Trip 3 – DUNK ISLAND
South Mission Beach is the starting point for this wonderful little trip. This can be a day trip, over nighter or longer. The best place to start is at the southern end of south Mission Beach. There is a boat ramp, public toilet, a rubbish bin and drinking water right at the ramp. There are ten campsites on the island. The walking tracks are excellent also. There is a shower and toilet block, electricity outlet to plug in your phone and a small cafe on the spit. Paddle time is less than an hour. Read about Dunk Island on pages 35-37 in Gone for Shore.
Trip 2 – Paddle Bay, SOUTH MOLLE ISLAND
The Whitsunday Islands are a treasure trove of sea kayaking experiences. The visit to Paddle Bay on South Molle Island is a family friendly/novice excursion that can be a day trip or a week long holiday. Visit pages 80-81 in the book Gone for Shore for maps, photos and details. Leave from Shute Harbour. The little beach to the east of the boat ramp is the best departure point. It has water, a shelter shed and access to all but the lowest of tides. There is a public toilet in the carpark. Paddle Bay has a huge shelter shed, a toilet, picnic tables and access to excellent walking tracks. In good conditions there is good snorkelling off the beach here and oysters on the low tide towards mid-Molle Island. There are great opportunities to day paddles from here to the small islands adjoining South Molle. It is not much more than an hour paddle to get to the campsite from Shute Harbour.
Trip 1 – SNAPPER ISLAND
Snapper Island is a small continental island off the mouth of the Daintree River in North Queensland. You can use this as your first overnight paddle or go back over 30 times as I have. Leave from Pinnacle Village at Wonga Beach and leave your car with the friendly owners of the caravan/camping park. It is about a 1.5 hour trip. Book your campsite through the Queensland National Parks website. There is a toilet here, adequate shade, and well formed campsites.
Tip 3 – preparing food
Preparing food for a longer sea kayaking trip takes some time and thought. Investing in a good quality food dryer is money well spent. For evening meals just dry whatever you eat at home. Curries are good. Use minced chicken, turkey, pork, beef or lamb. It dries much better than chopped up solid meat. Look up recipes online. Vegetarian recipes are a good way to go. In camp, cover the meal with water and heat at least 4 hours before you want to eat it.
Tip 2 – prevailing winds
The wind on the Queensland coast is very predictable. It usually blows from the south-east for about nine months of the year and from the north-east for the other three months. Plan your trips with this in mind. A one-way trip from south to north is always the best bet. That involves a car shuttle or someone who is happy to drop you off and pick you up. On a calm forecast an out and back trip is convenient, but rare.
Tip 1 – sun protection
When paddling in northern Queensland the sun is your biggest enemy (risk factor). People from down south love to talk about crocs but the sun will make your life a lot more difficult than crocs. Cover up. Wear a longsleeved shirt, a broad brimmed hat (not a cap), sunglasses, paddling gloves and wear adequate sunscreen. Sit in the shade if you are not paddling during the middle of the day. Allow at least five litres of water per person, per day in summer. A little less in winter.