Moonlight Paddle

Great turn out for this event from Swannies of all ages and abilities, so much so that we ended up with 3 groups on the water and staggered start times to avoid chaos on the ramp.

Each group got on the water with their nominated group leader, Jen, Elena and Sarah and headed off for an adventure on the river.  Perfect evening, calm waters, minimal boat traffic, though the cloud cover caused us concern that we would miss the event that we were all there for.

Just around 6pm, the moon made its appearance from behind the hills, and behind the construction occurring at Canning bridge! We got to see it for a minute then the moon played hide and seek with us as it moved up through the cloud layers. Mind you to the west was also a magnificent sunset, so as we slowly headed back to the club, we had a colour show to keep us entertained.

Lights on for the last bit back to the ramp, our staggered start also meant a staggered finish so as one group headed upstairs, the next arrived.

Back at the club rooms the various cooks ensured that no one went hungry, soups for all palates and plenty of fresh bread for dunking. It all went down amid a babble of conversation only intermittently interrupted by groans of despair from those die-hards watching the Freo match…… Their spirits revived by the arrival of cake and cheesecake as we all dug into some fantastic sweets!

Thank you to all who came along and made the evening such a social event, to the cooks and to Jen, Elena and Sarah for keeping everyone safe on the river.


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Upper Murray Paddle with Geoff E

Last Sunday, eleven club paddlers set off from Yarragil on the Upper Murray River to paddle the ten kilometres downstream to the Baden-Powell picnic area. The river was flowing well at a level of about 1.85 metres at the Baden-Powell gauge. Six of the paddlers were relatively new to white water, but what they lacked in experience they made up for with enthusiasm. Even an unexpected swim or two failed to cool them off.

Watching Fran, Vicki, Margie, Kelly, Nick, and Ross, it was great to see them remembering some of the techniques they’d learnt in the Introduction to White Water courses run by Colin Scully, Geoff Emery, and Colin Priest. Colin, Elena, and Des were giving lots of good advice about ferry gliding, breaking in and out and of course remembering to edge or lean the kayak downstream.

Margie was enjoying herself so much, that she became over-heated and decided to flip her yellow Katana to cool off. The problem for the rescuers, was that they couldn’t stop her laughing! Kelly was looking cool, and colour coordinated in her blue Mamba and matching cag. She remained focussed, controlled, and dry all day! Nick was enjoying his red Katana and getting a bit excited, as he pushed himself to play in each rapid. Despite a couple of close calls, he maintained boat control and stayed dry too. Ross was just cruising along in the yellow Tsunami, not feeling the cold in his tee shirt, and enjoying himself. Vicki had difficulty getting the smile off her face and appeared to be enjoying herself way too much, throughout the day. Fran was paddling well, keeping the Dancer straight, when Colin distracted her with a discussion about lip balm. She assumed he wanted her to wash it off and flipped the Dancer near a bush. Determined to remove the offending lip balm, she took her time getting out of the kayak, but finally emerged with clean blue lips. Gillian was enjoying the paddle in the Green Boat, while Elena had a bit of fun surfing across one rapid with her paddle in the air. Colin was doing a good job leading the group, while Geoff as ‘tail-end Charlie’ wasn’t doing much at all.

At about four kilometres from Yarragil, the Island Pool rapid looked a bit intimidating from the top. Des didn’t help the confidence levels a lot when he made the first run and hit something solid on the way through. Nevertheless, one by one, each paddler made the run into a nice open V chute and into the large pool below. Last year at the same rapid we had three or four capsizes, but I was impressed that this year everyone sailed through like experts. The group moved over to river left and beached the boats for a lunch break, while Des, Colin, Elena, Nick, and Geoff had a play on the rapid before joining the luncheon crowd.

Back on the water after lunch, we left Island Pool and paddled about four kilometres to Bob’s Crossing, playing on a few small rapids along the way. The water was running over the roadway at Bob’s Crossing and making a lot of noise, as we got out of our boats on river right and portaged. There was a large and turbulent eddy downstream from Bob’s Crossing and it needed a bit of care getting back on the foamy water. After another two kilometres we reached the Baden-Powell picnic area and our vehicles at about three o’clock, making it a four-hour trip. Once in dry clothes again, Geoff drove Margie back to Yarragil to collect her car and we returned to Baden-Powell to pack boats and gear. From there we drove to the Dwellingup Pub for a well-earned drink in the sunshine and the usual ‘war stories’. It ended up being a great day, with great company and I would like to thank everyone for coming along. I was left feeling positive that the club is developing more white-water paddlers who are not only younger than me, but enthusiastic and keen to go on the next trip.

