Today, Bellerive Beach on the eastern shore of Hobart’s waterways was packed out with kayaks as families came down to be part of something bigger than themselves. A couple kayaking at another beach a couple of days ago explained that as part of the Royal Hobart Regatta celebrations, an attempt was going to be made to simultaneously launch a record-breaking number of kayaks and canoes.

Kayak launch for a new Guinness World Record, Bellerive Beach, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
The number of kayaks and canoes on Bellerive Beach is a testament to Tasmanians' love of water-sports.

Today, a new Guinness World Record was created. Over 400 kayaks and canoes were launched in tandem (well, with just a bit of natural staggering) to set a new record, breaking the limit set by sportspeople at Calf Pasture Beach, Norwalk, Connecticut in 2006. We were there to watch it with one of our friends from New Zealand who now lives in Hobart.

Kayak launch for a new Guinness World Record, Bellerive Beach, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
One canoe sports an engine at the back.

Kayak launch for a new Guinness World Record, Bellerive Beach, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
I like this timber canoe. I saw only three like it in the line-up of 400 craft.

Kayak launch for a new Guinness World Record, Bellerive Beach, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
It takes quite a while to get everyone ready for a simultaneous launch.

Our girls really wanted to participate in the attempt, but we discovered we couldn’t fit a kayak into the bus to bring it to the beach. Perhaps with a bit more time we could have found an alternative method of transport, but today we were just spectators.

Kayak launch for a new Guinness World Record, Bellerive Beach, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
They all line up at the water.

Kayak launch for a new Guinness World Record, Bellerive Beach, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
And then they're off!

Kayak launch for a new Guinness World Record, Bellerive Beach, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
To satisfy the criteria for the record, the kayaks have to launch three metres from shore.

Kayak launch for a new Guinness World Record, Bellerive Beach, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
Most choose to keep paddling when they're in the water.

Kayak launch for a new Guinness World Record, Bellerive Beach, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
Calista and Marcus go down to the water to take some pictures.

Kayak launch for a new Guinness World Record, Bellerive Beach, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
One dog rides at the front of its owner's kayak.

Kayak launch for a new Guinness World Record, Bellerive Beach, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
Another kayak sports a flag and a sail. The conditions today are too windy for the sail to be unfurled.

It’s been great to hang out with our Kiwi friend Marcus while visiting Hobart. We last saw him in Peria as well as Warkworth, and he’s travelling back to New Zealand next week, taking our warm wishes with him to all our mutual friends.

Marcus Lambert, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
Marcus reads obsessively and can fill me in on the history and issues relevant to Tasmanians.

Marcus Lambert & KT, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
Marcus and KT have been in Australia for almost a year, using Hobart as their base for work.

Marcus and KT have been house-sitting in the Hobart area since last April, demonstrating that alternative methods of living — free, even — are possible in this culture. They bunk in their vans in between house-sitting gigs, but this hasn’t been for very often.

Although we didn’t participate directly in the new record, it was enough to sit on the sidelines and cheer the participants. Hanging out with Marcus and KT at the beach has been lots of fun, and I’m glad we got to catch up with them while we’re down south.

We’ve got less than two weeks left in Tasmania, and already I’m starting to feel sad about the lost opportunity to explore more of the island. We’ve made some lovely friends down here, and they’re also a compelling reason to return. I’m planning to return in our bus in November, and that hope is sustaining me as we finish up this summer’s visit.