Written 16 November, 2020.
On my replacement birthday, I wake to a more yellow light than usual. Bright yellow is the heralding of a very hot day. It’s predicted to be 39 degrees today. But at least we’ll be up the creek, always breezy, and we’ll be able to dive into the water.
But nothing turns out to plan. Was anyone planning this pandemic? The end of certainty.
GG hasn’t packed, indeed, hasn’t thought of anything to take. I sigh (noisily), get planning and packing. Hard-boiled eggs , twists of salt, pesto and bread for lunch, and for morning tea, little cakes that, before we left the city, Rosalie drove over especially to deliver for my birthday, as well as nuts, dates, water. A tin of tuna if we get stuck in the tides. GG shows he’s necessary by remembering the thermos, and boiling the water for it. I’d forgotten that detail! We set off, even with fishing lines, and not a fishing net, but a washing basket lives on the boat, the plastic sort with lots of holes.
It’s hard to find the entrance to the creek if you’re not in the know, even though at the start, its very wide.
I’m not in a birthday outfit but at least GG’s shirt will keep the sun off.
The creek would be a perfect place for bank robbers. There’s local tales that say our creek was a hangout for highwaymen. So there’s treasure buried somewhere. And yet the creek is, at the start at least, very wide.
We turn left at a dramatic rock that over the years of our mistakes, has become a reliable landmark. Boulders like that don’t move. Usually. If it wasn’t there, we could go straight and be at one of the many dead ends.
Lots of trees are vines covered, but we don’t stop to examine the vines. This is the wrong boat, really, to go up the creek, because the bow is so high, it’s almost impossible to get into from the water. You can jump off the side into the water, but getting back! You could miss the tide trying to clamber on board! Think of hauling yourself out of the council baths. This is far far worse.
Lots of little sandy beaches and coves. One is a National Parks camping spot, but you have to get here by boat. From home, we occasionally see teams of kayakers on the way to here.
We stopped for morning tea and birthday cake, and in the sudden peace from the motor, swung on the anchor I threw in.
But all the while, GG was anxious. He didn’t want to go further up the creek. I didn’t understand why.
We might crash into something.
He didn’t specify what. I got cranky, but didn’t want to show it. After all, it was my birthday, sort of. We’d never crashed into anything before. But I didn’t want to argue, not on my birthday, so I agreed, and we cut the trip short, so short in fact, that we drove home still at the high tide. By now it was scorching, and we were both grumpy, but trying not to be. We silently ate our picnic lunch, tried to find a cool place- there were none- for now it was 39 degrees and no escape even by jumping in the river, now the tide was getting low. We read, dozed, and I woke and wrote desultorily. I happened to pick up a book on a chair, Cruising Guide, Hawkesbury River, open at a page on our creek, so obviously GG had been consulting it.
...’There is a large rock midstream which can be covered at high water so proceed with caution. The water is usually clear so it is easy to see the sandy bottom….
So that’s why we cut short my birthday trip! It’d been impossible to see the sandy bottom because the tide had been so high, the surface of the water was full of drifts of dirt. I was too hot and bothered to ask him why he hadn’t told me. And in fact, he had mumbled
We might run into something.
He didn’t tell me that he’d read about the boulder.
So I made myself less cranky. In fact, crankiness melted away with perspiration.
About mid scorching afternoon, Dee came over, because something had bitten him on the inside of the lip.It was red and swollen. i fetched our Telfast and he washed two pills down with a beer. GG came out to the deck. We chatted in that inconsequential relaxed way that you do with old friends on a hot day. It felt like the sort of lazy chat you have after Christmas lunch. He told us about his festival he holds every year in January up north in Elands, on a friend’s large property. it’s not quite a festival. it’s more a “happening” . In fact, he’d mentioned it before, and i’d got so I wanted to go with GG and K for a few days. But there’s going to be a long negotiation. There might be boulders underwater, who knows? However, after a long and lonely year, I think we deserve it. As long as Co-vid lets us.