December 26, 2020.
A day of little achievement. In the afternoon, Dee mentioned he was leaving to pick up friends who, with no idea of the moods of this river, planned to canoe from Berowra towing children, some as young as 5, lying on paddle boards all the way to the camping ground up the creek. From Berowra to here 10 km, from here to the camping ground 7 km. A total of 17 km.
It’s the season to be generous, he said.
He brought back 4 of the children and their mother, Ella. They’d got swamped by waves from power boats. And then left again to pick up the men and more children whose motorised canoe had broken down. They spent most of the day re-grouping at his house. The kids swam in the creek, inspiring me. I’d forgotten after this terrible year what a pleasure it is to slide into the creek without much ado, just wandering in. He lent them his powered canoe to do the last 7 km. At least they had the tide right. You can’t get into the far reaches of the creek in most boats except on a high tide. We watched them take off in a long line, shaking our heads at their foolhardiness.
Meanwhile, my day’s achievement was to move the sofa out to the porch to make a summer lounge room out on the deck.
Dee arrived in our new outside lounge room late afternoon, to ask if he could take our boat to check if they had arrived. After all, it’s a very circuitous route. You could spend days going in and out of dead ends. There are good landmarks but they’re hard to describe. You have to see them. Once this end of the creek was the haunt of highwaymen hiding from the law. It’d make a good hiding place.
That legend leaves out where they hid the horses, Dee said.
Dee had given his friends the instruction- keep turning left. But how good were they at following instructions? We all imagined what they might do. Bored by now with adoring my new lounge room, I offered to go along for the ride.We smiled together because we, unlike them, know what’s what.
But we didn’t get it right. The tide was still too low. At the point, the mouth of the last 7 km stretch, we got stuck. The boat ground to a halt. I put down the boat hook. Our boat has a shallow draft but not shallow enough- it was 10 centimetres on the deeper side, 5 on the other.
We’ll float off after a while, I said. This had happened to me before.
Dee began rowing with the one oar we’ve learned to keep on board.
Am I getting anywhere?
He sat and waited. Looked around. I measured the depth again. 15 centimetres on the deeper side.
He jumped up and down.
I think we moved.
He began rowing again. I sat on the prow, on the opposite side to where he worked, to keep the boat level.
Another boat edged around the corner, and backed off.
If anyone asks, we’re not locals, said Dee. We’re from out of town.
But we began to move, we floated, the point came closer.
As we passed the boat that had wisely backed off, I waved breezily.
On the way home, Dee showed me a sandy creek i’d searched for, but he’d found. I searched because local stories say that the women of the depression, right up to the 70s, used to bring their washing here on Mondays, to thrash it on the rocks, while their kids played in the sand. Dee had found it because it’s rumoured to be good fishing. I’ll row up here and look around. There might be some remand from those times.
I asked Dee to say for dinner, which GG had cooked, but he didn’t.
He’s probably had enough people for the day, GG said.