A special thanks too to Colin, Elena, and Des for all the usual help and guidance.

Geoff Emery. 190922.

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Serpentine River – Mandurah Lakes Trip Report

With the heavy rain and the river rising from 0.45 metres to over 1.2 metres, this twenty-kilometre paddle down the Serpentine River was looking in doubt. Some paddlers were in doubt too, with colds and car breakdowns, but come 9.30am, Sunday 7th August 2022, eleven intrepid Swannie paddlers entered the Serpentine at Karnup Road and paddled south, assisted by a gentle flow. The Dog Hill Station on the Serpentine River was showing about 0.45 metres, a Goldilocks water level. It appeared that the rain gods had heard our prayers and there were even patches of sunlight showing through the grey clouds and while we didn’t break into song, the sunlight lifted our spirits and helped us on our way.


Our happy band included Colin, Trish, Marty, Vicki, Steve, Val, Nick, Kelly, Gillian, Fran, and Geoff. Dodging bushes and trees, we cruised down to Kerulup Pool, and navigated around the Water Hyacinth boom net, by paddling across flooded ground. Finally, we arrived at the small lake above the maze of trees, reeds, tiger snakes and swampy ground at the top of Lake Amarillo. The route wasn’t very clear, and Geoff’s navigation left a bit to be desired, as paddlers disappeared amongst the reeds and paperbark trees. Fortunately, there weren’t many drop bears in evidence and apart from one spill, we all finally emerged among the dead trees at the top of Lake Amarillo, a little battered and bruised but not bloody.


Paddling across Lake Amarillo the wind kicked up, the rain came down and several black swans decided they’d rather be flying and took to the air. Once across Lake Amarillo, we turned right and took the short-cut where the river is trying to form ox-bow lakes. On the way we navigated another Water Hyacinth boom net and then arrived at Limbo Bridge, ready for a lunch break. The bridge is unhappily listing upstream and reluctantly answering the siren call of gravity, making the gap under the bridge tight. Getting under it , while staying dry, requires either some limbo or downward dog and the river flow adds to the challenge. Most of us got through unscathed, but one unlucky paddler got caught sideways against the bridge and was rolled upstream, the current pinning her boat to the bridge. Fortunately, Marty, assisted by Colin, managed to rescue the situation and the paddler, despite being attacked by a dangerous steel cable strung between the bank and the bridge.


Having survived the bridge and covered about eleven kilometres we were all happy to stop at Lunch Island, stretch our numb legs and answer the call of nature. Kelly excelled herself as usual, by providing everyone with fresh bread rolls and slow cooked lamb covered in hot gravy! Luxury, total luxury! After a relaxing lunch break, we climbed into the kayaks and headed off west and south into Guanarnup Pool, paddling against significant fetch from the west wind. From there we wound our way into Yalbanberup Pool, where several squadrons of Pelicans were on the ground having a committee meeting, presumably to discuss the flying weather. Not long after emerging onto the pool, the Pelican pods broke up and they began to get airborne and work the thermals, slowly disappearing into the clouds.


Entering the narrow section of river near the end of the paddle we were surprised by the number of Nanking Night Herons lurking in the trees. I wondered if they were trying to get on camera, as there was a nearby solar powered camera perched on a metal pylon? Arriving back at Woodland Parade about 2.30pm, after yet another excellent trip, we were happy to load up and head home. Thanks again to everyone for the company and especially to Marty, Colin, Steve, and Gillian for helping and for just being there.


Geoff Emery 7/8/22.



Intro to White Water with Geoff E (and an awesome gang!)


Swan Canoe Club recently ran two white water courses for paddlers new to the joy of getting wet, while playing in the rapids. Geoff Emery and Colin Scully ran both courses and enjoyed the water, the teaching, and the camaraderie. Geoff and Colin are somewhat amazed at how quickly new paddlers can pick up the skills required to enjoy themselves and be safe in moving water.

