Monthly Archives: December 2010

2010 Kayaking Season

Date: 5/12/10
River: Hunter River, New South Wales, Australia
River Conditions: 10.4m at Singleton. Brown with lots of debris Grade 1+.
Weather Conditions: Overcast, slight rain.
Number on Trip: 1 person.
Time on River: 0.5 hour.
Comments: On the way home from the supermarket we noticed quite a bit of activity by the river, it was almost at the top of its channel and had spilled on to various low lying sports grounds and fields. It seemed to be an ideal opportunity for a paddle on the mighty Hunter River. I got changed and tossed my gear in the back of the 4×4 and headed down to the get in near the New Bridge but decided the were too many people there, especially as the SES (State Emergency Service) were launching their boats just where I had planned too. I felt there was a high likelihood of being told I couldn’t paddle the river if I put in there, so after some waiting and mild prodding from Lauri, I decided to head up to the railway bridge and try my luck there.

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The SES head up stream as I prepare to launch. The river level is usually about 10m lower at this point. Photo by Lauri.

Not so many people at the car park and I grabbed my gear and headed slightly self consciously down to the river. The current didn’t look particularly strong but the was a lot of debris (logs and even some largish trees) floating down, which was definitely something to avoid. Just as I was getting the deck on, the SES boat went by so I gave them a friendly wave. Once on the river I headed upstream, eddy hopping from one group of partially submerged trees to another until I got as far as I could go. Had a brief chat to the SES guys, they didn’t seem to mind me being there (probably because I seemed competent and had the appropriate safety gear), though there was a comment in the Singleton Argus (local newspaper) that said the following…

“Mr Merrick said he was disappointed to find people in the floodwater. A couple of kayakers were out and another couple were seen in a fishing boat. None had life jackets. “Floodwater is dangerous, there are 44 gallon drums belting down the river, underneath the surface, you don’t know what is in the water, Mr Merrick said. We always carry spare props on our SES boats because floodwaters are strong enough to rip out props and then you are at the mercy of the current, it is not a wise place for people to be playing around”, Mr Merrick said.”

Of course I had a buoyancy aid and helmet on and was perfectly safe on a river that would be comparable to the Waimak during a Brass Monkey race, just with out any “rapids”. However, I was surprised that they weren’t using jet boats but I guess the probably have their reasons.

I paddled back down the the rail way bridge and did a couple of circuits round the bridge supports and then posed for a few photos from Lauri. Not exactly the most exciting paddle but it was nice to be on the river when it had a bit of flow.

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A tree floats by the partially submerged poplars. Photo by Lauri.

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I paddle up stream. Photo by Lauri.


Date: 30/10/10
River:
Barrington River, New South Wales, Australia
River Conditions:
0.7m at Forbesdale Causeway. Clear, easy flow. Grade 2.
Weather Conditions:
Sunny and hot.
Number on Trip:
1 person.
Time on River:
1 hour.
Comments:
I decided to see if I could find some white water and so headed up to Gloucester, the closest centre to the Barrington Tops National Park, where I had been told white water kayaking actually happened. The info centre had some useful brochures and I headed out to the Barrington Outdoor Adventure Centre and had a chat to a couple of their guides, who provided plenty of useful information. They also had a copy of “Canoeing, A Guide to New South Wales”, a very useful book with plenty of colour photos of some nice looking rapids being run in an interesting range of long fibre glass and early plastic boats (a time when the Dancer was a state of the art, short play boat). I have since picked up a copy of my own from Paddle NSW, the states kayak association, and look forward to more exploring.

From Barrington, I headed up Barrington East Road and then across the Rocky Crossing flood-way. This marks the get out for the grade 2 section of the Barrington River, the water looked good and the flood-way formed a small wave below it but I carried on up the road that follows the river into the hills. I stopped and had a look at the river at The Cove, where a set of steps led down to a pool above a small grade 2 rapid which looked quite tempting. Further up the road I met a vehicle coming the other way with a couple of kayaks on, having probably paddled the grade 3 section between Cobark Junction and Bindera. I carried on up the road until I reached the gates at Bindera, where the put in for the grade 2 section is and the river can be accessed if permission is asked and a small fee paid. However being on my own and not fancying a long walking shuttle after a solo paddle down an unknown river, I headed back to The Cove.

20101030 Barrington River at The Cove

The rapid below the put in at The Cove.

