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Little Rawdon Island


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Hi everyone,
Last Sunday another early start to beat the heat saw eight of us on the water at 8am for our paddle from Blackmans Point around Little Rawdon Island. Our old faithful Bulldog friend came to see us off from the ramp, disappointed it was too early for a snack!
The water was like glass & we slipped effortlessly past rolling farming land with cattle grazing contentedly in the cool of the morning. The slightly hazy looking hills of the Comboyne & Bago provided a lovely vista ahead of us.
At the second bridge we practised wash riding in a formation of two groups with a rear spotter for each to keep the line true & the pace suitable. This practice is invaluable…insurance for a day when the conditions could be the exact opposite to what we were enjoying.
We veered right into Munns Channel & enjoyed the sense of freedom & space that comes with paddling on big, wide stretches of water in calm conditions. We headed up towards the sweeping bend, past Hughes Inlet before veering left into Casswell Channel which runs between Quetta Isl. on the right & Little Rawdon Isl. on the left. It was quiet up here & we had the water to ourselves. We veered left into Rawdon Channel & went under the Little Rawdon Isl. bridge where a lone fisherman was enjoying the solitude of this lovely part of the world.
We decided not to stop at the old ferry ramp as it was very muddy but kept going, re-entering Munns Channel & then back into the main Hastings with the two bridges ahead of us. A nice steady breeze was up which kept things cool as the day was starting to warm up & we felt it as soon as we were back on land. The grass underfoot was crackly & the crunching of fallen leaves & bark added to the summer sensations of heat & lack of rain. Waiting for us at the water’s edge were Ray & Richard & Maria who had brought their new German Shepherd puppy Florence along to meet the crew. She is a beauty but would need her own kayak when she grows into her paws!!
After washing kayaks & loading up we adjourned to nearby Ricardoes for morning tea which was indulgent & delicious!
Thanks to those who joined us. We hope you enjoyed the early paddle.
Cheers
Caroline

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Connection Creek


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Hi everyone,
Just running behind with our trip report for Sunday 30 December which was Connection Creek.
This beautiful paddle gets you in right from the start with a stunning reflection right across the water from where we launch.
The Maria River Rd. was in good condition & the Christmas Bells were still flowering, although many had been harvested.
Given the heat, we were on the water early at 8am & enjoyed paddling up on the shady side while taking in the scenery & reflections on the sunny side of the creek. I never get tired of this paddle with its mesmerising reflections & graceful overhanging branches & fallen timber which are like strategically placed sculptures along the way.
Connection Creek runs parallel to the Maria River Rd., petering out into dense rushes before Crescent Head Rd. It is flanked by beautiful tall trees, including melaleucas, casuarinas & eucalypts all stretching towards the sky, competing for their place in the sun. Look into the understory & there are wonderful outcrops of elk ferns scaling the trunks & branches of their host trees, some draped down like a ballerina’s skirt. Vines & creepers cascade down from above, some resting gently on the surface of the water or moving gently in the breeze. White flowering swamp lillies, feather duster topped rushes & vivid green grasses line the banks & there were some pretty outcrops of blue waterlilies opening up. There are some magnificent old trees with thick, nobbly white trunks & here & there, the sunlight highlighting them amongst the greenery. In the shade were patches of delicate, flowering ground cover violets. Birds & insects added background sound effects & paddling in the early morning was very peaceful & comfortable.
The old timber bridge is still hanging in there as well as a couple of private wharves.
Bill went to explore the Upper Maria to check on blockages & when he caught up to us reported that there were more then previously & were not able to be surmounted. Such a shame as this is also a beautiful paddle. Maybe the next flood will clear some of the debris away & open it up once again.
Back at the clearing we washed & loaded our kayaks & sat down to enjoy lunch beside the creek. You could tell it was the tourist season as normally no-one else comes here but us, but upon arrival one tinnie was launching & just as we were finishing lunch another arrived!! Roll on February!!
Thanks to those who joined us; we hope you enjoyed the paddle.
Cheers
Caroline

