Two paddlers play it safe
By Rhonda Dredge
There was an element of danger in the journey two young paddlers made across Victoria Harbour last month with 19-knot winds and one-metre waves predicted on the bay for the afternoon.
At just after 3pm on September 22, the paddlers headed out from NewQuay West towards the jetty at Library at the Dock.
But they weren’t looking forward to the playgrounds, which had just been re-opened for the holidays.
This intrepid duo was finally on holidays and they wanted to test out their muscle on the water after almost a term inside studying during stage four restrictions.
“It’ll be sad not to see our friends,” Alexia said, but she was more interested in getting her neighbour Caelen to untie the rope from a pole at Harbour Esplanade so they could launch off.
The sea was dead calm when they left. “It’s really quiet and safe,” Alexia said. “I love the way the light shines off the water.”
Victoria Harbour is closed to regular boating and they passed two ducks making the most of the lack of traffic.
Alexia and Caelen live at NewQuay and they’ve been making a study of the harbour and its culture while doing their daily exercise.
“We look into boats when we have nothing to do,” Caelen said. “We look at it (the harbour) and see more,” Alexia agreed. “There were baby ducklings the other day. It was so cool.”
They passed empty berths as they skirted along NewQuay Promenade and Solomon Lew’s super yacht Texas before arriving at NewQuay West Marina. They then headed off on their stand-up paddleboard across the harbour to do the rest of their circuit.
Alexia and Caelen arrived safely at their destination but the choppy conditions made them wary about returning 500 metres by sea.
So, they began waving their arms from the jetty and a small boy on a balcony at NewQuay West waved back.
Soon they lifted the inflatable paddle board out of the water and must have been given a lift back by their parents who had been keeping a watchful eye.
Paddling is believed to be the only form of water sport allowed under stage four restrictions. Surfing is banned and all of the other boats are off limits including super yachts.
Paddle Victoria has been advised by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) that “paddling has been approved within the scope of exercise for stage four restrictions”.
The Paddle Victoria Board and executive officer have been engaged with Ministers, Vic Sport and DHHS presenting the case for paddling as a safe form of exercise since March 2020.
“Paddle Vic is continuing to present ongoing submissions highlighting the future advantages our sport has in the reactivation phases.”
“The Paddling community and clubs have shown great responsibility complying with the restrictions and should be congratulated.”
These local kids are big fans of the blow-up paddle board. “This week we’ve taken it out every day,” Alexia said •