Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Salty sea dog

Today was the Australia Day holiday. This morning I spent over an hour experimenting with tying down the wave ski and paddle. We were not actually going anywhere, so I didn't feel any pressure to get it right straight away. After workshopping it for a while I have finally mastered state-of-the-art ratchet technology, and I feel I am now a proficient user of my tie-downs.

Once it was all trussed up and not going anywhere, we had a chat about maybe all going to the beach. But we were all enjoying just flopping about at home, so we didn't.

I then fell asleep reading a book and generally slipped in and out of consciousness for an hour or so. My inner Solo Man took over and I decided to take the wave ski down to Browns River... alone!

Before I turned off Beach Rd to get to the river, I saw flocks of proud Australian youth, with Aussie flag sombreros, cloaks, bikinis etc, walking to and from the beach. Recently Australia Day has become an over-the-top nationalistic beano, with a booze-fueled anti-social aspect that just makes you want to spend the day at home. Most of the kids were just having a good time, but there are always those aggressive over-revving hoon units cruising around as well.

I was pleased to see the wave ski was still on top of the car when I got there. I got it off and in the water, worked out a nifty way to leave the tie-downs on the car with the ends locked inside and squished safely by the back windows, and paddled happily up and down the river for about an hour.

On one side is a golf course, but on the other is a series of houses backing onto the water. Some are fancy new places, some are older and done up, some are pretty much untouched renovators' delights. Their various attitudes to the river were interesting - some are very engaged with it, with jetties and boats or kayaks pulled up - others have just fenced it off.

In the distance the pub's PA thumped as a cover band murdered Centrefold by the J. Geils Band. Between the riverside houses I could see cars and kids streaming up and down Beach Rd. I imagine the beach probably looked like Bondi, with a towel every three feet, umpteen games of cricket, volleyball and beach soccer, and record levels of horny teen perving.

Meanwhile the serenity on the river was blissful. An old bloke watering his plants on the back porch wished me a good afternoon. Some kids up on the road saw me and yelled "Happy Australia Day". I did not see another soul on the water.

The river here is tidal, and pretty salty. By the time I got back to the car and got the ski back on top, I was feeling very much the salty sea dog. Now, the next step is getting Elf off with the wave ski on her own so she can have a good long paddle too. It's a different business entirely when you are not hurrying back before the kids get bored.

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