Mark decided to post the paddle as setting out from Sandgate might bring a chance to catch up with old friends. We were not disappointed when Carol and Nev fronted up.
We started out with nine. A light NW shaped the sails and had planes coming in to land over the Bay so we bypassed Kedron Brook and headed straight for Jubilee Creek. The timing couldn’t have been better. Nothing quite like having morning tea whilst plane spotting up close and personal. To see a C17 come on down would feel like an ant about to be tractored.
As we were heading off, Graham expressed an interest in heading up Jubilee Creek. Change of plan. Plan what plan? No surprise to Ian. We about faced and in the process lost the two locals. Seven headed up Jubilee Creek on the making tide. Due to peak at a mere 1.8m at 12:30 this left a fair amount of mud on display. Nevertheless, this did not entirely detract from the beauty of the magnificent mangrove arbour spanning the flood channel that lies parallel to the runway. We were not the only ones there either. This area does not get much of a tidal flush out so I was unimpressed to see a commercially registered boat lobbing crab pots into the quagmire. Want some PFAS with your shellfish ?
The end of the legally navigable channel is demarcated by a fence which is looking a lot worse for wear. Turning in proximity to it can be difficult as a rudder can neatly slot between the vertical rails. For a while there I thought Jack was about to have a nasty variation of a muddy disaster as he worked his boat backwards and forwards progressively freeing his long rudder projection from the tricky jam. There was not enough water to explore the side arms of the channel including one which disappears under a foot bridge which appears to be a part of a long neglected walking path.
This neck of the woods is Graham’s stomping ground from years ago so he was keen to take a look up Jackson Creek. Michelle and Ross peeled off to head back to Sandgate as they had time on the road before another long week ahead for Michelle. Jack and I glided into the mouth of the Creek and received rudely barked directions from a charming fisherman chugging on a fag drooping out of the corner of his mouth. Not all chose to follow his directions.
Further up two young lads were horsing around in a tinny. A string of expletives reverberated up the creek as one was subjected to an uncomfortable ride on a semi-submerged thing that was being dragged behind the underpowered boat. Further up we came across around a dozen dead fish floating in the creek. They looked like medium sized bream. The reason for their demise was not clear and did not portend well for the general condition of the area.
A Virgin flight suddenly roared out of the mangroves. It was quite startling not only for its sudden unheralded appearance stage right, but the total contrast it made to what had been a quiet moment. We went up to the first set of buoys and waited for more action but from the sound it was clear that the planes were now taking off on the other runway. Heading back on the falling tide Graham cautioned us against taking the ‘short cut’ to Kedron Brook as it there would not be enough water.
The decision was made to make for Nudgee Beach for lunch. This is a place we have driven and ridden too but never arrived by kayak. The timing was perfect for a quick bite before the plug was pulled by the tide. Deciding where to land had the remaining seven kayaks pointing at random, which with all the sails up added another dimension that had us transforming into a slow moving collision. Much laughter as indecision formed up the cacophony of yellow kayaks yet again before finally deciding on where to land. It turns out that there is a boat ramp 300m further north which would had placed us closer to a large picnic shelter and just across the carpark from the toilet block. Next time.
With the tide allowing us to be closer to shore we checked out the new infrastructure that extends the runway lighting out into the Bay. Nearby was the remnants of what would have been a substantial jetty. The structure was occupied by an unmarked simple white cross and a pair of pied oyster catchers.
We had a light sail back to Sandgate on a falling tide. I almost got myself caught out and having to walk. Determined to avoid this very public indignity, I dug in and rode the bow wave across the shallows. Waiting onshore were Paddlers 1 & 2 – they had seen the bright fluoro orange from a long way off and come back down to greet us.
What had the potential to be an ordinary paddle evolved into a most convivial day out and when the tide and wind suits we will be back for more.