25 January 2011

Kayak rolling with Aleut paddles

Following the recent flood of the Brisbane River, parts of  Moreton Bay are now very brown laden with silt and debris.
Sea kayak rolling is currently not that inviting with reports of some paddlers suffering from mild discomfort to ears and eyes after immersion.
At the moment, the water in the southern part of the bay is better than the west and north but they are still not as clear as they used to be.

18 January 2011

Too much water

My city experienced a disaster that some residents thought could not happen again.
In 1974 the city of Brisbane flooded and a dam was built to prevent a similar disaster to occur again. Unfortunately the dam was designed to hold back water from one particular area, not the whole basin of the Brisbane River. On Wednesday 13JAN2011 the level of the river rose to just about the peak of 1974 bringing disaster to areas close to the banks.
flood 2011_6

flood 2011_5

A usually slow flowing river (tidally affected) was suddenly gushing like a mountain torrent.
Brown with silt the strong current was suddenly carrying debris from towns and properties upstream. I have seen an incredible amount of belongings just wiz past me while helping my friends save their home on the banks of the river. Trees, boats, pontoons with boats and barbeques attached, beach balls, kid's toys.
While most of the floating debris ended up in the bay where I often paddle, the silt deposited along the way.
In the following couple of days the water retreated and the mud is now exposed.
muddy walk_c

mud city_c

Coating everything from a light film to feet deep this sticky greasy mess now stinks.
The waters are contaminated with god knows what and paddling anywhere near this disaster area would be out of question.
The shores of the bay are now filthy with floating refuse. Some larger items have been salvaged by crews before they could reach the bay while others have made ground on surrounding beaches. Some will be lost forever.
As much as the disaster impacts humans, the marine life is impacted more so. A clear line between flood waters and salty one can be seen in Moreton Bay. It might take some time before the local waters are once again clean enough to safely kayak in the Moreton Bay.

10 January 2011

Most eventful moment of 2010

There was a question on the local kayaking forum: Best Moments of 2010?
Gosh, there were so many great paddling moments in 2010.
There were some awsome surfing fun with my partner and other kayaking buddies.
reverse surfing_c
Some great rolling sessions with the selfless ever inspiring brilliant coach Greg Schwarz.
Numerous great kayak sailing and camping outings too.
And then there was the two week self supported remote paddling along the East Australia Coast: what a trip.
ex Cap_31
In reflection I have to say that there have been some great moments for the advancements of my skills and enrichment of my paddling life. More than any other year.
I have concluded that the reason for such an eventful year is the ability to finally actually do what I really want: paddle free. I now realize that the previous year I spent too much time in the constraints of paddling within an environment that was becoming toxic.
The really most memorable moment of 2010 was getting expelled by the Queensland Sea Kayak Club.

Following my whistle blowing, trying to expose a sexual harassment case by an instructor/member of the Club, I had a campaign launched against me, by his friends serving on the committee, to expel me .
At the time I viewed their action as autocratic and despotic.
They managed to dismiss me on unfounded grounds and manipulated* the supposedly democratic vote of dismissal by members of the Club In the end it was actually a relief, but I didn't know it at the time. I was suddenly free from the burden of having to always paddle in conditions that were not advancing my skills, always held back by red tape.

For those men who, sooner or later, are lucky enough to break away from the pack, the most intoxicating moment comes when they cease being bodies in other men's command and find that they control their own time, when they learn their own voice and authority.
- Theodore H. White
Since then my surfing has improved out of sight and so has my rolling.
I now paddle with trusted friends and pass on my knowledge to people that are actively seeking to improve their skills and are willing to share, free of charge.

* procedure of dismassal has been voice recorder and is availiable to the public for review. Please contact me if you wish to listen to the recordings.