2016 Westlakes Classic

Sunday 14th May was the Westlakes Classic – which is another good lead-up event to the RPM.

The Classic consists of a choice of 3 events – 6, 12 or 18km on Westlakes.

Conditions were pretty good, with temperature in the high teens and the wind around the 15km/h mark from the S/W.

As usual there was a reasonable number of boats on the water – and this alone makes for a good bit of practice – in terms of a start and also in terms of dealing with the wash.

It was a bit much for some and a couple of other paddlers took an unscheduled swim within the first 500M for just that reason.

I have been trying to solve the issues with my seating (again) and yesterday managed the whole 2 hours in the boat without any issues – so looking good in readiness for the RPM in only 4 weeks time,

Not sure of the actual time, but I completed the 18km in about  2h 4m or so at an avg speed of 8.7km/h

I have my eye on a record in the RPM and this time puts me within  reach of it!

2016 B2B

That is Back 2 Back, not Border2Beach!

This weekend just gone was the Back2Back a 2 day event that leads up to the RPM.

The Weather was not brilliant with fairly strong winds – yeah Saturday saw us battle winds up to about 45km/h – not so bad when it is at your back, but not so much fun in your face!

This year, on the Sunday we moved from our usual location at Murray Bridge up to Mannum and ran day 2 in conjunction with the Paddlefest. We were hoping for better conditions, but they were similar! not quite as strong, but still 30+km/h winds to deal with.

All in all, a fun weekend out paddling!

Day 15 – The Final leg

Day 15, wow, after 7 weekends (6 of them paddling) we have gotten down to our last leg to complete our Border 2 Beach Adventure.

We only had about 25km to go, so we opted for “Gentlemen’s Hours”  and got back and ready to go just after 9am.  The temperature was not bad, 13deg, up to about 22, but the wind, well that is another story.  It was predicted to be about 15km/h, but no, when we arrived, it was quite a bit stronger.

RiverGlen Marina

It looked fine within the protection of the marina, but out on the river…

Getting Underway

Yeah, from the photo you can’t really see it, but about a 20-25km/h headwind!  We pushed along and into the wind – no protection along this part of the river – it is quite wide, mostly 200m+ wide and no cliffs to offer protection or break up the wind.  We just hugged the willows, and got a tiny bit of protection but not much.

Jervois Ferry

As we were approaching Tailem Bend and the Jervois Ferry we noticed that the wind was actually dropping off and quite bearable.

This is the only town along the river that I would call unfriendly to Kayak’s – we could not get out of the boats at the public park – no beach, just a high pontoon.

We got back underway and we could see the low cliffs and the big sweeping bend in the river, and the further we went around the bend, the lighter the wind got and it also moved from our face to our backs.

Tailem Bend

The cliff is really quite low and more of a hill next to the river.

Last Leg

The river widened up even more after the low cliffs and it was really nice to be paddling in the conditions.

We rounded the last bend, and we could see the Township of Wellington, and before we knew it, the Wellington ferry and finally, our land crew waiting right next to the ferry where we departed from last weekend in the dark.Wellington

There is a tiny little spot, just enough room for 1 kayak in the shallow water which was the end of our trip, after 26km for the day. An interesting tidbit, this was the only day we were on the river where we encountered no other boat traffic at all!  (OK, the Jervois ferry doesn’t count!).

Now, I am going to depart a little and post just a couple of photos that I didn’t take.

Arriving Wellington


I made it

I had made it!

Brad and Bob

Brad (L) and Bob (R) at the end of our 654km, Border2Beach 2016 adventure and a lifetime of memories.

A very special Thank you – to my Partner Ray – our dedicated Land Crew – who got us on the water, met us, fed and watered us along the way.  Without this support we would never have been able to complete our Adventure.  All that time ago, when we planned this trip, Brad’s Partner, Renee was only working part-time, but in the intervening time secured a full-time role and was able to be there Supporting us when work allowed.

Day 14

Well, we have arrived at our final weekend of paddling to complete the 654km journey down the Murray.  The weather reports were for a 10-22deg and winds increasing from about 10km/h to around 20-25km/hr – so we thought we might be in for a bit of a tough day.

We had a bit of a late start, but with a planned  distance of 40km for the day that was OK.

Departing Zadow's Landing

We got underway just after 8:30am from Zadow’s landing where we finished last weekend.

When we hit the water, we were wondering what the fuss was with the predicted wind – it was like a millpond.Leaving Zadow's landing

Around the first bend we saw our first Riverboat for the day the Proud Mary heading upstream – a large boat that does both day and multi-day river cruises out of Mannum.

As the morning progressed, the scenery changed – as it has all along the river with something different around every bend.

low cliffs

The wind had picked up somewhat, but not too bad – right in the 10-15km range.  The scenery was now a much wider river, with the occasional low cliff. We had a threat of rain, but fortunately for us, we did not get any on the river – but the clouds were all around for most of the day.

