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 Justine's Journal

CackleTV Productions


From Nadgee to Bass Strait
Saturday, March 31, 2007

We had a great few days in Nadgee Wilderness Reserve, and the surrounding National Park, being shown around by some of New South Wales finest paddlers! The area is characterised by beautiful red sandstone cliffs separated by a few golden sandy beaches. Everything is covered by gum & tea-trees and it's a beautiful coastline. One of the highlights for me was paddling 1km up the Merrica River to get fresh water. The calm narrow estuary was enclosed by short cliffs covered in trees, we could see oysters growing on the sandy bottom & wild orchids growing above and it was very serene and beautiful - a really wild place. We had it to ourselves as it's part of a wildernes reserve with limited visitor access.

Thanks a lot of Laurie for organising it, and to Laurie, Stu Trueman, Dave Winkworth & Paul Loker for making it a memorable and fun trip.

We're now staying with Laurie for the weekend and he's then kindly driving us down to Port Welshpool ( appropriately enough for Alun!) where we'll start the trip from on Monday or Tuesday. This evening we're going to watch Laurie's wife, Nadia, playing her drums on the beach as part of a local event which should be great!

Laurie & Pete Provis are kindly lending us 2 kayaks for the Bass Strait crossing - they are called Nadgee Kayaks and are one of the most popular kayak in Australia for expeditions. They look good to us and it saves us a huge amount of expense and logistical hastle to be able to use them. Laurie's just bought the company so hopefully we'll be able to raise awarness of the kayaks a bit for him with our expedition - not that he needs it as the waiting list for Nadgee Kayaks is already huge! It will be interesting to use a different boat as I'm nearly always in my trusty Explorer on trips. Alun & I are both very grateful for the loan of the boats! Check Lauries Nadgee Kayaks website out -- it will be live very

I hope to be posting daily podcasts as we cross the Bass Strait. There should be a map on the website so you can follow along. We're crossing on the Eastern side via a chain of islands. The total distance is about 370km and the longest crossing is about 67km. There are fairly strong cross currents and often strong winds in this area so it will be a good challenge. I'm looking forward to exploring the islands along the way which I'm told are beautiful. We're not in a rush to complete the trip and expect it to take us 2-3 weeks. It better take us that long as we have a huge pile of food to get through!! Watch this space!!

Arrived in Sydney! PODCASTS announced.
Thursday, March 22, 2007

PHEW! We made it to Sydney!
Life's been pretty hectic lately and I was still packing at 3am the night before we left for our Australian adventure. This photo is taken at midnight when I'd just started packing!! Being somewhat more organised, Alun left me to it soon after that.

Michael Steinfield kindly met us at Sydney airport at a ridiculously early time and brought us back to his and Audrey's home. ( see bottom photo of me trying to look up Michael's phone number on my laptop - impressive red eyes!) Thanks to Michael & Audrey for looking after us.

Since we've been here, we've had a look around Sydney and admired the sights a bit before trying to get prepared for our Bass Strait crossing at the start of April. Oh, and trying to get over the jetlag.

Later today we drive down to Batemans Bay with Michael for the annual New South Wales kayak club get together which we're really looking forward to. Then we spend a 4-5 days kayaking and camping in the Nadgee Wilderness reserve with some of the locals, before Laurie is kindly driving us down to Port Welshpool to start our Bass Strait crossing. We expect to start this around 2nd April.

Some exciting developments mean that we'll be trying to bring you daily podcasts of the Bass Strait expedition. For anyone who doesnt know, that's a voice recording of the daily events. I hope it will be like a daily blog, but that you listen to rather than read. I'm not sure exactly where it will appear on my website at present or exactly how it's going to work, as I have the easy job of making the phone call.

I'm excited to be working with Race Recon,, ( sorry, I can't make links work from my mac!) who provide support for some cutting edge expeditions around the world. They will be putting the podcasts and a map of our locations onto my website, and some other places so you can follow along.

