Serpentine Paddle – August 2023



How lucky are we? Sunshine and a light breeze welcomed fifteen Swan Canoe Paddlers to the Serpentine River on Sunday 6 th August 2023. After unloading boats and gear at Karnup Road we did a car shuffle to the endpoint at Woodvale Parade and Marty and Geoff brought the drivers back to the start.

Despite the river level being a bit low (0.27 metres at Dog Hill Station) it was flowing well, and we happily cruised down the first four kilometres in the grassy Serpentine Drain. There was lots of bird life and an occasional cow but no other paddlers. We started in three groups with Geoff, Fran, Janet, Tracey, and Gabriella in the lead, followed by Colin, Gail, Paul, Janelle, and Karrie, with Marty, Sarah, Peter, Trish, and Trevor being tail end Charlies.

Despite some troubles with the Scorpio’s scudder, we got past the water hyacinth boom at Kerulup Pool, frightened a very large male kangaroo who bounded away, and were soon into the small lake above Lake Amarillo looking for the route through to the larger lake. Marty headed off into the bamboo and was soon lost from sight but not sound. This route had been much easier when Marty and I did a recce the week before at a level of 1.2 metres, whereas it was a bit challenging at the lower level. Some paddlers in shiny kayaks were looking a bit worried by the magnetic trees and sticks.

Eventually we found the way through to Lake Amarillo and made good time down to the short-cuts across the river loops, over another boom and to Limbo Bridge. Marty and I had to portage it at 1.2 metres whereas it was an easy paddle under it to Skull Island for lunch. After eleven kilometres and some very friendly bamboo and trees it was good to sit on the grass, enjoy lunch and tell war stories.

After lunch we girded our loins and headed off again, making our way past Guanarnup Pool, revelling in the lack of people and houses and finally meandering around into Yalbanberup Pool. After finding the hidden exit we continued south to Woodland Parade and after nineteen kilometres, terra firma. Gabriella kindly ran Marty and I back to our cars and we all packed up and headed back to the club to wash boats and gear before heading home.

This would have to have been one of the best Serpentine Paddles that I have done, with a light breeze, sunshine, and good company. Thanks to everyone who came along and especially to the other leaders, Colin Priest, Martin Wells and Sarah Whittaker.

Geoff Emery

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