On Sunday 23rd August, in near perfect conditions, seven ‘swannies’ set off on a twenty-kilometre paddle down the Serpentine River lakes system.
After unloading boats at Karnup Rd and a car shuffle to the end of the paddle, we hit the water about 9.10 am. Geoff aka ‘Two Dogs,’ Sarah and Rowan aka ‘The Badger’ led the group that included Karen, Justyna, Marjan and Phyll. Marjan was singing the praises of her new kayak ‘Kermit,’ while Phyll didn’t say much, but clearly thought nothing could be as good as her kayak, ‘Precious’.
Paddling south through Kerulup Pool, we saw lots of cows, a fox and many birds ranging from pelicans to hawks. Four of the cows kept crossing back and forth in front of us, showing us where the shallow and deeper water was. Despite the cows attempt to help, a bit of route finding was still needed, as we twisted our way through a thicket of dead trees eventually into Lake Amarillo and open cow-free water.
The water was like a mirror reflecting the blue sky and clouds, making for very pleasant paddling. After a few short cuts and a relaxing eleven kilometres we ducked under a low farm bridge and reached our island where we stopped for lunch. Stretching out on the grass after lunch, the idea of an afternoon nap was appealing, but we got back into the kayaks instead. Karen decided to practice her capsize technique while trying for the W.A. record in breath-holding, while-upside-down-in-a-kayak-under-a-dead-tree. She finally popped up to the surface as I was reluctantly considering a swim myself. Despite being damp and worried about her wet camera, Karen could almost see the funny side of it. I was going to score her capsize as seven out of ten, but wisely thought better of it.
Further downriver in Guanarnup Pool, Badger spotted a tiger snake swimming across the river in front of us. We paddled up to have a look, but quickly backed off when he (the snake, not Badger) reared up out of the water. Giving him a wide berth as he made his way to the bank, we followed the meander of the river and made it safely to Yalbanberup Pool, a little sad to be near the end of a very enjoyable paddle.
At the end of Yalbanberup Pool, we found the hidden exit into the Serpentine River and paddled along in shade, past a couple of fishermen until we reached open water again.
Finally after about four and half hours, we could see the beach at our exit point at Woodland Parade. Despite the cows, snake and capsize or maybe because of the cows, snake and capsize it ended up being a great paddle, with good company on a magnificent day.
I resolved to organise another Serpentine trip soon, water level permitting.
Geoff (Two Dogs) Emery. SCC Instructor. August 2015.