Amy Minne and Matthew Black spend a lot of time paddling their dual seater kayak, often in the ocean, and, as it turns out, paddling to Sydney was an adventurous idea just waiting to happen … an idea that has raised money to assist a local Aboriginal corporation with its youth work.
“We were kayaking a lot over the last few years and, I think, sometime last year we started saying ‘Let’s go somewhere kayaking and camping for a few days’,” says Amy.
Earlier this year Amy was kayaking in Tasmania, and it “put the idea in my head, to go for a little bit more than just a few days, so I called Matt”.
“It was a random idea; then I came back here; Matt was working and I said, ’Are we going to do it? And three days later…”
The couple are not romantically attached, however, Matt laughs, “I’d call Amy more my life coach.
“We really only had three days; I organised work, the weather was good, and we were just up and gone.
“We didn’t really make a plan, but we always had a can of baked beans.”
Amy says she “loves anything and everything in the ocean” and that she spent a lot of time “sailing with my family; but since I moved to Australia [from Germany eight years ago] I started surfing and kayaking”.
Over the 25-day journey, the ocean provided “anything and everything” they had hoped for; good weather, whales, sharks and dolphins; and, perhaps, a few they hadn’t; unfavourable wind and weather combined with a stormy swell.
“We looked forward to it all,” says Amy, “but I wouldn’t do it with anyone else … I really wanted to see a big shark.”
“Watching the great white breach was pretty amazing,” says Matt, “we were really spoiled with the whales and dolphins.
“We always seemed to be greeted by the dolphins whenever we left the beach.”
The duo set out on October 17, with a 10-litre bottle of water, some dry bags, inflatable mattresses and sleeping bags – there’s not too much room to spare in their kayak, so they picked up supplies from towns along the way.
While the initial idea was to complete the paddle for fun, the pair ended up starting a gofundme page to aid the Mudyala Aboriginal Corporation, an “Aboriginal-owned and run not-for-profit organisation that aims to support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in the Northern NSW Clarence Valley region”.
“We were inspired by two friends who did a cycle trip from Byron to Uluru,” says Amy. “Then we got in touch with a friend and chose Mudyala Aboriginal Corporation.”
On November 10, Matt and Amy paddled into Sydney Harbour, which Matt rates among his journey’s most memorable moments. “I reckon it was sitting on the steps of the Opera House with our kayak and in our wetsuits,” he says.
“We got some funny looks – it was raining and not many people around – and someone said, ‘You’re a bit high and dry up there’,” says Amy.
She remembers being quite far out to sea and not being able to see any towns off Hat Head.
“It was a bit windy and wild – exciting, not scary – but I’d be scared if I was out there by myself, but not with Matt.”
“I think we were blessed,” says Matt.