Kayaking in Lockdown…A New Beginning.

These photos of Geoff and I kayaking in lockdown are living proof of just how deceptive a photo can be. There we were floating on a magical, diamond carpet as the radiant Spring sunshine cast its magic over the water. It’s absolutely beautiful, and would make for a perfect postcard. There’s the bright blue sky dotted with a couple of woolly white clouds. There’s also the radiant Spring sunshine which isn’t hot enough to burn , but warm enough to defrost the Winter inertia. Indeed, Spring is something you feel right throughout your mind, soul and spirit; and you just feel invigorated. You don’t need flowers in the frame to know it’s the season of rebirth.

What the photo doesn’t say, is how hard it was for us to get there, or how long it’s been since Geoff and I went kayaking together. To be perfectly honest, I can’t remember. That’s despite having the kayaks sitting in our backyard, and it’s something we both love doing. I last went kayaking with friends back in January, but Geoff was at work and he went out with one of the same friends on a night kayak run without me. Meanwhile, our friend kayaks several times a week, especially during lockdown. Indeed, pre-lockdown, he used to kayak across Broken Bay to Palm Beach using a head torch to guide his path. Of course, I’ve told him he’s mad. His mother has told him to phone a friend and report in. Yet, at the same time, he’s like an age-old adventurer, and good on him. Yet, at the same time, I cry out from my chair in the loungeroom…”Me too!”

Don’t you love my dreadful kayaking hat!

Unfortunately, it’s not so easy for us to just grab the kayaks and run. For some reason, we need to paint the house first. Research and write a series of books. That’s on top of the usual stuff like going to work, looking after the kids and throwing the ball endlessly for the dogs. For us, getting the kayaks on top of the car and down to the wharf is like packing up for our annual holiday and what with paddles, life jackets, water shoes etc we almost need to pack as much gear too.

Geoff’s Kayak.

On top of this, there is also my health and physical disability issues. When you struggle to walk and it doesn’t take much to have a stumbling fall, it doesn’t seem logical that paddling might actually be easier than walking. I don’t feel very competent at paddling because I’m a novice and my husband used to do white water kayaking in the Tasmanian rapids and also played canoe polo competitively. Our friend has also competed in the Hawkesbury Classic. The two of them could well and truly paddle off into the sunset at quite an enthusiastic pace together, while my kayak might drift round in a circle, and I might just enjoy floating for a bit. In other words, I’m not even trying to keep up unless it’s for conversation, which case they need to go at my pace which they do quite happily without complaint.

While I absolutely loved our paddle today and found the exercise and sunshine exhilarating and loved just drifting along like a cloud on the water, there were quite a few reflective moments.

The last time I was kayaking there, I was at a picnic with a group of friends. We had such a wonderful time out on the water, and as I said, unfortunately Geoff had to work. My friend Lisa was there with her son and I went out on the kayak with him. He’s ten years old and loved diving off the side and was full of such energy. Lisa was much more serene. She was like a beautiful swan gliding across the water as she paddled and her smile lit up the sky. It’s the truth. No exaggeration. Anyway, she passed away a few months ago after a long battle with breast cancer. I’ve mentioned that before. As much as you can try to convince yourself you’re okay and that you’re back on your feet again, I really missed her. Missed her deep inside my bones type missing her. I also miss being able to hang out with our friends in person as well. That hurts at a really deep level as well.

Mister kayaking along with all 40+ kilos of Bilbo our Border Collie…the calm before the splash.

Then, there were also memories of going out kayaking as a family when my parents had a beach house at Palm Beach. It was a short season, but they had a jetty and a boat shed and it was so easy to get the kayaks in the water as long as it was high tide. The kids were much younger then, and Bilbo our beloved Border Collie (who some of you may remember), was there along with Lady and we’d paddle with the kids, paddle with the dogs. Paddle alone. I even went paddling when I was going through chemo to deal with a flare of my auto-immune disease. I loved kayaking that much, and yet now I rarely go.

Out on our kayak adventure.

Why is it so?

Well, Geoff was grateful I talked him into going today, and decided that the kayaks are going to stay on top of the car. That’s a statement, isn’t it?! It’s like having your sword drawn, and being ready for action.

Move over Huckleberry Hound. Lady enjoying her kayak adventures.

That’s particularly important during lockdown. Somehow we need to find things we can do within the scope of the restrictions, while acknowledging but not dwelling on all the things we can’t. We are very lucky to live in this beautiful part of the world and be surrounded by beautiful beaches, and still waterways. It was also a choice.

