Week back in Sydney

We’d the opportunity to spend a week in Sydney. Work during the day, catch ups with friends over meals in the evening. And on the weekends, we did what we loved best in Sydney – exploring the outdoors.

Our original plan to kayak the first Sunday we were back was scuttled due to gusty winds of up to 45km/h. And our attempt to go again the following Saturday was stymied by the strong winds again, as was the SUP ball game our friend had planned for us in Manly.

Oh well. But Lisa had another idea up her sleeve happily for Saturday – hiking in Lane Cove National Park. It’s a beautiful little area of land, so serene and quiet amongst the trees, and so close to downtown! We spent an enjoyable 4 hours just meandering around, stopping for a warm cuppa tea (ginseng gin tea anyone!?).

The winds finally did die down Sunday morning though, before our 3pm flight. Garry, Jeff, and I managed to squeeze in a two hour paddle from Spit Bridge to Bantry Bay and back, one of my favorite training routes back when I was training for the Massive Murray Paddle. Good times.

Spied a seal rubbing itself against a moored boat

Back on the Sydney Harbour

My new job is with a company headquartered in Sydney, so I had the good fortune to return for a visit 3 months after leaving. πŸ™‚

One of the first things I did was to schedule in time on the water. On the weekends, I went out paddling on the inner harbour, lousy spring weather be damned. And one morning before work, Laura, who had just returned to Sydney from a month back in Scotland, kindly arranged for a small crew of friends to go for a sunrise paddle, for old time’s sake.

Oh hello, glassy water.

Another glorious, peaceful morning on the water. Everytime Laura posts pictures like these on Facebook / Instagram, she gets bombarded with naysayers, claiming that we had to have photoshopped the pictures because no way Sydney Harbour is so flat and calm. Haha, that’s only cos they’re too clueless to enjoy the early dawn before the ferryboats stir up the water. πŸ˜‰

Aw Sydney, I’m missing you already.

Fall weekend in Kangaroo Valley

We couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather this weekend when the group of 7 of us tripped down to Kangaroo Valley for a spot of kayaking and camping. The skies were clear, the air crisp and cool, and there was not a hint of breeze. A complete opposite of our January experience really.

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As we sluiced our way down the river, we gawked at wombats, eagles, and kangaroos, and reveled in the delightful chirping of birds. The water was a perfect mirror of the stringybarks along the riverbank.

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Fall is definitely here though. By 430pm, the sun had already dipped below the line of trees up Yarrunga Creek. But we were already comfortably set up in our sheltered campsite, and the beginnings of a merry campfire going.

 

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In the morning, well, pre-dawn really, we clambered out of our toasty sleeping bags and eased our way into the water. The fog was thick, enveloping, mysterious. The perfect ambience for our quiet sojourn up dead tree gorge. As the sun rose and warmed up the air, the fog slowly dissipated, leaving behind a steamy film on the water surface.

 

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Another amazing weekend in the books. πŸ™‚

 

Fall has arrived

After what has seemed like an interminable but welcome summer, fall has arrived in Sydney. This week, the air has taken on a noticeable chill in the mornings when I head down to Lavender Bay to push off for our daily sunrise paddles.

This year has flown by.

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Easter Weekend on the Water

I take it as a compliment when people ask me what camera I use for my photos. After all, if they didn’t like them, they wouldn’t have bothered right? Still, there’s more to picture taking than a state of the art camera. And this past week, I’ve had the opportunity to practice what I preach.

I’d dropped my DSLR on the Coastal Walk the weekend before – boo – and while my camera’s at the shop, both Laura and Lisa kindly lent me their mirrorless cameras to use. They’re great nifty cameras, don’t get me wrong, and the photos thankfully have turned out such that I can’t tell at a glance which were taken with what cameras. Nonetheless, I miss my trusty camera, which I’m so used to, snapping pictures seem like a breeze.

