Perfect Time for an Aquatic Adventure

Perfect Time for an Aquatic Adventure

March 1, 2019 0 By AJ

There is now an image of Maingon Bay on my Joshua Vince (Tasmanian photographer) 2019 calendar. Why? The summer months have gone. The calendar has flipped to March. Perfect time for an aquatic adventure!

Summer weather in Tasmania has not yet ended. So don’t be shy. March is often (even usually) the best month temperature wise.

A fact I cannot escape is my typing fingers were on strike for February. Sorry ‘bout that. 

In my defence, I have been out doing some pretty cool things. So that’s a plus. Right?

What did you get up to in your February adventures?

Tasmania had a nasty reminder about bushfires throughout January and early February. We’ve had quite a few bad ones burn up thousands of hectares and damage some ancient and amazing wilderness (and property).

The Gell River fire aftermath at The Needles, southwest Tasmania.

An Aquatic Adventure. Part Uno.

First off, I ventured to New Norfolk in the Derwent Valley. That is about 40 minutes’ drive north of Hobart. I met up with Cameron from Derwent Valley SUP (Stand Up Paddleboarding) School for a session on the River Derwent.

Cameron moved down from Queensland with his wife and has been operating Derwent Valley SUP School for a couple of years.

He is a jovial fellow who loves getting out for a SUP. The only thing that makes him happier is if others are enjoying a SUP with him.

Before getting out on the water Cameron ran through the basic safety and paddleboard skills including how to steer, stop and most importantly, how to stand up. There would be no SU in the SU-P.

The theory seemed logical enough. Yep, yep, yep, got it. Sorted.

Standing and Paddling

Once on the board and on the water it is amazing how much basic human body movement can fail me. Though, it is probably just me. I really shouldn’t be surprised.

At my fourth attempt to stand tall and strong, and with quite a bit of verbal reinforcement and encouragement from Cameron, I stood and stayed standing. No dipping in the Derwent for me on this day!

My knees were not “soft knees” but I was able to enjoy my first go at SUPing down the river at a leisurely pace, making sure to keep my eyes looking forward and not down.

It took some time before I was fully at ease with chatting to Cameron and keeping my eyes from looking at my board. We worked on some stopping and turning moves, plus some technical points such as paddle holding and stroke placement and movement.

River Derwent SUP aquatic adventure
SUPin’ down the Derwent

The was a bit of breeze on the water. This made for a quick trip down the river. Normally Cameron heads upstream on stiller days. 

New Norfolk and the section of the Derwent Cameron uses for his SUP sessions is a spot on location for entry level and fun level SUPing. 

For prices and further info take a look at derwentvalleysup.com. For anyone looking to get skilled in the world of SUP, check out the 6 session course!

An Aquatic Adventure. Part Dos.

Next water adventure was an enchanting kayak on Lake Pedder with Liam from Tassie Bound. In a very Tasmanian story, Liam and I went to high school together many years ago.

Parked Hobie's during aquatic adventure
Crash landing on Lake Pedder

Lake Pedder (located in the UNESCO World Heritage listed wilderness area of Tasmania) is a good 3 hours out of Hobart, passing through New Norfolk, the small townships of Westerway, Bushy Park, Tyenna and Maydena, out to the former hydro electric town of Strathgordon.

The Derwent Valley and Lake Pedder are Liam’s backyard. Lucky bugger. He and his wife Fiona have been running Tassie Bound walking and kayaking tours for near on ten years.

Liam is a former chef who has combined his great love and connection with the wild Tasmanian outdoors with his knowledge of the flora of his backyard with his culinary capabilities to provide a wonderful mornings adventure on Lake Pedder.

I meet Liam at Pedder Wilderness Lodge, formerly Hydro Electric workers accommodation, and we head to the nearby boat ramp where Liam has set up a couple of Hobie kayaks that we’ll be using for the mornings tour.

Pedder Bound

We go through the 101 safety requirements and away we go!

The weather presents a calm but misty morning on Pedder which makes for ideal conditions and some laidback paddling around the edge of the tannin lake. 

Liam explains some of the history and facts about the lake and its various 47 islands and physical highlights and unique characteristics.

Lake Pedder is not what it once was. It is now a water catchment as a result of the damming of the Serpentine and Huon rivers in 1972. Pedder was flooded as part of the Hydro Electric Commission dam project and is now Tasmania’s second largest lake.

There are calls to restore Lake Pedder to its former glory. However, much time has passed and new ecosystems have been at work for over 40 years. Is it right to tear those down in the hope of recreating the original Lake Pedder?

All alone on Lake Pedder aquatic adventure
In the middle of nowhere. Amazing.

I do wonder how amazing it would be to have the original Pedder in our current tourism focused world.  I imagine, it would have been an astonishing place…

Silence in the Mist

Time becomes almost irrelevant. It’s an amazing feeling drifting in the silence just taking in the views. I see and feel why Liam refers to this place as his backyard. There is no one else here. Just us.

Many of the peaks disappear and reappear from sight.  The horizon shape shifts in the mist, playing cloak and dagger with my eyes. 

Pedder paddlin' aquatic adventures
Strokin’ on the water

The still water allows for us to take the Hobies further into the expanse of Pedder before heading to a quartzite beach cove for a well-earned coffee and fudge morning tea break. There are so many alcoves that many could still be classed as “secret”.

Liam and I discuss the recent bush fires and the effect on the communities and the wilderness itself.

After some reminiscing and life catch-up it is time to head back to base. The wind has picked up across the lake, meaning we will be padding into the wind and the waves on our return journey.

Cramped My Own Style

Unfortunately  for me the return was long and painful as I cramped up in my legs. Thankfully, Liam was able to assist me and tow my kayak and its busted paddler back safely. Almighty effort from Liam, although he said it was easy as. 

Once on shore I was amazingly okay to stand and scoff down two tasty wraps Liam had made for lunch. I’m sure Liam was thinking my recovery way too Lazarus-like.

Tassie Bound runs a variety of adventure tours. Check out their website for more information. I certainly recommend the Lake Pedder tour as an southwest wilderness adventure.