DA Gippsland Invitational Paddle
July 2015 - Brilliant sunshine made for perfect conditions for the DA Gippsland Waratahs first organised invitation paddle. Sixty paddlers from the DAM Busters Melbourne, the DA Peninsula Dragonflies club from the Mornington Peninsula, and the local Gippsland Waratahs took to the water in three dragon boats.
Paddling up the backwater from Howitt Park in Bairnsdale enabled the visitors to experience some of the magnificent waterways and scenery. “We have already picked out our blocks to move up here”, one paddler was heard to say. After lunch the paddlers took to the Mitchell River paddling up past the Port of Bairnsdale and the bats, which are still in residence this winter and quite a spectacle. Twelve and a half kilometres were paddled for the day in glorious conditions and beautiful surroundings.
The Gippsland Waratahs dragon boat club has been paddling regularly for the past four years. “We started off with one dilapidated old wooden boat which was given to us by the Peninsula Dragonflies Club. The boat was restored by the volunteers from the Paynesville Men’s Shed”, Denise Lamble President of the group said. “She was given a scrub up for the weekend, and many of the Dragon Flies members were delighted to see her again.” Since then the club has been able to purchase a second hand boat from Dragon Boat Victoria, and a new smaller boat which takes ten paddlers. They also had the use of a new fibreglass boat owned by Changing Lanes, a subsidiary of Bairnsdale Secondary College. From Lindsay Crawford