Winter day paddles at Kingston-On-Murray/Loch Luna — 13 August 2022

It was a cold, rainy weekend in Adelaide. Up in the Riverland, we had a rain-free, mostly sunny (but still cold) weekend kayaking on the Murray backwater around Loch Luna.

Overarching in the Murray

Saturday morning we all met up at 10am on the river front of the Kingston On Murray Caravan Park, where we would be staying. It is a very convenient and safe launching spot, being on the park grounds, and the managers are always very helpful, a recommended place to stay if you want to visit the area: https://www.komcaravanpark.com.au/

Wooden Rowboat

New member Carol brought her husband along with his gorgeous hand-made wooden rowboat, which despite some misgivings, kept up with the kayaks with no trouble, and managed the narrow channels easily. The Murray is flowing really fast at the moment, thanks to all the rain they have been having in the rest of the country, and we made our slowly upstream for a few kilometres before reaching the entrance to the relatively still waters of Nockburra Creek.

We made our way slowly up the maze of backwater creeks up to Loch Luna, where we stopped for lunch just as the sun came out from behind a cloud. Perfect timing. After lunch we continued through Loch Luna to the Murray River for a look, before finding another backwater channel to take us back to where we started, and from there we took advantage of the strong flow to let the Murray River take us back to the campground.

Canoe Adventures

Relaxing in the Murray

We met up with Kym from Canoe Adventures while relaxing in the campsite, and had a long chat about the current state of the river and picked up some tips for Sundays paddle. They hire kayaks and run guided trips of the area, and are a goldmine of information about the local conditions if you ever want to visit up there: https://canoeadventure.com.au After a lovely meal in the Cobdogla club (country restaurants really give you a big serving ), we retired back to the campground for the night, with some braver souls camping out, while the wiser ones had hired a cabin.

Sunday morning was lovely and sunny. A bit cloudy over slightly as we set off again, this time to explore Chambers Creek, which eventually leads into Lake Bonny. Have paddled all the way there once, but it is too long a paddle to do in a morning.  So, we contented ourselves with just meandering around the different islands of reeds. We enjoyed the scenery for a few hours before making our way back to the cars, and head off back to Adelaide, interrupted for the customary pie stop at the bakery of course.

Winter day paddles at Blanchetown and Punyelroo — 30/31 July 2022

 ACCCC

The Adelaide Canoeing, Caving and Climbing Club. Maybe that’s what we should rename the club. There was some of all of that on the weekend trip to Blanchetown and Punyelroo.

Saturday

Paddling around Blanchetown

The winter weather in the Riverland is normally much better than Adelaide, but not for this trip. Five paddlers set from Blanchtown on Saturday morning. The sky was overcast with a stiff headwind and the temperature reading a chilly 9 degrees. A bit of brisk paddling soon warmed us up. We crossed the Murray and headed up Cumbunga creek, threading our way through the dead gumtrees. We tried not to disturb the pelicans while being serenaded by the cockatoos, who must be preparing for spring.

The channel soon narrowed as we approached Roonka Conservation Park. This is where our first mishap occurred. Having done this trip many times I didn’t bother bringing my GPS, wandered up the wrong channel, and soon found myself in a dead end. I was firmly wedged in a thick bunch of reeds which I had tried to push through. Despite much pushing and pulling I was stuck, and was slowly resigning myself to a winter swim. Julie managed to attach a rope to the end of my kayak and pull me free. Many thanks Julie.

After backtracking and finding the right channel we soon found the Murray again, and crossed the river looking for more backwaters. Going up the narrow channel behind Julia Island, we found a secluded lagoon where we stopped for lunch. This didn’t take long thanks to the cold weather, and we were soon back in shelter of our kayaks, continuing upstream. The lagoon narrowed at the northern end of Julia Island, and we had a short portage over a road before getting back into the Murray River again.

Heading back

We decided to head home on the Murray, taking advantage of a good tail wind and a fast flowing current. Thanks to the winter, we had the whole river to ourselves. We gently paddled past the golden cliffs and magnificent gum trees, still being serenaded by the local cockatoos, until we reached our launching spot.

The group split up here. Some going back to Adelaide, while the rest of us set off to Punyelroo Caravan Park. We would stay for the night before Sundays paddle.

Thanks to new member Ghanshyam for being well prepared  and brought an electric heater and kettle. We managed to stay up in the cold and chat for a while before retiring to our tents for the night. With two sleeping bags, an insulated mattress, a couple layers of clothes, and a beanie, I had a warm cosy night.

Sunday

Campground near Punyelroo

Next morning was a leisurely start as we waited for Abelardo to come up from Adelaide for the Sunday paddle. We set off from the Caravan Park, and headed directly across the river into the lagoon to try and find Punyelroo cave. This would have been much quicker if I had my trusty GPS. We eventually managed to locate the entrance and dragged the kayaks up out of the water. We then

replaced our PFD’s and spray decks with helmets and head torches, and entered the cave to do some exploring.

