Ignorance is Bliss – Kayaking at Colleges Crossing

When I pictured kayaking again after a 30 year hiatus, I envisioned a calm, crystal clear lake, not the flowing, murky-brown depths of the tidal Brisbane River. So when my brother called me up a few days ago for a spontaneous kayaking adventure beginning at Colleges Crossing, I had a few reservations.

Drowning isn’t usually a consideration while hiking and even though toileting in bushland may be awkward sometimes, relieving oneself while kayaking on the river is a little more complicated. There was also the problem that everything could get wet, including my beloved, can’t-go-anywhere-without-it, Canon camera.  Sitting on a hard plastic seat for a day also seemed like a good recipe for a stiff back and the world’s worst case of haemorrhoids.  I’ve sometimes seen interesting things like large logs, drums and washing machines floating on the Brisbane River and the dim memory of reading tales of an enormous rogue crocodile may have slightly added to my concerns.  Sometimes I wish I didn’t have quite so much imagination.

A day out with my only  surviving sibling is a rare event though  and while sometimes a little risky, they are always fun-filled and memorable. You can read about one hiking  trip I’ve done with him in Karawatha Forest – A Refuge From the City.

In cases like this it’s best to remember these words from the Collected Works of Rudyard Kipling and just get on with it:

“Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are our own fears.”

So off we set, ready for a day of thrills (but not too many thrills I hoped).  I became closely acquainted with parts of my brother’s kayaks before we even arrived. LB is not one to bother with trailers and roof racks when he can squeeze all his gear into a station wagon. I shared the back seat with the stacked kayaks, while LB reassured me, “You’ll feel like you’re in a lot of danger, Janey, but you’re not…really.” Here is my view on the left:

Close encounters

The water at Colleges Crossing Recreation Reserve appeared reassuringly calm as we unpacked all our gear.

Colleges Crossing

Colleges Crossing

Colleges Crossing

Getting kayak out

It was then  I discovered  my brother’s kayaks are not the flimsy, unstable, hard- seated variety. They’re fishing kayaks – shorter, wider, heavier, with comfortable padded seats and plenty of room for gear – more like the cruise ship variety really.  Despite this, I opted to take my cheap bike camera instead of my new Canon in case of accidents so unfortunately you won’t be seeing close-ups of birds or rogue crocodiles in this post. If you want to see beautiful pictures of birds and other scenery on Australian kayaking adventures please check out the blog of berowabackyard.wordpress.com . Her latest post has beautiful shots of a peregrine falcon eating dinner.


kayak seat

I managed to get in without capsizing the thing but if my brother wasn’t holding it steady, it may have been a very different scenario.

Jane Kayaking - Colleges Crossing

Off we paddled, intrepid river explorers, ready for anything. I breathed in the invigorating, slightly rotten smell of the Brisbane River, soaked up the heat of a clear blue Brisbane sky  and felt amazingly alive. Gliding along the river reminded me of cycling but without traffic lights, hills and crazy car drivers. That’s me in the blue kayak.

Colleges Crossing - Jane in kayak

Brisbane River - Jane Kayaking


Within 10 minutes, gliding turned into mad thrashing. After rounding  a bend, the waterway had narrowed, increasing the speed of the current which was already quite strong from the incoming tide. With a strong wind on our backs we were flying along. This would have been very exciting except that a multiple arched, low concrete bridge just ahead promised to decapitate us.  We’d started our paddle a little too late in the morning and the gaps were too narrow  to safely negotiate.

As the bridge neared at an alarming rate, I turned around and started battling to avoid a collision and the possible removal of my brain centre.  After madly paddling and not making any progress against the current, I wondered if I would be able to maintain my position until the tide turned. Meanwhile, my brother was also paddling like a crazy person, but with his giant build and massive strength he was making progress.  Did I tell you my brother is a giant and I am midget sized? Look at his shoulders…

My brother

Eventually, I made some ground by going diagonally towards the inner bank of the bend where the current was a little slower. Now of course there is no photographic evidence of our little drama so I invited an anonymous artist to depict the scene from above.

Mad paddling - Colleges Crossing

It was a heart-pounding way to restart my long dormant, very short kayaking career. I was never in any real danger though as the kayaks are so solid I could have banged them against the bridge and scrambled over the top…probably. Another great sibling memory to add to the collection. I also managed to thoroughly soak my backpack with all that water thrashing. Thank goodness for ziplock freezer bags otherwise I’d be eating brown soggy bacteria-ridden sandwiches. Oh, did I forget to tell you that the water quality of the Brisbane River is quite poor?

