplating what may lie ahead.
I arrived at Bundeena at 9.50 on Sunday morning. Not a bad sort of a day. A few clouds around, a bit of wind from the east. Peering through the trees I could see three kayaks laying on the sand like beached seals. Three multi-coloured figures moved about them, packing dry-bags, paddle jackets and other paraphernalia into the boats’ cavities. Pulling gear out of my car a cheerful hello greeted me from behind. Kevin Melville introduced himself and we lugged my Pittarak across the small concrete bridge connecting the beach with Bundeena Drive. I introduced my self to Bob Head and The Leader (aka Stuart Trueman) when the latter promptly asked if he could borrow my PFD for a photo he wanted for a web page he is constructing. Apparently a yellow PFD affords the wearer greater kudos in paddling circles and makes a better photo as opposed to inferior trendy coloured Type III jackets. Off Stuart went in his boat, yellow PFD shining in the sun and subjecting the cameraman (Kevin) to a barrage of instructions on camera angles, framing and cropping. Any supermodel in earshot would have glowed with pride. Continue reading

Freycinet Peninsula – Tasmania



Freycinet Peninsula April 2004

Richard Harbury, John “Big Red” Worth

We set off in Johns’ car, he had both kinds of music, Country and Western. Luckily I was aware of this likelihood and brought my own. The map provided to find the Ferry Terminal in Sydney was completely wrong so we drove around a bit, saying “We want to be over there I think.” Stumbled into the terminal eventually, many of the Targa Tasmania cars waiting to go over also. Lots of posturing and preening evident, and from the rally competitors as well.

Set off a bit late, but as we were sitting on the back deck in 30 degree heat sucking back Cascade we accepted this with alacrity. We discovered that our ship, “Spirit of Tasmania III”, was actually bought second hand from Greece, apparently no longer being sufficiently seaworthy to bimble around the Greek Islands. This was of no concern to us who had more pressing matters to attend to, namely getting another round and ogling the (female) purser.

The First Officer addressed us over the tannoy to tell us a mild crossing with 4 metre swell was predicted. After a pleasant dinner and 10 or so beers we retired to our bunks.

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Doubling Bass Strait



Bass Strait

23 March – 4 April 2006

By James Castrission

On the first day of this epic 350km crossing we were inches away from being swallowed by two container ships. After playing chicken with these moving steel islands, we were greeted by a 6-8m breaking swell on the second day. Naively, we thought that it couldn’t get any more exciting. How hideously wrong can one be? On our sixth day, we were cunningly hunted by a pack of tiger sharks as we approached Flinders Island. Our Bass Strait Crossing provided its fair share of harrowing moments as is expected in this notoriously violent stretch of ocean.

Um…..No. Sorry to disappoint, but this is a story of two young mates, a Pittarak double kayak and our team mascot Mr Penguin who successfully crossed Bass Strait via the “Eastern route”. Surprisingly, there are 28 islands between the Australian mainland and Tasmania. Our course linked 4 of these islands, with the largest distance between two of them being 72km. This route is crowded by at least 3 parties of kayakers each summer.

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Bass Strait




Four friends, Jonathan Papalia, Judd Boeker, Anthony Buykx and David Southwell had talked about kayaking across Bass Strait for a long time. The plan began formulating almost immediately after three of them had completed a kayak journey from Cape York, Australia across to Papua New Guinea, five years earlier. All are experienced kayakers with many years of marathon kayak racing and ocean kayaking between them. But Bass Strait was to be the biggest challenge. The goal was to kayak four individual Pittarak kayaks without sails from mainland Australia to mainland Tasmania via the eastern route connecting distant islands before passing down the west coast of Flinders Island.
With weather reports received during the drive to the southern coast of Victoria indicating strong north-easterly winds the planned start at Tidal River for a kayak around Wilsons Promontory to Refuge Cove was switched to a longer kayak from Port Welshpool (on the other side of Wilson Promontory) to Five Mile Beach then onto Refuge Bay which would be sheltered from the strong north-easterly wind.

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Sydney to Hobart



The Sydney to Hobart Kayak Trip by Simeon Michaels.

Reaching out for a better future.


Fun in a wave

In the Summer of 2007, I paddled from Sydney to Hobart. The 2000km, 2½ month trip was dedicated to raising awareness about a pulp mill proposed for the Tamar Valley in Northern Tasmania. If it proceeds, the mill will consume 5 million tonnes of forest every year, pollute the air, and pump billions litres of dioxin-laden effluent into the crystal waters of the Bass Strait – not something a kayaker (or anyone else for that matter) wants to see. My trip also raised money to advocate for sustainable alternatives to the proposed mill– the future that Tasmania deserves.

The trip website records the adventure, with stories about sharks, storms, crossing the Bass Strait and coping with the challenges that inevitably arise on a trip of that length. The site also allows you to sign the petition against Gunns proposed pulp mill. Check it out.

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Tasmanian Adventure



South West Tasmania February 2007

Rob Casamento, Richard Harbury, Cam and Mick Robertson

To view information relating to ocean swell and weather conditions during this trip, click on the following link Download wave rider info


During the last two weeks of February the four of us paddled nearly 300km from Macquarie Heads to Cockle Creek along the South West Tassie coast. There were no roads between our start and finish point, and no people save a few fishermen and some South Coast walkers on the last stretch. This was a fabulous trip, and although words and pictures could never do it justice, here are some of the highs and lows.

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