It was a hot day and it was nice get on the river, I had a bit of a warm up by paddling up the river to a small rapid about 500m upstream. I had a little play around there but wasn’t able to get any further up the river and so I headed back down stream. I ran the rapid pictured above and then spent about half an hour surfing the small holes at the bottom before paddling to a convenient get out about 50m downstream. It was really good to get back on a river and I look forward to running more of this river and exploring some of the others in the area when I get a chance.


Date: 13/9/10
Location:
Penrith White Water Course, New South Wales, Australia
River Conditions:
Swift and very pushy. Grade 3.
Weather Conditions:
Sunny and warm.
Number on Trip:
1 person.
Time on Water:
1 hour.
Comments:
I flew in to Sydney on my way to my new job in the Hunter Valley. After discovering that Sydney Airport is to the south of the CBD and the best way to avoid it was to head up to Singleton on the Putty Road (it goes through the township of Putty, hence the name) via Penrith . Of course as I was passing through Penrith, I really had to go and take a look at the white water course that was built for the Sydney Olympics. When I arrived the course was dry but I was told they would soon switch the pumps on for a rafting group. I was able to hire a boat and gear, which was lucky as my boat was heading down from Queensland on a truck at that stage. I ended up with a Bliss-Stick Smoothy play boat, but after a wobbly start and a swim whilst testing its performance on the bottom wave, I swapped it for a Mystic creek boat. I also tried to buy a nose clip to stop my head filling up with water when I tipped over, unfortunately none were available and this tended to really mess up my ability to roll.

20100927 Penrith White Water Course Conveyor Belt

This is the top end of the kayak conveyor belt.

After getting a feel for the boat (quite different from the Blitz but easier to handle than the Smoothy), I headed up the conveyor belt to the top of the run (we should get one of these fitted to the Maori Gully get out) and then headed on down catching the first couple of eddies, then things turned pear shaped and I ended up upside down. Without a nose plug, the quick succession of drops and the very pushy water meant I wasn’t likely to roll so I just bailed out and had a swim. I ended up with a grazed knee and a badly bruised thigh as I exited the boat. Getting the boat to shore was a little tricky as the concrete banks were kind of steep and emptying the water out was tricky given the volume of the boat, steepness of the banks and the fact that the bung was set up so it couldn’t be opened. I managed to do it but even getting the deck back on was tough. I probably provided a bit of amusement to a pair of kayaker practicing with their slalom boats, though they did seem to go over regularly, just they managed to roll back again.

20100927 Penrith White Water Course without water

This is the set of drops I swam down on my last run, though there was more water at the time.

I played it fairly carefully after that with limited success, only managing one clean run and that was basically bombing everything. I was quite surprised how pushy the water was, even trying to stay in one place in some of the eddies was quite difficult. My last run was a bit of a disaster and I was getting pretty tired from swimming and emptying the boat out (a full sized Mystic holds a lot of water). I tipped over on one of the early drops and managed to get the kayak to the side and emptied out. Once I got back in, I couldn’t get the deck on as it required both hands and if I didn’t hold on I got pushed out of the eddy and into the current again. After numerous attempts, I decided to run the next couple of drops without the deck and try getting it back on further down. This worked for a few drops but I was taking on water and soon ended up upside down and then swimming. The next set of drops came thick and fast with no chance of getting the kayak to the bank, I had some good dunkings as I bobbed down the centre of the rapids. Below the last drop in this set, one of the rafts full of punters on a “Boys Weekend” was surfing a hole in the middle of the channel. There was no opportunity to avoid them so I ducked under the raft and on surfacing swam to the bank, still holding on to the kayak and paddle. One of the raft instructors standing on the “beach” in this wider part of the channel and he pulled me in using the my outstretched paddle. Apparently on the course if you swim you are just supposed to abandon your kayak and swim for the shore (I’m not sure that quite works for me as my reflex is to hang on to my gear).

After emptying the boat out and a bit of a rest, I finished off the run and then had a little play around the bottom drop followed by yet another swim (my last). I decided to call it quits for the day as the water was going to be turned off soon and I was feeling particularly tired and beaten up. I did manage to preform a single practice roll before putting the gear away, but the feeling of my sinuses filling with water was pretty unpleasant and I’ll definitely make sure I have a nose clip next time. It was a fun way to spend part of a travel day and I certainly look forward to getting back down to Penrith with my own kayak and gear at some stage in the future.