After that pants-wetting start, I thought I’d spend some quiet time investigating an island of waterplants  while my brother decided to explore another branch of the river to see if we could bypass the bridge.  By this stage I’d felt a few bumps against the bottom of my  kayak, but thought it must  have been due to the waves lapping in a weird way. I also saw a large splash right next to my kayak and joked about the rogue crocodile.  My brother was strangely silent and didn’t offer a possible reason until much later…

Jane kayaking in Brisbane River

Jane kayaking at Colleges Crossing

Within a few minutes of entering the water weeds, the kayak was invaded by 100s of tiny crickets and a few small spiders. Even on the river I can’t escape them!

It was peaceful on my little island in the river and if my brother hadn’t returned I may have fallen asleep.

water plant

yellow flower

water plant

water plant

LB battled the current of the  rising tide to return and was in need of my island for a breather. Here he threw out a few lines while I enjoyed the tickling sensation of crickets and pondered the universe.

brother kayaking

Just before the tide turned we headed along the section he’d explored. LB threw out his line again while I looked for birds.

Alternative route to miss bridge

brother fishing

We eventually made it out into a wider section of the river where I saw an Australasian darter. I wished I’d had my Canon for a better shot. The old $90 Olympus with a shattered  battery case held together by sticky tape just wouldn’t do the job properly.

Australasian Darter

Wide river

When the tide turned and the water was lower and calmer we returned  via the bridge  which had terrified me only a couple of hours before. It was a good reminder of how changeable paddling conditions can be on a tidal river. Doesn’t this look idyllic?

Concrete bridge

Even so, there was a submerged branch/log across the archways and only one narrow path that was safe for the kayaks to take so we had to paddle carefully underneath and lean back slightly. Here is LB after having gone through. The picture makes the gap look deceptively big.


My turn next…

Paddling under bridge

After a great day kayaking we negated the exercise by eating chips and burgers at the Colleges Crossing Recreation Area kiosk.  It was during our meal that my brother showed me a video of kayakers catching bull sharks at Colleges Crossing. The bumping of the kayak and the large splash may have been one such shark.  I asked him why he didn’t tell me this before and he replied that he thought it may put me off. “Ignorance is bliss, Janey!”  Apparently, he was hoping to catch a bull shark the whole time! That’s the kind of relationship I have with my brother…

Ignorance is bliss - kayaking

 I don’t hate sharks; I have a healthy respect for them.  I just never expected them to be this far up the waterway!  Upon researching bull sharks I found out they are unusual in that they can cope well with freshwater. Unlike many sharks, they are territorial and may be aggressive.  They are listed as being a species more likely to be involved in attacks on humans.

I was surprised to read that bull sharks have been populating the Brisbane River since before the British arrived. The female sharks give birth to pups in the rivermouth and estuaries and the pups then swim upstream and live in the river for a few years until they are big enough to enter the ocean. While sharks below 1.5 metres  are not likely to attack humans during the day and there are no recorded deaths in the Brisbane River in recent years, family pets have been taken and recently a thoroughbred horse being trained in the water was attacked. Although there are supposed to be signs warning people of bull sharks at colleges crossing, I didn’t see them.

As with all wild creatures, if we are sensible and respect the shark living in its own environment, attacks are rare.  The sharks have only been sighted as far as Colleges Crossing and not past the weir.  Dawn, dusk and night are definitely times to avoid being in the water when the sharks are more likely to be feeding and not scared by boats and other noisy daytime activities. It’s still not recommended you swim there during the day though. For information and a video about bull sharks please check the Australian museum site here.

After the day, what was my evaluation of kayaking on the river? Some of my fears were unfounded while some weren’t. Tidal rivers vary in conditions and they are more dangerous than a still lake.  I expect they are more exciting though. As we found out, you never know what’s around the next bend! I would recommend always wearing a lifejacket but perhaps I am biased as I’ve never been a strong swimmer.

It was disappointing not to have a good camera with me, so if anyone wants to recommend some options or a company wants to give me a waterproof GoPro or camera to review, I won’t say no!

I found these fishing kayaks, priced at around $500AU, very comfortable and I’d recommend them to people with dodgy joints like me. Gliding along in calm waters is extremely meditative. It did remind me of cycling in that respect. There is a sensation of flying. It’s also much cooler above the river than hiking in open country. I sweated far less than usual, meaning I needed to carry less water for the whole day.

Finally, I’m grateful to my adventure-seeking brother for introducing me to river kayaking. I’m now at terrible risk of being thoroughly addicted  to it.

For more information about the many facilities available at Colleges Crossing Recreation Reserve please check this site.

My brother kayaking

Next week will be the promised trip report about Wivanhoe Hill trails and heatstroke.

Thanks for reading.

105 thoughts on “Ignorance is Bliss – Kayaking at Colleges Crossing

  1. You are so brave to go on such an adventure though the kayaks sound OK to be paddling in. I should think that the time in calm water must have been really pleasant, I hope you go again but no sharks!

