10-12 Feb 2006

A happy crowd of Swan Canoeists gathered at the Uniting Church camping grounds near Busselton for another great weekend.

Our accommodation was comfortable little hutch like bunks.  Upon arrival it was a matter of checking out each little room and taking your key.  Even though they were all identical you felt impelled to check out each one before taking possession.

SaturdayÕs paddle was led by Colin Priest our trip leader for the weekend and Gisela.  Two groups put in near old Dunsborough after a quick car shuffle to Meelup Bay.  We had a slight easterly behind us as we paddled out in beautiful calm conditions towards Meelup Bay.  The ocean was beautiful and the scenery past Dunsborough made an interesting paddle with much bird life around the beautiful rock formations.

We stopped at Meelup Bay for morning tea and then paddled on towards Cape Naturaliste, passing Eagle Bay and rafting up occasionally to enjoy the stunning scenery.  DonÕt miss this paddle next year, Geographe Bay is such a beautiful place to paddle and the area from Meelup Bay to Bunker simply stunning.

Around Meelup Bay a few of us noticed a couple of black objects protruding from the surface, ..shark?, dolphin?, old tyres?, dead seal?  Finally, rather than keep guessing we paddled over there.  To our delight it was a young seal.  Just laying around with its fins out of the water.  When we approached it just played around and put on a bit of a show for us.

As we paddled into Bunker Bay we got exited by a slight swell and played around a bit in the gentle advancing surf under the ever watching eyes of our leader Gisela.  Phew! We were ready for lunch in the shade at Bunker Bay.

After lunch it was time to paddle back to Meelup Bay.  By now the wind had picked up, but rather than the expected south westerly which would have blown us back it was a very strong easterly that we had to paddle directly into.  A very strenuous paddle that seemed to take forever.  Not so much chat on this leg of the paddle.  However at the end we were rewarded by those crystal clear turquoise waters of Meelup Bay and picturesque scenes of yachts at anchor and the sea birds on the rocky outrcrops.  A great finish to our 21 km paddle.   ÔDo you think they painted that rock white?Õ says Gina?!! (you mean the one with that bird standing on it?)

After swimming and relaxing at Meelup we made our way back to base by car, some of us stopping at a nice cafŽ in Dunsborough for a nice cuppa and cake.  Saturday night was spent preparing and eating dinner together as we shared experiences of the day.

Sunday morning was a paddle from the campground to Busselton (about 8 km away) and return.  This was quite pleasant and declared a great workout by all.  Most of us had lunch back at the camp before packing up and heading for home.  A few lucky paddlers stayed on for an extra night to make the most of what the area offers, snorkeling, swimming, wine tasting, cafes and to read the Sunday Papers.

Thanks to all who came, it was fantastic.  Special thanks to Colin and Gisela for keeping us on the straight and narrow and Colin for all the organisation of the weekend.

Lesley Hadnett