Penguin Island Picnic Day 2008
On the 28th February 24 kayakers met on the beach at Shoalwater Bay for a paddle around the islands. On arrival we were privileged to have a group of Dolphins feeding only 20 metres from shore right in the kayak launching area. They were fishing for cobbler in the seagrass beds and when they found one it would be brought to the surface and tossed in the air several times to stun it before it was swallowed down. As I had brought my snorkling gear (in anticipation of swimming with the Sealions) I was quick to get in the water with them. They were absolutely unconcerned by my presence and the largest one let me get within inches of his face while he was nose down rustling through the seagrass fishing. He even turned and showed me his catch at one stage. I was able to swim over, under and along side them for around half an hour which was an unforgettable experience.
After I was dragged kicking and screaming from the water by Mavis we headed off, bound for Seal Island in search of the Sealions. The all male colony spend most of their time lounging on the beach but there were several in the water and being inquisitive animals they like to swim around and under the kayaks, occasionally leaping out of the water. There is also plenty of bird life to see both in the air and nesting on the islands.
Some of the more adventurous members then headed out to the outer reef where Bob gave a demonstration of remounting his kayak. They paddled around the outside of Penguin Island before re-joining the rest of the group who had paddled directly from Seal Island. Morning tea was enjoyed on the grassed area under the trees before we headed back across the bay to the beach.
Inspired by Mick's demonstration of kayak towing (ably assisted by Glenda who volunteered to be the towee) I gave a short demonstration of beach vehicle recovery and towing to inspire confidence in the Nissan drivers present who had never had their vehicles off the bitumen.
Shoalwater Bay when conditions are good is my favourite paddling location in our area and I am already looking forward to our next visit there.
Written by Doug Burvill. Photos by Bill Roberts & Doug Burvill.