Nothing like messing about in boats, is there?
And no craft gets us closer to the life aquatic without getting sopping wet (well, most of the time) than a canoe.
One of the best ways in Perth to enjoy life out on the river with a paddle is to sign up to the Swan Canoe Club.
For 50 years, keen water folk have paddled forth from the club shed on the Mosman Park river shore to find tranquility, peace of mind and a good workout on the water.
The Starfish dropped by the canoe HQ to find out more, meeting a couple of the club’s most passionate members.
Standing amid hundreds of racks stacked with paddle craft, Marion Ewing and Evi Ferrier enthuse about the joys of being out on the river, even on drizzly days.
“It’s a great way to relax and watch the world go by,” says long-time club member Marion as she dons her gear.
“We have people of all ages enjoying the river. From families having a bit of fun, to businessmen looking to chill out and escape the stress of the office for a while, to older members looking for gentle exercise in a lovely environment.
“Out on the river, you almost become part of nature itself. We regularly spot fish, dolphins, stingrays, starfish, crabs and other marine life.
“There’s also amazing birdlife like swans, ospreys, pelicans, ibis and cormorants.
“It’s beautiful on the water at any time, but early mornings and late afternoons are particularly lovely, either alone, or with friends,” she says.
We were alerted to the joys of the Swan Canoe Club by enthusiastic newish member, Evi, who now tries to get out on the water two or three times a week.
“I live just up the road and have watched the boats out on the river for years,” she says. “It looked like great fun so I decided to find out how I could join them. I went out for a paddle and was instantly hooked.
“It’s a perfect way to exercise as well as to get back to nature. Members can come down at any time of day and take a boat out. I can’t get enough of it!”
She’s not the only one. The club is a hive of activity seven days a week, boasting 375 members, many of whom keep their own craft on-site.
The club also makes craft available to members who haven’t yet acquired their own. There’s 70 club craft – short and long kayaks, singles and doubles, surf skis, guppies – for members’ free use when paddled from the club rooms, or to hire when transported elsewhere.
While the club has a healthy membership, it has a more-the-merrier approach, and it is looking for new sign-ups to mark its golden anniversary.
“We have a bit of a campaign going at the moment trying to encourage more younger members to join,” says Evi, who has volunteered to be Membership Officer.
“We have good numbers of older members and kids, but are looking to boost 20 to 35 age range. Once they give it a shot, I think they’ll love it.”
Swan offers a range of affordable membership options – see the club website – catering for all comers.
The club runs a wide range of courses in canoeing and kayaking, from beginner to intermediate levels, and has numerous group events, activities, trips and competitions listed throughout the year.
Anyone wishing to know more can attend the new members Induction Nights held at 7 pm on the first Tuesday of each month at the club. There they will meet a committee member, look around the club rooms and learn all about what’s on offer.
If they’re still enthused, newcomers can then attend a Wet Induction session out on the water.
The smart Swan clubhouse and boat shed are tucked away on the water’s edge adjacent to Mosmans Restaurant and offers BBQ facilities, boat storage, function facilities and more.
You’ll find the Swan Canoe Club downstairs from Jabe Dodd Park, South of Mosmans Restaurant, Mosman Park, WA
Break out the paddles!