29 Ipswich Road
Woolloongabba, QLD, 4102
+61 7 3391 1088
Girls Straddie Trip `10

Sea Tales – The Girls’ South Straddie Trip!

The Bold Exploration of South Straddie by Kayak

South StradbrokeIsland (from RunawayBay to ‘The Bedroom’ campground and back)

Somewhere, deep, deep down in the jungle of darkest Africa lays a tiny little island no one knows about….. So we didn’t go there. 

Instead, we planned an overnight trip to a little sand island on our left as we drove south from the north. As you might expect, with three novice girl navigators the talk got pretty technical…


The Departure

Like all good explorers before us, we left in the dead of night accompanied by darkness, wind and a bit of rain.  We were waved good-bye by a horde of semi-awake children and a man in a dressing gown in control (of the TV remote).

A bit of a drive later, at Runaway Bay, we found a nice lonely car park with a decent beach in front of it and plenty of water after that, which is basically all you need in an ideal world.

With the Gold Coast’s finest and highest buildings looking rather grey and eerie in the background and buckets of fresh rain on our heads we left the mainland for good and bravely headed off into an uncertain future, not knowing what we would find or when we would return…

The Paddle

 Since all the kayak trip reports I have ever read have lengthy descriptions on exactly what gets eaten, at what time and by whom, a separate appendix has been added especially to feed this peculiar obsession.

Oh, and the same goes for the fascination with skills session (which we tightly scheduled in just before and then half an hour after dinner).

Armed with a fine selection of kayaks and paddles, a mix of little and lots of experience and a laminated map we simply paddled in a northwards direction.

Allana was mainly interested in keeping her skeg boat on course, whereas Kelly was mainly interested in every single bird that flew past/over/up or around, including those not even flying but just sitting in or behind a tree or something.  All I had to do was listen to Allana telling me to get out of the shipping channels and out of the way of moving house- and powerboats.  And that’s how it pretty much stayed throughout the trip.


After awhile, we had a spontaneous break (see Appendix I) on the water behind a little mini island, which was nice if you knew this was going to happen and you had a munch bar in your PFD instead of in the bow of the boat.

We also had a toilet stop at Couran Cove Resort where the sign says “no boats allowed on the beach”.   Under the bold leadership of someone, we chose not to read or understand that sign. A few kilometers later we had a home-brought lunch (see Appendix II) at Tipplers Island Resort, which has a public pontoon, public barbeques and a proper lunch hall with the word ‘Welcome’ on the front.  So friendly!

Paddle, paddle, paddle and then we arrived at our destination, a campsite called The Bedroom.


The Evening & the Night

After a quick assessment of the area, we choose a sheltered little spot with the ground made entirely out of sand and just enough room for three tents and an emergency outdoor cooking shelter.  The kayaks had the large grassy campsite next to us.

Before we were even properly set up, one of us reached for the bourbon, one of us struggled alone with unruly tent poles and the other tried to tell the drunk and the incompetent camper to get that damn tick out of her leg.  This last task took as long as it takes to empty a can and set up a tent alone, but finally Doctor Allana fiddled around with some tweezers and the patient survived.

 After dinner (see Appendix III), cooked by Allana & Kelly and eaten by Marjon and a family of seven bandicoots, we all had a  darkness walk over the dunes and straight into the path of unsuspecting fishermen who only come to South Straddie to get away from their wives.  That last bit is pure speculation based on life observations made during growing up and witnessing countless outpourings of complaints of the status quo and crystal clear expressions of wanting to be left alone to get away from it all..

If only I was a man, then I could have joined them.  Standing there watching the ocean in the dark, dressed in heavy duty PVC boots and pants, with a rod in your hands, your best mate (called Dave, no doubt) by your side and an esky full of beer behind you has a certain blissful appeal. 

The Riddle

Earlier in the day, Kelly had given us a task in the form of a riddle.  All we had to do was find the answer.

If you’ve got it, everybody wants it. But if you give it away, it doesn’t exist anymore.

After at least two minutes of trying to find the answer and a bit of a guess, Kelly put us out of our misery and told us we had the whole weekend to think of the answer!

                                     The Night

The riddle kept me quiet and occupied while trying to get to sleep.  Meanwhile, the family of seven bandicoots was busy clearing the kitchen of anything edible.  Just how they separate the food from the sand grains will forever be a mystery.  They can jump really high too.  Marvelous little creatures!  I want one.

The Morning

The fisherman were right where we left them the night before, but this time we could see them more clearly.  They were still standing on the beach watching the water with a beer in their hands and a hopeful pelican behind them.

We had breakfast (Appendix IV), demolished the camp, loaded the boats, got one of the fishermen to put his beer down and make a photo of us three on the water and then we left the sand island behind us and headed home.

                                                                               The Boat Attack

We paddled along with a smile on our faces.  The wind was behind us, the sun was out, there were plenty of Brahminy kites for Kelly to ogle at and plenty of boats for me to dodge.  All was good.

Then we got attacked by two very young, blonde, male, delighted SovereignIsland residents in charge of a fast tinnie. They headed straight for us and at the very last minute, just when we thought it was all over, they flicked their boat the other way.  We were stunned and angry and had a whole two minute random shouting session about the kids, the parents, the law, morals and life etc, when they came back for another go.

You can try to enjoy that experience, but it didn’t work for me.

The Finish

We knew we were close.  We could already see our cars waiting in the background when a pod of dolphins appeared and swam peacefully past our kayaks.  Sometimes, you just want to keep paddling on, past your car park, past the way home and stay out there, like the explorers, not knowing what you’ll find or when you will get home.

The Ending

I went home anyway and so did Allana.  Kelly disappeared to Scotland for 5 weeks and then she still didn’t give me the answer to that damn riddle when I finally saw her one day in the supermarket.  So, I don’t know the answer to the riddle, I was never going to write the appendix about food and I was kidding about the skills session, but the rest is all true and next time I’ll paddle on.

See you on the water!