Unlike my other posts – there is not a lot of photo’s – not a lot to see in the middle of the night in the middle of a lake!
We had been closely monitoring the expected windspeed in anticipation all week
The patterns changed a little but nothing so much that it looked like it was going to be so strong we had to change our plans.
Along the way, things came together with our plans, the weather and Rod Clarke – who left the source on the 1st March arriving in Wellington in time so all 3 of us could cross the lake as a group.
We arrived in Wellington around 10pm on Friday evening and started getting organized for the crossing.
We sorted ourselves out and hit the water at around 11:10pm, crossed our last ferry and proceeded on the first leg down the last part of the River for our first scheduled stop at Point Pomanda. It was a pleasant paddle down the river in near millpond conditions and we had a break, a nice hot coffee and we were back underway at around 1:10am and we hit the lake proper.
The night was pretty dark, and it was a case of Brad picking up the known landmarks and we were underway. As we went out onto the lake we had the predicted ~10km south-westerly winds. It did push up the lake a bit but nothing uncomfortable.
I had a hard time with the crossing – as my legs kept cramping up – and with nowhere to get out of the boat, we ended up “rafting up” about every 45-60 minutes so I could sort of stretch out and get the blood flowing as best I could.
About 2 hours into the crossing, the wind did pick up just a little and also move towards the South, which had the unfortunate effect of whipping up the lake a little bit more and also rounding us up a bit – and pushing us off-course.
The wind did steady back down, and the uncomfortable conditions also settled back down somewhat.
We thought we were “tracking” towards the glow of Goolwa on the horizon, and as we got closer towards it Brad said he didn’t recognize the light patterns – as we should have spotted the Point Sturt Beacon and it wasn’t obvious.
So, we rafted up, and took a look at the maps on my GPS to realize we were a bit off course. About this time, Ray who was at Point Sturt was able to hear us on the radio and gave a shout – he could see my blue headlamp torch and flashed the car headlights and we finally confirmed the beacon and our destination.
We had been beating into and across the wind and when we realized how far off we were, we turned and had the wind behind us and surfed the last 6 or 7 km into Point Sturt – a much welcome relief after the hard paddle we had done to this point.
About 10 minutes before we arrived the first light was behind us and we could actually see the little beach where we pulled in for a much needed piddle-break, a good stretch of the legs and a warm drink – or lukewarm out of the Thermos.
Rod (left) and Brad (right) admiring the sunrise from Point Sturt after a successful crossing of the lake.
A quick check of the GPS and we had covered around 47km – or about 8km further than a straight-line crossing.
We pushed back out onto the lake at 06:00 for the last leg around to Clayton Bay. It was a spectacular sight – the sunrise on our left, the small cliffs on our right with the sun just hitting it – one of the spectacular sights of the journey.
We arrived in Clayton at 08:00 after paddling a total of 59.6km and about 8 1/2 of paddling.
Part 1 of the Map – Wellington out into the lake.
Part 2 – dot “5” was about point Sturt and dot “24” was where we stopped.
The most welcome part was when we finished at Clayton, we headed up to Brad’s shack and had a most-welcoming hot shower!