|To Australia with a Puffin|
|Saturday, 01 May 2010 10:22|
I was attending a meeting in the beautiful city of Sydney, so decided to bring along my Puffin Sport kayak. Charges and restrictions for luggage on airplanes has gotten worse and worse in recent years. However the Puffin is so light and compact I had no problem at the airport. I put the entire boat in its duffle bag, a four piece paddle, and some miscellaneous paddle gear inside a cheap plastic Contico storage locker that meets airline restrictions for checked baggage. The duffle bag alone might have been fine, but the Contico case costs all of $28, and adds some
simple hardsided protection from any rough handling. This made a nice lightweight transport method for all my kayaking stuff, that I could either carry or wheel around easily between shuttle buses, airport, and taxi.
The weather was rainy in Sydney for a couple of days after I arrived, but improved during the conference. After looking at some maps to study the harbor, I simply lifted the Puffin duffle bag out of the Contico case one morning, and walked a half mile or so with the duffle bag over my shoulder to the docks by the Aquarium at Darling Harbor. I built the boat there on the dock. Lots of interesting looks from passers by, including questions from several people about where they could get such a boat. I referred several people to the Pakboats web site, then dropped into the harbor and paddled off!
It was a spectacular morning and I had a great three hour paddle past a bunch of interesting ships docked at the National Maritime museum, out past Miller Point, Walsh Bay and the Rocks, right under the famous Sydney Harbor Bridge, then past the Circular Quay, over to the Sydney Opera House, and then through Farm Cove ringed by the Royal Botanic Gardnes. Winds were light but there was quite a bit of wave action from the mixture of boat taxis, large ships, tugs, and sight seeing boats chugging around Sydney Harbor. The Puffin easily bobbed over everything and I never felt in danger of dumping. I had the deck installed with the replacement fiberglass rods you sent in August. The deck did a great job of keeping me dry, both from paddle spray and the largest breaking waves. The Puffin was so stable that it was easy to spend time sight seeing with binoculars and taking pictures of the city.
This was exactly the kind of trip that I had in mind when I originally got the Puffin last October. The boat is compact enough to easily take with you on a trip. It is light enough to actually
walk with for some distance, making it easy to move between hotels, cars, trails, and possible put in sites. Having it with me meant I got to explore a beautiful harbor city from one of the best possible
vantage points. I'm attaching one jpeg that shows the view from the Puffin looking under the Syndey Harbor Bridge towards the Opera House. Thanks for the views and adventures made possible with the Puffin!