Ah, time to reminisce. And a more sedate change from Alex’s awesome NZ photos. Here are a few shots from the Shoalhaven River near Braidwood, between Farringdon and Bombay crossings, and from Bombay to Warri Bridge. I took my girlfriend Maya who had no previous kayaking experience (well, except for an hour on still water the night before the first trip). We both had a great time, especially because of the countless playful platypus around our boats for the first few kilometres after Farringdon. Other non-white water highlights included wedge-tailed and sea eagles, tortoises, beach camping and beautiful sunsets. They were great beginners sections, and it was very fulfilling to successfully take someone special down a beautiful river. It was also fun to put my family’s old Dancers and other gear through their paces!

Both trips were overnight, and at a sedate minimum level (around 90cm on the Hillview guage – though it doesn’t tell you exactly what’s happening that far upstream). Farringdon to Bombay (11/07, grade I-II) was a great complete beginner trip that eased perfectly from flowing water to grade II over the kilometres, with willows causing the biggest hassles and just two potential portages for beginners.

Farringdon CrossingWeir rapid, first grade 2Weir rapid part 2

Pink scallops, some of the beautiful Shoalhaven rock

Foam and waterfall, chunkiest rapid of the sectionBelow waterfallHeading down to the pool at Bombay Crossing (view from the bridge)

The section from Bombay to Warri (after Christmas, II-III) was a good step up. I guess I paddled the recommended waterfall portage mentioned in the NSW guide (as I paddled all the rapids), and if it’s the one I think it must be (dancer magic) then a good approach should ensure you won’t get jammed in the rocks below – even in a gear-filled, old school dancer.

Calm before the fallDancer magic - old school still goes hard!

Picturesque river sceneryMaya gunning itScreaming drop

May there be plenty more water in the near future! Happy paddling, Sam

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