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22 March 2009

Recent trips - Lake Barrington & Robbins/Walker Islands

I was heading up to north-west Tasmania for a paddle at Robbins & Walker Islands with is as far as you can go away from my house and still be on the same island. I thought that if I would go up a day early and do a paddle on Lake Barrington.

This is a 20km long lake (and hydro-electric dam) where there is a rowing course. I initially planned to do a lap around the whole dam. I arrived at 8.30am and headed off in my Grafton Paddle Sports - 'high-deck' Wizard kayak. I also had a Paddling Perfection - Slingshot sea kayak for my Robbins Island trip later.

I started off from the boat ramp on the eastern side of the lake - about 6km from the northern (dam) end. I started off heading down the eastern side - exploring all the nooks and quickly reached a sharp left-hand bend near the dam. There is a floating wire to stop people getting close to the top of the dam. Looking at the dam from the water didn't look like a big deal but when I got out on the western side and walked to the dam wall it was an awesome site over the top.

The water was about a foot away from spilling over the top and the dam wall drops down 84 metres to the outlet river below. Down each side of the dam were a series of ladders and steps. These could take you right down to water level or about 3/4 of the way down where there is a walkway to the other side.

It looked like the water would fall down beyond this walkway and it would be like walking behind a giant waterfall. It would be an awesome, scary sight seeing it spilling over.

I returned to the kayak and headed back up the lake and found the Forth Falls. I had read about this spot years ago in a kayak magazine where people were paddling down the Forth Falls Creek and landing in the lake.

I have no idea how hard or dangerous it is but the final drop looked at least 5 metres and other photos make it look challenging.

After a day of exploring the lake I headed off towards the far north-west corner of Tassie. I had a detour at Burnie due to a serious crash where a log truck collided with a cyclist.

I arrived at Robbins Island Road and packed my kayak. The next day was a cruisy paddle up to Mosquito Inlet followed by some rolling practice in my slingshot.

During the return trip, I was surrounded by thunder and lightning and some torrential rain. It was quite scary for a while. When you are out in open water there is no protection from the lightning.

By the time I reached Robbins Passage again the sun was out and it was very pleasant - followed by a 6 hour drive home - thanks to lot of slow campervans.