How, what, when, and who? I’m sea kayaking across Bass Strait next month with three other punters. We’ll push off from Port Welshpool in South Gippsland on March 19th, heading for Tassie via The Prom, Hogan, Deal, and Flinders islands. Our last hop will cross the swift currents of Banks Strait, landing in Musselroe Bay (NE corner of the apple) in early April. A garden route of sorts. I’ll be taking my favourite undies (redish), a bucket of couscous, a jerry can of zink and enough liquorice to survive until 2018. The lads, Matt; pro ski patroller, Dan; a funny man who instructs outdoor types and Tim, a beekeeper stuck in an educators body, will cross with me. We’re all a little excited about rubbing ointment on each others chafe, carb loading for weeks and paddling for three weeks with the sun on our backs. I like the idea of sharing an expedition with great company. After all, it’s too precious a time frame- the expedition block, to spend with dirt bags or inflated egos. Try as I might to get along the ladies, they all declined. My personal hygiene may have preceded me?
It’s 5 weeks until departure and my first real crack at some distance in the Mirage 582. Matt joins me for the training paddle, having zoomed down from Falls Creek the night before at 112km an hour. He and the Hume are lovers of sorts. Funny without meaning to be, Matt’s frank and honest storytelling is accidental whit that makes for great company. We push out at dawn through the champagne boats of Sandringham Yacht club and point our bows towards the unseen Point Cook. A rough bearing of 280 degrees has us glassing through a riffle of wind. Matt tells me about his new ‘Dadness’ with 6-month old Henry. Comparing his parenting to others, trials of food, sleep cycles and milk, I smirk away under my assassins/super-doper-sun smart headgear. Kids doing whacky things as told by their strait Dad is funny.
The new bullets beneath us are ripping along, averaging about 7.5km an hour with a steady, easy cadence. My legs, meanwhile, are slowly dividing themselves from my torso. Starved of blood, the bastards are falling asleep. I shift around to encourage circulation with no great change. I’m painfully reminded of falling over in a hardware store once when, amazingly at the same time, a pimply faced kid dropped a bucket of nails. My legs got punctured to buggery. Of course this didn’t happen, but if it did, I imagine it to be something similar to the war scene below deck. I was quickly forgetting the lovely horizon and perfect conditions. Melbourne, building up a peak hour hum on our starboard side was like a scene out of Batman. Yet here I was, about to be pointed at by a retiree on the Spirit of Tassie, completely engulfed in one of the great frustrations of a new sea kayak; utter lack of bum fitness. At first, during demo day, the seat felt as if I’d sat in clay and my moulded butt pad had been fired into a customised half peach- ready to take on Zues himself. It is, by all accounts, a beautifully designed and functional seat. But to my untamed Butt it’s an airport seat designed by a skinny architect from Keilor who thinks he’s Danish.
So, on deciding that my bum fitness needs improving, I put to trial 1) a piece of foam the shape of a box of chocolates…no good. 2) A roof rack tube I found on the side of the road…useless. 3) Both the box of chocolate foam and the roadside rubbish….Beau, you’re an idiot. 4) Two squeegees rammed up so hard under my gluten free glutes that I feel like I’m rolling about on two tennis balls…interesting for a while, and not unlike my Dad who used to twist or hurt something opposite to my ailment to make me stop thinking about my ailment…Beau, you’re still an idiot (and not Gluten free, I just liked the idea of gluten free glutes).
More to come on bum fitness next week; a problem, my dear friends that needs to be fixed. P.S. I’ll really try for solutions this time, and not rely on softish items found at arms length to my wet-box…