It seems if you want Swannies to come out in numbers, simply mention the word wine. Hot on the heels of the sold-out wine tasting night, came the fully booked winery paddle to Mandoon Estate on Sunday, September 12.
The weather and river gods blessed us with a beautiful sunny day and perfect paddling conditions. A small flotilla of Swannies took to the water at Fishmarket Reserve in Guilford at the very civilized hour of 10am. From there, we meandered up river for 6 kilometres past Woodbridge House, nature reserves and vineyards starting to burst into leaf. Karen, our resident ornithologist, was able to educate us on the plentiful bird life we saw along the way.
While the wet winter has been great for the vines, it meant we had to disembark on a very muddy riverbank when we reached Mandoon. There was much squelching, sloshing and sinking ankle deep in the quicksand-like mud. Despite the slippery conditions, we managed to get everyone on shore safely.
As our kayaks enjoyed mud bathing in the sun, we feasted. We arrived in time to secure a long table under the flame trees at the Llawn alfresco area, where we enjoyed woodfired pizzas and a Mandoon Estate vino, cider or beer. The more cultured among us squeezed in a visit to the adjoining art gallery. All too soon, it was time to leave. Next time, we’ll make sure to stay for the live music.
Getting back on the water proved even more challenging, with seal launching off the riverbank being the preferred option. There were some yelps and speccie entries – but luckily no capsizes.
The paddle downstream was even more relaxed, with the river doing part of the work. The only challenging part of the day was washing the mud off our kayaks back at the club.
A big shout out to Rob Coops for driving the trailer, Leigh and Lauren for co-ordinating attendance and Jen, Sarah and Marty for guiding.