Sunday, May 10, 2015

More paddle therapy

A super morning at the Collegiate boat ramp. So calm!
I have been keen to paddle under the Tasman Bridge. On Thursday I tried out a new launch point; the Collegiate rowing club between the bridge and Cornelian Bay. It was an absolutely perfect morning (I generally only go on perfect mornings so if that comes up every time I am really not making it up). I chatted to a retired couple from Perth who park their camper there to walk into town. They come to Tasmanian to get away from the hot summer and are staying deeper into the year each time.

I set out at about ten. Launching from the wide rowers boat ramp was very easy, and then I paddled around towards a big concrete block in the water. I believe this was one of the anchor points of the floating bridge that crossed the river before the Tasman was built in 1964. I was a fair way out into the stream and the current was surprisingly gentle.

Looking back through the modern bridge at the anchor point of the old bridge. Cold in the shade.
I have heard that the currents are tricky and I know on the Montagu Bay side there is an extremely deep section, where the Lake Illawarra sank after it hit the bridge in 1974. So I am generally taking it very easy, and keeping within swimming distance of the bank. I paddled under the 3rd span into the shade, and the temperature dropped. It is a very beautiful bridge and being under it, on land or sea, is always a profound feeling. The view back through upriver was terrific. I took some pics on my phone which I hope I can get off it again. I thought I would head for the regatta grounds, just to stickybeak around the boatyards there. There is a Naval Reserves clubhouse or depot or headquarters, called TS Huon. It looks very lovely indeed and I have heard it muttered that the whole deal is just a bit of federally funded fun for Tasmanian political dynasty the Hodgmans and their pals.

It was so calm that I was able to actually get my tiny sketchbook out and draw this on the water.
Mt Wellington and Government House through the bridge
From a lovely spot in the sun, on a bench above the boat ramp
Drawing done at the same spot, Cornelian Bay cemetery on the left, and smoke rising from the zincworks
A few drawings I did from memory, in which Mt Direction is a lot steeper than strictly accurate 
It was so nice out there. I turned around after I got down to TS Huon and came back under the bridge again, and decided to just keep going upriver while the going was easy. I was on a heading for Lindisfarne Bay on the other bank, and felt then like I could have made it over in reasonable time if I kept on. 

But again I got to a point were I felt I was going nowhere, so I turned and pointed my nose at St Johns church steeple in New Town. Paddling quite hard that way and drifting with the current got me back to my start point.

I was glad I reached land when I did as something quite big went past and created a wake that might have spelled trouble if it had caught me unawares. I dried off a bit, sat in the sun on a bench and drew the cemetery hill, zincworks and Mt Direction.

I think I will work on more drawings of this scene and try to get the elements to gel together better. I am really happy with the cheap phone's camera though, and now I have deduced I can bluetooth the pics straight to my computer I might be doing this a lot from now on.

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