About Me

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Sydney, Australia
A natural curiosity for what's over the next hill has taken me on a vast array of trips over the years, most of which involve human powered travel. There's so much more to do. All images © Darren Mckenzie.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

PHEASANTS NEST TO MALDON

After trying to organise a group paddle with some new faces on the Shoalhaven River, the weather had other plans and sent the gauges high. We had wanted to run some higher volume rapids, or a least technical enough to keep gaining valuable experience.

When the Shoalhaven was scratched, Gus, Craig and I decided to run Pheasants Nest to Maldon on the Nepean river which is graded as 2-3 and around 11km's. The gauge was sitting at around 1 metre which had us talking safety at the put in due to the fast flowing and continuous conveyor belt of water.

It was good day out which saw a few spills, injury, and plenty was learned by all.

This Video was shot and edited by Craig.





The rapids kept us all working together and we started building confidence in some great water. It wasn't long before we hit our first portage on a rapid that despite looking doable (just) we took the safe option and let it go for another day. The top section was just cranking and was marginal at best.







 Craig did exceptionally well given his experience level and read the water quite well.




 Gus is always cool under pressure and when I watched him flip, I wasn't overly concerned as he still had hold of his paddle when he surfaced. It wasn't until I saw a mild grimace on his face and blood on his hand that I knew we had a slight problem.

 Despite completely tearing his fingernail off, Gus paddled on with gauze and Gaffa tape! Very painful.








We all had a great day and as always it was a pleasure paddling with Gus and Craig. Well worth a repeat trip in the future. Good times.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

DARK POINT

After spending so much time on inland adventures lately, my mind has been wandering back to the ocean and the calm that coastal trips place on the soul. There is something to be said about the deep feelings of contentment that come from walking silently through heath and over sand dunes to the melodic rumbling of ocean swell greeting land.

It was perfect timing when I read Kelto's trip report on Broughton Island while in the process of looking for new areas to explore. I was instantly thinking of ways to reach the island, and one that holds the most interest is wind power. Hopefully I'll have a new kite boarding setup soon which, along with careful planning, will allow a visit to Broughton and the surrounding islands. I'm sure I'll be in the company of some like minded friends who have similar interests in all things adventure.

To make the most of our small window of opportunity, Dana and I camped on Friday night, waking well before sunrise to walk across the dunes to Dark Point under moonlight. The whole area holds significant value for the local aboriginal people who have history dating back 4000 years, and as we walked towards the beach, tried to fathom the enormity of time these tribes had been inhabiting the region.



The moonlight allowed us to walk without head torches and gave the dunes an aura unique, yet desert like. It really is a photographers paradise and Dana and I both were kept busy trying to capture the beauty and colour that twilight offers.
  








 As it became lighter, an array of animal life was revealed in all manner of tracks. It's clear that the aboriginal people would have found these dunes a source of food and spiritual well being. There are Middens found throughout the region that hold significant historical value and we felt privileged to visit such a treasured piece of coast.



























It was definitely worth the early start, and plans are already taking place to further explore the area in the not too distant future.