We had 20 days. The planned departure within the Murray Sunset National Park was cancelled due to lock maintenance. We departed from Border Cliffs, Murtho, the first stop within South Australia, with Greer Allen on board. The vessel assembly took us until midday after sleeping on site overnight. The boat was ceremoniously named with donated whisky. And we set off. For the first half day we rowed, tested and checked, unsure how well everything was holding together. After our first interview with a kayaker, we envied his speed and raised sail.

We camped every night on the banks of the river except for one night in a bed in Renmark. We interviewed people on the river and on the shore. We collected sketches and stories, opinions and advice. People invited us for lunch, offered us drinks and shared. We saw many carp, two snakes and a lot of birds. We were stung by wasps and mosquitoes, we had our toes nibbled by yabbies when we swam. Some days we saw no people, but rarely did we hear no traffic for a whole day. The river current was insignificant.

Greer had to leave in Renmark and we were not able to get there on time, so she was lucky to get a ride into town with some locals. Steven (Pix) Pickles joined us in Renmark for most of the rest of the journey. We had only one day with no travel at all. We averaged 10 km per day. For maximum speed or fighting against the wind, one person would row and two people on the rear decking would work with short paddles.

We met people who permanently lived on houseboats and some who were renting one for a holiday. We saw people in speedboats with waterskiers and wakeboards. We saw canoeists. We met grey nomads with their well-equipped mobile homes and caravans funded with the sale of their houses. We met a family getting away from a series of mishaps for a year on the road. We met a young man fresh out of jail who was returning home to find a new start. With his young dog he was self-contained and paid no heed to the fire ban. We met local businessmen who shared their hopes and fears, retirees who had returned there after years away or just arrived to enjoy their sunset years. We met families who were living in country squats away from the laws of the cities and towns.

After three weeks slow travel over 210 kilometers of river, around 60km as the crow flies, we packed up the boat in a few hours and returned to the city in less.

  • resilients/murray_river_journey.txt
  • Last modified: 2013-02-13 22:36
  • by alkan