Last Sunday fourteen of us revelled in a perfect Autumn day on the water. With a fresh nip to the air, a gentle breeze & a lovely clear sky above it felt great to be alive & paddling minus all that heavy humidity we have been experiencing.
Paddling upstream from Rocks Ferry we enjoyed the vistas afforded by the wide, open expanse of water with views up towards the distant hills. The grazing land along the way was lush ( thanks to the recent rain ) & everything looked renewed after the hot summer. The land along the way varies from pasture to steep, sometimes rocky banks with trees climbing upwards towards the sky to dense, jungle like vegetation with creepers & vines hanging down. An old Canadian canoe moored under some graceful casuarinas looked very much the part of the riverscape. We passed Yippin Creek & although the group did not go in, Bill checked it out later. He said that while it was still as beautiful as ever, a large tree has come down not far from the entrance which is difficult, but not impossible, to manoeuvre around. As we passed under the railway bridge & on towards the big bend in the river, two white bellied sea eagles looked down on us from their perch on high. (Bill V & I saw a sea eagle & an osprey on our way back having an aerial sortie over a fish the sea eagle had caught ).
The gentle movement of the water caused by the breeze ruffling the surface caused the sunlight to sparkle like shimmering sequins. The light also highlighted grassy outcrops & tussocks nestled at water’s edge, their straw colour a great contrast to the myriad shades of green. We paddled under Bain Bridge & on to a spot where we could have a leg stretch. A few of us ventured on for a km or more enjoying the scenery in this more narrow section of the river. It reminded me of sections of the Macleay up towards Belgrave Falls with areas of exposed river rocks complete with trees that bore the trademark lean of those that have struggled to stay upright during floods. As the tide had turned & we were in increasingly shallow water, we turned back before the first little rapid. It is beautiful up here, different to the main part of the river.
A few of us went into Morton Creek which was quiet & secluded with areas of gentle dappled light & some lovely reflections. Sadly, someone had left a gill net strung across the opening to the creek & when pulled up it revealed at least a dozen dead mullet & bream. There were a few survivors including a massive crab ( which Bill managed to cut loose from the tangle & release ) & a large flathead which Barry saved & released. We can’t understand why people do this. Gill nets are illegal but to leave a net like this in the water indefinitely is deemed a low act in fishing circles. Gill nets just keep killing & this one had been there for sometime.
Our paddle back down was pleasant & tide assisted & we enjoyed a picnic lunch in the shade next to the river.
Thanks Barry for leading this paddle ( & Trish for the chocolate slice).
A little bit of history.
A ferry operated at Rocks Ferry until the present bridge was built & opened in 1983. Bain Bridge was the first bridge built over the Hastings River. It was opened in 1907. Locals referred to it as the Bridge of Sighs, a reference to how long it took to come into existence. (The Denis Bridge was not opened until 54 years later). It is named after local identity Duncan Bain, a tireless worker for the local community who sadly passed away a year before the bridge was opened.
Hope you enjoyed the paddle.