Oh we’re steppin’ out.
I’m gonna turn around,
Gonna turn around once and we’ll do the Eagle Rock”
I couldn’t remember the next line of the song. So I stopped for a second to catch my breath and get my kayak pointing in the right direction. For some reason I can never seem to travel in a straight line.
A few hours earlier, Dirtbagjens and I had filled the car with climbing gear, strapped kayaks to the roof and driven to Brooklyn on the Central Coast.
The plan was to kayak from the marina at Brooklyn, across the Hawkesbury River to a climbing crag called Eagle Rock. We’d climb and camp at the crag.
The idea was probably inspired by a few outdoor films we’d watched, where climbers had cycled or sailed or trekked their way into epic adventures. This Eagle Rock trip was our attempt to squeeze a smaller expedition into one weekend.
On Saturday morning, we reached the marina and pulled our borrowed kayaks off the top of our borrowed car. Squeezing all our climbing gear, camping gear, food and water into the kayaks was a bit of a mission. Moving the heavy boats into the water was a mission too. Two young brothers had stopped to watch us. Their mum had told them that it was time to go home. One of them asked to stay a moment longer to see if ‘those people fall in the water’.
I’m happy to report that we didn’t fall in. We didn’t capsize on the trip across the water. We would have stayed quite dry if we hadn’t spent most of the journey scooping water up with our paddles and flinging half the Hawkesbury at one another.
We reached the rocks and tied our boats up above the waterline.
There are a few fixed ropes set up as hand lines. On some sections there are staples in the rock that you can climb like a ladder. We used these to ferry our gear to the top of the cliff. At the top of the cliff we found a fireplace that had been built up as a kind of wood-fired oven/grill. The oven was next to a pile of rocks that had been stacked to form a flat table and a bench seat. Luxury!
We had great views over the river from our new perch. We looked down on a group of small sail boats manned by teenagers from a local sailing club while we ate our lunch. Every now and then their coach’s voice would be carried up to us.
We retreated into the shade to plan which climbs we were going to do. Planning didn’t get very far. After a bit of reading and a nap, a new plan emerged. The new plan was to paddle back across the water to enjoy a refreshing beverage at the local pub. We’d told ourselves that we’d climb the next day. Before the sun hit the rock.
The sun set. We cooked dinner in our newly renovated kitchen. We watched lights cross the water as boats found their way into coves where they would stay the night. It rained, but not too much.
The sun rose. We made pancakes and attempted to climb a few routes. Our attempts were fairly unsuccessful. Before we knew it, it was time to squeeze everything back into the kayaks and paddle back to the real world.
We’ll be back again soon. We might even climb something next time!
Gonna turn around once and we’ll do the Eagle Rock.