    • I’m not sure if I was very brave but thank you. It was loads of fun and the kayaks are very stable (although not very fast). My brother certainly enjoyed showing me the video of the sharks after we’d finished. Next time we will be more careful about the tides too and explore further. Thanks for reading and commenting, Susan. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Oh, looks beautiful, Daniel! And no sharks is a big bonus. Thanks for the links and for reading and commenting. Great to hear from you. 🙂

    • I’m glad it gave you a laugh, Paula. Nothing ever goes to plan when my brother is involved. It means we have a lot of fun though. Thanks! 🙂

  2. Yes. I good kayak makes all the difference! We’d been renting crappy ones for years before we bought ours. Mine is a sports model, hubby’s is a fish one. They are a bit bigger than the ones your bro has. I needed stability!!
    We have the same deal… while I’m distracted by pretty flowers to photograph, he has a fishing pole to drop in. Luckily, NO sharks here in the Midwest! 🐟

    • Wow, you mean I can get even bigger ones than my brother’s? I will have to investigate! Haha…yes, I said to LB that he throws a lure in every 10 metres and I take shots at about the same pace. It worked out very well. He offered me a fishing line but I didn’t want to get my hands too dirty because I was using the camera. I’d say I was pretty safe from the sharks on the kayak, but I’m glad I didn’t go for a swim while my brother was exploring another branch of the river! I gave my brother a slightly stern look for not telling me about them until afterwards. He’s great fun to have adventures with though. Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

      • Brother’s are good for that.. not giving you ALL the details (ie sharks!) Yes, ours are 10.5 feet. I sit in mine a bit deeper also. I think if you type new kayak into my search, it will come up with a post to see our new ones. There are also ocean types at 12 feet. I just didn’t want to lug around that much kayak. Many times you need to carry it a bit from truck to water.

  3. Your post couldn’t have been more timely for me. We have been kayak-less since we left Alaska, but just bought a new one for use here in Maine. I cannot wait to get back on the water. And our new kayaks have fancy, comfortable seats too. Such an upgrade. We don’t have to worry about being bumped by sharks here. No ticks on the water is another upside!
    I hope that bridge isn’t looming in your nightmares. It’s the kind of thing that imbeds itself in the horror part of the brain, only to reemerge in the dead of night.

    • How could I have forgotten about kayaking being tick-less?! Now that is a great benefit. A shame there are probably still mosquitoes and midges in some places though. I think kayaking is one of those activities that some people fall in love with immediately. I must say that having a comfortable seat makes a huge difference . The one I used when I was young would have killed my rear end and lower spine after a short time. This one was fantastic. It made me think I could do this into my old age more easily than some some other activities. Have fun on your new kayaks! Ah, that bridge…it did freak me out briefly. It wasn’t my time to leave the earth though and so I’m still hear to annoy everyone! I actually had a terrible nightmare a couple of nights after the incident, but it was me driving my car into the river. Instead of the kayak, my car was being swept along and I couldn’t control it. The subconscious processing the latent fear I think! Thanks for reading and commenting. It seems there are a few kayak lovers out there. 🙂

  4. Good on ya Jane, how wonderful that your brother shared that experience with you! It was interesting to follow your journey. I use to have a kayak but sold it after a huge stingray went under it and then a large creature jumped out of the water right next to me. I use to do it alone, but we never did it together, so I sold it. Again intrepid Jane, does it again!:-)

    • It sounds like you may have had a close encounter with a shark too by the sounds of it! One thing about kayaking is I think it’s something I’d prefer to do with other people. I enjoyed having my brother along for company. I tend to be happy to walk alone though. I’m not a great swimmer which is another reason I’d feel happier with others. I’ve followed another blogger who kayaks a lot and she sees lots of birds on her jaunts. I meant to include her in my post. I’ll amend that now. Thanks very much for your supportive comments as usual. It’s much appreciated. I hope you have a lovely week. Best wishes. 🙂

      • That is a valid point for kayaking, you do see more birds from cruising the rivers and creeks as they often sit by water and nest there. Some of the best birding in dense rainforest areas is done on the river such as the Daintree River. Thanks again Jane, and yes I agree kayaking is best in pairs:-)

        • Bird watching is certainly one of the attractions of the activity. I’ll not be buying a kayak of my own, partly because I don’t have a car that I can transport one so any more trips will only be done when my brother invites me. I’m hoping he’s keen for a lake experience soon. I expect boating along the Daintree River would be amazing. Have a lovely week and thanks again for your encouragement! 🙂

  5. It’s a good thing I’m a trusting soul, or I might think your shark story is a lot of bull – ha ha ha. I survived an encounter with a loan shark once, but my wallet wasn’t as fortunate.

