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Shoalhaven Bushwalkers Inc.

PO Box 403
Nowra NSW 2541

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Hampton Bridge to Tallowa Dam Paddle

by Sandra Kelley

21 people in 13 craft joined the canoe trip from Hampton Bridge to Tallowa Dam (on January 31st and February 1st). A reliable local source (???) stated that despite the lack of rain it would be okay to paddle the first section to Bendeela, also stating that there would be only one sandy spot that required portage of the canoes. In fact, there were about twelve! What should have taken one hour, took two. This was the prettiest section of the river with lots of water monitors sunning themselves on the rocks. Five of the group joined us at Bendeela for lunch, before we continued on to our campsite.

Tallowa Dam has at present, only thirty percent of its capacity and this was quiet evident with large tree trunks, roots and old fences exposed. A strong headwind near the end of the paddle made us work hard. After setting up camp most people enjoyed a swim in the warm water of the dam followed by an exceptional gourmet Happy Hour.

The next day we paddled up Yarrunga creek to view the old hand made rock walls of the road that once connected the valley to the highlands. We had planned to paddle up Bundanoon Creek but after a leisurely lunch and a swim we headed towards Tallowa dam instead. Once again a strong head wind made our already aching arms ache just that little bit more. At the end of the trip Kynie instructed us on how to upright a capsized canoe using two other canoes. Thank heavens we hadn't needed to use this technique during our trip.

A big thank you to the Illaroo scouts for the use of their canoes and trailer and to Henry for their transport and the car shuffle. Also to all who attended - it was a great weekend.

(Ettremist - February 2004)