This was a poem I wrote for a an ABC National Radio programme, just before we made what we thought would be a permanent move to the Hunter Valley in NSW. The photo below is of the Isaac River in flood and was submitted with the poem and was apparently displayed as part of a slide show of Australian rivers on the big screen overlooking Federation Square in Melbourne. The Isaac river is usually one long ribbon of sand, that snakes across the very flat landscape, hence the rivers of sand. The “rapid” pictured is best one I could find within 100km of Moranbah and only appeared after prolonged heavy rain, the waves are less than 30cm high. The poem itself wasn’t selected for broadcast, but it did sum up my feelings about the impending move, I hope it stirs something in you too.

20080926 Issac River in flood

Issac River in flood.

My River

My river is a young river in a young land,
Carving its’ way through mountains,
Still being formed,
Dancing from rock to rock,
Clear and fresh,
Swift and cold.

I traded my land for a new land,
A dry land,
An old land.
I traded my river for a river of gold,
A river of coal,
A river of sand.

The gold flows through my fingers,
But never touches my hands.
The coal flows to the sea,
And off to foreign lands.
The sand flows nowhere.
You can’t paddle a river of sand.

The thirsty land,
The dry river bed,
The long thin water holes,
A kayak in a shed,
All wait,
All wait for the rain.

I will move soon,
A new town,
A new river,
Wide, slow and brown,
But I will still wait for the rain,
For the rain will bring the river to life.

Wherever I go,
Wherever I travel,
In my thoughts,
In my dreams,
I will still carry my river with me.
It is the river that brings me to life.


Date: 21/8/10
River:
Ashley River, Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions:
30 cumecs at Ashley Gorge, water brown, swift and cold. Grade 3.
Weather Conditions:
Cold and overcast.
Number on Trip:
3 people.
Time on River:
3 hours.
Comments:

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Looking back up on of the rapids.

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Catching a shower under a waterfall.

Above: Looking back up on of the rapids and then catching a shower under a waterfall.

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The people who consider that it is never too cold or too early to paddle the Ashley.

We had a good paddle down the lower gorge, going along at our own pace with some occasional play. 30 cumecs is quite a nice flow with water being swift enough and deep enough to keep things moving and the rocks covered but with out the scariness of higher flows but still retaining the technical aspects of the rapids. There was no dramas at all and I was the only one to experience any upside-down time (all quickly followed by a swift roll upright), tipping over after a couple of the major drops. The water was pretty cold so I definitely didn’t want to go for a swim. It was a good day out, followed by coffee at Seagars in Oxford. Thanks to Steel, Bruce and FaceBook for putting this trip together.


Date: 21/7/10 & 12/8/10
Location:
Lake Elphinstone, Queensland, Australia.
Conditions:
Water brown, some wind chop.
Weather Conditions:
Sunny and warm, some wind.
Number on Trip:
1 person.
Time on Water:
Approximately 0.75 Hours each outing.
Comments:
A couple of trips to explore the lake and get some exercise. Very scenic and some interesting bird life on the shores.


Date: 3/4/10, 11/4/10, 25/4/10, 1/5/10 & 9/8/10
River:   
Grosvenor Creek, Near Moranbah,  Queensland, Australia .
River Conditions: 
Water clear & flat.
Weather Conditions: 
Sunny & warm.
Number on Trip: 
1 person.
Time on River:
Approximately 1 hour each outing.
Comments:
Back in Moranbah and more paddling on the placid waters of Grosvenor Creek, still it is better than not paddling.


Date: 30/3/10
River:
Cattle Creek, Finch Hatton, Queensland, Australia.
River Conditions:
1.57m at Finch Hatton. Water clear and warm. Grade 2.
Weather Conditions:
Overcast with sunny periods, warm with brief showers.
Number on Trip:
2 people.
Time on River:
2 Hours.
Comments:
After driving about 1200km up from Brisbane, I picked up my boat from Eton, where it had sat out the rainy season while I was back in New Zealand “enjoying” an extended period of unemployment and no pay. Noel was keen for a paddle and so was I and after sorting out my gear it was off to look for some white water. We looked at the Marian Falls section of the Pioneer River but Noel decided the flow was too high, so we headed off to do the Finch Hatton section of Cattle Creek. I was impressed with Noels paddling gear, Sweet helmet, fully featured BA, nice deck, all worn over the top of a pair of baggy, black budgie smugglers and a cotton button up shirt. I felt a little over dressed wearing poly pro and a paddle jacket with river shoes too. Still I did have my nastiest old yellow buoyancy vest and my $10 helmet on, which comprises my Australian paddling gear.