Miss pretending to be out in the kayak. It’s a beginning.

Do you enjoy kayaking and have any stories to share? I’d love to hear from you.

Best wishes,

Rowena

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14 thoughts on “Kayaking in Lockdown…A New Beginning.

  1. Janet Alcorn

    Lovely photos! And I love the idea of keeping the kayaks on top of the car. Loading them up would be a barrier for me, too. This way, you’re ready to rock (er, paddle).

  2. lindamaycurry

    We recently sold our Hobie pedal kayak (double) after ten years of happy paddling because getting it on top of the the car was becoming a hassle and we weren’t using it so much. During lockdown we have been discussing buying two lighter kayaks but want to wait until we can look at them in the store. The weather certainly feels like Spring although I hear we are in for a cold week ahead and some much needed rain.

  3. Rowena Post author

    Thanks, Geoff will love that. He didn’t actually go out in the yellow bath tub with me. He went out in that sleek much more sporty looking one and he only went out in the yellow peril to check something out. He was most grieved when I photographed him in it. It’s probably the equivalent of a teenager being photographed with training wheels on their BMX.
    I agree Lady wasn’t looking happy in that photo. She is also a lot leaner too. That was taken quite a while ago now.
    How are you going? Max?
    Best wishes,
    Ro

  4. Rowena Post author

    Hi Linda,
    I can relate to having trouble getting kayaks on top of the car. Our yellow bathtub weighs a tonne. Geoff and I haven’t seen a Hobie pedal kayak before. What are they like and do you legs wear out quick? Did you use them for fishing? I looked up one on Gumtree and this poor guy was selling his due to a divorce. It was a last ditch effort to connect with his wife and it was used once and needs to be sold. Sounds like a good story for a story.
    Just checked the phone and the rest of the week isn’t going to be so balmy, which in some ways is a good thing considering where we stand with global warming.
    By the way, have you read Ethel Turner’s “Seven Little Australians”? I re-read it last week after coming across her Sunbeams column in the Sun newspaper in the 20s through my WWI research. I’ve come across such a different side to her and am busy researching, compiling away and have ordered more of her books.
    I think I’ve mentioned to you before that my grandmother was a child prodigy concert pianist who went to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London on a scholarship when she was 16 back in 1936-1940 (I think). The book is called: “The Wonder Child”. I’ve also ordered the House At Misrule which is the sequel to Seven Little Australians and Three Maids which is said to be autobiographical. I just remembered I forgot to order her diary which I think is buried here somewhere but maybe within reach at home.
    I wasn’t looking for another bit research-writing project on top of the WWI bios but too good to resist and I’m finding her very reassuring during lock down.
    How are you going?
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

  5. lindamaycurry

    I loved Seven Little Australians. My grandmother read it to me when I was 6 or 7 but she always left out the chapter about Meg wearing a corset for some reason. I would like to read more about Ethel Turner. I’m currently reading Thomas Keneally’s The Sisters of Mars about nurses in WW1. My bio father was wounded in Gallipoli and I have a copy of his diary. Sounds unbelievable but he was 60 when he fathered me. I was born in 1951. It is a revelation to look at the situation from the nurses’ perspective.

    The Pedal kayak is way easier to handle than just paddles as it exercises both arms and legs and is very comfortable. We used to fish from it but never caught very much. It was very stable.

    It’s raining! Back to winter soon I think.

  6. Rowena Post author

    I thought you could well be an Ethel Turner fan. It’s seems quite a few young Australians had Seven Australians read to them when they were quite young. My mother read Enid Blyton, and after all this time, it almost feels like I’m making that up. However, my mother was an English and Music teacher before marriage and was always trying to foster a love of reading in me. She gave me the Diary of Anne frank and a journal for my 13th Birthday. I wrote to Dear Anne into my 20s and still keep a rather intermittent diary, although my weekly Weekend Coffee Shares with all their photos have made for a much more visual record. More concise and regular too.
    I still have your email address and when I get my material together, I’ll send something through.
    In the meantime, I thought you might find this literary blog of interest. She does videos of author bios and there’s one there on Ethel Turner, which I really enjoyed. She’s the head of the Australian Jane Austen Society and has started Friends of Ethel Turner. Here’s the link: https://susannahfullerton.com.au/blog/
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

  7. Gary A Wilson

    I like the concept of small personal boats, but in reality, I’ll always prefer something larger that I can’t flip on a simple twitch and that has a motor so I can go further while sitting back and piloting the thing.

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