The first course on the 25/6/22 was in sunshine, with the Walyunga gauge at a pleasant 0.6 metres and Ash, Steve, Mark, and Peter enjoyed themselves, despite a few capsizes and some swimming practice. In contrast the second course on the 23/7/22 was very wet, with some heavy rain at times, mainly at the start and as we finished, but the water was at a good level of 0.56 metres. We had a larger group of seven, consisting of Nishani, Lafe, Yannick, Fran, Kelly, Vicki, and Nick and once again there were a few spills and chills. Fortunately, Kelly made a fantastic soup, supported by bread rolls from Vicki and chocolate from Fran. Luxury, total luxury when one is cold and wet despite wearing the right gear.

We started in the lower Walyunga Pool and had to contend with a Wildwater Race that was going on, dodging over thirty Downriver kayaks as they arrived about a minute apart. Despite that slowing us down a bit, after a soup break, we carried our craft above the Walyunga Slide to a rapid known as Viper’s Tongue and practised leaning downstream and breaking in to the flow from an eddy and out again. With confidence building, even among the instructors, we moved upstream again and paddled past Wooroloo Brook where the Avon River becomes the Swan River.

After a bit more ferry gliding and breaking in and out, we headed back to the fast water in the slalom pole area and eddied out on river-left to practice the white-water safe swimmer position and how to use a throwbag to rescue a swimmer. By now we had some tired and wet campers, and that was just Colin and Geoff. Everyone was relieved when we left the slalom area and headed downstream. Most of us stayed in our kayaks, as we paddled through heavy rain, Viper’s Tongue and Walyunga Slide to the lower pool and dry clothes.

With boats and gear loaded, Geoff handed out the Introduction to White Water certificates and the Avon Safety Competency Assessment Certificates for the four paddlers planning on doing the Avon Descent. It was a wet, tiring day, but we all learnt something, and I think we all had fun. We happy wet few!

Thanks to Colin for always having my back and to Kelly for that great soup and to everyone else for their company and tolerating my weak jokes and tendency to talk too much.

Hope to see you all on the water soon.

Geoff Emery

Flat Water, White Water & Sea Instructor & Assessor. (25/7/22)



Moore River Meander – July 2022

After a two-day postponement due to predicted miserable weather, the thirteen of us who presented for the Moore River Meander were rewarded with a magnificent sunny winter’s day with negligible wind and great company. Our paddlers for this Tuesday excursion were – Mike Glasson, Bernadette Berrell, Tony King, Christine Eyres, Peter Ormond, Gillian Henderson, Linda Godlonton, Alan Wilson, Patrick Carmody, Trish Schuttler, Geoff Emery, Jocelyn Sisson, and Marty Wells.

Firstly however, I extend my apologies to those who signed up for the advertised trip on Sunday 10th and were then unable to come when it was postponed to Tuesday 14th.  A call needed to be made based on the forecast a few days before, and yes, work is the curse of the paddling class!

A preliminary coffee and loo stop at Woodridge enabled a brief catch up with Chessen, a former Swannie and now local Guilderton resident, who had relayed the potentially catastrophic news that the Guilderton coffee shop was not open on a Tuesday. However, her good news was the sand bar at the mouth of the river was intact, and the river water level was therefore high enough to enable smooth paddling along our planned route without any dragging boats through shallows.

After placating Patrick who had been waiting patiently at our start point on the southern side of the river (Caraban locality) since around 4 am, we unloaded the boats and prepared for the safety briefing, but not before Geoff had a crack at seeing how high his boat could bounce whilst being unloaded solo from his vehicle.

With a trail of dripping blood from a damaged thumb (actually a pathetic wound Geoff, self-inflicted I reckon to gain sympathy!) we ventured onto the water keeping a watchful eye out for crocodiles, sharks, and any other creatures who might be attracted to the possibility of a free meal.

