Finally, after the Enoggera Reservoir had already been open for paddling for about a year, I plucked up the courage to ask the boss for a few hours off to join Ben (the Scottish lad who worked at Rosco Canoes for a while but left to play with traffic) for a Monday afternoon paddle. I would kill two birds with one stone, paddle the reservoir & try out the new Tasman Raider Day. I promised to write about it too, so it was a thumbs up and I was free to go.
We accessed Enoggera Reservoir from the QPWS Walkabout Visitors Centre on Mount Nebo Road in The Gap. The car park was nice and empty so we could park as close as possible to the path that lead to the kayak launch area. Because there were two of us, we could easily carry our kayaks together down the 200m gravel path, the grassy grass slope and on to the small sandy beach. Yellow cones marked the swimming area, but there was no one in the water, so we had the entire place to ourselves.
The Tasman Raider Day is a sea kayak, but it is also a great cross-over craft for paddler who mainly paddle calmer waters but also want to explore open sea conditions from time to time. At 5m in length, The Tasman felt manageable immediately and I paddled off with great enthusiasm until Ben pointed out he had literally just stepped off the plane a few hours ago after a 14hr flight from America. He was also paddling a shorter, slower and plastic kayak. I slowed down and waited in the Lillies for Ben to catch up.
Waiting in the lillies
Ben informed me that, after the massive rainfall in May, lots of the lillies had washed away and cleared the reservoir's surface growth for the most part. The launching area had been mainly clear of weeds and plants too but we could see plenty of small patches returning all around. We saw lots of Lilly pads but could only find one lilly flower in the entire reservoir.
We paddled passed the dam wall, which was built 149 years ago and is Queensland Heritage listed. Ben had lots more trivia to share and babbled on spurting out his ridiculously large amount of general knowledge while I was checking out the exclusion line to stop anyone from getting too close, including me.
The Tasman Raider Day felt better and better as we paddled on. The seat was comfortable and the thigh braces in the thigh braces in the perfect spot. It edged well and moved smoothly through the water. We turned right to follow the main body of water and listened to the Whip and Bell birds whilst wondering if there were Platypus in this stretch of the water. Ben had some more information, this time about Lungfish that were successfully introduced in the reservoir. I did spot a few weird goings on with patches of bubbles appearing here and there, but what that had to do with anything I wasn't sure.
Up ahead, our trail was blocked by a large tree that had fallen from right to left. We could just squeeze through on the left to paddle a short bit further on, but then we reached the end.
We got out to check out the walking path that crossed over the water and had a short stroll. Ben told me he walked here once and came across a huge Red Bellied Black snake. He pointed to the spot up ahead and, as I was walking towards it imagining the snake still patiently sitting there, Ben was producing some photos he had taken in the USA of the biggest Tarantula ever, followed by the next photo of a meter long Rattle snake. Charming, those Scots....
Walking back to the kayaks we spotted some, what Ben called Cairns, little pieces of rock piled on top of each other to form a small tower. A sign the area is used frequently. Apparently, there are plenty of walking and mountain bike tracks around the reservoir and now that the water is accessible too, the first adventure racers and tri athletes have begun to make use of it too.
But for us, it was all very peaceful today.
I was surprised at how quickly we had reached the end of the reservoir. Ben reckoned the paddle from the launch area to the end and back was about 5km in total. We paddled back over the smooth, dark water passed the blocking tree, Platypus Alley, the Lilly pads, the great straight bit and the passed the mighty dam wall. When we passed the launch area, workers were making a racket with diggers and drill clearing more land for a new car park or recreation area. We briefly paddled on to see how far we could get up the little side arm but it was quickly blocked by Lilly pads.
Back at the launch area Ben did a quick turn in the Tasman and I tested to see if the Tasman was nice to roll and it was. Ben was still banned from rolling until his dislocated shoulder is completely healed from last time we had a rolling session and he fell down the stairs looking for a new paddle someone had snapped in half. Happy memories!
We concluded Enoggera Reservoir had been a great peaceful escape on a Monday afternoon. Refreshed and content, we loaded the kayaks back on the cars and headed back towards the city. Ben is lucky, he is a The Gap local, but for every other suburban it is only a relatively short drive for a lovely paddling destination on a protected waterway. Don't wait for a year like me, go and see it for yourself now!