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.

Day 13 – part 1

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.

Point Sturt

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.

Rod and Brad

We arrived in Clayton at 08:00 after paddling a total of 59.6km and about 8 1/2 of paddling.

Clayton Bay


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!

Lake Alexandrina

It looks like there is a window of opportunity opening up that will allow us a safe crossing of this bit of water. Yes, we will skip ahead to do it – but this bit of water can be challenging and we need to think of our personal safety above all else.

First off, This lake is a body of water to be respected – it is vast and quite shallow.  Conditions can change from mirror flat to 1m breaking waves in next to no time, so when looking for a window to cross the lake above all else we are looking for several things.

  1. Ideally, we want the wind to be less than 15km/h (the lower the better)
  2. The crossing of the lake proper from Point Pomanda to Point Sturt is 26km, and being realistic, plan on that taking up to 4 hours (much longer if things turn bad).
  3. It is about a 2hr paddle out to the Point from Wellington and a further 2hrs at the other end up to Clayton, so we need a minimum of an 8 hour “clean” weather window.

Lake Alexandrina-2

The 7 day forecasts are looking to be pretty good for a Night Crossing on Friday 8th.

We look at 3 locations – Wellington, Milang and Clayton.


So far so good, Wellington from about 8pm the wind will have dropped down to about 10km/h.


Milang, on the Northern side about the 1/2 way mark also indicates this is a pretty good window.


Clayton, our destination, is also pretty good as well.

If you look carefully, whilst the direction is not the best, it is fairly constant and unlikely to change too much.

What you can’t see on these is that on the Friday, mid afternoon the winds will be around the 15-20km/h and that by midday on Saturday it will be up to about the same 15-20km/h, and getting worse on Saturday evening.

This particular window is nearly 12 hours, which is pretty good. The only downside – is that this is the only night of the whole month where we will not have ANY moon at all – it will be a dark crossing.  But, much better a dark crossing than a windy (and dangerous) crossing.

Of course, this is 6 days out at the moment and we need to re-assess in a couple of days time to double-check if this window changes!

Given that if we look at a longer time period, the wind is fairly stable over about a 48 hour period, but we need to assess when we are going to be in a position to tackle this bit of water.

Stay tuned – and we will be making a final decision 24 hours out.