Saturday 6 September 2014

Down wind paddling in Moreton Bay

Moreton Bay is a shallow body of water for the most part, which creates a great environment for down wind paddling with wind against tide conditions.  Our usual down wind paddle is in the southern part of the bay, where you can get a good meter or so of swell pushed along by a strong southerly.

With a 25 knot southerly blow predicted, spring tides and two meters of swell in the bay, we opted to do a down wind paddle at the top end of the bay, taking off from where we usually finish our down winders at Oyster Point and heading out wide to come in at the Redcliffe Peninsular.

Two meters of swell running in the bay can get a bit scary with wind against tide conditions!  The top end of the bay has a long fetch with 25 knots of wind to whip up some some large swell with great holes to drop into.  As the waves are close together, you drop into a hole and bury your kayak bow into the wave in front as the wind drives you through it into the next hole.  Not much control when you are travelling at this speed - I even had my sail going neutral on some of these 100+ meter runs.

Coming into Redcliffe was a bit daunting with the waves being stood up higher over the rock reef so you were free falling into some deep holes as you came over the top of the wave in front.  Discretion was the better part of valour as on a few of them I hip flicked the kayak to run along the wall rather than the endo option with sail deployed!

The only negative thing about a down wind paddle is the car shuffle.  To minimise the traffic hassles, we opted to put in at Oyster Point. Unfortunately you have to beat your way into the wind to follow the channel out to deeper water, or skirt across some very shallow banks.  We regrettably took the shallow bank option with not enough water so we ended up walking the kayaks and playing with a few shovel-nose rays.

I ended up standing on a razor clam and slicing my foot open.  I didn't realise what I had done until we were underway and I was complaining about my foot sticking to the foot pegs.  Anyhow, I will be hobbling around for a few days whilst that heals and I avoid the doctors and another set of stitches.

Taking off from Wellington Point or even Manly Boat harbour at low tide would give you a better angle to head out towards St Helena and then Mud Island, but then you face more traffic hassles and a longer car shuffle.

I didn't have my Garmin with me, but I believe the paddle was around 28kms and including walking the kayaks we were on the water around 2:00pm and off a bit before 5:00pm.

We didn't see much boat traffic on the bay apart from one container ship leaving the Port of Brisbane. We surprised a few large sea turtles that were on the surface but the sea birds and rest of the wild life had made themselves scarce as they took cover from the blow.

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