The cave

Punyelroo cave is supposed to be about 3 kilometres in length. I don’t think I have ever managed to get more than a hundred meters into it before my enthusiasm gives out. We spent a good twenty minutes crouching under low roofs, scrambling over fallen boulders, banging helmets on rocks and bruising shoulders on rocky walls before called it quits. We sat for a while in the pitch darkness and total silence, imagining what it must be like to trapped in a place like that. After emerging back into daylight and fresh air, we got back into our kayaking gear and carried on up the lagoon.

The Murray river levels were high due to all the rain the country has been having. The caravan park manager told us that it was now possible to paddle all the way up the lagoon into Swan Reach, and then join the Murray river again. We reached the top end of the lagoon, and sure enough the channel was high and clear, with a good current flow.

Not enough space go under

We slowly made our way upstream, paddling right over the bridges and pipes that would normally stop us. Our luck lasted right up to the end of the channel, a few meters from the Murray. The raised river level now worked against us. The footbridge across the channel, normally easy to paddle under, was now impassable. Only a few centimetres of clearance, and no easy landing due to all the reeds.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. By standing up in the kayaks, it was possible to climb up over the bridge, and then drag the kayaks out of the river through the reeds. After everyone was over, we had a well-deserved rest and snack on the grassy bank. Shortly after, we took advantage of the current to take us back down the river back to Punyelroo and the (heated) cars, and headed back to Adelaide

Overnight Trip from Wally’s Landing, Finniss River to Currency Creek and Return — 9-10 July 2022

DAY ONE – WALLY’s LANDING

Winds south westerly 0-5knots predicted felt like 8knots. The small group comprised of Simon Langsford, Peter McLeod, Matthew Eldred as trip leader. We gathered at Wally’s landing for the overnight paddle to Currency Creek. Peter was unable to stay the night due to work commitments and would return to the cars after lunch at Clayton Bay. We set off with the new paddle plan in place making our way through the reeds and into the lagoons to disturb the 100s of black swans that call it home.
Wasn’t long before the water ways widened, and we were heading to the Goolwa channel where we would turn left for lunch at clayton bay.

After lunch the team followed the northern bank of Hindmarsh Island protecting us from the southern wind. As this was a small back track west to currency creek, we were able to line Peter up with the Finniss river and send him on his way under sail.

Now there was two. Simon and Matt followed Hindmarsh Island until we reached the eastern bank of Currency creek. Finding camp at around 3:00pm we decided to set up the tents unload the kayaks and have a late afternoon paddle further up Currency creek.

The night-time activities were dinner and telling stories around the camp fire under the cold winter’s night.

DAY TWO – CURRENCY CREEK

Winds Northly 5-10knots predicted and felt like it. A frosty start to the day and the fire was re-ignited to defrost us from the night’s sleep. Camp pack up was quick and on the water by 9am. Today’s route we followed the western banks of Currency creek and around the islands at Goolwa north. Not to trace to much of our path from the day before, we stuck to the opposite sides of the rivers.

The trip was success and Simon is keen to attend again and explore more of the lower lakes.

Matt Eldred

Camping in Finniss River

Training around the ship wreck

Basic Skills Training, Garden Island — 6 June 2022

Between the mangrovesGhanshyam and Terry joined Anne and Simon for some training at Garden Island on Sunday. The aim of the day was to refine strokes and provide tips to improve technique. Both Ghanshyam and Terry worked hard on the exercises and showed improvements in their paddling.

The dolphins visited us to inspect their style and surfaced very close a couple of times. We then challenged our manoeuvring strokes by paddling up one of the mangrove creeks. The plan was to finish the day doing rescues, however, Ghanshyam overbalanced working on a support stroke and had an early lesson in the water. After lunch we revised the heel hook rescue on land and then returned to the warmer water near the power station to practice.

Both Terry and Ghanshyam succeeded in getting back into their boats easily. The afternoon concluded with a paddle around to the ship’s graveyard then the incoming tide pushed us back to the boat ramp and a change into warm dry clothes.Training in Garden Island

Four day/three night Murray River backwaters trip in the Riverland — 26 May 2022

The Murray river was flowing strongly, so eight paddlers decided to take advantage of this to do a four day, one-way trip down the river with the current. Thursday morning we dropped off one car at our finishing point at Canoe-The-Riverland, and continued up to the Border Cliffs Campground to start our trip.

Many thanks to Canoe-The-Riverland for allowing us to leave a car at their place for the car shuttle at the end of the trip. They are the experts in the area, run guided kayak tours and have a range of accommodation if you want to explore that part of the country.

Suders Creek

The weather was warm and sunny as we crossed the Murray to find the entrance to Suders creek and get into the backwaters of the Murray. Suders is normally tricky, with a fast current and lots of obstacles, but today it was no problem thanks to the higher water level, and we were soon through it and into Hypurna creek and calmer waters. After regrouping we carried on into Salt Creek, Slaney Creek and into Chowilla Creek, making good time with the current. At the entrance to Pipeclay Creek we called it a day, and found a good place for the evening camp, having done 12 kms.

