1 So over the past several years I’ve been fortunate enough to have friends who have allowed me to paddle their spare kayaks.

2 Just after we moved to our old folks home, a friend from church made me a permanent loan of a Bass kayak and Mike loaned me a paddle. The tub weighs in at 18.3kgm, but it is handy in that it fits in the back of the Tribute (with a foot or two hanging out). It provided several paddles on Point Hut Pond. It also allowed lake and pond geocaching with Roger E. But when paddling with my mates in their narrow, pointy boats, I’m sure I embarrassed myself and them. And I couldn’t keep up.

3 So thoughts turned to making a purchase. I spec-ed up a Mirage 532 Kevlar IRT and spent time talking with Max, Mike and Terence on storage, roof racks and where to purchase. Several visits to WetSpot in Fyshwick. I was also accepted as a member of the Mirage Sea Kayaks Owners FaceBook group.

4 I was about to place an order when the following appeared:

The ad

5 I slept on it, discussed it with my dear wife, then emailed the next day (26 June) to make an offer. It was accepted and by 2pm, the $$s were EFT-ed and the deal sealed. I rang first thing on 27 June to order a leg drive plate if there was time to fit it. The boat was delivered around 6.30pm to my old folks home by Roy of Canoes Plus, based in Melbourne. He’d picked up kayaks from Gosford, made the detour into Sydney to pick up my boat and was heading to Melbourne with a 4WD + double decker trailer of boats.

6 The Featherlight does not appear on the Mirage website, but Shannon offered:

• Kevlar IRT with a clear and light fibreglass matt as a base layer, on top of a core.
• The seats are also IRT and pedals, rudder and bulkheads are more carefully rolled to reduce weight on every part.
• The 1 and a bit kgm saving is a combination of many parts and a much longer manufacturing timeline.

7 During the day I visited WetSpot and parted with more $$s for a Werner Camano 2-piece straight shaft 225cm long amber coloured paddle, Ultra level 50 M size S gold colour PFD and O&E Ceiling Hoist Rax for the garage ceiling.

8 Also went round the corner to Roof Rack City to order said racks. Thule don’t fit on a Commodore post 2006, as Holden have their own racks. But Rhino do. “Put ’em on” I said. Haha. A week to order parts and “Don’t you know it’s snow season?”

9 So had boat, no racks. Max S was kind enough to find me a spare hour on 2 July and pick up boat + me and take us to Lake Tuggers. We spent 50mins getting the leg drive plate and pedals fully forward and secured; 10mins on the water.

10 Roof racks fitted on 17 July.

11 Jon McI from church did a fabulous job in installing the boat hanger pulleys in the garage. Extra strong up top and I reckon I could lift the car as well:

Garage pulley hanging

12 As soon as Mike was available, he kindly came round and sorted out my boat cradles and we went for a paddle on Lake Tuggeranong:

First proper paddle with Mike | photo Mike B

13 On 1 August, Mike and I had another paddle on Molonglo Reach and up Ship Creek (well, Woolshed Creek). I could get used to this!

Navigating Woolshed Creek

14 Alas (for me), I had to sell this beautiful boat in May 21 after I got crook. But it went to a great home in Perth.

15. I still have a Riot sit-on-top.