    Seriously, though, I enjoyed your adventure very much and look forward to your next report. 🙂

    • Haha…clever play on words! Your puns are very entertaining. Thank you. I’ve still got to sort through a heap of photos for the next blog post. I don’t think people really want to look at 50 tree trunks, even though I thought them fascinating at the time. I think the heat was making me more bonkers than usual. Great to hear from you. Best wishes! 🙂

    • Haha…thank you! I wasn’t really in any danger from the sharks though. They are not fully grown. Still, the bumping against the bottom did make me wonder and I wouldn’t swim there, that’s for sure! Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

  6. We always know from the beginning that you survived the adventure because otherwise we wouldn’t be reading your latest post—unless it was written as a post mortem by someone masquerading as you, but that would be hard for someone to do because of your distinctive style.

    I don’t often recognize any of your Australian vegetation but I can tell your that the yellow flower is a species of Ludwigia. Compare this view from Austin:


    According to Wikipedia, “The genus was named by Carl Linnaeus after Christian Gottlieb Ludwig (1709-1773), a German botanist, who was apparently not amused by this honour.”

    In contrast, we’re always amused by your tongue-in-cheek language.

    • Hi Steve. If I ever do die while on a trip, my long suffering daughter has been given instructions to write the post for me. I like to plan ahead sometimes you see. One song I will have her include is the version of “Smile” sung in the movie My Girl II. By coincidence, in the film the daughter is watching a film of her own dead mother singing it.
      Thank you for the link to the flower. I have a vague recollection that you may have helped me out with that one in a past post. Since I am not sure, I obviously need reminding! 🙂 Old age. Your pics of them are far superior to my own, Steve. Interesting that the botanist didn’t like it named after him. It’s such a pretty flower. Better than being named after a stinky type of grotesque looking fungus…although perhaps that would be far more interesting?
      Thanks as always for your valuable comments. I always appreciate what you have to add to the conversation. Best wishes. 🙂

  7. Jane, you went kayaking on a river with friggin’ SHARKS in it? Is there anything, in Australia, that it’s not designed to eat, poison or in general harm humans? I’m half expecting one of the crickets to be the famous Super Poisonous Australian Cricket of Doom!

    Apart from big-toothed fishes lurking in a river, it really looks like a nice place but… I wouldn’t get in that water without a hovercraft. Or a steel boat.

    • Hi! Well, I didn’t know there were sharks in it when I was kayaking… 🙂 I probably would have still gone but been much more nervous. Those kayaks are pretty solid though and most sharks in that area are not very big. Haha…you did make me laugh with the Super Poisonous Australian Cricket of Doom. Shark attacks in general are not all that common and we don’t have large land carnivores like bears, tigers and lions here. I think hippos kill a lot of people in Africa – we don’t have to worry about them, although we do have crocodiles! We do have a lot of small venomous creatures compared to some countries. I feel more scared of humans here to be honest. There are some very crazy drivers on the roads sometimes. It’s why I don’t cycle much in my area. Thanks for reading and adding smiles with your comment. Have a great week! 🙂

    • Thanks, Steve. It was great fun. Next time I hope to be better organised to take more pics of wildlife. If I can get a good waterproof case, I will feel better about taking the Canon. I hope you and the family are well and you get a chance to do some great walks as the weather warms up. Thanks for reading and commenting. Lovely to hear from you again. Best wishes! 🙂

    • Hi Peggy. Even though I never actually saw a bull shark, finding out afterwards that they were there was quite enough for me! It was great fun despite the little bridge drama. I am lucky to have a brother who is still interested in sibling adventures. Thanks for commenting. Best wishes! 🙂

  8. Hi Jane this was a really adventer. Before i had a car-accident I go kayaking every week.I had buy a kayak.I Now I go only walking Thanks for sharing your story and photos.It’s magnificent.

    • So sorry that your car accident has limited your activities in many ways. I remember you wrote about not being able to cycle anymore either. I’m glad you still have your walking and photography. Thanks very much for reading and commenting. I do appreciate it. Have a great week. 🙂

  9. Another kayak lover here. We should start a club? I immediately fell in love with kayaking from the very first time. I have a wider, more stable version than Eric’s, but his maneuvers better. He also fishes from it while I take my Canon (long lenses and all) along ever since the first or second float. Even Sissy goes along: https://gusgus64.wordpress.com/2015/07/14/poodle-paddle/

    If you care to see a bit more of my kayak adventures do a search for “kayak” at my blog! 😉 But I know you’ve seen them before since you commented at the post where I kayaked the very first time (https://gusgus64.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/untethered). I was a bit uneasy that very first time, but totally fell for the experience since then. Luckily Eric is a bit more cautious than your LB. He does check out tides and conditions and such. I’m also pretty leery of how windy or wavy the water is. I just don’t want a bad experience to spoil my enjoyment of the sport. You can get a good look at the different sort of kayaks we have in the ‘untethered’ post. Mine is very comfortable and stable, but the thing I like is having more cover over my legs so they don’t get wet. It also protects the camera gear which I keep in a plastic bucket below the deck. Eric explained that your style is a sit-upon, while ours is a sit inside which gives our legs and gear more protection AND the center of gravity is lower, so more maneuverable. Just something to consider if you decide to get one. 🙂

