On Wednesday the 9th of March, the morning of a partial solar eclipse, I cycled down to Fanny Bay, gathered my various pieces of equipment, joined the two halves of my new paddle, snugly together forming a 7ft feathered paddle and launched the Kayak into the still ebb tide waters of Darwin harbor.
Turmoil doubt and indecision plague me at times, but on the water I feel free. The sun had not risen but the sky was light, my two companions lowered themselves into their own vessels and pushed off from the shore. The morning was quiet and still, no boats moored at this time of year, cyclone season is not safe to moor in open water.... the sea can be whipped up into a roaring frenzy, but then some days are like this. Still and quiet.
I paddled silently as the others talked, I watched the horizon and the clouds as they changed hue with the rising sun, the air was thick and humid. Water barely divisible from air, humidity and temperature in both spheres were almost identical. The world was at rest, all drama paused for a moment on the sea. I let my paddle glide along the surface of the water observing the speed of my movement, I could hear the gentle sound of water swirling past the stern.
This was a moment. Sometimes I have them on land, on the water they come more easily.
In the silent dawn my ears caught the distant drone of a single engine in the sky. I glanced to the horizon and saw a peculiar sight. A shiny silver Tiger Moth, a biplane. It was an unusual thing to see out over the water at dawn and reminded me of the film 'The Kid', in which the protagonist (Bruce Willis) a middle aged 'Image consultant' has a nervous breakdown and meets and is forced to interact with his child self, throughout the movie there are appear scenes of an airplane, a bright red biplane. The biplane is significant to the character's future happiness but this isn't revealed until the later in the film. It was always there waiting to become reality, but in the present was only ever a distant potential for a man who had hardened his heart due to pain he'd suffered as a child.
The biplane flew over us tilting slightly so the pilot could get a better view of the coast and us in our kayaks below. Circling three times slowly we felt the eyes of a curious bird upon us, a friend in the air, and fellow adventurer going nowhere in particular but glad to be there. I laid back on the deck of my boat and looked straight up as the Tiger Moth made it's final pass, not too high above my head, before disappearing beyond the treeline and eventually out of earshot. We smiled and absorbed the moment in silence.
A wonder. Those planes move so slowly as though they're suspended on a puff of air, you can see the wing tips twitch as the plane browses through the air, with time to observe any point of interest, moving slowly across the sky as we paddled between the sea and the air.
I like my morning paddles.