Suncoast Seniors Recreational Kayaking Club Inc.

Hawkesbury River Camp - Image by Cheryl Christensen

SSRKC is a Seniors Kayaking Club based on the Sunshine Coast, Australia.

We are a group of over 50’s who share a common interest in kayaking. We operate around the diverse waterways of the Sunshine Coast, Qld, Australia. Our aim is to stay physically fit, enjoy the company of other like minded kayakers and create a safe paddling environment.




By Lynn Albury and Bruce Nicholson.
Nine eager paddlers arrived at Boreen Point to experience calm clear waters promising an enjoyable crossing of Lake Cootharaba. We set our sights on the Cooloola Sandpatch in the distance and made a leisurely passage identifying various landmarks along the coast. The reflections of the boats and paddlers on the calm waters were a photographers delight!

For Terry and Lynn this was our first experience of a kayak journey including camping and we were looking forward to what lay ahead for us. We made an easy crossing and arrived at Fig Tree Point for our morning tea break. As we entered the narrow river some were surprised to note that there were no water lilies chocking the river as on previous trips. In fact, the water was at a high level mainly because of the recent rains in the area. This also had an impact on the colour of the water that is usually stained a very dark black – now it was a brown black.
Progressing further up river we were delighted with the reflections of the trees and sky. We saw numerous water birds and could hear the elusive bush birds hiding in the flowering tea trees, banksias and palms that lined the rivers course. We realised that in many sections of the Noosa River with steep banks, mooring is very difficult. Our leader Bruce suggested we head straight for camp 3, our overnight stop, for our lunch break. We all disembarked with assistance and kayaks were carried up the path giving us access to our equipment. We all had our priorities – some to eat lunch and others to set up camp. Terry and Lynn had a new tent and had an audience impressed that it went up so easily. We had a lengthy afternoon ahead with Bruce and Jim tackling the 12 km hike to the fabulous Cooloola Sandpatch, a huge sand blow with extensive views over the coast, Di taking the river walk to campsite 1 while others took time to read or rest. Those who did not walk enjoyed happy hour on the river wharf, and this was followed by dinner and an early night. The temperature dropped and we took refuge in our tents.



This report submitted by John and Brenda Devers.


The April Keppel Island trip ticked every box for the large group who signed on for this memorable adventure. There were plenty of paddles, some short and some more challenging to different places in a range of conditions to suit all levels of experience. The weather was favourable, the company and camaraderie warm and supportive, and of course the sublimely beautiful setting of this part of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef made for an experience to be treasured for years to come. There were lots of laughs, some drama and excitement, plenty of opportunities to connect, enjoy meal times, share stories, play cards, rest when necessary and reflect on each day’s highlights. This was also another well-planned club event that does great credit to our leaders and all the other participants who joined in so enthusiastically to make the trip such a success.

Keppel beckons

There was a great excitement and anticipation of a big adventure ahead as the Capricorn Palms Caravan Park began swelling with those SSRKC members taking part in the much anticipated and carefully planned Keppel Island away camp in April 2018.
By around 6pm on Monday, most had arrived, making a beeline for the big cabin where the pre-ordered fish, squid and chips and were to be delivered and devoured. The food arrived nice and hot, along with a big contingent of local mozzies, so manning the screen door became an important task while President Dave gave a thorough briefing on arrangements for getting us all loaded and on our way the next morning.
The morning dawned sunny with 19 kayaks, paddlers, partners, equipment and supplies all loaded enthusiastically and competently on to the specially chartered ferry.

So efficient was this carefully planned exercise, we were organised and shipshape by 7.10am, 20 minutes ahead of our scheduled departure. There was one moment when Mike was observed by a very perplexed Jim heading in the wrong direction with his backpack, having forgotten to deposit it on the ferry along with all the other bags! Bob, Mike, Chris, Dean, George and Garth were the six intrepid paddlers electing to make the 18km crossing under their own steam. They pushed out into a fresh south easterly breeze and were able to make the passage in just over 2 ½ hours…..a very creditable achievement.

The ferry crossing got the rest of us to the beach at Great Keppel in around 30 minutes. A human chain was marshalled to unload from the front, along with some kayaks launched from the rear platform, tethered into a line and guided ashore by Don immersed in the water and hidden somewhere under his hat. Everything was on the beach by 8.15am (a seriously impressive performance). With supplies, baggage and equipment awaiting the 4WD truck and trailer, it looked like we were planning a six month stay! Our twin cabins arranged around a well -equipped kitchen were reckoned to be the perfect set-up for our stay.

The first paddle that first day saw the group depart from the landing area and head along Fisherman’s Beach around the point, then hugging the shore line along Shelving Beach before returning to our designated club spot on Putney Beach, close to our accommodation. This was a splendid taste of what was to come and that afternoon, we all lined up with glass or can in hand to watch the sunset. Kayaks were moved to higher ground because of an anticipated high tide then it was time for the evening meal, bonding, sharing some gossip in the kitchen and hearing from President Dave about paddling plans for the next day. It had been a long day, so apart from a few stragglers, it was early to bed for most.

Wednesday’s paddle took us around Middle Island passing the underwater observatory in confused sea conditions with wind against tide, before heading on to the east end of Leeke’s Beach for morning tea. The tide favoured exploring Leeke’s Creek so we ventured upstream to the old shearing shed where those venturing ashore were welcomed by a squadron or two of the local sand flies! The full tide made for a special paddling experience in this beautiful setting with the lush green mangrove foliage descending below the surface of the turquoise water.

