Sunday, 10 April 2011

Day trip to the Kayak Attractor Device

Yesterday  Dee organised a trip out to the Sydney Fish Attractor Device (FAD) off Manly with the option of heading out to the Sydney Waverider buoy. The FAD is 7.5km off Bluefish Point on North Head, and the Waverider about 4 km further east.

Ten of us assembled at Watson’s Bay at 7.30am. Beautiful weather for an offshore trip: 10-15knot NW, moving around to NE, negligible sea

Dee was keen to try her dead reckoning ( and there had been some discussion about “Dead” vs “ded”, but I’ll side with the Elizabethans any day) so she estimated time and heading using vectors and allowing for the EAC to push us 2km/hr south. Dee's account of this trip is at

We headed out into the spectacular calm (if you can have such a thing). Profound contrast to two weeks earlier when I’d been off North Head with a 30-knot southerly blowing on top of 3m seas and 3m waves.  We paddled steadily on Dee’s heading, those of us carrying GPS’s keeping our mouths shut.

After an hour and a half we (Mike S and I) thought we really should mention to Dee that we had overshot according to the GPS and on both his unit and mine we were getting further away. Turned out the  southward current flow was negligible and we had been making better speed than we had estimated. We headed south again and soon the yellow dot of the FAD hove into view.
Kayak Attractor Device at work

Never been out to a FAD before, didn’t know what to expect. Turned out to be a simple buoy which just by its presence aggregates pelagic fish. There you go.
Dee arrives at the FAD

Everyone was feeling pretty relaxed so we set out a further 4km to the east to the published position of the waverider buoy, which is about 12km offshore.  

We found the position OK but no buoy to be seen. A bit strange hanging around at a designated spot with nothing but open ocean. Lovely spot to be, though.

The Phantom Waverider

Turned for home. Took forever to get back to the heads, and I had a bad case of mirage bum by the time we pulled into the lee of the cliffs. The amazing appearing Andrew Eddy popped into view from the West, having slipped into the harbour half an hour ahead of everyone else by dint of some canny navigation, seeking a faster run in than a simple straight line.

Google Earth GPS track courtesy Mike Steinfeld. No idea how the pine  tree is doing. 

6 hours on the water, 37km under our hulls, damn fine day.  

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