My wife and eldest daughter Gracie flew up to Brisbane to see family, leaving me with my youngest princess, Ella. When I asked her what she wanted to do, she picked out paddling from the long list of options I’d given her. Admittedly I was a little surprised, as she had shown far less interest in the water than my other daughter, but when I pressed her she was adamant. So after packing up the family canoe and kiddie essentials, we drove up into the hills to Berowra Waters.
After making sure Ella’s PFD was closely fitting and done up, we pushed off into the waters and commenced the paddle up into the gorge. Ella’s immediate interest was more in the muesli bars and fruit juice I had in my cooler bag, but as she munched through some food she started to take in the surroundings around her, pointing out boats and waving to other people out on the water.
As we paddled out of sight of other boaters, she started to ask important questions. What do fish eat? Where are the jellyfish? What do bunny rabbits eat? Where are the stingrays? Why is it windy? And so on. As we drifted further up the gorge we both started to laugh and enjoy this special time together on the water.
Eventully I turned into the mangroves and followed a secret stream into an area I’ve visited before – the secret pool. This lovely area has a beautiful rocky pool surrounded by cliffs and lush undergrowth and very often has running waterfalls. When we finally got up there, we jumped out of the boat so Ella could play in the sand and splash about in the cool fresh water.
After a few sandcastles and chasing baby fish in the shallows, we decided to call it a day and head back to where we started. Paddling back we found the tide rushing out over shallows and the boat flew across the water, which was great until I somehow dropped my paddle overboard! Fortunately I had a couple of spares on board and was able to circle back around to pick it up, to the delighted giggles of Ella.
We finished up some 3 hours after we’d started, with Ella exhausted but happy. It was a brilliant way to spend some quality time with my daughter, I can’t recommend it enough. Cheers – FP
Thanks for this trip report Sean! And you will be happy you wrote and photographed this voyage in 20 years!! So will Ella!
What a great trip. Gives real meaning to being alive. I can see Ella in 20yrs time paddling solo around Greenland with steely gaze in her eyes…