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We are becoming connoisseurs of wind and tide. If we don't read them right, we run into sandbars and heavy going, rowing against instead of gliding with. Not that I've handled the oars yet. The builder is enjoying them too much.

Our third weekend on the water christened our boat camera – a dry christening, fortunately. Now I have new subject matter to play with – the banks, the reflections, the oar ripples. We carry a small trolley and a pulley system to load and unload the boat, but we haven't yet used them. I'll be glad when we do: I fear for fragile backs every time we drag.

On Saturday we launched at Horse Island and rowed along Cambathin Island past tall luxuriant boobiallas and casuarinas, wearing staghorns and maybe an orchid. There were inviting landing places and we cogitated a future picnic and exploration. As we rounded the end of the island the water grew busier, with a couple of launches far too big for the lake with its 4 km speed limit and no wash zones, so we turned back into the wind. As we were pulling the boat out of the water a kingfisher flashed past and sat on a dead branch to watch.

The Sunday weather looked a bit problematic, and wind and tide didn't match, so we set off early to launch at the Tuross Bridge. The morning light gave wonderful reflections as the oars dipped and shimmered them. The bridge receded and began to look quaint instead of purely functional, mountains tracing a blue outline in the distance. The tide was quite low, so we woggled around dodging sandbars and testing hypotheses about where we'd find deep channels. At one point, the oarsman got out and pushed me and the boat over a narrow bar, rather than go back and round the island on the other side. Soon we'll know our way around the shallows, insofar as an ever-changing river allows this. Along the banks wattles were in their prime; the blossom-icing on brush Kurrajong was raggy; callistemon planted by Landcare drew the eye with their crimson, and huge trees (swamp mahoganies?) leant towards their reflections. Ordered flights of pelicans and shags (or herons?) glided overhead. There were plenty of small boats, sprouting hopeful fishing lines, and the odd speedster, oblivious to rules and regulations. When we reached Cambathin Island, it was time to turn with the wind and head back for lunch, a beer and the customary afternoon snooze, my only excuse sun-fatigue.


Sunday on the water

Duchess pelicans,

Sun-sparkles cresting wind-waves,

Islands, oar ripples.