Tuesday, April 05, 2011

On the River with Ben

It started with one of our typical irregular lunch meet ups. Ben and I had just sat down with sandwiches from the cafe, intending to have a quick bite and catch up before he had to get back to his insanely busy life, when he spontaneously asked me to join him later in the afternoon for a quick outing in his kayak. My work schedule has slowed down quite a bit so I thought it likely that I would be free and readily agreed to the idea. We cut the lunch short so he could finish his work off sooner, meeting again a few hours later.
Ben has recently imported his Landrover (the one from the Africa trip) so it was a great nostalgic moment to drive down to the shop and little marina where we would pick up and launch the “kayak”. Forget the images you have of a stereotypical kayak this was a 2-man sailing/pedalling kayak complete with GPS and all that high-tech stuff... Ya you can paddle it too but that would be horribly inefficient in comparison. I like the direction the kayak world is going...

Why was Ben going out in this thing in the first place? Just to continue getting more experience under his belt for his expedition later. For those that don't know, Ben is in the midst of putting together an epic kayak journey that will take him up the east coast of Queensland along the Great Barrier Reef. It'll last a few months and involve so many cool activities and funky new technology that I'm horribly jealous. It will start in late May so he's trying to juggle the physical and mental preparations for the trip itself in addition to finalizing all the details of the various sponsorships, media updates and other logistics involved in what has now gone from a personal mission to a public event that will surely remind him of his Caretaker days doing the Best Job. Good thing he's used to marathons....
But on this day it was just the two of us finally having a chance to do something together. We were downstream from Brisbane itself, about 7 km from the Brisbane river mouth. I was surprised at how narrow the river remains so close to it's end. I'd be tempted to say it's actually not that impressive and kind of dinky but then I've seen what it can do when it floods.... This far downstream the only development is factories and for whatever reason, just before sunset on a Tuesday there was almost no activity going on, beside or on the river. So the view was not the most spectacular ever unless you have a thing for the ambiance created by smelly factories, a muddy river, a very large bridge (the Gateway Bridge) and planes on their final approach for landing.
The wind was sporadic at best and never strong so we didn't make it very much further downstream before having to turn back but I still thoroughly enjoyed having a chance to finally get out of the city centre and do something new. We landed just after sunset and while still packing up I got called into work and ended up going in as soon as I got back.