Antidote for community

Last week Rick and I slipped out of the house early one morning. We hefted our new Hobie kayak onto the car, and headed off toward a little river, the Wallamba, a half hour or so away. There wasn’t a rustle of breeze, the sun was out, and the temperature was fine considering we’re in the final days of autumn.

We found the ramp we were looking for, and wheeled the kayak down to the water. We climbed in, pushed out and sat quiet a moment. No drifting—the river was at low tide and there wasn’t a flicker of current. Then we slipped in the Hobie’s pedals and gently headed downstream. This is some of what we saw (excluding the jumping fish, which eluded my photographic capabilities):

Wallamba RiverHouse by the river
Cattle by the river
The river before us






















Remember when you were an impressionable romantic and loved the stories from olden times about beaux taking their belles for a spin through the English countryside in Punting downrivera punt, winding their way down tranquil streams between willow-dripping banks? It’s a bit like that in a Hobie, except you can actually get places rather rapidly.

If you have a moment and would like an extra taste of the serenity of our experience, watch this short video clip I took with my trusty little Canon: [click here]

In the six times we’ve had it out, I’ve become an unabashed champion of the Hobie. The entire kayak is brilliantly engineered and the pedals, which work under the boat like little penguin feet, are a masterful design. Rick and I love it because it’s VERY easy to propel, sort of like taking a casual walk while somehow lounging in an easy chair. It’s also stable as a barge and you don’t get wet. Rick sits behind me, strolling along, and I fade in and out of activity as the spirit moves me. Sometimes for fun we put on a burst of speed, producing enough wake to tip a duck and causing the countryside to flash by. But mostly we take advantage of the fact that the Hobie is almost totally quiet, making possible a blissfully meditative experience.

A few weeks ago we had the company of three dolphins enjoying the meander with us. They ambled not three metres from the kayak, cresting together with their little snorting breaths. Magic is alive and well on this planet.

Why am I telling you this, in a blog about community?

I refer you back to my blog title, which I admit is mostly tongue-in-cheek. But at this moment in time, when we are madly preparing for our annual three-month migration to Canada, quite a complex one this year; when the Shedders are working frantically to get 350 trees planted on our 4-acre property before winter; when our choir is preparing for weekend performances; when friends who will make any excuse for a party are determined to farewell us thoroughly—to have a few hours of perfect stillness is blessed.

Retirement opens up so many possibilities, and truthfully, sometimes one needs a rest from them.


If you’re good for ONE more taste of amateur kayak video, turn your volume up and listen to the magpies in this clip: [click here]. If you’re not Australian and haven’t sampled the magpie musical experience this is pretty much mandatory viewing.


6 thoughts on “Antidote for community

  1. The serenity of our local waterways is something that so many miss, yet they all seem to come here because of it.

    Nearly all of the maritime activity happens around the centre of town and the Forster Tuncurry bridge. So many times during holidays and long weekends we cross the bridge above dozens of speedboats, kayaks and various other bits and pieces all clustered around the few small tidal sand islands, within 300m of where they were launched, after being towed the 300km from Sydney just for the adventure.

    Winter down on the main body of Wallis Lake is VERY quiet. Many times last Winter I was sailing there with the whole place to myself, and the reserve, and the clubhouse – sometimes for the whole day.

    It’s great being able to have breaks from humanity in what is still a relatively busy place.

  2. I write on Friday evening after a busy week of work, people, expectations, etc etc I clicked onto the magpie link in your blog. I am there. Instantaneous calm, serenity, bliss.Thank you.

  3. Wowzee doodle… have a little piece of heaven in Australia too!!…Are you sure it wasn’t Rick whistling when you said it was magpies?. I imagined me sitting with you in your Hobie Kayak .. and floating down the river. It was awesome… Love

    Sent from Windows Mail

    • I can imagine you there with no trouble at all! Just one of a thousand lovely things we could be doing 🙂

      On Sat, May 31, 2014 at 4:25 PM, SHEDDERS, by Heather Bolstler wrote:


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