Tag Archives: Pittwater

Paddling at Pittwater

Pittwater is the next harbour north of Sydney Harbour. I’ve written about it before. It’s where the Christmas Eve dog race between Scotland Island and Church Point is held.

It’s a wonderful part of the world. On its northern shores is Ku-Ring-Gai National Park and many small sheltered bays where boats and their owners drop anchor for weekends and holidays away.

My wife’s family have a house in one of the bays that’s only accessible by boat. It’s where we often go for holidays. And whenever we’re there, I usually spend a bit of time paddling about the bay, up its creek, and around the points, watching for wildlife like cormorants, sea eagles and cockatoos, jellyfish and stingrays.

 

 

The Scotland Island dog race

In the spirit of Christmas I thought I’d share a unique Christmassy event I’ve had the pleasure to experience twice now: the Scotland Island Dog Race.

Every Christmas Eve in the late afternoon at Pittwater, north of Sydney, a motley collection of dogs and their owners assemble at Church Point, pay their entry fee of a tin of dog food and longneck bottle of beer, and jump onto a barge across to Scotland Island.

All sorts of breeds are represented – labradors, border collies, golden retrievers – along with a range of unidentifiable others.

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On the shore at Church Point the Pittwater community gathers to meet, catch up and share Christmas good wishes over drinks and picnics. It’s one of the best community events I’ve been a part of. There’s a sense of spontaneity about it and an atmosphere of everyone enjoying themselves.

On the water, boats line the route the dogs and their owners will swim and paddle 500m-600m to return to the finish line back at Church Point.

On shore, looking across to Scotland Island, there’s little indication of when the race has begun. But after a little time, the figures of each dog’s owner on kayaks or surfboards, encouraging their dogs along, become clearer.

It’s then the excitement begins to build, as those on shore try to work out which dog is leading.

There’s plenty at stake. Will it be a local dog that wins? And if so, from which bay? Or will it be a ring-in from outside the area?

The last time I was there, in 2012, the winner was Slick, a big dog of indeterminate breed, who belonged to the son of one of the residents of our bay. So we claimed him and the celebrations for Slick continued when we returned to the bay.

Legend has it that the race began in the 1970s when two ferry boat captains raced their dogs from Scotland Island to the mainland. It’s grown since then to become one of the highlights of the year at Pittwater.

I did a dumb thing

Here’s a tip for new GoPro users: try and remember when you’ve changed the rear door on the waterproof case from the solid version to the one with vents.

That was my dumb thing. An expensive dumb thing.

I was out kayaking at Pittwater, north of Sydney, and decided have a go at doing an underwater video. It was the first time I’d taken the GoPro onto and into the water. Salt water at that.

I put it in the water, hoping to capture pictures of some fish swimming around the kayak when I noticed bubbles coming up from the case.

I remember thinking “that’s not right” for an instant before quickly pulling it out from underwater, realising what was happening and what I’d done.

A little while ago I’d changed the rear door from the solid one which makes the case waterproof, for the vented one because I’d wanted to try capturing more sound on my mountain bike rides.

But my memory lapse meant sea water got into the case and into the camera.

I took the camera out of the case, took the battery out and did my best to get as much of the water out of the camera as I could before paddling back to the house to put it in the sun hoping to dry it out.

Back at the house I started Googling how to save a GoPro after it’s gotten wet.

Some forums said there was nothing that could be done while others offered tips on what to do.

Some said douse it in vinegar to get rid of corrosion on the battery terminals, others said douse it in fresh water to rinse out the salt water, and others said just leave it to dry out or bury it in rice for a few days to draw the moisture out.

I tried leaving it in the sun and the rice trick but unfortunately they didn’t work. It’s dead. It won’t turn on anymore. Some forums said if it was on when it got submerged in sea water the electronics would be fried. And I think that’s what may have happened.

So, I’ve learnt a lesson. I’ve bought a new GoPro and I don’t think I’ll be changing the rear door of the case again.