While visiting Kenilworth one week end, I saw a notice requesting people of interest to show their support and join in a protest paddle down the Mary River to stop the future Traveston Dam construction.
I roped in Jim B, and Brian M. to join me, we were not really protesting but saw it as a golden opportunity to join in the carnival atmosphere and a introduction to paddling on the Mary River.
The day arrived and we entered the farmers property registered and set our kayaks on the river bank. There were all shapes and sizes – that’s including the home made rafts, canoes and kayaks as well.
After driving our cars to the finishing line, we were talking to an organiser to see if we could get a lift back to the starting point (about 5 klm.)  Close by we heard a voice say  “hop in I will take you.”
It was the local police officer, we were put into the paddy wagon and returned to the starting line.
Finally we were on the water after some very ceremonial tip outs by the many participants – the three of us could see the dangers ahead and automatically took up the roll of “Tail end Charlie”, showing some how to hold and use their paddles and rescuing  many by towing them to the river bank, as some obviously could not swim,   A great day was had by all, finishing with a B.B.Q. lunch.
Shortly after this experience we then programed our Club to paddle the Mary River from Kenilworth to Walker Rd bridge ( approx. 15 klm.) stopping at Moy Pocket Rd Bridge for morning tea, were we had back up cars parked there just in case.
We had 15 club paddlers on the water that day, many are still members and will definitely remember this paddle along with the very exciting grade 2 rapids which was new to most of us.
This “Paddle to Remember” is dedicated to the memory of our President at the time, the late – Bruce Gardiner – Bruce was my passenger in the car on the way back home, he couldn’t stop talking and reliving the experience of this fun days paddle.
Ron W.


Three men in a tub …

Only it wasn’t three men and it wasn’t a tub.  Instead we have three intrepid SSRKC women paddlers aboard the improbably named Banana Oil, travelling the Canal du Midi in France from Carcassone to Agde:  Sue Alcock, Chris Drysdale and Vivien Griffin.


It all started when Sue had organised a SSRKC group to head over to Croatia for a fantastic paddling trip (actually it was a birthday celebration for her but she kept that secret).  I mentioned that a canal trip through France had always been on my bucket list, and these two foolhardy women signed up for the experience with me.


We made it to the medieval fortress city of Carcassone via TGV  from Paris, checked into our hotel and headed over for our briefing with the boat hire company.  Our instructor was somewhat bemused to find that they had hired the boat to three women but what could go wrong?  Hmmm!


The next day we checked out of our hotel, with Chris proclaiming that she loved our female proprietor!  Mine hostess looked somewhat nonplussed, but turns out Chris was trying out her French and thought she was telling her that she had liked the room!  It could only get better – but it didn’t.  Instead Sue as our fearless navigator, decided that we should enter our first lock sideways.  We blamed the fierce wind blowing us off course …


However, we got better at this lock stuff, and over the next 7 days negotiated one, three and even the famous Fonserannes seven lock system near Beziers.  Chris managed to injure her ankle so was relieved of leaping out and tying up duties, and Sue was similarly excused because she was already injured, leaving moi to the joys of this challenge.


At the end of each day, Chris was in her element negotiating our food shopping in local markets, and thanks to her we ate as one should when in France, that is to say, magnificently!  Did I mention the wine? 


Over the journey, we traversed beautiful countryside,  dreamy waterways, aquaducts, tunnels and bridges, and as the travelogues say, bid a sad farewell to Banana Oil when it all ended.  We caught the TGV back to Charles de Gaulle airport and flew out to Zagreb and our next adventure.


Thanks Sue and Chris for a marvellous trip!


Going back a few years, I think it was about 1986/7 or thereabouts and we were living in Maryborough. I had my own business and was working very long hours and consequently had’t had my kayak in the water for a number of years. When it was suggested at Rotary one night that we should have a day kayaking on the Mary River I got excited. There had been recent rain and the rapids up Tiaro way were ideal for tackling.
From memory, I think Garth you may have had a hand in organizing this, is that right?

Anyway, I went home waxing lyrical to Shirl re the plans and said that if I worked longer the day before, I should be able to finish early and get out there in time. “That would be Ok wouldn’t it? What do you think?” Being a model husband, I always ask permission!

Shirl said “what days?” I told her. She said “what’s the date?” Women! what does it matter? Anyway, I said that I thought it was the 9th and 10th of February. There was silence for a few moments and then she said ” So you’re proposing to work longer on the 9th February so you can go paddling on the 10th of FEBRUARY?”

I said yeah, that should be OK hey? She said ” so your proposing to work longer on the 9th, my birthday, so you can paddle on the 10th which just happens to be our wedding anniversary?”

Bummer! I screwed up. But given I couldn’t get deeper in the you know what, I thought I may as well go.

Well, it was a great day. We’d put in above the race and whizz down through the rocks and when we hit the end would trudge back through the bush carrying the kayak, to do it all over again. I don’t know how many times but do know that by the time I finished I was completely knackered.

I will never forget the day, (Shirl will see to that!) and I’ve paid a heavy price. But boy, it was worth it!

Bob running the same stretch of water – Image by Garth P.

(This happened before we joined the club!)
We had just started kayaking & had bought our “Penguins” ( had to drive to Canberra to get them!!) Decided to try them out, with a paddle to Bribie Island. 5 of our friends, (also just starting to kayak) decided to join us.
We started from Golden Beach..beautiful sunny day. Too hot to wear lifejackets, all in agreement, not to take them!! (Also, didn’t have such a thing as a “skirt”!!) The plan was to overnight at Donnybrook, so all loaded up with camping gear..what an adventure we were going to have!!
Made it to the camping ground at Donnybrook, during the night, the wind came up & in the morning, thought it looked a bit rough! ( didn’t think about weather forecasts!!) So off we went to Bribie!!
Once out in the channel, conditions drastically became worse..paddling against the tide, wind & waves crashing over our kayaks (no skirts/pumps)..what a nightmare!! All being “first timers at this” we carried on!! Finally, the bridge was in sight (with our kayaks half full of water!!)  we made it to the Caravan Park.
Overnight, the wind still blowing, in the morning as well!! So made a decision to start back & Albert said..”If anyone not happy with conditions by the time we reach the bridge, head to the shore!!”
Conditions were very, very rough, so after about a couple of minutes,  the 3 ladies looked at each other, without a word, we headed to shore!
One of the guy’s wife, had to come from Golden Beach & drive the men back, to pick up the cars at Golden Beach… Loaded the kayaks on the cars & had to go back to Donnybrook to pick up our tents …which had all blown over because of the strong winds! ( we were to overnight there on the return journey ) So after many hours, we arrived home!
From that “experience ” we decided to always wear a lifejacket & bought skirts!!