Arrivals & Departures Weekly Travel News & Views 24 October, 2023

Pelican caught by a fish hook.

Travel Editor Stephen Scourfield has been out and about on the Swan River, here he dives into another week in Travel


I try to do a long kayak paddle on the Swan River once a week.

The last two show the contrast of the adventures we are so fortunate to have on our doorstep in Perth.

Paddle 1 Alongside friend and paddling companion PT, as I came under the Narrows Bridge, it was calm. By the time we were level with the old brewery, the wind was close to 90km/h, a “strong gale” on the Beaufort Scale, and the waves were stacking up and breaking. We lost each other in the dark, each paddling for our lives for over an hour. At one point, I launched over a wave, the wind caught the bow of my boat and blew me straight over backward, pitch-poling it, prompting an instinctive roll. Without my lost spectacles, the next hour in the force nine was particularly interesting.

Paddle 2 But last week’s was a beauty — paddling into the setting sun which spread gold and pink across the sky and water. Three dolphins came close and passed in front of our boats.

Yes, there are adventures on our wonderful doorstep. Perth in summer. How good is that.


I was on Heirisson Island in the Swan River — on Friday the 13th, which turned out to be sadly appropriate. I photographed the pelican above, with a fishing hook caught on its beak, and a line trailing a fish. The collateral damage of fishing.

The island was named in 1801 for Francois-Antoine Boniface Heirisson, who was midshipman on the French ship Le Naturaliste in 1801. It was on a scientific expedition led by Nicolas Baudin. Ah yes, there was a slim French moment in WA’s history.


Colleague Mogens Johansen has been on assignment in South-East Asia, joining APT’s new river cruise ship the Mekong Serenity, and rang with a strange tale. He was with APT on the way to join the ship when, 10 minutes from the hotel, the bus they were in pulled over and stopped on the side of the road. The guide talked about local life and generally kept them entertained, but no one seemed quite sure why they’d stopped so soon. Then it became clear, when Mogens learnt that they’d been waiting for someone coming from the hotel with a guest’s dentures. They had left their false teeth there, and there’d been a rush to catch the bus and reunite them. (Chop, chop.) “It shows the lengths they go to for their guests,” says Mogens.


Colleague Olga de Moeller says: “I judge a country and its people by how they treat their dogs.” She has been on assignment in Japan and sent me the pictures you see above.


Reader Jan Bennett says she was “disgusted to read about the bed bugs” in last week’s edition: “Where do they come from? Animals being allowed to stay in hotels, and though they are NOT supposed to sleep IN the bed, I have seen on TV so many do not adhere to this rule. People with allergies must be horrified and I for one, will not go to a hotel who accepts dogs. Dogs carry fleas too! The thought makes me sick, but will carry lavender soap when and if I get to travel.” Jan adds: “I love animals dearly — especially dogs, as we were puppy walkers in the UK for the Guide Dogs for the Blind.” And I add that most bed bugs in hotels are carried there by humans or in their luggage.


Reader Richard Spain, an avid Doctor Who fan, noticed our story last weekend on the series’ 60th anniversary, and locations where scenes have been filmed. He’s putting some of his Dr Who collection into the Esperance Show, which is on this weekend, October 20 and 21. Celebrating rural WA, the Esperance and Districts Agricultural Society Show (to give it its full name), is at the south coast town’s showgrounds and has everything from sheep, cattle and machinery to rides, entertainment, wine, chocolate and honey. Entry is $20 for adults, $5 for children.


An insider at World Expeditions reckons Inca Trail permits are “adventure travel’s version of Taylor Swift tickets”. The in-demand permits have gone on sale for the next trekking season in Peru, with a limit of 500 people per day. That includes the staff who help trekkers on the four-day walk to Machu Picchu. The insider says, quite simply, that the number one tip is to book your trip early. The permit is included in the tour cost.