Dawson River


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Hi everyone,
After a not very promising start marked by a brief shower, six of us set out from the wharf at Cundletown last Sunday to paddle the Dawson River. (On the way down we dropped in at the Cattai Wetlands to check on the waterlilies which were in full bloom. If you have never seen them/wetlands now is the perfect time; pick a sunny day for the best colour).
It was only the second time we have paddled the Dawson & it was very rewarding. The short option is no longer available so it ended up being about 20kms return up to Brimbin Nature Reserve & back. Up at the reserve the river links up with Tommy Owens Creek & it is sublime; creeky, secluded & a bit other worldly, the river twisting & turning while the trees tower overhead in a canopy like effect shutting out a lot of daylight. We plan to go back & explore this top end on a good high tide as it abounds with natural beauty & birdlife. It is a hidden gem.
We set off on the Manning River & veered right into the Dawson which is quite wide in its lower reaches. It is flanked by wonderful tall stands of casuarinas, supported by both river & grey mangroves. We enjoyed tide assistance & the wind (what there was of it ) was not an issue. In some sections the water was dead calm. The further upriver we paddled the more birdlife I was aware of. I spotted six azure kingfishers & many other small birds I could not identify. As we got closer to Brimbin the river narrowed & the trees closed in around us; it was a lovely experience, like being swallowed up into a secret world. A pontoon signalled we had arrived & we secured our kayaks & wound our way up the pathway to the picnic area which we had to ourselves. There are some lovely short walks from here through the reserve to vantage points over the water.
After lunch & a bit of a stroll to stretch our legs, we headed back down river. Closer to Cundletown Bill organised us into a ‘conga line’ to practise wash riding, a valuable skill to learn to assist with fatigue/bad conditions.
After washing & loading the kayaks we headed to The Other Side Café for a well deserved coffee & cake! It felt strange making our entrance from the car park instead of Ghinni Ghinni Creek.
The area around Brimbin was used by the Birpai as a major transport route as there is a reliable crossing over the Dawson above tidal influences. It was also similarly used by the early settlers. The reserve covers 50 acres & trees within it include grey gum, grey ironbark, broad leaved white mahogany, white stringybark, tallowwood, forest redgum, turpentine & pink bloodwoods. It also has narrow leaved redgums..an important food & habitat for koalas.
Thanks to those who joined us; hope you enjoyed the paddle.
Cheers
– Caroline & Bill

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Limeburners Environs


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Hi everyone,
Two groups each comprising six kayakers enjoyed lovely paddles in the Limeburners environs last Sunday.
Greg led the first group over from Settlement Point to explore all the little bays & they paddled across the top lake to the entrance to the creek & then back via the western edge of the lake. They had a break at Tom Dick’s Hole which is the cleanest I have seen it for quite awhile.
The other group paddled across the top lake, down Limeburners Creek & onto Saltwater Lake at the far end.
The creek was beautiful & secluded with a varying landscape that included shrubby mangroves spilling into the water, lanky casuarinas, meadows of grasses & dense, bushy sections alive with birdsong. There are some massive elk ferns up in the canopy & some baby ones establishing themselves on fallen tree trunks.
We moved along briskly with tide assistance & no obstacles; fallen trees & other debris have been removed so it was plain sailing with only a few tight turns to negotiate.
Much to our sadness, we found the old scout camp had been burnt down! However, a new structure has been erected & it looks like a work in progress. We went past it & stopped a bit further on for morning tea. As we were ahead of the tide it was a bit difficult getting out: Ken decided to have his on his own private ‘island in the stream’ on a bit of a sandbar.
We kept going, heading for Saltwater Lake. Last time we were stopped just short of it by a fallen tree, so it was great that Bill V & Colin actually got to reach it this time. We paddled out onto the lake & around the island in very shallow water before heading back up the creek to the camp for lunch. Once here we had a chance to check out the new camp structure. Ken & Colin got comfortable on two banana lounges while the rest of us sat on makeshift benches. The ground was covered in the softest green groundcover; you could have laid down on it quite easily.
After a nice break we set off again, with the tide still coming in. However, the paddle back was lovely as we glided through tunnel like sections where the trees arched above us creating both shade & shadows. The light is muted in these sections & creates a very calming atmosphere. There is always something to catch your eye, from darting azure kingfishers, magnificent elk ferns, spear flowers & the vibrant green of new grasses. I was thrilled to spot some outcrops of thumbnail orchids. These delicate little flowers do not jump out at you, but once the eye gets used to where to look for them, you start to spot them everywhere..little floral pixies of the forest.
We arrived back at the top lake where the breeze was welcome as it can get quite warm in the confines of the creek. Back at Tom Dick’s Hole we parted company with Stephen, Colin, Ken & Bill who faced some choppy water just around the corner & on their way back across to Settlement Point.
Thanks Greg for leading the shorter option, Bill W for the longer one & Stephen for leading across & back from Settlement.
We hope you enjoyed your paddles.
Cheers
– Caroline