    • Thanks for all the great tips, Gunta, and sharing the links! I remember reading that post and thinking how beautiful and calm it looked. I’d never done lake kayaking in still waters before and was eager to give it a go. My kayaking memories are actually of doing it briefly with my school on the beachfront in choppy sea. In fact, thinking about it they were probably surf skis, not even kayaks, hence my surprise at my brother’s flash ones! I remember a very basic, hard moulded area for my backside that wouldn’t have been comfortable for hours on end. Looking at yours, they are even more upmarket! I can see why you’d be able to keep more things dry. It is very unlikely I would buy a kayak as I don’t have a suitable car really to transport it. My brother has two so hopefully we’ll be able to share more kayaking adventures together in the future. If I do buy one eventually, I’ll make sure to consider your hints. I really don’t know a great deal about what’s available out there. I should have shared your blog as well as my Australian blogger friend. I assumed many of my followers also follow you. Hopefully, people who don’t will read your comment and check out your links. Thanks! I love that you take Sissy with you. I do hope your health will be completely back on track very soon. You’ve had a rough time lately! Thanks for all the great advice and for your continued encouragement. Best wishes! 🙂

      • Yes, I seem to be getting better finally, with just a slight cough left. I’m guessing that might even be springtime allergies. It’ll be interesting to see if our desert adventure alleviates that. We’re headed out for a fun trip early tomorrow, so I won’t be blogging for a couple of weeks. This time it’ll be for a fun reason instead of ill health! Yay!

        • When I moved from humid pollen-rich Brisbane to live in the arid west many years ago, my lungs really improved. Since moving back to Brisbane my allergies have returned. I do hope you get some relief in the desert from your spring allergies as they are very draining. I’m glad your health is finally improving. Have fun on your two week trip! 🙂

  10. Hi Jane, sounds like a great sibling adventure! Thanks for sharing. I haven’t been kayaking since I was a kid. You have renewed my desire to get back into it. I think I’ll have to borrow one to start though, I seem to remember it being a very tiring exercise!

    It’s a shame about not having you camera with you. When I am conducting water activities, I too usually opt out from taking my DSLR. I often take my Nikon Coolpix instead. It’s not the same as a DSLR but it does the trick for me.

    Loved the post Jane, particularly the hilarious comics!

    • Hi Justin,
      I hadn’t been kayaking since my teens and in reality that was probably just a basic surf ski I think – nothing like my brother’s kayaks. I was really surprised by how comfortable these were. I expected to be very sore afterwards. The next day I had a tender coccyx, but that improved by the following day. Hiring one first would be a good idea to test out what your body can do. I didn’t find it as tiring as hiking actually and it was much cooler. It depends on your own body though. Make sure you read Gunta’s comments above as she has some handy tips.
      The little camera I had is similar to the Coolpix. I’d like to be able to zoom in on birds so I plan to look at ways to keep my Canon dry.
      Thanks for reading and commenting. I’m glad you got a kick out of my dodgy drawings. 🙂

  11. What a great day out (and those luxury kayaks look superb for a day on the river). I’m not surprised your brother failed to tell you about the bull sharks – they might have scared off even the most hardy of us.

    • Yes, it was a fantastic day out and I hope I get the chance to go again soon. I’d love to try a quiet lake though and take better shots of waterbirds. Yes, I think LB was wise in the end not to tell me, as I may have found an excuse not to go. 😉 Thanks for your comments, Vicki. I appreciate it. I hope you have a lovely week. 🙂

  12. I did enjoy this post – you write so well and always make me laugh at your adventures. You saw some attractive plants and flowers on your little island. I’m glad you came to no harm and hope you manage another kayaking trip with your brother soon.

    • Thanks very much, Clare. I don’t get to see my brother much but when we go out it’s always fun, if not a little risky! My hope is that I can sneak up to a few waterbirds next time and observe them for a while. I hope you have a wonderful week. Best wishes. 🙂

  13. Funny timing. Spent the morning fishing from a kayak myself. Great fun but no real excitement on pond. Water is still cool here from winter and an especially chilly April morning made things interesting.

    • My brother is a very keen fisherman and was throwing out a lure regularly. he’s delighted with these kayaks. I’m not quite as keen so I enjoyed trying to capture shots instead. I’d be happy for a lovely still pond or lake to kayak on. I enjoy the tranquility. Sitting among the water-weeds was probably the best bit for me. We’ve had unusually warm temps here. It’s still been around 30C even though it’s nearly mid-autumn here. Very strange weather. Great to hear from you. Thanks! 🙂

  14. Wow, a great adventure! I’m never comfortable with insects, so didn’t like to look at their close-ups. 😛 But it’s fun to know that you were comfortable with hundreds of them.

