I believe starting your day by doing something other than eating breakfast like a zombie, is the best thing you can do.
Going for morning paddle in a canoe is one pre 9am activity that I personally guarantee will leave you with a smile on your face and a fire in your heart.
The maze of creeks in the Loch Luna Game Reserve is where Kym from Canoe Adventures-Riverland met me for a paddle one crisp morning back in late April. I had an arsenal of clothing, just in case it snowed (which of course it didn’t), and my cameras at the ready. The special red “Canadian” canoe was our vessel for the morning, and after catching a fire-like sunrise, I was ready to sneak through the silent serenity of morning.
There is a certain kind of magic to these creeks in the morning, the untouched stillness almost like the environment is still sleeping, not yet ready to wake up and begin the day. The water, playing magician, creates optical illusions, reflecting mirror images of the trees standing tall on the banks. The only disturbance is us in the canoe, a momentary feature of creeks named Nockburra and Chambers. The only sounds, Kym and I chatting, our paddles dipping in and out of the water and the odd rustle in the reeds, perhaps a water rat.
Kym knows these waters well and I am certain that he knows every gnarled tree like an old friend. We chat about how if it wasn’t for the locks, Loch Luna’s lagoons and creeks wouldn’t exist. The seemingly private and isolated waterways, full of water all year round and flanked by red gums and reeds, are where you will see flocks of Swans, Wood Duck and maybe a few Spoonbills.
I never tire of watching the waterbirds glide across the water, seemingly unaware of our presence. You may be led to believe that I have never seen any animals in the wild before, but it’s hard not to marvel at the colours and life of our surroundings.
Like the Purple Swamphen, we sneak through clusters reeds that have tried to fool us into thinking there is no way through. Luckily the Canoe Adventures team have poured hours into creating the most comprehensive maps I’ve ever seen. I don’t think I would get lost…but I let Kym captain the direction of the canoe and we paddle forth.
Mornings have a special element to them, a gift that you cannot possess but is guaranteed again and again. Knowing that the golden glow and the quiet of nature wont be seen or heard again until dusk later in the evening makes me want to savour every moment. There are probably millions of others around the world seeing the sun come up today. I wonder, and I hope, that they are taking a moment to admire the magic.
We paddle through a wide section of Chambers Creek, gum trees that didn’t make it through years of salinity and constant flood, stand twisted and gnarled. It’s hard to decide whether their tortured lives are being expressed for all to see, or if they are naturally beautiful art installation. The thick red gum branches are popular lookouts for Whistling Kites and for communities of Welcome Swallows, to huddle, gossiping in groups like mothers at the morning school drop off.
The sun is well and truly up by the time we arrive back at the canoe launch point and mother nature has turned up the volume of the day. The wind whistles through the reeds and my morning paddle in a canoe comes to an end. As I drive back along the Cobdolgla Causeway, I glance to my left down at the snaking waterways of Loch Luna. So many times I have driven by dreaming of exploring the still backwaters. Today I can finally say that I have uncovered another piece of the Riverland, camera full and my mind a little bit calmer to face the on coming day.
Morning paddle in a Canoe, a definite must do when you are in the Riverland!