It is not often that I start a weekend without plans, but this weekend was a great example of just how fun a weekend in Sydney can actually be. From a picnic at Black Wattle Bay watching the city lights reflect on the water on Friday night, through to snorkeling at Malabar (formerly Long Bay) on Sunday we had a most excellent weekend!
For anyone who hasn’t been snorkelling in Sydney let this be an inspiration to you, because the beaches, bays and harbours around Sydney are absolutely packed with fish, stingrays, octopus and a whole range of other exciting things. If you’d like a little more inspiration here is a video of some of the cool stuff we saw!
Sometimes you whimp out of adventures, sometimes you take risks you shouldn’t, but sometimes you make the right call and get that combination of factors that makes for an amazing day out. Yesterday was one such day as five friends and I headed down into the Wollangambe for the second of the two main lilo sections (Wollangambe 2), having down Wollangambe 1 late last year.
Friday had seen heavy rain through parts of the Blue Mountains and although not dramatic the river level was probably about 4cm higher than normal. 4cm doesn’t sound like much, but it was enough to speed up the flow of the river and submerge just a few extra rocks so that many of the rapids could be (somewhat) comfortably run without getting off our lilos. So after a rather late start we reached the Wollangambe, suited up and started making out way down the canyon with plenty of excitement.
Three of our party had never cannoned before and had bought some less than durable lilos for the trip so as we floated, scrambled, jumped and swam our way down the canyon, not only was the the usual excitement of falling off, trying to stay warm and wondering if that ominous rumbling from the sky was coming your way, but we kept tabs as lilos became 5 and then 4. Kudos to the guys for sharing lilos and then swimming the last section of with their rather disposable lilos!
Anyway we reached the canyon just as the rain and thunder became more than just a slight concern and made our way up, and up, and up towards the cars!
Thanks everyone for joining me!
Navigating rapids and scrambling over the rocks
Getting started. Wetsuited up and getting used to staying on the lilos. Sam needed a bit of practice.
Canyoning can be so much hard work, especially waiting around while people try to repair their lilos.
In this section I decide not to follow my pack through the rapid, it was a little tight and I probably would;t have been able to stay on the lilo!
Thinking time, Picking a route through the rocks isn’t always that straight forward. Sometimes you also just have to admire the surrounds.
James and Kat
Playing at Serendipity Junction
An easy section.
On Sunday I had the pleasure of joining Tom and a troop of six other SBW members on a pleasant and most enjoyable 11hr canyoning trip through Geronimo and Horseshoe Canyons in the Blue Mountains.
It was a rough start to get to the canyon on time after a last minute discovery that the gate to Euroka Campground doesn’t open until after 7:30am. Arriving at the canyon meeting point 20 minutes late prompted a very brisk walk down to meet the rest of the group at the Pagoda before Wollangambe 1 entrance. After joining the group we all continued down to the Wollangambe River and back up the other side towards the canyon entrance. Tom’s expert navigation meant that could just enjoy the walk and lament the lack of coffee that morning.
Anyway we were soon in the creek and preparing for our adventure by donning our wetsuits and harnesses. Given the warm weather, and my intentions to experiment with canyoning I had chosen to wear my exciting multicoloured thermals and a thin weskit top instead of the heavy weight wetsuits I normally wear. At the start of the day this was a a great idea as the canyon was relatively dry and the sun was out, but as the day cooled down the clouds came out I started to fill the chill and by the end of the day in Horseshoe Canyon I was well and truly cold. Anyone who notice how grumpy I was I apologise!
Anyway here is a selection of photos. I had actually taken my nice new helmet cam through the canyon but the outcome and photos were rather disappointing so here is the limited selection that seemed to work. For more photos see Tom’s Post on OzUltimate