Lament for Lake Macdonald

They’re draining the lake. I’ve known this was coming for some time but it hit home yesterday when I saw the map showing the water level that is expected during the 2-year construction of the new spillway.

The drop of 5 to 6 metres will leave only patches of water. No one will be allowed on the water.

Map of Lake Macdonald: The red line (added by me) is the general route we row, about 8 km.

Our Lake Macdonald Rowing Club – a tiny band of masters scullers – has been given notice to quit by 28 February 2019 for the duration of the project. We currently lease the site at no charge from the water supply authority who owns it, and for this we are grateful. Now, for 2 years we need to find somewhere else to row and somewhere to put our 2 shipping containers full of boats, oars and gear.

In times of crisis, our appreciation for the thing we have lost, or are about to lose, is magnified. It’s like suddenly being sick when you have always been well.

I appreciate the calm, still water. The soft, forgiving edges. Electric motors. Pelicans and magpie geese. The sea eagle. Cows grazing by the waterline. Horses silhouetted on the hill. Dragonflies hitching a ride. The surprise of a big cod surfacing by my rigger. Tranquillity. Space. A place for solitude and contemplation, learning and striving, laughing and swearing. Cups of tea and gingernuts.

Here’s my little homage to the lake (best viewed in HD):

There’s nothing like an impending drought to focus the mind of a rower. I’ve already joined the neighbouring Noosa Yacht & Rowing Club.

The Noosa River is spectacular in its own right… though different. Salty. With currents and tides, the water moves… sometimes in unexpected ways. The tinny traffic will take me some time to get used to, as will navigating the bends and channel markers, the ferry, the houseboats and other randomly moored craft.

That’s just the stuff above the surface 😁.

But, hey, it’s closer to home (more sleep!). The rowers are friendly. And there’s a masters coach! And a program! And people to row with every day! A sandy beach to launch from. A clubhouse. Plenty to be thankful for. And it’s only 2 years…


6 thoughts on “Lament for Lake Macdonald

    1. Thanks Greg. We did a 3.8 km time trial on the river this morning in singles. I considered every excuse as to why I wasn’t ready for it, but I knew I’d hate myself for not trying. I went off last, so the coach kept an eye on me from the launch and gave me some steering directions. I was elated afterwards. A breakthrough.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Wonderful article Mary. I agree wholeheartedly. My short membership with Lake McDonald has been a joy. I have learnt so much from energetic peers and great advice on skill building from all of the members over my time, as all have genuinely been keen to help me improve. It is a wonderful area on earth, right at my door step, and I will look forward to the return to my morning ritual. Until then, I’ll row right up to the last day. see you on the Lake. Trish Fox


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