Wyralong Dam Paddle & Camp Adventure

Turns out May is a pretty spectacular month for the inaugural Mermaid SUPS overnight camp trip at Wyralong Dam, located 1.5 hours to the South West of Brisbane.

Arriving at the Wyralong Dam boat ramp at 6am on Saturday, 4 degrees with fog slowly lifting off the water was breathtaking, finger numbing and called for immediately putting on all the warm layers planned for the evening and night. Hoping, of course, that today would not be a day to wobble off the paddle board into cold water.

Saturday launch from the boat ramp

@twosupgirls and I paddled off to pick up the other @mermaidsups paddlers from their launch place at the Overflow Estate Winery. Also the preferred location for the end of trip refreshments. Everyone’s gear floated and we paddled off to the Mount Joyce base camp to set up camp before heading off around the dam to explore more.

Boat ramp to Mount Joyce base camp
Serene corner of the dam
Lit – cozy in the tent

The afternoon/evening and night at Ngumbi the Mount Joyce base camp was amazing. We sat around the large table on the verandah and ate freeze dried dinners, drank Croatian style hot gin toddies and chatted, such great company! A few other parties of canoeists and hikers were also spending the night in tents around the homestead. Temperatures over night dropped to 1 degree and it was pretty nice to be toasty in the tent. The girls sleeping in the old homestead reported very cool inside temperatures, to be expected with lack of solid windows and doors. On Sunday we all paddled back to our launch spots and then met at the winery for lunch.

Intrepid Mermaids

A super successful trip all round despite two of the inflatable boards developing leaks that had to be patched with gaffa tape to make the distance – they will now be either repaired or patched.

Most valuable though was the experience of a group of women stepping out of their normal routine and away from their domestic responsibilities for a weekend of adventure together. Everyone was out of their comfort zones in some way or other and together we had a kick arse adventure with stories for days and plenty of confidence to push comfort zone further in the next adventure.

Having the only hard board in the trip – the Alana Naish 10”6’, which I’ve had for 8 years – my main concern for the trip was loading the board up to act as a touring board, when the tail is not buoyant enough to weight bear and it’s sweet spot conditions are a bit of wind and some light swell. The cargo attachment points on the deck are very minimal and I didn’t want to risk ripping them out with the weight of my gear. I worked out that 15 kgs was a maximum load to carry safely, which meant taking only the essentials for the overnight trip. I did use a tie down strap looped under the board and over to secure my bag.

Thankfully we arrived back at the boat ramp on Sunday after an 18km weekend paddle just as the wind blew up to gusts of 32kmph and many white caps studded the lake. See photo below how different the conditions are back at the boat ramp from the Saturday launch.

Safe arrival back at the boat ramp

Below is my packing list for the trip. Will definitely add gaffa tape and some zip ties for the next trip, oh and ingredients for a hot gin toddy for any winter camp 😉 Camping with such a great bunch meant that we shared the load and not everyone had to bring a Jetboil or a bottle of gin! Each time a trip is planned it is exciting to accrue additional and specialist equipment. For this trip the group spent some time planning the gear requirements and the trip served to refine this and work out what we need for the next trip!

SUP Overnight gear list – winter

Overnight Bag – PLANO 50 L waterproof duffel bag

  • 2man tent – Zempire Zues Adventure Series
  • Inflatable sleeping mat – Airlite 5.5
  • Sleeping bag -10 One Planet
  • Set of thermals
  • Additional thermal top
  • lightweight trousers
  • Tshirt
  • Rain coat – for extra warmth in evening
  • Warm socks
  • Underwear set
  • Beanie
  • Travel Towel
  • Runners for keeping dry for camp
  • Minimal toiletries
  • Small pkt of wipes
  • 2 x travel tissue packs (aka loo paper if needed)
  • Doggy bags for rubbish
  • Travel towel
  • Old sneakers to keep dry and wear at camp
  • Dinner – Back Country Thai chicken curry (note for next time to get the Small not the Regular, it was a lot) just add water to pouch
  • Can of Shiraz
  • Block of chocolate
  • Brekki – fruit & grain – just add water to pouch
  • 2.4 liters water – 4 x 600ml plastic bottles I think in the cooler weather this should be enough and I won’t be washing anything and only using 200ml in the meals.
  • Power bank to recharge phone

Deck Bag – 5 L Sea to Summit dry bag

  • Head torch
  • Lunch – tuna & bean pouch, muesli bars, apple
  • small first aid kit
  • silver thermal blanket
  • Multi tool
  • Rechargeable lighter
  • Sharkskin Socks
  • Bottle of water

Paddle Attire

2 piece Swimmers
Have the raincoat available
Hat, Reef Shoes

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