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Greg’s Anabranch Paddle


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Hi everyone,

Greg’s Anabranch paddle last Sunday was relaxing & peaceful. With Port being so busy at present, it was great to escape up a creek ( with a paddle!!) & just get away from the maddening crowds.

It was a beautiful morning with a light breeze & we were able to paddle mostly in the shade thanks to an early start on the water.

I went a bit ahead to get some photos with undisturbed water & as soon as I turned into the first anabranch a flock of at least 20 Nankeen herons levitated out of the tree tops & gracefully flapped off to find more secluded perches. There was plenty of birdsong amongst the trees & shrubbery along the creek & hundreds of white, spider like seed pods floated, ghost like through the air & settled silently on the surface like so many little water sprites. As kids we called them ‘money spiders’ & we would catch as many of them as we could, put them under a glass on our bedside tables and, if we were lucky, they would be replaced by a threepence come morning.

On one side of this anabranch there are glimpses of small properties & grazing land, while the other is blanketed by thick undergrowth & tall trees, some bedecked with glorious elkferns, some of huge proportions. Twisted ‘Tarzan’ vines & other leafy creepers cascaded down to the water, like Rapunzel’s braid and eye catching clumps of white flowering swamp lillies provided double the beauty with their perfect reflections captured on the creek surface.

There were no obstacles to negotiate – someone has removed them – just a few overhanging mangroves & tight corners to negotiate which just added to the feeling of remoteness & being in a place that is seldom disturbed.

We didn’t stop for long at the junction of the two anabranches as the bush telegraph had alerted the mozzies to our presence. The second anabranch has a different feel to the first, not quite as closed in & with more open areas. Bill, who had paddled up from Riverside to check out a creek on the way, met us half way along & we mooched along comfortably back to Hacks Ferry where we enjoyed lunch around the lovely split log table ( very Viking!!) overlooking the water.

Thanks Greg for leading & organising for us to access private property. Hope everyone enjoyed the morning.

– Caroline

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Remembrance Day


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Hi everyone,
Both groups of seven paddlers had very pleasant conditions for our paddles on Remembrance Day…November 11.
The first group paddled from the Apex Park ramp at Dunbogan across Watson Taylor Lake & up the Camden Haven River to Kendall. The second group paddled from Kendall down to Rossglen & return.
The weather was perfect & the water calm on the lake. We stopped paddling at 11am for a minute’s silence ( as did the other group ) & the only sounds we could hear were birds. That moment’s reflection in such beautiful surroundings certainly brought the word ‘peace’ into focus & what so many men & women suffered through, or made the ultimate sacrifice for, so we today can enjoy days like this.
We stopped on the little beach on the point for a break & to enjoy the scenery; beautiful views back to North Brother & out across the lake. Back in our kayaks we headed up the Camden Haven & met up with the other group having their break at Rossglen. We all paddled back up to Kendall & enjoyed our picnic lunch at the little park. In one of the houses near the park there was a magnificent Illawarra Flame Tree in full bloom; they have been stunning this year.
Thanks to those who joined us & we hope you enjoyed the paddle.
Cheers
– Caroline

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