Some time last year, I organised a paddle from Woorim on Bribie Island to the Caloundra Bar.  Eight of us met at the picnic area south of Woorim for a 7am departure.  It was a mixture of Sunny Coast paddlers and Claytons (Brisbane) paddlers.  Woorim Beach is quite steep, with dumping waves.  After helping several paddlers off the beach, through the surf, it was my turn to go.  I thought ‘this is no problem, I’ve done it all before’. I pulled my boat to the edge of the surf, hopped in, but before I could put my skirt on, I was sucked out by a receding wave into the pounding surf. Hence, a cockpit full of water and a roll-over.  Back to the beach!  Empty the water out & try again.  On the next attempt, I got side-on to a dumping wave – another roll-over. Back to the beach – again. Drain the water out, and finally made it out on the third attempt!
All this, of course, was to the great amusement of my wife Carol and some beach walkers, who thought it was the best entertainment they had had for a long time.  Carol’s part in this adventure was to take the car and trailer to Golden Beach, pick up several of us, and return to the car park at Woorim.  We had a great trip up the coast, with an outgoing tide and a SE breeze, we made very good time.  This presented a problem at the other end.  As we arrived early, and the tide was still running out, the swell had increased to about 2 metres, and the surf was crashing onto the bar.  This did not look good for crossing.  Bob Whiting and Trevor Zaretsky were a little ahead of the main group and radioed that they would attempt to cross the bar. The rest of us waited outside the breakers.  Both paddlers were barrelled on the bar. Bob hit the sand bar once, was sucked out by the current and slammed back onto the bar.  Between the waves, we could see Bob standing on the bar, with 2 pieces of kayak!  He then disappeared into the waves and next we saw him standing on the tip of Bribie Island, with no kayak.
Fortunately, the life saver from Kings Beach came out on his jet-ski. He had observed what had happened on the bar. He crossed the bar, picked up Trevor, brought him to the beach, then retrieved Bob from Bribie Is and the 2 halves of his kayak.  Unfortunately, Bob’s car keys were lost in the break-up of the boat.  The rest of us decided we were not going anywhere near that bar, so paddled around the headland to land at Moffat Beach.  Bob rang home to request a second set of car keys.
Because we landed at Moffat Beach, several phone calls needed to be made to pick-up drivers as to our location.  When we finally all got together again, we enjoyed a well earned lunch. We all agreed that plastic boats are not good on bar crossings.  At the end of such an exciting day, we were happy that it had ended safely.
George Reeman


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