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 Justine's Journal

CackleTV Productions


Monday, April 30, 2007


We've had a great 6 weeks in Australia - crossed the Bass Strait, done some classic climbs at Arapiles and met lots of great people!

We fly back to Wales today - just in time for the Angelsey symposium!!!


Rapping at Arapiles
Friday, April 27, 2007



Arapales is reputed to be the 'best climbing crag in the world' so we thought it rude to be so close and not to check it out. We've just returned to Melbourne after 5 full days climbing there are weren't disapointed. The mountain is quartzite and a couple of kilometres long with everything from slabs to jam cracks to overhanging rooves. We did some of the classics, including Skink, Scorpion, Eurydice & Oceanoid.



Across the Bass Strait
Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I remember when I paddled around Tasmania, I looked north from Little Musselroe Bay, up at mountainous island chain dissapearing over the horizon and thought 'one day, I'd really like to come back and paddle across there between Tassie & Australia. The islands were just close enough to make it exciting but feasible. And now Alun & I have done it! We landed at Little Musslerowe Bay yesterday about mid-day after a four and a half hour paddle from Clarke Island! It was good to be back in familiar territory for me, and to be able to share a small part of my Tassie trip with Alun.

We had a great 16 days paddling and looking around, met some great people, and enjoyed a spectacular part of the world. We were lucky with the weather most of the time, although our last crossing of the Banks Strait was an exciting conclusion. The wind was constant and faily strong from the East, hitting us on the left side as we made the 15mile journey. The waves were a couple of meters and breaking all around ( and sometimes on ) us, but we could just about surf them a little bit, making our trip a bit faster. I'll write more when I can and add more photos - just wanted to let you know we made it.

Jeff Jennings picked us up from Little Musselroe yesterday and it was great to see him again. We had a good meal last night with him in Bridport. Today we've taken the bus down to Hobart to catch up with Matt Watton & Paul Pritchard. We've not seen Paul yet, but it's really good to see Matt again ( I can't belive how many kayaks he has!!).

Thanks to everyone who helped us on the trip. Laurie Geoghean ( sorry Laurie, I can't pronounce or SPELL your last name and I can't check it from here!) & Pete Provis for lending us the Nagdee kayaks which we really enjoyed, Stu Trueman for lending us his HF radio so we could get marine weather forecasts every 4 hours, Dave Winkworth for the sat phone & the wonderful cake!, & everyone else who helped us. We've had a great adventure and I really reccomend this area of the world to keen seakayakers!

Sun & Fun in Flinders
Friday, April 13, 2007

Alun and I are taking it easy for the day in Whitemark, the capital of Flinders Island in the Bass Strait. We're nearing the end of our Bass Strait adventure, although we still have some very tidal crossings to make, especially the 13mile crossing of the feared Banks Strait. In many ways, we've had it pretty easy, enjoying sun and light winds in a beautiful part of the world, but we've glimpsed the seriousness of this shallow sea & still have much respect for it. My most lasting impression is how easy it is to get to wilderness in this part of Australia -so many times we've had a stretch of golden sandy beach completely to ourselves, with a flat soft campground under the pine trees, warm sunrays & an inviting turcoise sea as a bonus. We've had all sorts of friendly neighbours - from wallabies who sit for hours and watch us cook, to penguins who we rarely saw but who had a hell of a barney all night in burrows a bit too close to our tent. And of course the rats on Hogan. Thankfully we were warned about them and they didn't really bother us because we packed everything away carefully into our kayaks. Pete Provis had a rat on Hogan eat through his buoyancy aid just to get to a museli bar wrapper so we took his advice and hid anything with any hint of food on it. Although we did leave the wooden cooking spoon outside one night and the edge has been completely nibbled off!! I must be a really good cook!

As usual the people we've met have been really friendly and interesting. The caretakers on Deal Island gave us some of their precious home-grown vegetables so we could taste fresh food again. They live there for 3 months with no resupply so have to be pretty self-sufficient. As we arrived at Deal after six and a half hours on the water, we appoached one yacht anchored there. As soon as we said we'd kayaked from Hogan, one of the guys got out two bottles of beer and handed them to us! It went straight to my head!

Our most challenging paddling day ( so far!) was the 68km crossing from Deal Island to Killiecrankie on Flinders. We pushed off in near darkness at 5.30am, trying to time a lull in 3 foot surf, and trying to work out how much the force 3-4 North Easterly would affect us. We decided to set off and see how fast we were going and how we felt. The forecast was actually slightly better for the next day, but it also showed a bad weather front arriving that afternoon or evening so we didn't want to risk missing our chance. I was surpised at the choppiness of the sea and the size of the swell for the wind strength. The Bass Strait is rarely deeper than 30 metres so it really kicks up in a storm. Despite a few waves up to 2metres and quite a bit of white water, we were making good progress and both felt good. I enjoyed the exhileration of the waves after 2 flat calm crossings. We were travelling SE, in a NE wind and swell, with the tide predominantly taking us SW, so we aimed a bit further north than usual to compensate. All went well although we both felt fairly tired after the first 5 hours! We passed just north of Craggy island and as the tide swept us into the sea to the East of it, we found ourselves in a rough patch of confused water. Wondering if it was particularly shallow here I glanced down and was horified to see the bottom!! I can only imagine how rough that would be in a real storm. About this time, after 2/3 of the way Alun's wrist started to ache. He was using the Lendal Kinetic wing paddle for extra speed ( as opposed to the wooden Greenland style blade he usually used, but it seemed to aggrivate an old injury. By the time we landed at Killiecrankie it was noticeably swollen and we were both worried he wouldn't be able to paddle again. But fortunately after 2 days off, lots of ibuprofen pills, a good bandage while paddling and reverting to his greenland paddles.... he says it's no worse than it was, and is maybe slightly better! so on we go.... to Tasmania!!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Here's a quick goodbye from Port Welshpool. It's 12 noon here and the tide starts flooding out of here at 1.45pm. We're all packed and watching the water creeping slowly towards our kayaks which are loaded full of far too much food and all our other kit. We hope to make it about 25km down the coast to Johnny Souey Cove today, then tomorrow the plan is to go another 20km down the coast or so to Refuge Cove. The forecast is good the following day (Wed) for the first big crossing to Hogan Island. If the promissed light and variable winds arrive then we'll get up in the dark and head over to Hogan, where we're told lots of penguins and rats await us! I'm looking forward to seeing one of those, and I think you can probably guess which one!

Right, time to hitch 5km back to Alun and the kayaks and off we go!

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