Circumnavigation of Maria Island

A night paddle to Maria Island

March 1992 was the time for yet another trip to Maria Island, on Tasmania's east coast. We had decided to do another night paddle to test our navigation and group safety skills. after a three hour drive after work on Friday night we met at Rheban Beach, just south of Orford.

Packing in the dark

Ian Tafts was one of our newer paddlers on this trip. Packing in the dark was interesting, fortunately the weather was calm and clear and we had no difficulty getting ready for the 10km crossing to Maria Island.

Carrying the kayaks down

The night trip was largely uneventful except for Laurie nearly running into something on the crossing. We used a variety of lights from Lauries"flashers" to cyclume sticks attached to hats and kayaks. This crossing is made easier because of the Lachlan Island navigation light.

Sunrise, Encampment Cove, Maria Island

We bunked down in a National Parks hut at Encampment Bay for the night although some members of the club prefered their own tents. Next morning was a beauty, still, clear and mirror smooth seas, just right for getting into the many sea caves around the island.

Laurie and Ian

Laurie was up early as usual. He and Ian gazed out at the couple of yachts that had anchored in the bay. This area is a favourite for the boating fraternity, good fishing, safe anchorages and spectacular scenery.

Toby and the hut

On the other hand Toby got up later and enjoyed a leisurely "cuppa". Toby is a plumber by trade and one of the more colourful members of our club. He is working on a mysterious invention known as a "permanently pulsating tube". He is also known to salvage any items remotely connected with Landriver 4WD vehicles.

Morning packing

Eventually it was time to repack all our gear. Mick found out that the resident possums had a penchant for rubber goods. There were bite marks on his thongs. It was also interesting seeing what had been put into the kayaks during the previous night.

Ians' cooking gear

We now understood why Ian had asked to put some of his gear in Lauries' kayak. A two burner gas stove was not usually seen on out trips. Laurie of course didn't mind as he rarely takes anything besides a tent fly, sleeping bag, repair kit, peanut butter, Sao biscuits and chocolate.

Mick and Toby comparing paddles

We enjoyed a leisurely chat and caught up on the latest news as we readied for the trip around the southern part of the island. Mick. Laurie and Toby discussed the merits of various paddle designs versus cost. Laurie maintained his $10, homemade eskimo style paddle beat the expensive hi tech gear.

Ian paddling

We cruised across Shoal Bay heading for Cape Peron, named after the French Commander who explored this coastline in the 1800's. Across Mercury Passage you could see Hellfire Bluff on the Tasmanian mainland.

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