|The trusty anti-shark device...|
...and I was wearing my Road ID wristband with my details, including my bloodgroup, should a bastard shark regurgitate my wrist. M4P and Travis the Beetle were still Missing In Action on their respective family holidays.
With my normal car busted and in the shop, Jeeves (aka Westy), who had been storing my boat at his place had off-loaded Sir's ski and taken it down to the beach so all I had to do was step out of the car and start paddling.Next time mate, please clean it before I deem to use it...
It was a spectacular morning, and the water was absolutely crystal clear. In fact it was so clear that even in depths of about 8 metres, the bottom was undistorted. I'm glad I'm still on holidays from the Gorilla Biscuit factory because it was the sort of morning that would prompt a sickie, particularly with Michael Clarke so close to his triple ton.
As usual I was laboring (looking at my gut these days you would think that was literal) to catch Westy but after a while I felt pretty good, and comfortable with the new carbon-fibre iPaddle, and we put in a quick time out to the first breather to the south of Penguin Island. The dolphins were out and about on the way, keeping us company as we negotiated the shallows around the island. The northerly made its presence felt as we pushed up the seaward side and it was about then that Westy suggested we go around Seal Island as well. So as to deflect the inevitable "Why do you hate Australia so much?" that would come with a refusal, in a manly, hearty manner I enthusiastically agreed, thankful that my shoulders couldn't speak for themselves after the pace that we had set until that point.
Keeping the pace up, and scanning the surrounding waters like the shark-paranoid that I am (its called Seal Island for a reason, and correct me if I'm wrong but that is right up there on Great White haute cuisine), we passed north of Seal Island, lamenting the spreets.com.au deal of the day, where unsuspecting tourists could pay $75 each for a kayak tour of these islands and take 7 hours to do what we were doing in an hour. Michael Clarke's new girlfriend became a topic of conversation, with the inevitable comparisons to Lara Bingle being made, and the consensus formed that she was a better quality missus because she wasn't a raving lunatic.
But it was breakfast on our minds as we pushed the last 3km back to the beach, arriving in a respectable one hour and two minutes for just under 9km, a much faster time than we have done.
Breakfast, as always on this paddle, was at the Boat Ramp Cafe, on the corner of Bent St and Safety Bay Rd, Safety Bay. This early-opener is a family-run fish and chippy that does awesome Egg and Bacon rolls. Big Breakfasts ($15.90) are available, as is Westy's favorite, Eggs Benedict and Eggs Florentine ($15.90 each) and bog-standard Bacon and Eggs on Toast. But at the Boat Ramp Cafe, as in Highlander, there can be only one. And so it was that all six of us at breakfast took our usual Egg and Bacon Rolls. These rolls are the best I have ever had, and whilst most of my companions have them with HP sauce, mine always comes with Vegemite (don't knock it until you try it - very good hangover cure when combined with six litres of Coke) and barbeque sauce. They make them a decent size at the Boat Ramp too, so you won't leave hungry. One of these, and a large coffee, will set you back about $14. The coffee has improved immensely here following customer feedback (that may or may not have been overheard through a slightly open window on a few occasions).
Apologies if this is someone who reads this's daughter , but the gravity-defying, tattooed waitress is outstanding, very cute and worth a visit to the Boat Ramp even if you aren't hungry.
The Boat Ramp Cafe gives hungry paddlers exactly what they need - hot, passable coffee to wash down copious amounts of fried pig. Its bloody tasty, relatively cheap and served quickly and cheerfully. That's the reason that we keep going back - in fact even when paddling further afield when down south, we often make the trip back here for brekky.
Do yourselves a favour - 7/10.