In three decades of being lucky enough to visit Australia pretty regularly I have spent quite a lot of time in and around Sydney Harbour. I have swam in it, driven over it, been ferried across it, taken water taxis from one side of it to the other, walked around it, walked over it, SCUBA dived in it, climbed over bridges that span it, flown over it and helped somebody forward roll over it (that is worth checking out!). However, I have never had a chance to kayak in it….until now.
My cousin Kevin has something of a reputation for organising the coolest surprises. The last time I was here he arranged for me and my partner in crime Ed Gregory (of the bridges of Sydney Harbour forward rolling fame), to fly in a private plane over the city so when, just before I left the UK to come out here, I received a message to be ready at 6am the morning after I arrived, I got excited…and was not disappointed.
Kevin works for a very generous man called Gerry who had kindly offered to let us use his back garden and private access to the Harbour to go kayaking. Gerry lives in a beautiful part of the Harbour called Lavender Bay. His back yard is directly opposite Luna Park and the Harbour Bridge with a view of the Opera House in the background….not too shabby.
We were out on the water by about 7am. At this time of the morning the water is like glass. There is very little traffic out there; it was a Sunday morning so the other than a few small fishing boats and other fellow kayakers, we had it all to ourselves.
Propelling yourself underneath the Harbour Bridge is quite a unique experience and offers a views that I don’t often get to enjoy. We left Lavender Bay and headed out past Circular Quay and Fort Denison and rounded Kirribilli, where the Governor of New South Wales and Prime Minister of Australia live. They called to us from the shore to come in for a cuppa but Kevin and I were having too much fun.
I was lucky enough to go out on 2 separate occasions. The second time we headed all the way to Chowder Bay. We paddled up onto the beach, left the kayaks there and grabbed a coffee at the small coffee shop
set in to the hill over looking the beautiful bay before heading back.
The thing about the Harbour is that the earlier it is, the quieter it is. We discovered this when we decided to head back. After a sneak round the corner to take a look at Manly (there was no way I was going to Kayak all the way there and back!) we headed for Lavender Bay. By now the wind had got up a bit and the traffic seemed to have increased exponentially. I can assure you that the Manly Ferry looks a lot bigger when it is coming straight for you than when you are on it!
By the time we made it back past Luna Park and into Lavender Bay the wind, which had caused the waves, and, therefore the difficulty in paddling, to increase, became less of a problem as we were much more sheltered. We were able to make our way past the roller coasters in Luna Park and back up to the jetty before firing up the BBQ and taking a dip in the pool.