All the Way Round
I’m aware that what can make my top ten may not rate for others.
    The Australian bush is a wonderful place; it really is like the photos in the brochure. However, without water, food or shelter it’s hard to appreciate the wonder of nature as things get uncomfortable and can quickly develop into a serious situation. So, from my point of view, a spot might be great just because it has a rainwater tank and a bit of shade which, after a few days where the simple things in life are sparse, are worth more than can be imagined. However, if you’ve just left a five-star resort and driven to the same spot by car you may not see it in such a positive light.
    As a kayaker, finding a sheltered landing on a day with big seas will be remembered by me as a special place. Someone else may paddle in on a day when the weather is calm and wonder why the hell I’d landed there at all.
    It also depends on who or what else is there. When I land, I may meet a friendly local who looks after me, or I may meet a ranger and be told to move my campsite. One day there could be wildlife that’s beautiful and rare, the next day there could be creatures that want to bite or sting me.
    So a great spot is really a subjective thing, but wouldn’t travel be boring if it was all predictable like a video game.
    Point Anne had a sheltered landing and campsite. I found shade, water and a gas cooker. Lazing along the shoreline were about a dozen southern right whales and calves—there was even an albino calf sitting a few metres off the beach. For me, it definitely counts as a great spot.
    From Point Anne it was 55 kilometres to Hopetoun where I got on the internet and discovered that the weather was going to turn bad in a few days. So while staying at Hopetoun Caravan Park I made plans to get 40 kilometres further down the coast to Starvation Boat Harbour before it hit, so I could sit out the predicted 30 knots of wind and 4-metre swell in a protected place. The only downside to waiting at Starvation Boat Harbour was its lack of drinking water. This could be a problem if the bad weather hung around and I got stuck there.
    Luckily Colin Jenks, the caretaker at the Hopetoun Caravan Park, came to my aid. He took a day off from work and both Colin and his wife, Cathy, met me at Starvation Boat Harbour. They brought with them not only the water I needed but steaks, sausages, cabbage, eggs, yoghurt, fruit and a few fishing rods. It was a long way for them to drive and all I’d asked for was water, but Colin and Cathy went all out and made my day very comfortable. It may not seem like a big deal, but for me it was incredibly generous.
    This was just one of many kind acts on my trip that rekindled my faith in the human race. When I landed on a remote beach I was often subject to similar generosity from the first person that talked to me. It was not unusual for me to find myself comfortable for the night in the house of someone I’d only met a few hours ago. What are the odds of that if people are mostly selfish and unsympathetic?
    There was, however, definitely a difference as I paddled closer to the major cities, where a more guarded and defensive attitude prevailed. The influence of a busy, high-pressure, crowded environment seemed to encourage people to value money more than time. If I walked up to a house on a city beach today and said, ‘Look, I’ve not had a shower for a few days, my clothes haven’t been washed for a week, I’ve been eating lentils and muesli every day and I’m too tight to pay for a caravan park, can I stay at your place for a few nights to get sorted?’ I wouldn’t get too far.
    Why would someone I’ve only just met take a precious day off to drive out of their way to visit me and bring me food and water? Why would a stranger offer to put me up in their home or take me out for dinner? Is it because I’m such a nice guy? Hardly.
    Sure, turning up in a kayak with a story of a long journey makes me a bit interesting, but I like to

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