    Great photos, Jane! Take care. 🙂

    • The crickets were very tiny. I was amazed by how many there were. Afterwards I realised there weren’t biting midges or mosquitoes but I suppose they are more likely to be found around still waters. Thanks for reading and commenting. It’s always lovely to receive feedback. Best wishes. 🙂

  15. That must have been a special trip with your brother. It’s probably for the best that you didn’t know exactly what was under your kayak at the time. I’ve been in the water with sharks and came to no harm, but still, your kayak sat very low in the water. Interesting adventure!

    • Yes, it was terrific fun, Terry. I may have given my brother some stern looks after he showed me the shark-catching video but you are right, it’s probably best that I didn’t know about them beforehand. I’m just glad I didn’t trail my hand in the water though! Thanks for reading and commenting. Maybe I’ll make it to your beautiful Montana one day. Best wishes. 🙂

  16. I love kayaking, but then we don’t have sharks or crocodiles to contend with here in Michigan, I have also learned the hard way that kayaking isn’t the most friendly hobby to combine with photography, so your decision not to bring your good camera was probably a wise one. I loved the drawings, I’ve been in those situations where “unintelligible screaming” seems to help, most people that is. I find it more productive to concentrate on where I’m headed.

    All in all, it sounds as if you had a terrific time, and I hope that you’re able to take a few more kayaking excursions soon, as it is very relaxing, most of the time. 😉

    • Thanks very much, Jerry. Yes, I can tell by your profile pic how much you like kayaking. The water looks a bit rougher than in my outing! 🙂 The Michigan lakes and streams must be wonderful to kayak in and no sharks or crocodiles is a huge bonus. You aren’t short of water! I do hope to visit your region one day. I am very attached to my new Canon, so in the end I just didn’t want to risk getting it wet. I’m pleased you found my drawings amusing as I wasn’t sure if it was a silly idea or not. The screaming/yelling helped me initially deal with some anxiety, but in the end, shutting up and concentrating helped me focus on what I needed to do. I really love kayaking. It’s such a buzz. Hopefully my brother and I will be able to find a spare day to do it again soon. Next time I am hoping for a quiet lake though! Thanks for your encouraging words. I hope you see some regular blue skies soon. 🙂

  17. Great to hear about your kayaking adventure Jane and thanks for the plug for my blog – much appreciated! I completely know what you mean about unexpected problems – I had just that experience this weekend when I set out on a lake expecting “light winds” and finding white tops forming around me! Good core muscle exercise trying to rescue yourself from these situations though!! I think you did well with the sticky taped camera – that’s a distinctive snakey darter silhouette. I entirely agree that canoeing is very meditative – the comparison with riding a bike is just right. I work on simply not thinking about the sharks and hoping for the best! Hope you have many more oh water adventures!

    • Thanks very much, Nic. It’s a pleasure to share your wonderful blog. I’ve had plenty of chuckles and learned a great deal by reading your posts. I need to work on my core muscles, so I’m hoping my brother takes me out again soon. I’d prefer not to come close to getting decapitated by bridges though. 🙂 I managed to get quite close to the darter and it even got quite cranky at me. I’ve never heard their aggressive territorial noises before. The ones I’ve photographed in the past have been quite calm. Perhaps there was a female nesting nearby. I’m not sure when their breeding season is. I’m glad you understand what I mean about it feeling like cycling in a way. There is that wonderful sensation of gliding/flying along (except when you are battling against a current of course!) Thanks for your continued support. 🙂

  18. Hello Jane. It looks like great fun 🙂 What is it about brothers and boats. I’ve luckily had my share too 😀 No sharks involved though 🙂
    All the best,

    • Hi Hanna. It sounds like you’ve been part of a few fun/scary? brother boating adventures. I’m glad you’ve survived to write your wonderful blog. Thanks and best west wishes! 🙂

    • Oh John, thank you for that kind praise. What an encouragement you are. I’m pleased the post gave you a few laughs. I certainly enjoyed the day. It’s always fun with my brother. Thank you for the link. I will certainly check out his writing.You have a great week too. 🙂

  19. What an adventure! You are so brave. It was a good thing that you didn’t take your nice camera. If the camera was ruined, that would’ve been very upsetting for me too. I love the drawings! Do you have a secret talent that you are not sharing?

    • I’m not sure about being brave, just unable to say no to my little brother! 😀 I’ve waited a very long time to buy my first nice Canon camera so I wasn’t game to risk it on the trip. It was a good decision given the bridge episode. Thanks for the nice comment about the drawings. I’ll pass that on to “anonymous artist”… 😉 I hope your week is a great one. Best wishes. 🙂

  20. The kayak trip looks like if was a fun and wonderful adventure. I’ve done a little kayaking and don’t think that I’ve quite figured out the appropriate stroke technique when paddling because I always get really tired and seem to go slower than many other people.

