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Life Happens The adventures of Nora Dunn & Kelly Bedford, Professional Hobos. Nora writes, Kelly makes music. Together, we are on a lifelong journey to...wherever.

Kayaking Through Paradise

AUSTRALIA | Tuesday, 24 June 2008 | Views [3341]

“Be careful of the crocs,” Sergio says as we steer our kayaks up a small creek deep in the mangroves.

“Really? There are crocs here? Cool!” I say, feeling only a little nervous with scenes from Crocodile Dundee flashing through my memory. I didn’t really think that there would be crocodiles in this part of Australia, but who am I to say. Sergio is the expert.


We are kayaking on Evans river in Bundjalung National Park; part of the intricately woven Northern River system in New South Whales. The water is murky brown, but not because it’s dirty; instead it’s full of tannins from nearby tea trees and minerals from the mangrove mud. It’s actually quite therapeutic to swim in, save for the crocodiles.


But it’s winter here, and we’re a bit bundled up. Oh yeah – and there are crocs in the water, so we are not going to be swimming any time soon. Instead, we enjoy the scenery and learn a huge amount of information from our leader Sergio, who runs Evans River Kayak Adventures.


Evans River Kayak Adventures has been around for about four years – the only tour of its kind on this expansive river system. This keeps Sergio hopping, even in the winter when business is a little bit slower.


“Every day is totally different,” Sergio replies when we ask him what it is like to live out a dream of many and guide people through this little piece of paradise. He is originally from Argentina, and his Australian accent with a hint of Espanol mixed in is enthralling. I could listen to him for hours. “I have to time the tours and routes very carefully to the tides. In a few hours this section of river we are paddling through will be completely dry. So depending on the currents and tides and the group of people involved, I can plan very different trips,” he croons with his alluring South American flare.


His way of personalizing the trips is quite evident too. We are very interested in nature, ecology, and aboriginal history, and so we chat away for hours about all things Bundjalung as we drift on the rivers and through estuaries. Sergio knows the area like the back of his hand and answers any outlandish question we throw his way. We also find common passions for rock climbing and guiding, so conversation is not tough to come by.


It is shortly after we spot a stingray gliding through the murky waters, that Sergio points with his paddle towards a spot in the water below a large tree. I detect a slight tremor cascading through the paddle. We follow it to where he is looking….at a pattern of bumps sticking out of the water that smacks of a small crocodile head.

I pull off my sunnies and peer at the croc from our distance – about 5 meters away. It is staring at us. I am strangely calm, and don’t really believe my eyes.


“Let’s take a closer look,” Sergio whispers, as he starts paddling softly towards the ferocious reptile. We figure he knows what he’s doing, so against our better judgment we follow. It still doesn’t really register that a crocodile could be right there in front of us, and we’re in the water with it. “Is this safe?” I wonder, but soon conclude that Sergio has no more of a death wish than we do, so maybe he knows something we don’t know about crocodile management. Mr. Dundee himself, Sergio appears to be.


We inch closer, and the croc doesn’t move. It doesn’t even blink. I’d have figured it would sink below the water and disappear in typical creepy-crocodile fashion, but it just doesn’t budge. Even when Sergio hits it on the head with his paddle, the croc – made of plastic – take the abuse and obediently stays put. The joke’s on us.


Perfect for couples, families, and small groups, Evans River Kayak Adventures is a great way to see a piece of Australian nature not normally accessible any other way. Sergio will customize the tour to the needs and desires of the group, and who knows – you may even spot a croc if you’re lucky.

Tags: ambassador van, evans head, evans river kayaks, kayaking, world nomads



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