Deerubbin – the Hawkesbury proper- doesn’t normally look like this: not when I’m there, anyway. I’m used to the view out our back window: the valley full of fog, the hilltops islands in a foamy sea.
You know the fog will be spilling across the highway as you swoop down from the ridgeline before dawn. But when you reach the freeway bridge that stretches half a mile across the Hawkesbury, the wind picks up and the mist is gone.
But not this Sunday. The cloud was down and the river was silver.
I’ve wrestled with this mist before.
I can say with confidence it’s not freezing fog, hail fog or upslope fog. For all the salt in the air, it’s not coastal fog – moisture condensing over cool water – not with sea temps a balmy 24 degrees. And is it valley fog? Damp cool air might slide down the hills in the night… but Sunday’s haze followed midnight downpours not clear skies.
Having thought about it rationally and analytically, I can only conclude that this was magical fog, sent to stop me paddling all way to the secret heart of this part of the Hawkesbury, Marramarra Creek.
I’ve nearly made it there before, as far as Big Bay, with its great lagoon full of mangroves and the riverbed chocabloc with critters. No houses on the ridgelines, no way in except by water. In the 1830s a surveyor’s wife didn’t think much of it: “these dreary solitudes might serve for the abode of a misanthrope so utterly are they secluded from all approach and so entirely destitute of all comfort”. But I’m longing to paddle all the way to the source of the creek, through country with an indigenous past even I can read.
But this time it wasn’t just the fog and the march of time that stopped me. The birds were in on it too, perching photogenically on the wayside oyster poles, feathery sirens luring me away from my upriver odyssey.
So I’ll have to come back to Marramarra. Maybe next time I’ll bring our full flotilla of mismatched craft and camping gear and stay overnight halfway up the creek in the old orange orchard. The noisy kids should to scare away the temptations of the sirens… and, of course, the silvery silence. So perhaps I’ll follow Odysseus and bring some ear plugs too!
Related posts – other paddles on the Hawkesbury from Deerubbin Reserve
Two sad islands, three whistling kites: a paddle from Deerubbin to Bar Island
Of gods and mapreaders: a trip up Kimmerikong Creek in Muogamarra National Park
A bridge fetishist paddles to Brooklyn: paddles up Mullet Creek and around Dangar Island
Broken Bay at low ebb: a short jaunt around the oyster beds near Spectacle Island at the end of Mooney Mooney Creek.