Forming two paddle groups with myself as ‘full forward’, assistant guide Jocelyn as ‘full back’, and the master instructor Geoff as an unattached ‘rover’, we headed upstream for about 2.5 km with the river meandering across relatively flat farming terrain and the river fringed with flooded gums, melaleucas and tuarts (some with Osprey nests). Despite recent rain, the water was pretty tranquil, and we paddled until it started to narrow into a potentially challenging maze.

Returning downstream, we picked up Linda who had remained at the starting point to enjoy the peace and quiet for a while. We then headed into the broader sections of the river heading towards the coast. After passing Diamond Island land adjacent to the river became noticeably higher and steeper, and away from the tree-lined river margins there were undulating sand dunes over buried limestone, and the vegetation became more scrubby. The bird life changed as well with a flock of screeching corellas making if difficult to have a conversation.  By this stage our two paddle groups had merged, and the faster paddlers restrained themselves from having too much fun.

Five km downstream from the vehicles, we stopped for lunch at the base of the large Guilderton sand-sheet where it spills down into the river. Climbing to the top of this dune provided impressive views back up the river, towards Guilderton, and out to sea.  It also showed us how unused to steep climbing our wobbly legs were. The shear fun of sand boarding down from the top and skimming out onto the water was demonstrated by some local kids. Note to self – bring a board on top of kayak next time!

Paddling for another kilometre we were at Guilderton, a very scenic collection of holiday shacks/ houses on elevated terrain around a caravan park adjacent to a protected beach by the river, just inland from the sandbar and the ocean.  Having worn out their legs on the dune climb, most of the group opted for an immediate 6 km paddle back to the vehicles, while four of us remained to briefly enjoy the views along the coast from the headland lookout.

After returning to the vehicles we had all completed the 17 km trip without drama (no capsizes, no rolling, no rescues) and just a sense of how lucky we had been with a magic day weather-wise.

Thanks to all participants, particularly Jocelyn and Geoff on the day, and also Mike for doing the recce trip with me a few weeks earlier.


Marty Wells

Flat-water Guide and Caffeine Addict


Penguin Island Trip – February 2022

A Windy Day in Shoalwater Bay

While you might think that work is the curse of the paddling class, for me it’s the wind. At this time of year, the weather gods take delight in sending us easterly winds, that often get up over twenty knots and do more than ruffle my thinning hair.

We’d planned the Shoalwater Bay paddle for Sunday, the twenty-seventh of February and not unexpectedly the weather gods, probably with a sinister chuckle, gave us a strong wind warning. Undeterred, ten hardy Swan Canoe Club paddlers went south anyway, and found that the wind was a gentler fifteen or so knots or twenty-seven kilometres an hour if you prefer. There was the usual scramble to unload boats and gear, carry the kayaks to the water’s edge and get ready for a briefing, before hitting the water. I was impressed that everyone was on time and ready to go, no doubt hoping for a briefer briefing from me.

Martin ‘Delta’ Wells led us off the beach and north west toward Bird Island, while Rowan ‘Badger’ Davidson was our man in the middle, leaving Geoff “Two Dogs” Emery to be the tail-end Charlie. We had the usual suspects, ‘Eskimo Roll’ Mike, ‘Epic’ Trish, ‘Ozgirl’ Janet, ‘I Brake for No-one’ Evi, ‘Qi Gong’ Elena, ‘No Dog’ Colin and ‘New Girl’ Fran. The wind fetch and the resulting waves increased as we paddled further out from the shore, and a rudder problem in the Scorpio made it difficult for Fran to control the boat. Trish was also having some rudder problems but managing o.k. It was somewhat of a relief to get in to the lee of Bird Island and have a break in the green lagoon there, adjoining the small cave. Having had a rest and girded our loins once more, Martin led us north to Point Peron where we had to dodge a few snorkellers and a side sea that was determined to push us onto rocks. With the wind rising, we abandoned Mushroom Rock and turned south toward Seal Island.

The wind increased, gusting at times to twenty knots, creating a few white caps and the occasional breaking wave, but overall, the kayaks felt more stable punching into the wind, rather than being pushed from behind into a broach. We made Seal Island and met up with Jimmy and his flotilla of double sea kayaks from Capricorn Sea Kayaks and had a chat. The three sea lions sleeping on the beach appeared uninterested in the crowd of onlookers, and after weaving our way through all the craft, we paddled on south to Penguin Island.