We were soon on the river and played around catching eddies and surfing waves. The water was warm and slow moving, and often very shallow (despite apparently having more water than when it was often run). Still there were some very nice play spots and I had some really good surfs and got plenty of rolling “practice” in as well. The best hole kept me surfing in it for a while as it was a bit difficult to get out of. Eventually after a certain amount of forward, backwards and some sideways surfing, I flipped and got flushed out. Great fun though. Noel had a brief swim for no particular reason (I thought he was just practicing a roll until I realised he wasn’t going to right himself), we go his boat to shore without too much drama but I did miss having a tow line on my BA. We also took a scenic route down a side channel complete with tropical vegetation, which was interesting and very nice but the lack of water meant it was more of a walk than a paddle. It was nice to be on a river again and my only disappointment has been that I haven’t been able to make white water kayaking a regular feature of my time in Queensland. There are some really friendly and helpful people there, and they have made me feel very welcome. Thanks Noel for a great day out.


Date: 7/3/10
River:
Hurunui River, North Canterbury, New Zealand.
River Conditions:
16 cumecs at Mandamus. Water clear, cold and swift. Grade 2 (3).
Weather Conditions:
Sunny and warm.
Number on Trip:
5 people.
Time on River:
3.5 Hours.
Comments:
Another trip up to the Hurunui organised by Bob for those not off to Buller Fest. There was a bit of waiting around at the Belfast Tavern for people who said they planned to come and then didn’t. We had a number of newer paddlers and the river was pretty low so we put on at Dozy Stream, below Devil’s Fang Falls. We worked our way slowly down the river, trying to catch as many eddies as possible, with Bob coaching the newer paddlers on correct technique and trying to encourage them to try things. I tried to work on pulling a “whoopie” but didn’t have much success. It is something I haven’t managed to really do since I sold the Super Sport and then it wasn’t deliberate. It was a great day out and everyone had a good time, even if there was the odd swim (not me).

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Another perfect day on the Hurunui. Breaking out from an eddy to run one of the drops in Maori Gully.


Date: 21/2/10
River:
Hurunui River, North Canterbury, New Zealand.
River Conditions:
27 cumecs at Mandamus. Water clear, cold and swift. Grade 2 (3).
Weather Conditions:
Sunny, warm with light nor-westers.
Number on Trip:
6 people.
Time on River:
4.5 Hours.
Comments:
Sometimes if you want to go paddling, you have to organise the trip yourself. By Saturday I had enough people going to make the trip worthwhile (safe) but then a couple of the beginners who had expressed interest dropped out, which technically simplified things (made it safer still). Of course with Steel and Bruce coming, any extras were just a bonus when it came to shuttling vehicles. However when it came to meeting at the car park on Sunday morning, there were more people who hadn’t told me they were coming than those that had. Now with Bob and Murray along as well, we had plenty of experience to share with Hannah, who had done the beginners course the previous season but hadn’t paddled much since. We piled in to Bob and Steel’s cars and headed for the Hurunui. A brief stop at the Maori Gully take out to say hi to some other paddlers, then up to look at Devil’s Fang Falls. Had a brief chat with Hugh and John H, who were taking their respective partners down the river, Hugh in his cataraft and John in tyre tubes. We decided to put in at South Branch and unloaded our gear there and got changed while Bob and Steel drove the cars to the take out.

Thing’s started to go wrong when Bob and Steel got back, having hitched a lift back to the put in, and Murray realised he had left his spray deck in the car. After some discussion he decided he’d probably be ok paddling down to Seawards without it, however when he discovered that he’d also left his buoyancy aid at home, he decide that he’d just walk back to the car. We paddled off, leaving Murray on the bank to try and catch a ride back.

The run down the South Branch to the Hurunui’s main stem, was a nice warm up and an opportunity for Bob and Bruce to pass on some tips to Hannah. We also to the spent a little bit of time surfing, practicing rolls and ferry gliding. Once on the main stem, there was more practice and playing as we made our way down to Dozy Stream. Most of the group decided to walk Devil’s Fang Falls, Bruce had to make sure Hannah was ok and Steel had to get into position to take the photos and did an excellent job (see below).

