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Falling in Love with Paddling

I bought a kayak!

I’ve wanted one for years and now I’ve left the city for the coast I’ve put my money where my mouth is and am now the proud, and excited, owner of a fishing kayak.

It’s not for fishing, it’s for painting!

The wonderful thing about a fishing kayak is it’s stability. It’s wide and spacious. I really couldn’t see myself successfully getting in and out of one of those narrow kayaks but this one is dead easy. Even the first time I climbed in was easy. And so what if you get a bit wet? That doesn’t matter.

Paddling in my Kayak

Paddling in my Kayak at Lake Conjola

I’m experimenting with my sketching kit for the water. I’ve decided to leave the sketching kit I have in my backpack for walks and road trips in the backpack. It took me years to make up that little palette and I’ve be way too upset if I lost it overboard.

So I’m making a second kit up, one that I’ll do my best to keep wholly within the boat but not too distraught if the water gods decide they like it better. They’ve already claimed my favourite, fancy sunglasses. I’m still upset about that. My replacement ones aren’t as nice and have a cord to keep them around my neck. Of course they haven’t even come close to going overboard!

I feel like I’ve been very brave getting out on the water by myself. I do love it. There’s something completely altering getting out by yourself in a wee little boat and taking the time to notice what’s around you, from sting rays to all manner of birds. I’ve started counting how many different types of birds I see and it’s usually over 15; from sea eagles to Godwits, oyster catchers to galahs, cormorants to cockatoos.

Sting Ray when out paddling

Sting Ray at Lake Conjola

To paint I simply beach myself on a sand bank. It’s that easy.

Initially my painting kit was in a small esky I have in the back section of the kayak but I’m figuring out how to have easier access to it in a dry bag that’s just behind my seat.

I find it much easier to sketch the landscape and birds than show the burnt bush. The summer fires (2019-2020) came through here furiously, burning down to the waterline in many areas. Even the back burning went to the waterline.

The difference between hot burns and the cooler back burns is amazing to see. Our land is scarred forever from these fires, simply because they were so hot in so many places. I think we’ll lose a third to two thirds of the trees in the hot sections. The cooler back burned areas will recover just fine.

Rain coming in over the ranges

Rain coming in over the bush fire burnt ranges

Paddling is getting me to places that I just wouldn’t have seen before. It’s opening my eyes and giving me new experiences that I just couldn’t have imagined before. I wanted a kayak to be on the water. I’m a water creature. It makes me feel good. It enlivens me. I’ve known that for a long time. But I didn’t have a clue about how it would change how I explore. And I love exploring.

COVID may have smashed around my business in ways I didn’t know were possible, but it also forced my hand and had me leave Sydney. And now it’s led to this amazing new love. When everything was falling apart I was determined to find good in it. And I am. I hope you are too, somehow, somewhere. xo

The curious cockatoo painted by Belinda Stinson of Creatively

Curious Cockatoo watercolour greeting card Original watercolour painted by Belinda Stinson of Creatively Belle

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