It was great to see the large number of paddlers, especially considering that some had attended the Training Day at West Lakes the previous day. Also, good to see Greg Watts making the most of his drive down from Port Augusta for the weekend.
This was Shauna’s assessment day for Enclosed Sea Guide under the watchful eyes of Phil Doddridge. Shauna’s lead-up emails and briefings showed the considerable amount of work preparing for the trip. Under her leadership, paddlers were: Bernard and Frances Goble, Anne Langsford, Phil Doddridge, Mark Loram, Charlie and Marina Walker, Jo Molsher, Matt Eldred, and Greg Watts.
After 10am we set off from the Beacon 19 Boat Ramp on a nice leisurely paddle hoping to see plenty of bird life. We were not disappointed as we paddled towards the Murray Mouth. We saw numerous Black Swans as we navigated our way between the excitable cygnets rounded up by anxious looking parents.
As we progressed down the channel, those of us who hadn’t stopped for coffee looked longingly at the Coorong Café as we paddled past. Then the Spirit of the Coorong passed by heading towards the Murray Mouth. Some passengers raised their champagne glasses towards our group as they passed. Pretty sure they were heading further up the Coorong to Godfrey’s Landing for a lunch stop and walk through the dunes.
There were even more birds as we approached the Murray Mouth. I recognised (with help from Google!) a flock of Red Necked Avocet and Curlew Sandpiper on the sandbars. We missed our resident bird enthusiast – Peter Vincent on this trip. Also, numerous pelicans, but outnumbered by the black swans.
We could see the dredging barges at work as we approached the entrance to the Mouth. Hopefully with more water coming down the Murray now and snow melt still ahead, dredging is reduced over the summer.
We stopped at the northern side and stretched our legs over the sandbars down to the Mouth. There were several 4WDs with families enjoying the setting. Some hoping to catch dinner while others just enjoying the view of the Mouth at the larger breaking waves.
After deciding on the safest track past the dredges we were on our way again passing the fishing shacks and making our way towards Barkers Knoll and our lunch stop. The wind picked up over lunch so several of the group were keen to be on our way for the return leg.
Wind was from the SE, making good conditions for the return run. Nothing like our usual 15kn runs, but still, lots of fun! We were soon arriving at the Boat Ramp after covering 16km in just under 6 hours.
Phil conducted the debrief on our return and passed on the good news that Shauna had ticked all the boxes and he will be submitting the paperwork for Enclosed Sea Guide. Good work Shauna!, and we look forward to your next trip.