An exhilarating sail back to clear the point followed for the sailors before the final paddle leg across to our landfall at Putney Beach. The clear aqua water was just too inviting for most so a swim was in order while Bob practiced his Eskimo roll which was successful with loud applause by the gallery on his fourth attempt! Meanwhile several walkers set off to explore the island while others chilled or headed back to enjoy the beach. All this activity certainly sharpened appetites.
However, that evening we were shocked and deeply saddened by the news that Don and Jan had lost their son-in-law in an accident in Brisbane. The mood turned sombre as members rallied around to provide all the practical support they could to arrange transport to the mainland early next morning. Plans were also made to pack and transport their kayaks and equipment. In typical club fashion, all this was done efficiently and without fuss.

The following days were a splendid blend of paddles, sails, walks, lay days for some taking in many of Great Keppel’s attractions. Highlights included Second and Svendsens Beaches, an encounter with the wild goats at Monkey Point, an exhilarating paddle for some to the eastern end of Long Beach, a circumnavigation of Humpy Island, followed by a challenging return passage. On Thursday, John and Brenda put ashore at Second Beach for a dinghy pick-up to join their friends Ivan and Ann Holm on their beautiful classic yacht Laurabada for a morning tea and catch-up. It really is a small world, especially around the water! A big swell beyond Svendsens Beach made the decision to walk and explore the immediate surroundings the right one.

More swims, more practice by Bob of his rolling manoeuvre, some suspected mid-afternoon naps and of course the happy hour highlight of watching the sun set capped off yet another perfect day in paradise. Some frustration was in evidence from Di and Lou over who had packed what, leading to lots of hilarity about just how long this honeymoon would last….and Di in charge of the radio was thought to be a risky decision. With the decibel level no different with the radio switched on, this vital piece of safety equipment seemed quite redundant!
Friday saw 17 starters heading for Monkey Beach with several of the experienced paddlers venturing beyond the point to assess conditions for rounding the point for some serious paddling along the exposed beach. Some made the decision to play in the sheltered conditions, do some beachcombing and exchange pleasantries with the wild goats, while five paddlers set off for some more serious engagement with the swell around the point. On return, descriptions of the experience ranged from ‘exhilarating and frightening’ (Bob) to ‘scary’ (Garth) to ‘fun’ (Dean).
The group dinner planned for that evening was preceded by a celebration cake and presentation by Sue and Robyn to mark Bob’s 50th wedding anniversary. The only one missing was Bob’s bride of 50 years ago, Sylvia who was definitely there in spirit, and who will join Bob on a European river cruise in July (No roll overs planned for that one!) However, Bob did confess to an earlier call to check if the locks would be changed on his return!

The group dinner was a meat lovers BBQ of epic proportions with a fish dish alternative for some. There was temporary blackout providing some relief from the spectacle of Mike’s elephant pants before the lights and musician rebooted. After the meal, cards and the footy beckoned for some while others chose an early turn-in after an action-packed day.
Saturday saw 15 paddlers on the water, so it was a lay day for some. A diehard group decided to tackle the crossing to Humpy Island in freshening conditions. The 2 ½ hours of heavy going were followed by a break on the island before returning in an equally challenging and confused sea state. There were no capsizes which was a tribute to the paddlers’ concentration, although Lou admitted being tested and Di T just gritted her teeth to triumph over the conditions. Sails came down to help manage the risks and on return, there appeared to be very little left in the tank, evidenced by Bob’s decision to forego his daily roll-over practice session. That evening there was some creative cooking with dwindling provisions, along with generous sharing where necessary.

Sunday dawned cloudy, but quickly gave way to bright sunshine after President Dave called up Macca for a chat about our big adventure on his national ‘Australia all Over’ program. Maybe it was Macca who pulled a string or two with the weather gods? That day’s paddle took in a rounding of Middle Island with a landing and walk on the eastern side of the island before setting off to Leeke’s and Svendsens beaches. Brenda found herself in a spot of bother when she got side-on to the swell, but Bob and Dean were quickly on the scene to talk her through the process of managing the tricky conditions. Dean escorted her back to base with plenty of guidance and encouragement. Some of the more adventurous paddled beyond Little Peninsula to Butterfish Bay before setting off on the return leg. Landfall for most was the beach where the ferry pick-up was scheduled for early next morning. The day turned out to be a cracker with bright blue skies, equally blue water and a sunset to defy description marking a perfect end to the six-day program.

Kayaks were stripped of equipment and laid out on palm fronds ahead of the early morning loading task which was completed with no less precision than the out bound trip. Geoff Mercer from Great Keppel Island Holiday Village joined the group for happy hour, so we could all say a big thank you for getting Don and Jan to the mainland earlier in the week. Geoff offered some interesting insights and local knowledge about the island’s chequered history and Vivien spoke on behalf of many of us who had benefitted from the splendid guidance, assistance and support from the group’s more experienced paddlers.

As the sun rose on Monday, the six passage makers set off for the mainland, this time with the wind on their beam quarter, making for a much faster return journey. The truck and trailer appeared to be delivering only slightly less baggage to the beachhead and was quickly marched onto the ferry via the highly effective human chain method. Then in no time at all, we were back in Rosslyn Bay, hosing down craft, loading gear and saying our goodbyes. And just like all the other trips through the years, all agreed that these events just keep getting better, not just because of the wonderful parts of this great country where we find ourselves, but also because of the strong and enduring friendships that are created in the process. Truly one to remember!

Roll on Noosa River and Bundaberg camps!