Talking with a good mate the other day we considered how we each find food for the soul – her in live music, me in being on the water.
Now I’m just home from a 34km paddle up the Parramatta River, my soul is well fed and my heart is singing.
Matt and I launched from his regular spot; seeing him arrive on foot, pulling the kayak along is cool. We met up with Ian on the water, and headed up river. With a strong westerly forecast it wasn’t a day for going out to sea, or even heading east as we usually would. Fortune favoured us, we had an incoming tide as we faced the headwinds going upstream, and an outgoing tide for our return journey.
This waterway was once the main artery for the early settlement of Sydney, connecting it with Parramatta. Now it is a mix of waterfront mansions, sailing and rowing clubs, the occasional boatshed, bushy headlands, new housing developments in cleaned-up industrial areas, ferry wharves, some light industrial buildings and mangroves.
We took it all in, watching constantly for the silent and dangerous River Cats and other river traffic. At Concord we had a break from the wind, disappearing into the mangroves. We travelled under Gladesville Bridge, Ryde Bridge and the railway bridge of unknown (to us) name. The tide turned and so did we, unfurling our sails, scooting and hooting along. I reckon my face mirrored the “alert but not alarmed” and “ain’t this fun?” faces of Ian. Matt? He kept having Viv-moments, being taken by surprise by moored craft and buoys.
With the sun shining, we screamed under sail across the channel to Cockatoo Island with its chimney stacks, drydocks, cranes of many vintages, ship-building sheds, renovated houses available for holiday rental and tents for ‘glamping‘
Matt rescued a young gull, not quite able to launch itself into the air from its position in the water. We farewelled Ian and met the challenge of the headwinds for the final 3km.
Pulling back into our launch spot, I could feel the humming inside.