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Running Devil’s Fang Falls. Steel had to walk this rapid to get into position to take this photo. He would have run it if he was in his RPM.

We had a little bit of a float about while the rest of the group got back in their boats and it was off down to Seawards where we hoped to be reunited with a correctly outfitted Murray. However when we arrived at the put in for Maori Gully, there was no sign of Murray so after a short break we decided to just carry on. Despite earlier reservations and with much encouragement from the rest of us, Hannah decided to run Maori Gully for the first time.

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Bob (left) & Steel (right) play on the Magic Roundabout.

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Hannah had no problems with the Elevator as she ran Maori Gully for the first time.

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Steel drops down the Cheese Grater, which apparently provided John H a few bruises that day, when he ran using only a rubber car tube.

There was no drama, Hannah ran the Gully like a pro and I think I was the only one who even took a roll, after I rushed my exit from Grandstand Eddy and missed my line down Cheese Grater. It was a really good day out and we took our time getting down the river and really enjoyed every little bit of it. It was also good to see so many other people out on the river, either kayaking, rafting, tubing or swimming as it was such a perfect day.

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A spot of cliff jumping and a swim at the Maori Gully get out. Steel said we had to do it. Photo by Steel.

We rounded off the day by repeatedly jumping off the cliff at the get out, though we all forgot to shout “Steel’s the Man” as leapt, apparently it is an important part of the tradition. Murray was waiting at the get out, having run in his wet suit bootees to Dozy Stream and then “shuttled” Hugh’s car to the Maori Gully take out. Hugh was quite surprised to see his car driving towards him as he went to pick it up with Chris & Helen. Caught up with a number of other kayakers at the take out, including some that I hadn’t seen for a while, then back to town before Lauri noticed we were running late.


Date: 11/2/10
River:
Hurunui River, North Canterbury, New Zealand.
River Conditions:
15 cumecs at Mandamus. Water clear, cold and swift. Grade 2 (3).
Weather Conditions:
Overcast and a little cool, but still a nice day.
Number on Trip:
3 people.
Time on River:
2.45 Hours.
Comments:
After failing to pull together a trip for last Sunday, the Coast to Coast on Saturday and no prospect of paddling on Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d try for a week day paddle. Only Brian responded to my message so the two of us planned to run the Hurunui on Thursday. I tried to get a few extra people but there wasn’t much interest, fortunately Bob joined us at the last minute so we had a safer number and I had someone to rescue me if I screwed up. We took my car as my roof racks were a slightly better configuration for white water boats than Brian’s, this also meant I’d be riding the shuttle on my mountain bike instead of Brian.

We drove up to the Maori Gully get out, got changed and left the bike and dry clothes in the bushes. After that we had to decide where to put in, just doing Maori Gully seemed a little short and so we decided to put in at Dozy Stream, which still kept the shuttle afterwards fairly short. We had a look at Devil’s Fang Falls before putting in, but at 15 cumecs it was way too boney and would have been a bit messy to run. Still we did have a bit of a play around in the white water just below the rapid as a bit of a warm up before setting off down the river.

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Looking down the Hurunui from the road above the Dozy Stream put in. I ended up swimming near the rocky bluff on the right, note the almost complete lack of rapids there, oops.

Just down from the get in, I messed up catching a small eddy, hit the bluff below it and tipped over. Pushed up against the bluff, I couldn’t get my paddle into position to roll up and ended up taking a swim and looking just a little bit silly. I was soon back in my boat and then took the opportunity to practice a couple of rolls without drama, though I will require some additional practice if I want to hand roll the Blitz.

We took our time making our way down the river to Seawards, surfing where we could and trying to get Brian to practice ferry gliding, catching eddies and to lean his boat whilst doing these things. The Eddy of Doom was particularly cruisy at 15 cumecs and it was really good to be able to surf across the river from one side to the other without difficulty.