Anyway, it was a lovely long Easter break spent on the water. Sunrise paddles every morning, and I managed 3 longer paddles during the day as well. A 31 km paddle on Friday, a 10 km paddle Sunday, and a 24 km paddle Monday. πŸ˜€

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I was furtively trying to signal to Laura to cut her briefing short so we could launch and catch most of that colour

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Lovely start to Easter Monday

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Love the golden-pink light

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Always fun to celebrate a birthday on the water

Kayaking and Camping Weekend in Myall Lakes

So, a bunch of girl friends and I have decided to tackle the Murray River, beginning with a 404 km paddle over 5 days this November. We met through kayaking, and are all in love with kayaking, but to be sure, none of us have paddled remotely close to this length before.

No time like the present to kick of training! This weekend, we drove up to Myall Lakes to get in our miles.

Awesome times. In all, we got in 50 km of paddling, in all sorts of water conditions. The paddling was best in the pre-dawn hours, when the air was calm and the water still as glass. We pushed off under the full moon light, and glided along, the only sounds were the slaps of our paddles on the water. In the late afternoon, the winds picked up, and we had to battle strong headwinds and waves.

And on Saturday night, Dani surprised us all with Chinese hot pot that she lugged all the way from Sydney! Complete with thin cuts of lamb, pork, pork and mushroom balls, lotus roots, cabbage and enoki mushrooms. Oh my word. We were thoroughly spoilt.

Sunset Paddle

Full moon over Myall Lakes

Paddling by the light of the moon

Best Sunrise of 2018 to Date on the Sydney Harbor

We’ve not been able to go out on the water the past few days, no thanks to gusty winds of up to 45 km/h. While it was luxurious to be able to sleep in, it felt really sweet to be back out on the water this morning.

And what a sunrise to be greeted with too. We had high wispy clouds, so long before the sun even peeped out from the horizon, the sky was awash in splashes of indigo and pink. The waters were flat, and the air crisp.

My favorite time of day; my favorite kind of weather, of summer. Another morning to be grateful to be here.

Catching the Sydney to Hobart Race on the Water

We checked off one of our bucket list items this past weekend, by catching the annual Rolex Sydney to Hobart race. And what better way to do so then on the water? We went out on a 40-foot yacht with East Sail – SO MUCH FUN.

It was really exhilarating to catch the action right up close. There were hundreds of other vessels out on the water, and we were all jockeying for positionΒ  to catch the front runners stream out of the harbor. We’d never seen the water so churned up from the mad dash towards the Gap.

Wild Oats XI – hit with a 1 hour penalty for a dangerous tack at the start of the race

LDV – First to head out of Sydney Harbor, and first to cross the line in Hobart

Everyone’s racing to keep up with the front runners as they sail out of the harbor

Kayakers out to watch the action

Climate Action Now (Skipper: Lisa Blair)

After the race, we had the chance to go under sail ourselves around the harbor front. πŸ˜€ Good times.

December 8 Sunrise Paddle

If the wind conditions aren’t insane, chances are, we are out on the water at sunrise, pretty much rain or shine.

This morning’s forecast was supposed to be clear skies, but we know how unreliable the forecast is. As it was, I could see the thick blanket of cloud float eastwards, over the top of the Opera House even as I drove down into Lavender Bay.

By the time I got to our launch point, the clouds were in place, and beginning to take on a pinkish hue. While Laura stayed behind with the rest of the guests, I sped off in front, hoping to grab some photos in case the color faded quickly. We were lucky though, and were treated to a long and gorgeously vibrant sunrise.

Happy summer. Gosh. Can’t believe we’re almost turning the page on 2017 already!

Rainy Day Forecast = Chance for Magic

We got back to Sydney late Sunday night from a fun wedding weekend in Melbourne. A bit too much indulging, which is tiring business! So a potential sleep-in thanks to the lousy weather forecast didn’t seem like a bad idea. But the weather has been playing up on us recently, so we decided to take a chance.

So glad we did. The color – while really brief, was spectacular.

As you can see, by the time the sun rose, all color had seeped out of the sky. Thank goodness for our lovely rainbow collection of kayaks though!