• Helen Avaient

I discovered the joy of kayaking on the Swan River

Living in a new city for a year presented a wonderful array of new activities to undertake. In 2020 I learnt how to kayak and found that it quickly became a passion.


Perth is a city built around the beautiful Swan River and the coast line of Western Australia. This enables many opportunities to get out on the water and have fun, whether it be in the river or in the ocean.

For my first adventure out, I decided to stay near the shoreline at Claremont and Peppermint Grove, just in case something happened, I could swim back to shore. The pier here is a popular spot for people wanting to fish. People chat happily with you and share their catch stories of the day as you paddle nearby.

With great trepidation I pushed off from the sandy shore and found myself sitting atop a piece of floating plastic. If I wobbled, the kayak wobbled. So, I said to myself - don't wobble. (insert nervous laughter here).


Then I dipped the left paddle in and pulled, then the right, and the floating piece of plastic that is my kayak skimmed across the top of the water. Skimmed! I felt free! What a marvellous feeling this was. I became more adventurous and paddled again, thus gliding more. This was fun! People fishing from the pier waved and smiled at me, other kayakers waved when I passed them by. About 20 sailboats from the nearby yacht club were all on the water as well. One of the sailors called out to me, "hello mermaid!" I felt my spirits soar.


My kayak is a fishing kayak, meaning it came with a flush rod holder, and a swivel rod holder. There were elastic straps on the sides that kept the rod in place when not being used. Of course, you don't need to fish to use it.


Having two watertight hatch storage areas is great. My car keys, phone, drink, food etc fit nicely in there. By having wifi headphones I can also listen to music or an audiobook whilst paddling, knowing my phone is in a safe spot.


So far the war between the fish and myself is: me - zero, fish - get to eat all my bait. The joy is not in catching any fish (although that would be fun too), the joy is in the actual process of fishing. There is something very zen and peaceful about casting your line into the water and then waiting patiently to see if anything nibbles. I took the advice of the fisherpersons on the pier - "paddle over to that area near the rocks. People can't get to it, there will be heaps of fish there." hmmm, the score remains the same - me: nil, fish: still swimming.


If I didn't go out on the river once a week, I noticed the difference in my mood. I felt unsettled. Kayaking is a peaceful and fun activity to undertake. I can leave all my stresses on land and just be at peace on the water.


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Happy Travels!


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