The Scandinavians have a saying: “There is no bad weather, only bad clothes“. Today was a very Scandinavian day.
We arrived at Elanda Point, on the shore of Lake Cootharaba, in a steady stream of rain.
Rather than submit ourselves immediately to the slings and arrows of outrageous weather, we huddled under a small shelter, boiled some water, and had a cup of coffee.
Perhaps the sky would clear while we procrastinated.
Unfortunately, the rain didn’t go away. We decided it was still reasonably safe to paddle, and comforted ourselves with the thought that if things turned really bad we could turn around and cut the trip short.
At the canoe launch point, half a dozen cars waited in muddy puddles to unload their boats.
Kayakers and mountain bikers are optimists.
Splash! We set off across the lake into the rain.
I’ve done this trip before. Basically, you head towards the northern shore of the lake where it meets the mouth of the upper Noosa River.
We couldn’t see any shoreline – just grey mist. But as they say in showbiz, “Fake it till you make it”. We pointed our kayaks in a north-easterly direction, pretended there was a river mouth there somewhere, and paddled away.
It worked! First, a river mouth appeared from the bleak greyness, then a strange-looking building.
Other kayakers had done the same trip. It felt good to know we weren’t the only crazy optimists.
We tied up at the education centre for a short break, and to enjoy some relief from wind and rain.
After emptying excess water from the boats, and wringing out wet gloves, it was time to move on to quieter waters.
The rain started falling more heavily. Big drops splashed on the surface of the water leaving myriads of small bubbles.
But the thick forest on the river bank blocked the wind. This was much nicer.
Kin Kin Creek meets the Noosa River just past the education centre. At the junction, we decided to turn left and head up Kin Kin Creek. None of us had paddled this way before and we thought it would be fun to have a look.
We had the river to ourselves. I was wet from the rain, but my jacket and cycling jersey kept me warm. It was effortless to paddle through the still water and calm air.
An unusual noose-shaped vine swung menacingly from an overhanging branch. I wondered how it managed to grow like that, and what it was. A “strangler vine” perhaps 🙂
Russel and Ron reminded me that we’d had a tailwind when we paddled over the lake. That meant we’d have a headwind on the way back. Considering our late start, we thought it would be wise to turn around earlier than planned and start our return journey.
Ironically, after we returned to Kinaba Education Centre, the sun came out.
We tried to soak up a few feeble rays before starting the final leg of our trip.
It’s hard work paddling into a fresh breeze. The wind chopped up the waves, which broke over the bows of our boats.
My kayak seemed to handle the waves ok if I approached them on an angle. Russel and Ron’s boats seemed happier to approach the waves head-on.
We followed slightly different courses to suit our kayaks, then re-grouped as we rounded a headland.
The far shore which had been obscured by rain and mist earlier in the day was now clearly visible.
But we were close to home, and could smell lunch. Those shores would have to wait for another day.
Slowly we drifted through the grass back to the beach.
Max elevation: 40 m
Min elevation: -10 m
Total climbing: 866 m
Total descent: -825 m
Average speed: 5.49 km/h
Total time: 03:29:01
We had planned to kayak about 20 kilometres but decided to play it safe and cut our trip short to suit the weather.
In total, we travelled about 12.5 kilometres in three and a half hours including breaks.
I’ll rate this trip 6.5 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter
The wet weather made the day more difficult than usual, but it’s quite normal to have brisk south-easterly winds at Lake Cootharaba, which tend to get stronger as the day progresses.
The final few kilometres back across the lake were the most challenging.
I wore a North Face “Dryzzle” Goretex shell jacket over my long-sleeved Ground-Effect “Berglar” merino jersey, lycra cycling shorts and cycling gloves. I got wet but stayed warm.
If we ever try this again I think I’d avoid the lake, and start the trip at Harry’s Hut further up the Noosa River. The trip across the lake is challenging, but not as scenic or enjoyable as the quieter waters of the Noosa River and Kin Kin Creek.
Thanks, Russel and Ron for engaging my whim and looking after me on this crazy adventure in the rain!