Maori Gully was pretty cruisy too, we played on the Magic Roundabout, even Brian tried some daring moves, cutting in behind the rocks until he ended up inverted and took a swim. Simon’s Hole was a shadow of it’s usual self, with the rock that forms it sticking up above the water. I ran down the left side of it but still wasn’t keen to try surfing it. The first couple of rock gardens were fine but we had more drama at The Elevator and Brian ended up standing behind the rock in the middle of the river with his boat, just like Andy on the previous trip. No need to break out the throw ropes this time though, as Bob just told Brian to jump in and swim for it and that seem to work. Not to let the rapid beat him, Brian walked back up with his boat to run it again, but this time he was ready. Similar result on the second run but this time he rolled up and actually caught the eddy behind the rock and then managed to break out and head down stream. All was going well until he ran into a rock near Bob and came out of his boat again.

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Brian successfully negotiates The Elevator, but remember to watch out for the rock at the bottom left of the photo Brian.

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After breaking out of Grandstand Eddy, Bob runs the drop.

On the next drop, both Bob and I caught the Grandstand Eddy with some difficulty due to the low flown and then made the drop without any drama. Brian just ran it straight with no problems either. The last rapid was all good too, both Bob and I surfed the bottom hole and it rocked. I got my boat vertical before flipping it, rolled up no problem, all good.

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Bob surfs the wave on the last major rapid in Maori Gully.

Then off to the get out with the lovely climb up the hill. Filled out the log book, got changed and then mounted my trusty bike for the ride back to the car. The ride was a little harder than expected due to a unexpected uphill section (I didn’t notice it in the car) and some tooth rattling corrugations on the fast down hill sections, still it was some extra exercise and I was soon back at the car. Drove back to the get out, loaded up and headed back to town with only a brief stop in Amberley for milk shakes and ice creams.


Date: 31/1/10
River:
Hurunui River, North Canterbury, New Zealand.
River Conditions:
22 cumecs at Mandamus. Water clear, cold and swift. Grade 2 (3).
Weather Conditions:
Overcast and a little cool, but still a nice day.
Number on Trip:
31 people.
Time on River:
3.5 Hours.
Comments:
Arriving at the Belfast Tavern, you could tell this was going to be a big trip, there were cars, boats and people everywhere. Boats were stacked on cars and the people piled in and it was off to the put in at South Branch. I got a ride up with Ross, who I hadn’t seen for quite awhile and it was nice to catch up. There was the obligatory stop at Devil’s Fang Falls, to check lines and instil fear. I liked (if liked is the correct word) the right hand line except for the rock “fang” at the bottom, Murray preferred the far left drop into the seething cauldron of white water line and Bob M thought he’d adopt the more sensible “get out and walk so I don’t bash myself on a rock” line.

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Kayakers inspecting Devil’s Fang Falls near Dozy Stream.

After some thought it was back in the cars and off to the put in at South Branch, we got changed and sorted ourselves into smaller groups and waited while the shuttle got run. We were soon on the river and trying to keep in our groups, however as different people had different paddling priorities the actual groupings didn’t seem to last long. A lot of people seem to paddle creek boats these days but there were still a reasonable number of people in play boats who were keen to make the most of the rapids, though nothing like it was a few years back. Still we had a good time making our way down to Dozy Stream, with my only memorable incident being bashed along one side by an under cut rock after missing a very tight eddy that formed part of a small rapid in a side channel and going down the rest of the rapid backwards.

Eventually the corner above Devil’s Fang Falls came into view and paddlers started to set up there lines according to their skills, confidence or pure recklessness. A number of paddlers opted for the far left hand channel and then got out and walked past the rapid or waited on the bank to see how the others fared. I followed Bob and Murray down and then duck into an eddy above the main rapid to check out their lines. Murray disappeared down the the left hand side and I watched the nose of his boat shoot in to the air at the bottom. Scratch that line, I thought. Bob stopped in the right hand eddy just above the rapid and then got out, as did a few others, but several paddlers did take the right hand channel without drama so I headed on down. No problems at the top and it was then straight down the chute with a brace off the rooster tail at the bottom and a quick turn in to the eddy, no worries! Once in position at the bottom I was able to take a few photos of the other paddlers on my new waterproof digital camera as they came over the drop.

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This guy was upside down and backwards at the top of the rapids and then bounced all the way down the rapid in one of the most impressive runs of the day.

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A flawless run.

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The not so successful left hand line.

The group reconsolidated as people got back into there boats or just milled about in the big pool at the Dozy Stream get in. The trip down to Seawards was pretty cruisy, catching eddies and playing where possible. At Seawards, a few people got out to shuttle the remaining vehicles and the rest carried on down Maori Gully. We had a bit of a play at the Magic Roundabout.