Derrick Mayoleth, my fantastic website designer & upkeeper, and creator of , will be working with RaceRecon to make this happen.

So keep an eye on the website and I hope you enjoy it. Alun & I plan to do an initial podcast today hopefully!

Canoecopia Launch Party
Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Alun and I are back in Wales after a sleepless overnight flight from Chicago. It's 5pm and the struggle to fight the eyelids from closing is getting tougher! Despite that, I'm feeling warm and content after a succesful and fun world premiere and launch party for "This is the Sea 3". I'd guess that 15-20,000 people rushed from stand to stand at Canoecopia over the 3 days of the show, white bags bursting with kayaking and canoeing goodies. The days flew by for me, filled with giving presentations or chatting with old friends and new aquaintances!

The launch party on Saturday night was full to capacity with about 400 people crammed into the High Noon Saloon in Madison to watch the world premiere of "This is the Sea 3". We watched two thirds of the DVD before it got late and the band started playing. After my initial nerves, I really enjoyed the evening as the atmosphere was lively and happy. I'm very grateful to Lendal for sponsoring the launch party and paying for me to come over and present the film. I didn't have my camera with me at the party so these photos were kindly sent to me by Derrick. Either he'd had a few beers before taking them, or he didn't stop dancing to take them!! Well, maybe it was just pretty dark in the room, but I actually think I look better with a little soft focus so I'm not complaining!

Next weekend is the UK premiere of "This is the Sea 3" at the Outdoor Show in Birmingham.

Moving to California? ( more photos)
Friday, March 09, 2007

Moving to California?

So it was like this.... a sunny California morning, clean glassy 4foot waves on a reef break, no battling to get out back, just a paddle out on flat water; turn, wait and surf back in towards the shore at Sunset Cliffs. Alun and Jake were ripping it up on either side of me and pelicans were crusing by in convoy just above the waves. I found myself thinking I could every easily move to California!!! And after 3 days in the Spyder surf boat I'm finally getting to grips with it. Instead of catching an edge and flipping on almost every wave, I'm feeling comfortable turning it on the wave and really enjoying it. We had the pleasure of meeting the man known only as Spike (!), who designed the boat and I can aspire to be able to do some of the things that he can in it!

We had a good time filming in Baja with Jen & Jake from Aqua Adventures, and the Johnson Outdoor Crew. It's a beautiful stretch of coastline about 2.5 hours drive south of San Diego and we enjoyed rock hopping and touring in the sun. We have some great shots which will be fun to edit. It was all topped off with delicious food cooked by Jock Bradley. Some work is better than other work !! The photo is of Jeff from Canoe & Kayak magazine by the largest blow hole in the world.

We're off to Canoecopia tomorrow with a bright and early flight to Chicago.... I better go and get organised!

Surfing and Fishing in San Diego!
Friday, March 02, 2007

I've surfed, swum, filmed, fished, eaten, drunk and been merry in our first 2 days in San Diego. Thanks to Jen for looking after us so well and taking us surfing yesterday. There's something about surfing in California which makes me smile! I tried out a Necky Spyder which was a lot of fun, although I wouldn't say that I quite mastered the fins ( being more used to a Mega Cyclone) and I got flipped uncompromisingly a lot of times!! I had some good 'moments' on the waves though and should have stuck to it because when I swapped boats with Alun, I managed to get a wave in my deck, the deck popped ( yeah, that old story, but REALLY it did!). One minute I was surfing and the next minute my kayak cockpit was filling with water and the front of the boat sunk underneath me! It was a long swim to shore!!

Today we were up early to film Jim Sammons and friends kayak fishing at La Jolla. Alun was filming from a boat and I was filming from a kayak on the water. Except poor ALun got a bit queesy bobbing around on the swell and looking through a viewfinder and decided to feed the fish himself. Thanks to Jock Bradley for these photos!

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