The southerly had kicked up some swell, the wind was still blowing but forecast to decrease after midday. Stephan and I agreed to do a short one-way paddle with an easy car shuffle. We launched from La Perouse and were smart enough to test equipment within the bay. He had a new sail attached to a kayak he’d never sailed before, and I stuffed around the initial sail deployment. That done, and my nerves settled somewhat, we headed out of Botany Bay to see what the sea offered.
We knew there were waves up to 5 metres waiting out there. The ebbing tide took us quickly out and the incoming sets opened our eyes wide. We stayed well clear of all the edges, giving Cape Banks a wide berth. Turning north, Stephan suggested we unfurl our sails. After an initial reluctance, I told myself to get a grip and just do it. The winds were still over 15 knots and there were white caps catching the sunlight all around us.
Once underway I sailed, letting out a few laughs as I moved higher and lower amongst the sets, turning round to see swells the size of houses moving towards me, and Stephan looking a long way down. A penguin called out in greeting and I cheered back. Perhaps seeing the headland where we would be turing back in helped me, but after I while I realised my mind had shifted to things other than the water, the waves, the wind – was I relaxing out here? Yes! What a hoot!
Refocussing on the conditions, I caught a few rides, watched the kayak’s bow get buried a few times and blasted along. Entering Long Bay the swells stood up some more, eye-widening seas made more irregular by the rebound coming from both northern and southern headlands. Turning in, we adjusted our sails to the new angles and carried on right to the beach. A quick victory roll and we landed to hugs and smiles of accomplishment and delight.