Our first river marker for the day was 136.

130But, the most interesting river marker was the 130 marker – only insomuch as this is the first river marker that is a buoy and not attached to a tree.  We only saw a couple more river markers on trees, most of them were floating.

Shack community

We had a couple of stops along the way, every hour or so for a few minutes and the scenery was again changing with the cliffs now becoming a steep bank near the river, leaving just enough space for the shacks.  The wind was still about the same, and the clouds were starting to clear up just a little more.

Murray Princess

Just as we stopped for a quick stretch, the Murray Princess was heading upstream.

Captain Proud

Our final River-boat and 2nd paddle boat was the Captain Proud heading upstream about 10 minutes behind the Murray Princess.

We made it to Avoca Dell where we had a short lunch-break.

Chillin at Avoca Dell

Brad was just sitting down having a bite to eat and relaxing.

When we got back on the water for the 6km into Murray Bridge the wind had picked up somewhat – and it was a hard slog into the 20-25km/h headwind.

Murray Bridge

Just before the road and rail bridge’s at Murray Bridge we were able to move over close to the shore and get a bit of protection from the wind.  We took a quick break at Sturt Park in Murray Bridge and as we left we were among 4 dragon boats – which were there for the Masters Games.

Swanport Bridge

In just a few km we were heading under our last bridge for this trip down the river – the Swanport Bridge which is the freeway and bypass of the Murray Bridge town.

We took a quick stretch just past here before the final 8km down to our planned destination of the day.  This was a tough leg!  We came around a sweeping bend and had no protection from the wind, which had whipped up even stronger – we were pushing into a 25-35km/h wind for about 4km and it was slow and tough going!

Finally, we were able to get a bit of protection close to the willows for the last few km’s.


With some houseboats in sight we knew we only had a little way to go until we arrived  at the River Glen Marina and our land crew.

With  the day now over, and 41km on the GPS, we called it a day just before 3pm.  We again saw a gradual change with the lower cliffs, much wider river and a couple of sections where we worked hard paddling into really tough headwinds.  This leaves us a short day as our final day on the journey.


Day 13 – part 2

After our all-nighter, a hot shower and a big breakfast at the Cafe, we were ready to hit the water to accompany Rod on his final 24km to the Murray Mouth on his 40th day of being on the river.

We grabbed a quick photo as we were getting ready to hit the water.

Paddlers 3

Rod with “The Barge Mahal”, Brad, and Myself.


Only if it had been this pleasant last night!

Boat Cleansing

Now much to our amusement, after Rod had stopped for a snack, he went to paddle off and put the paddle in at the wrong angle – pushed with his foot, and went right over – Brad called out to me –  “Your job is the photo’s and I’ll do the rescue”.  Just a case of being quite tired and not concentrating and it happened.

He got back into the boat no problems and I pulled alongside while he used my pump to empty out most of the water.  He claimed that he was doing his landcrew a favour by rinsing his clothes and boat out after the crossing last night (well, when you gotta go you gotta go).

A few minutes later we could clearly make out the Goolwa Bridge.

Goolwa Bridge

Under the Bridge

With the bridge behind us, we now only had about 4km around to the Barrages – a lock that separates the fresh water of the River from the sea-water.

Goolwa Barrages

As luck would (or would not) have it, we arrived at 12:50, but the lock does not open for boats until 1:30, so we pulled into the ramp and carried the boats around.

Back in the water for the final leg for the day down to the Mouth.

Last Leg

After what seemed like a long time (but probably wasn’t in the distance we spotted what appeared to be a break in the dunes -and a signalling of the Murray Mouth.

Approaching the Murray Mouth

It is a bit hard to see just yet and when we finally passed the last group of shacks on the left on Hindmarsh Island, our land crew waiting patiently at the Boat ramp, we knew for sure that we had less than a km to the mouth.

Murray Mouth

At 3:15pm, with Rod in his yellow, and out of the boat, it was the end of his 2400+km journey of Source to Sea, and also our ultimate destination, but we are not finished yet.

Yes, the sand-pumps are hard at work keeping the channel at the Mouth open to the sea,

After a few minutes once Rod’s landcrew met him and some extra photo’s – that I won’t share here, Brad and myself jumped back in the boats for the paddle back across to the boat ramp at Hindmarsh Island and a nice late lunch of fresh fish.

View to the Mouth

This had been our biggest day so far, with the 59.6km, nearly 9 hour stint overnight and then a final 23.6km, 3 1/2 hour paddle down to the mouth for an 83.2km day.

With the Lake crossing done, we will head out next weekend and complete the 140km to 76km leg and the end of our journey will be where we started this weekend.