 

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Herons Creek


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Hi everyone,
After closely monitoring the wind forecast for Sunday, 13 of us set off from Lakewood to paddle tranquil Herons Creek ( sorry about the mud & weed but at least we were well protected from the SW wind).
We paddled the short distance across Queens Lake to the entrance & then enjoyed a pleasant 14kms return paddle in this lovely part of the world. It is a wide creek for the most part..as wide as some rivers… flanked by tall trees interspersed with glimpses of properties along the way. Some of the homes have enviable private water frontages to the creek. A big osprey flew ahead of us at one point & there were black swans on the lake, their cries haunting on the wind.
As we got to the far reaches of the creek the going got more difficult with submerged tree trunks lurking just below the surface & other fallen timber. We turned around & paddled back to the 5 kms mark where we got out for a snack & a leg stretch. Bill & I paddled down a little side creek which was very picturesque but choked with fallen timber.
Back on the water we headed for Lakewood & into the S Westerly which was cooling as despite the overcast day, it was still hot out of the breeze. When we got to the opening onto the lake we travelled across in small, tight groups pointing up into the wind which was not too challenging.
Back at Lakewood we negotiated the mud & weed again & after washing down the kayaks & loading them, enjoyed lunch in a shady spot beside the lake with a bit of a cool breeze.
Thanks to those who joined us; we hope you enjoyed the day on the water.
Cheers
Caroline

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Fernbank Creek


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Hi everyone,
A bit of a lull in the wild, windy weather we have been experiencing lately saw a “fearless five” hit the water yesterday, keen for a paddle.
Due to the forecast we relocated from McMillan Dve. to the ramp at Fernbank & had a beautiful, calm & sheltered paddle up the creek, making the most of the high tide. It was lovely in here & the high water saw us ducking under branches & gliding through narrow areas. The mangroves looked magnificent with plenty of water through them & some lovely reflections & shadows.
When we re-emerged we paddled up towards the Dennis Bridge. The westerly was buffeting but not unmanageable & we decided to explore the little inlet just before Birdons. This turned out to be a hidden gem. We have not been in here before, either striking it at low tide or being en route somewhere else. Once through the open area you enter a beautiful mangrove forest which is quite easy to paddle through & not quite as dense as other mangrove areas. Very photogenic. After this we mooched around Birdons where they were starting to load up the Island Trader for its trip back to Lord Howe Isl.
As the water ahead was quite choppy, & we had had an enjoyable outing, we decided to head back with the wind behind us & a few runners to catch. Bill & I had a ‘challenging’ trip back across the junction of the two rivers as the southerly hit just as we reached it!!! The others were safely on land at Fernbank! I was very glad to set foot on Riverside. Thanks Greg for leading the paddle.
Hopefully we have seen the last of those winds for awhile & can look forward to some calmer waters.
Happy Christmas everyone.
Cheers
Caroline

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Pipers Creek


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Hi everyone,
Our Pipers Creek paddle on Sunday 16 December was picture postcard material. The overcast sky & light rain served to enhance its appeal as it is a paddle that is beautiful either drenched in dappled sunlight or tinged with more sombre hues. It is such a stress busting paddle & the seven of us who paddled thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
We paddled north first, flanked by tallĀ  trees rising in layers up banks carpeted with leaf litter, bark & ground covers. We wound our way along enjoying the relative solitude & natural beauty until we were stopped before the bridge by a fallen tree which we could not get around. As we paddled back a light rain started to fall, the water droplets bouncing off the surface of the creek. We ventured up Smiths Creek, only to find our path blocked yet again by another fallen tree. We decided to paddle down towards the Maria River & were rewarded with beautiful floating outcrops of blue waterlilies, all in flower. Their colour was a standout against the overcast day & the green vegetation.
After meandering down about half way we headed back to the reserve & managed to wash the kayaks & load up & settle in under the picnic shelter for lunch before the rain returned.
Thanks to those who joined us & to Barry for leading the paddle.
Cheers
Caroline

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