    • Hi Sheryl. Yes, apparently technique is pretty important. I’m not sure I’ve quite mastered that yet. It’s certainly a good work out for some muscles I don’t use while hiking. It was a lot of fun and I hope to do it again soon. Thanks for reading and sharing your own experience. Best wishes. 🙂

  21. What a terrific bonding adventure for you and your brother. Just like a brother to leave out the sharks till after– yikes. Thanks for taking your camera along and sharing.

    • Thanks, Julie. Yes, it’s interesting what facts brothers can choose to leave out sometimes! My daughter has experienced that with her brothers as well. I guess it adds to the fun and adventure…perhaps! 🙂 I only have one sibling now (his twin died 20 years ago) and we are quite close. We don’t see each other often, but when we do it’s usually fun. I hope you have a lovely week. 🙂

  22. Hi Jane, what a great day out, near death from a low bridge, attacked by a bull shark, sounds like a feral adventure to me! Did you ever go out to Lawn Hill when you lived up in the deep north, I remember surfing down the portage ramps in a Canadian canoe when I was up there last, but I was pretty young and stupid at the time, I’m not so young now….. Seriously I think kayaking is going to feature in my future, the thought of gliding along while sitting on my bum has a certain appeal to it as my bones are getting more weary. For what its worth I use a Canon Power Shot waterproof camera, its allegedly waterproof down to 10 metres but I haven’t been that deep yet. The problem with most waterproof cameras is that there is bugger all optical zoom on most of them, you may have to carry two cameras if you still want to get your awesome wildlife shots. Cheers Kevin

    • Hi Kevin,
      Haha, yeah it was a bit of a feral-like adventure! No, I never made it to Lawn Hill, but I wish I had. Looks fantastic. Parenting and teaching kept me pretty busy back in those days. I’ve never tried a Canadian style canoe. Yeah, I can see myself being able to kayak longer than hiking. I loved my day out with LB and I reckon you’d really enjoy it too. My camera is a Canon Powershot, but not the waterproof model. Thanks for the heads up on the inadequate optical zoom. There probably wouldn’t be much point in me getting one then as the zoom is what I really want to capture good bird shots. Thanks for reading and commenting. It’s always great to hear from you. Happy adventuring! 🙂

  23. Hi Jane, This post lives up to the Mildly Extreme theme. I loved your brother’s red and black kayaking shirt with its dramatic imagery. I noticed the title ‘Brisbane River Boys’. Are there no Brisbane River Women?

    • Hi Margaret,
      According to their Facebook Bio, the Brisbane River Boys “are a group of a passionate kayak fishermen here to share all the fun through HD video and pics.” They are fairly well known among fishing people. I’ve seen a video of them standing on their kayaks while fishing – not something I could do! I am sure there must be some Brisbane women who like to kayak. Perhaps I should start a group and design our own shirts? Mine would be more about photography and kayaking than fishing though. I’ll leave the shark-catching to others, I think! Yes, the post had a mildly extreme flavour to it on this occasion. The next post will describe my mildly extreme attempt to get heat stroke. Thanks for reading and commenting. Best wishes. 🙂

  24. NO NO NO NO NOOO I do NOT DO SHARKS!! I would have been so terrified even after the fact!!! Way to survive the adventure, and your photos are lovely no matter what camera you use!

    • Hahah…I don’t blame you. I prefer a shark-less waterway if I am in it! Next time I may be a little paranoid about bumps under the boat. Thanks, Brittany. Always great to hear from you. Keep smiling. 😀

    • I certainly had a wonderful day out with my brother. Thanks for reading and commenting. Lovely to hear from a reader in the alps. What different weather you must be having from subtropical Brisbane. 🙂

  25. The anonymous artist’s impression cracked me up 😀 This is a great post Jane! I definitely didn’t have bull shark in my mind when you hinted that something actually was there bumping the boat. Kayaking is a great way to move around and does feel a little like cruising on a bicycle without the noise and busyness of traffic. I haven’t been out in my kayak for ages but might just venture onto the creek again soon. Thanks for a great read!

    • Hi Gail,
      Sorry this reply is so late. I am away from home in a tiny town as a family member has had an injury and is in acute care. I can’t get Internet easily. The anonymous artists is pleased you enjoyed the drawings! 😉
      I didn’t have a bull shark in mind either when I felt a bump! My brother received a few stern looks and maybe an affectionate sibling thump. 🙂
      Yes, kayaking is definitely a buzz! I love it. I wonder if you could devise a trailer set up on your bike for a kayak? I’d love to see that set-up, Gail. Thanks for the lovely comments – always much appreciated. I won’t be able to catch up on other blogs until I return home, so I’m sorry if I am late with comments. Happy pedalling! 🙂

      • Thanks for the warm wishes Jane and for replying. I hope all goes well for you and your family over this time.
        As for a kayak trailer… I have seen a homemade one getting around the streets since my surfboard trailer was christened 🙂 but I live by the creek so it’s an easy walk down the driveway to launch so no bike towing needed.
        Until next time, take care and stay well 🙂

  26. Jane, I have yet to read one of your posts without laughing hysterically, sending Forrest into the room to find out what is so darned funny! The illustrations were perfect!! I think that just added to the hilarity of “mad thrashing”. Your narration always has me on edge, and you are fantastic in spinning a story. I don’t know how you manage to come off with an even more exciting post than the last, but somehow you do. Well done, my friend! I am already faunching at the bit to hear about heatstroke at Wivanhoe Hill trails!