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Kayo and Barry play on the Magic Roundabout at the start of Maori Gully.

The first couple of rapids didn’t present much trouble but when I approached the first actual drop, The Elevator, something didn’t seem to be right. I moved up to the eddy above the drop to get a better look and to try to find out what was happening. Apparently someone had got stuck in the hole behind a rock in the centre of the river and had come out of his boat. When I got in there, the guy was already standing up behind the rock and Barry and Kayo were throwing lines to him. His boat was towed free first and then he got dragged back to shore. Incidentally it was the same guy who tried to run Devil’s Fang Falls upside down and backwards, some people really like to do things the hard way.

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Kayo and Barry rescue a boat…

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… and then the kayaker from The Elevator. Good work.

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Possibly Ross running The Elevator, featured in the previous photos.

I ran the drop and got in position to take a few more photos as the other kayakers came down the river. There was another spill and the camera was quickly put away as the kayaker and boat parted company. The kayaker was swiftly rescued but we had problems getting the boat to shore and the next drop was rapidly approaching. After warning the other kayakers downstream of the approaching kayakerless boat, I attempted to pop into Grandstand Eddy but left it a little late and dropped down the nasty, narrow chute on the hard left. I managed to catch up with the kayak and a group of us managed to get it to the bank to be reunited with its careless owner.

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Kayo runs the drop whilst Barry waits in Grandstand Eddy.

I was looking forward to the last major rapid of Maori Gully, as the last couple of times I’ve run it down the left hand side and thus missed out on getting into the eddy on the right that allows you to play on the river wide wave/hole at the bottom of the rapid. Today I got it right, punched through one of the early holes and got myself it to the right hand eddy at the bottom. I broke out and surfed across the river, it was sweet. Once I hit the far bank, I turned back and proceeded to surf the large hole there, it was going great until I got sideways and flipped. I couldn’t seem to get my roll to work and I seemed to be hitting rocks or something. Running out of breath, I pulled the deck, there was another kayaker near by, but as I was near the shore and at the bottom of the rapid, I just swam to the bank clutching my paddle and towing my kayak. As I stood on the bank emptying the water out of my kayak and catching my breath, the other kayaker came over and apologised for making me swim, apparently she came through the hole while I was upside down and her boat got caught up on mine. I’d never have know if she hadn’t told me, I just assumed it was my crappy roll that was to blame. I was pretty happy anyway as it was an awesome surf and well worth the swim.

The Pop Spot was probably too low to really work nicely and I kept hitting the bottom with my kayaks nose, so not quite as much fun as usual. I was the last off the river and up the hill but we managed to get home around 5pm so Lauri was happy and I was happy having had a great day out in my kayak.


Date: 16/1/10
River:
Dam near Water Treatment Reservoir, Moranbah, Queensland, Australia.
River Conditions:
Water clear & flat.
Weather Conditions:
Sunny & warm.
Number on Trip:
1 person.
Time on River:
Approximately 1 hour.
Comments:
I discovered this smallish lake whilst on a mountain bike ride. It is near the Moranbah water supply reservoir (from which it is fed) and it possibly provides a lot of the water in Grosvenor Creek. I’d been told about the dam by some kids a while back but hadn’t spotted it from either Google Earth or from near the road. This dam is quite picturesque, surrounded by tall reeds and overlooked by a bit of a rocky bluff (the wrecked cars that have been pushed off the bluff don’t add to the otherwise lovely scene). I had a nice little paddle about but it isn’t exactly the place to practice rolling, just a little too much algae/scum floating on the surface in a few places. Still it was nice to watch the sun set from the water and then head off to the Mac Camp for dinner.


Date: 11/1/10, 20/1/10, & 22/1/10
River:
Grosvenor Creek, Near Moranbah, Queensland, Australia.
River Conditions:
Water clear & flat.
Weather Conditions:
Sunny & warm.
Number on Trip:
1 person.
Time on River:
Approximately 1 hour each outing.
Comments:
More after work paddling around on Grosvenor Creek trying to imagine gnarly rapids or at least a current. On one trip I did get out of my boat and across the log that normally prevents me paddling further upstream. Not much of note as the river gets shallower before petering out about 500m past the log.