One would think that living 450kms from the nearest beach might put the stoppers on paddle boarding but where there is a will there is a way. Invited to attend the a joint Frontier Services/RFDS clinic at Barenya Stn, we drove around 120kms from us, paddle boarding was on the menu. With some community drought funding, the paddleboarders with their blow up paddle boards, flew in with the RFDS for the day. The other small school in the district swelled the number with their 3 students.
Let me preface this image with the reminder – this is what drought looks like. You see grass in my pictures around home, and it doesn’t look like we have a lack of feed but its goodness is minimal. But this… this is drought encapsulated in a photo.
Remember a while ago – we took cows to agistment nearby on the downs? The green knee deep grass? well this paddock is part of it. Very different now.
The RFDS plane landed on the dirt strip at Barenya. This strip is maintained year round and is often used by the RFDS and bigger planes.
Back to the paddle boarding. The hole in the bore drain that our host used as a swimming pool in summer (with a sand base for comfort!) was deemed a little too small, so off to the nearest turkeys nest they went.
The kids took to paddle boarding like ducks to water. The instructor was amazed at how quickly they were on their boards – but these are all fit bush kids that love their swimming and water.
If that doesn’t say paddle boarding in the bush, then nothing does.
Meanwhile, while the kids were getting wet and muddy and slightly burnt (someone’s children thought it a super duper idea to not done their swim shirts for the first boarding session) the adults weren’t being left out of the fun.
Yes, there’s two blokey blokes sitting there getting a foot scrub and a massage (and really enjoying it). A hairdresser was also brought along by frontier services, and Georgie begged for an overdue fringe cut (before paddling). There was no shortage of tucker - as usual at bush events…
(last two images borrowed from fellow attendee Jenny Underwood, thanks Jenny)
And then, with our feet scrubbed and massaged, our bellies very full, our souls a little lighter, and with sun kissed wet, muddy children waving, the RFDS plane took off back to Cairns. The kids were handed a backpack each as we left – sun shirt, cap, t shirt and other fun things contained within. I was handed a brown paper gift bag – a pamper pack lovely shower gels. How lovely and unexpected! We piled back into our cars and weaved our slightly weary way home.
Where at that point, having had a good hour at least of peace with snoring kids in the back seat, I discovered that I had pretty much lost my voice in that time period of unuse.Yay. Fun times indeed.