Last night was a delightful balmy summer’s evening, just right for travelling down the Derwent River in search of Platypus.
I was a bit apprehensive as I am not very fit, I am not very agile, and I am no spring chicken! And …. I have gammy knees which means I need help getting down and getting up, and climbing.
I was assured that the guides would help me in and out of the kayak, and on the slope up the river at the end. Thankfully the embarking point, and the riverside picnic spot were quite level.
So we set off, and after a few strokes off-rhythm (that is me in the last tandem), I got into the swing of it. It must be almost 50 years since I last canoed, but some muscle memory remained. After a few minutes, and after the embarrasment of my guide discretely telling me that I had my paddle upside down, I remembered to lean forwards rather than backwards, I remembered to bend my knees to brace, and started to move my body with the stroke.
Soon we were scooting along …. the Mean Machine!
The river was beautiful, the air was cool without being cold, even though, by now, I was thoroughly soaked, and the light was gentle as the sun sank in the sky.
As I paddled I drifted into another space. The idle chatter that had accompanied the start of the expedition dropped away, and all that could be heard was the gentle splash of the paddles.
We caught glimpses of a few platypus in the upper reaches, but they alluded us downstream, where they are usually more plentiful, because a southerly breeze had sprung up, which apparently makes all the difference.
But you know, I had forgotten about the platypus anyway.
I was just enjoying the ride.