South Sydney Head – Thunderstorms et al.
I had the pleasure of heading out with 9 other paddlers, some locals from Sydney (the New South Wales Sea Kayak Club) and a few from Queensland, out from Watsons Bay…around South Sydney Head and along the cliffs towards Diamond Bay. There was a good collection of paddlers and I felt a bit nervous as most of them were in Tide Race Pace 17’s and there were a few Rockpool Taryns in the mix as well, so I felt like I might get a run for my money!
We set out and around the heads and as we turned right and headed south in moderately bumpy seas and a light South East wind, the rain began in the most satisfying of ways. It wasn’t a slight mist…no it was a proper downpour and as I paddled on I was hootin’ and hollerin’ from the sheer joy of paddling in such heavy rain in a warm climate, on a warm ocean!!!
I should have known that there might be something more to accompany that rain. As we turned around at Diamond Bay to start our return trip along the vertical cliffs, we heard the loud BANG of thunder ahead of us and as we sat in the pouring rain having a quick snack, more lightning and thunder. I’m really quite comfortable in big sea conditions, weather and wind…but lightning is one of those things that causes my stomach to rise into my throat and my anxiety levels to increase. So i put on my best “it’s gonna be all right” face and we began the paddle home as a tight group. With the heavy rain and sloppy seas it was challenging to see all other 9 paddlers so staying together became imperative.
The electric storm acted as a great motivator to paddle hard and fast as we surfed the waves with the wind behind us back towards the mouth of Sydney Harbour. The lightening storm passed in front of us and continued on to our right as we headed north and by the time we made it back to South Head the rain had subsided and the clouds lifted.
It was certainly a great paddle in the wild waters of the Tasman Sea. Big thanks to Rob Mercer from Expedition Kayaks for lending me a boat and getting me out there! I see there are so many amazing possibilities around this beautiful coastline!