Well, today again was a little late starting and after the 55km from yesterday, we decided early to consider our options at around the 40km mark,
Again, fairly good autumn paddling conditions, mostly light winds in the 10-15km/h mark, with some longer sections into it.
Today, was a day of hopping around 10km between river shack communities – or in a lot of cases River McMansions!
It was rather nice when we left to get underway, and after yesterday, Brad said I was setting a cracking pace – and he was working hard to keep with me! So yes, I did back it off just a bit and we were treated to some great sights along the way.
The first leg down to Walker Flat consisted of a mostly wider river, then narrowed as it turned
The cliffs were noticeably lower than yesterday, and as the sun started to hit them, we were greeted with some great views with the contrast of the river gums on the other bank.
We had a good hour or more of almost still water before the wind started coming up a bit.
Another cliff indicated a change of direction, a narrowing of the river, and increase in the wind and the inevitable boat traffic! This was an interesting bit of water, as we were paddling along into the wind near the cliffs, and there was a bit of other boat traffic being very generous with their wake (not) and of course – not just the wash, but the rebound off the cliffs.
The end of the cliffline the boat traffic picked up yet again as we approached Walker Flats, where we stopped for a few minutes to stretch the legs.
After getting underway again and crossing the ferry the boat traffic eased up somewhat – most of the other traffic tends to stick to the side of the ferry where the boat ramps are.
We had a decent run for the next section and the river widened out once again.
The river at this section was well over 200m wide, possibly even wider.
We were sort of in the zone, a very light headwind and a very wide section of the river and in the distance at the upcoming bend we saw one of the Majestic River Boats coming our way.
The Murray Princess was a sight to see, a large paddle boat heading up river. You coud have almost thought that you slipped into a time-warp!
The paddle steamers are an interesting River Boat – and surprisingly the wake that they throw out is very small. However, following the paddle, in a very narrow path that is barely wider than the boat it develops a very large standing wave that is probably up to 2m high. This series of waves following the Paddle Boat stays there for several hundred metres before they start to dissipate.
After the Murray Princess passed and we turned the bend, we were again into another long straight that again was quite wide.
The end of the cliffline with the river widening again and we were almost at our next stop at Caurnamont – another small shack community.
Unbeknownst to us, the Murray Princess had turned around, probably in the very wide section just after we passed her. We pulled over for a stretch of the legs At Caurnamont and a few minutes later we saw her pass again, this time heading downstream. I was sort of grateful that it passed by while we were not on the water!
Before we knew it we saw the Purnong Ferry. Now, this was the closest call yet with boat traffic – and to the boat “legend” well, I have a new name for you – it is wanker!
Actually, I should apologize to him for even contemplating being on his river in the first place!
Here we were paddling along, and a boat went passed us heading downstream, about 40m away. Yeah, the wash was big but OK. Then the hero, decided that he didn’t want to be in the wash of the other boat and came very close to us – it was probably less than 10 meters away, doing about 40km/h and dropping a wake nearly 1m high! If it wasn’t for the fact I really needed to brace and ride it out, I would have offered him a 1 fingered Aussie salute!
The only good news was that we were really close in to the willows at this point – and the willows really are a blessing for us when paddling – they totally absorb and break up any wash – so you don’t have any rebound wash like near the cliffs.
After we passed the ferry the traffic almost totally disappeared and we were again paddling into the wind in mostly wider river.
The last cliff for the day as the river narrowed directed us around to Bow Hill.
When we got out, we decided that even though we had only done about 35km, we would call it a day. The next river access was on the other side and our land crew would have about a 40km drive to get to the landing and the next landing on the “correct: side of the river was a further 19km. Not quite as far as we would have liked but a good day out.