In view of the forecast twenty to twenty five knots of wind from the south west, we landed on the east side of Penguin Island and had a leg stretch and some brunch on the west side of the island. In fact, there wasn’t a lot of surf on the west side and in retrospect, it would have been a straight forward landing. Having attempted a repair of the Scorpio rudder, we headed off north to Gull Rock and Seal Island once more, with Mike leading us back to shore, near Manuel Towers.

Once the kayaks were loaded on the cars, we headed down to Pengo’s for some social distancing and a coffee. At the end of the day, I was impressed that Fran, having only started paddling in December, managed her maiden sea voyage, with a damaged rudder. Well done, Fran. Thanks to Martin, Rowan, Elena and Colin for support on the water, to Mike for navigating us back home and to Janet, Trish and Evi for just being there.

A good day on the high seas with good company.

Geoff Emery

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Broke Inlet Trip – January 2022

Broke 2022 Trip Report

Broke 2022 was attacked by just 10 adventurous souls this year.  The roll call being; Geoff Emery, Elena Lennox, Colin Scully, Paul and Ruth Covolato, Trish Schuttler, Susie Parker, Phyll Tiller, Marjan Shircore and myself.  A ‘dream team’ ?? of experienced Brokers.

For much of the trip we were rewarded with mild (low twenty degree) temperatures, the occasional gentle pitter patter of rain, and some ‘challenging’ wind conditions (approaching 20 knots on one day) – what more could Swannie paddlers possibly want as an escape from Perth!

On Sunday 23rd a preliminary early morning reccie was undertaken by Geoff and myself to determine we had no competition for our usual ‘Windy Point’ campsite, and while Geoff was supposed to be preparing the red carpet and gin and tonics, I paddled across for the team briefing on the beach at Camfield.

The team was presented with a busy car parking situation, a pleasantly (just) higher water level than last year, and initially warm temperatures. The cats were herded together for the briefing after dragging Phyll away from providing fishing advice to a local power boatie, and we then set across to Windy Point as the wind started increase to what became the norm for much of the trip.

Meanwhile at camp, Geoff discovers and secures an empty fishing boat that has drifted across onto Windy Point and so he returns to Camfield to find the owner/s. Needless to say the boat owner/s, while grateful for his Geoff’s efforts, failed to provide the anticipated carton of cool ones as a reward. Geoff then proceeded back to the campsite under sail but after a convoluted course and a damaged mast, it was decided that Susie’s sailing expertise should be tapped into for advice on any future kayak sailing activities.

Camp set up with Geoff, Marty and Susie in the exclusive real estate of ‘Urea Heights’ and the remainder on sand flats with careful spacing to avoid impact from snoring competitions.  Colin was the next to make a return trip to Camfield in order to retrieve a second tent after his and Elena’s borrowed one didn’t live up to expectations upon set-up.

This, and subsequent, evenings were spent in social camaraderie (otherwise referred to by some as ‘jaw-boning’) under the cover of Geoff’s tarp and around our virtual campfires. Meals were critiqued and many benefited by the addition of copious amounts of parmesan cheese and red wine. The beers sadly didn’t retain their coolness for long and much discussion devoted to how a decent small solar powered esky could be developed for Broke trips – this matter being left for Colin to resolve before next year.  Massages were dispensed by Elena and Geoff with a passion and strength to match those of previous years, and with no subsequent trips to physios that I have heard of – so far!

Monday 24th was a tad windy with up to 20 knots from the south east at times. We headed down wind towards Shannon River – initially a cruisy journey with paddle blades acting as sails as we generally stuck close to the shore. It became more challenging as we needed to head more side-on to the waves (in shallow water) to get to the entrance into Shannon River. This involved a bit of wading dragging boats but thereafter we were protected from the wind and it was a pleasant meandering paddle upstream to the spot off Springbreak Road for lunch. The return journey across the inlet and into the wind was a good workout, and on completion of about 25 km that day it ensured we had no excuse for not being able to sleep that night.