    • Hi Lori,
      As I wrote in my reply to Gail, I’m sorry with this late reply. I’m away from home at the moment due to a relative in acute care. I can’t easily access Internet here and won’t be able to read other blogs and comment for a while. Haha…I’m pleased you enjoyed the photographs and it has that effect on Forrest. I don’t regard myself as particularly funny so it’s nice when something I write gives someone a bit of s smile. Thanks very much for your very kind words. You are always so encouraging to others, Lori. It may be a while before I can write about my little heatstroke adventure at Wivanhoe Hills. I may be able to share a drawing or two. I’ll have to see if the anonymous artist is available… 😉 “Faunching at the bit”…the pressure is on now!!! Stay well, my friend and happy spring adventures. 🙂

      • No worries, Jane. You just take care and devote your time to family and doing what needs to be done. I have been absent a lot too, and that probably won’t change for a while. I’m still trying to find time to answer your last email!! GADS!! Life sure gets busy at times. 🙂

  27. Those kayaks look like huge fun! Certainly more roomy than a traditional canoe and they look like they are a lot more stable too. At least you had some exciting times on it – though colliding with a bridge wasn’t what you probably had in mind 🙂

    As for sharks in the river? Lol, it seems that nowhere is safe in Australia!

    • Hi Rob,
      Sorry this reply is late. I couldn’t load my blog properly while on the road and I will be going away again soon. Those kayaks are super fun! I hope I get a chance to go again with my brother some times. Life is very hectic at the moment though. The bridge incident certainly got the adrenaline pumping!
      Haha…we do have a few dangers here, but if people are sensible then the risks are really pretty low. 😉
      Thanks for your comment. I hope you are well. 🙂

    • Hi Rob,
      I’m glad you enjoyed the read. Bull-shark wrangler? I should add that to my resume! Sorry for my very late reply. I’ve had dodgy Internet due to being away and I’ll be off again soon as the situation with my unwell relative is not improving. Best wishes. 🙂

  28. Holy crap! If I feel a bump under my kayak on a river it is probably just a carp…although they can get scary big. What a fun sibling you have! I am intrigued by the fishing kayak. Mine is a big orange plastic bathtub. Neither fast nor comfortable and my joints are getting increasingly vocal about this. On the other hand, my dream is to move to the Puget Sound area so perhaps I should hold off on kayak shopping until I see what one uses in a Sound.

    • Hi Melissa,
      Sorry for the late reply. My close relative’s condition is not going to improve – she had a stroke. I’m travelling back and forth a lot and trying to arrange for 24 hr nursing care and packing/cleaning up her rental home etc. She’s only 67 so it’s pretty sad for her. I haven’t had a chance to blog or read blogs.
      Yes, I have seen some enormous carp too! Here in Australia they are terrible introduced river pests as they destroy the habitat for native species. They love the conditions here. Yes, my brother is always good fun to be with. 🙂 I was a bit concerned about my joints, but the kayak was still comfortable after many hours. You are probably wise to wait until you move before getting a new kayak. A big orange bathtub sounds interesting! Thanks for reading and commenting. Things will be a little crazy here for a while but eventually I will get back on top of things. Best wishes. 🙂

  29. Oh lol thanks for that one Jane! I especially love the drawings – my favourite form of communication.

    • Sorry for the late reply! Things have just got busier with me needing to travel back and forth due to my relative’s condition. I like drawings too so I’m glad you enjoyed the “experimentation” in this post! My brother went back to this spot last weekend with his family but didn’t have any shark encounters. I think he was probably disappointed! Thanks for your comment.Best wishes with everything that is going on with your family. x

    • Thanks for reading and commenting. Colleges Crossing does look very tranquil at the moment. When the bad floods happened a few years ago it was a raging torrent and some of the infrastructure was washed away. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Hi Roberta,
      Sorry for the late reply but I’ve been away from Internet connection. Yes, it certainly was a fun adventure. I don’t often have time with my brother. Thanks for reading and commenting. It’s lovely to hear from you. 🙂

    • Hi Lisa,
      That sounds very exciting and scary! I’m not sure I would have enjoyed my kayaking trip with my brother if I’d actually known about the bullsharks. It really was the case that “ignorance is bliss” on this occasion. Thanks for reading, commenting and following my blog. I’ve not been very active in the blogging world of late – work and family responsibilities have increased. Best wishes. 🙂

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