THE WATER levels were low, but the spirits were high, when about 50 canoe enthusiasts gathered for the Paddle on the Macleay 2017 – from Bellbrook to Nook.
With thanks to the late Aunty Esther Quinlan, Arthur Bain, chairman of the community group Save Our Macleay River (SOMR), welcomed all in the Dhunghutti language and, following a local tradition, tossed a pebble in the river to announce the launch of the flotilla.
A variety of boats with canoeists of ages from seven to over 70, braved the low and slow flowing river.
Participants had to carry or pull their boats over several sections, but even the most fragile looking home built canoe came through unscathed. As one paddler observed, fortunately the rocks were all washed round and smooth by the ever running waters.
It was the fifth and longest paddle organised by SOMR, a group concerned about maintaining the health of the Macleay River.
The completion of the course took between four to five hours. Everybody arrived with a smile and a sense of achievement and all agreed that there is no better way to experience and appreciate the beauty of the valley.