Tuesday 25th saw four of the team opt for a day relaxing in camp as the predominantly south easterly wind remained, although not as strong. Susie’s beachcomber immediately developed rudder cable problems and Elena kindly lent her the Stellar for the day, with Geoff and Colin volunteering to attempt a repair rather than just relaxing in camp.  Six of us then set out into the teeth of the wind (mild exaggeration permitted) heading for the shore east of Coal Point where, flushed with renewed energy, we decided to go on to Birthday Beach and Bald Island.

Landing on the sheltered beach around the corner from Birthday Beach we explored this beautiful area with its granite boulders masquerading as large loaves of bread and the secluded camp sites amongst the trees. All rather special in the absence of any other campers due to Fisherman’s track being closed to 4WDs by Parks and Wildlife to prevent disturbance to migratory bird nesting sites around Coal Point and the inlet sand-bar.   Lunch was held on top of the granite dome of Bald Island where unsuccessful attempts made to radio back to those on Windy Point that all was AOK. Return trip with wind behind us was made without incident by remaining close to shore again. Given the lack of earlier radio contact we were met by Geoff and Colin coming out to escort us back in after a total of about 18 km this day.

Wednesday 26th Australia Day! was marked by a communal breakfast and games of Bocce before Susie and Trish (with Geoff as escort) headed across to Camfield for departure to Perth. All others then paddled in lighter winds towards the inlet sand-bar and ocean beach. Geoff had another sail attempting to catch us before reaching the ocean sand-bar but was foiled by shallow water off Coal point. Winds strengthened at the ocean with some opting to return back to camp while the Marjan, Paul, Ruth and myself found a protected secluded sheltered area around the headland for lunch as we watched the wonderfully wild southern ocean do its thing! A pleasant return paddle to camp notched up 13 km for this day.

On return to camp (and in tune with some interpretation of the significance of Jan 26th) we were invaded!  Five members of Action Outdoors Association (AOA) led by Phyll’s close associate, Richard Jolley, had paddled across to share our sacred campground for the evening. Although we maintained our separate groupings for the evening we felt it appropriate to let AOA know we were having a good time on our last night at Windy Point – with Ruth leading a chorus of artificially loud fake laughter at regular intervals. (we had been away from civilization for too long by that stage!).

Thursday 27th. Despite plans for a relaxed start we were all packed and ready for the paddle back to Camfield at least half an hour ahead of schedule – certainly a first for your’s truly!. While Paul and Ruth headed off to Pemberton’s Karri Lake resort for more R and R, the remaining six of us headed back home to Perth with a lunch stop (in clean clothes!) in Balingup.

Reflecting on highlights, Geoff deserved a ‘best bit of gear’ award with his tarp providing a great fun game as it caught the evening rain which, with a strategic poke here and there, could be directed to channel runoff into water bottles or, better still, down someone’s back as they huddled below. The Bocce set brought along by Paul and Ruth was a great addition for the celebration of Australia Day – with Marjan crowned as the ‘Broke Bocce Queen’ and any foot-faults by her (and others) being dutifully ignored by Phyll, as self appointed scorer.

Paul should receive a “misplaced pride in frugality” award after proudly claiming success in purchasing a very cheap camp chair “absolutely identical to those expensive Helinox ones” only to end up ‘breaking thru’ to the ground on more than one occasion despite best repair efforts with gaffa tape and cable ties. More successful repairs were effected on Susie’s kayak by the ever-helpful team of Geoff and Colin.

Elena kept the ‘energy flows’ moving for most of us with her constant supply of healthy food nibbles and her early morning Qi Gong exercises. Trish amazed all with her packing skills and lightness of kayak (although it may have had something to do with discarding certain unnecessary items such as a sleeping mat, tent fly, warm clothes, cooking equipment and food etc).  Phyll demonstrated her ‘way with men’ by soliciting a free cuddle from AOA’s Richard, and Ruth used her formidable nursing skills to stem the flow of blood from wounds on at least three occasions. Finally, Susie (she of the new radio call sign of ‘mellow yellow’) should be encouraged to take on the club role of kayak sailing coach (and potential regatta organiser) after demonstrating her uncanny ability to pick, and deal with, impending wind gusts just before they hit.

Thank you all for contributing your patience and humour to a challenging but fun trip.

Flatwater Guide, and Broke 2022 Trip Organiser