Monoman Creek and the Dingy Derby

Paddling down Chowilla

Next morning was chilly and foggy, giving the river a surreal atmosphere. After a hot coffee and some breakfast we packed up wet tents and headed out on the river again. We were making good time with the current, so we decided to detour into Monoman Creek, at bit longer and narrower, but also more scenic. This area is normally popular with campers, but with the cold weather and it being a week day, we had the place to ourselves. After re-joining Chowilla Creek, the waters became wider and more sluggish as we approached the Murray River again. I was very confused as we passed under the Chowilla regulator as I remembered it as being a lot larger and more imposing, until I realised that the increased water height had made it seem a lot smaller.

After about 3 km on the Murray main channel we turned into the entrance to Native Box Creek, just after Chowilla Homestead, glad to be back in the narrow secluded backwaters again. We enjoyed a slow paddle down the creek enjoying the scenery, but slightly confused by a large number of big arrows and warning tape fixed to the trees. We set up camp for the night near to the junction with Little Hunchee Creek, and were just starting to relax when we were disturbed by a number of tinnies with large motors rushing past. After some hurried searching on Google we discovered that there was a dingy race the following day, luckily some more searching revealed that we were no longer on the course, and we should be well on our way before the race started the next day. Something to check on for the next trip.

From Big Hunchee to Ral Ral

Cool and misty morning in Chowilla

Next morning was again cool and misty as we paddled down Big Hunchee Creek until we eventually entered RalRal Creek, and the waters narrowed again as we were surrounded by large gum trees. Just before Calperum Station we passed the entrance to Lake Woolpolool and, since the water levels were high, we decided to go in have a look. The lake was full, but unfortunately the waters were not high enough to paddle across the road and into the lake itself, and we had to content ourselves with sitting in the duckweed at the entrance looking over the regulator.

Back on RalRal, we continued ambling down the creek past the gum trees and picking our way through the snags until we reached the Wide Waters section of the river. Here we were treated to a flock of pelicans and the occasional swan taking advantage of the large body of placid, sheltered water. We found the entrance to Nelbuck Creek with no problem thanks to the GPS, and paddled slowly upstream back towards the Murray. We set up camp for the last time a few hundred meters before the Murry, where the creek was still narrow and the gum trees still large.

Horseshoe Lagoon

Next morning we were treated to the sight of a large emu wandering around completely unfazed by us, probably because he was on the opposite side of the creek. Camp was packed up quickly, either due to practice, or the desire to get back to the cars, and we were soon on the Murray heading downstream and looking for the entrance to Horseshoe Lagoon. The waters changed after we entered the lagoon, with gum trees slowly being replaced with reeded banks as we made our way through the maze of channels towards our finishing point at Canoe-The-Riverland.

The drivers were send off to retrieve our cars from the launch point while the rest of us slowly unpacked our kayaks and enjoyed the sun. Kayaks were quickly loaded, and we headed off to the nearest bakery for the customary coffee and pasty.

Map and GPX file

Click in the image below to access the map of the trip and its corresponding GPX file

Chowilla RalRal Map

Bog Snorkelling in Hidden Creek — 24 May 2022

Bog snorkelling is a Welsh sporting event where competitors aim to complete swims through a peat bog in the shortest time possible.

What has that got to do with a pleasant paddle down in the Garden Island area? You’ll have to read on!!

On Tuesday 24 May the following ACC members gathered at Garden Island boat ramp for the first of the winter series mid-week paddles – Phil Doddridge & Bella Kosterman (Mirage 730), Kaye & Stephen Parnell (Prijon double), Peter Carter(Voyager), Mark Loram(Prijon) and Tom Moore(Mirage 530).

It was a warm but windy day so the plan was to spend the time in the mangroves exploring a little known area called Hidden Creek. Based on limited past experience Phil though the tide would be close to ideal to paddle right to the back of the creek. The journey through the creek takes you through a beautiful mangrove forest then a stunning samphire zone. The creek ends abruptly at the salt mine; now ugly and no longer being worked.

Launch and finding Hidden Creek

Launching from Garden Island boat ramp the group worked upwind across the Angus Inlet and some way up the Barker Inlet to get a fast downwind ride to the entrance to Hidden Creek. It has this name due to the entrance being indistinct and partially blocked by fallen trees. The entrance is on the eastern side of Eastern Passage just under the power lines. Once in the shelter of the creek conditions were ideal. Out of the wind it was much warmer, the water crystal clear and the winding nature of the creek made it feel adventurous! Phil and Bella were in a Mirage 730 double with Kaye and Stephen in their brand new Prijon double.  Turning these longer kayaks to negotiate the ever sharpening bends tested sweep stroke technique, strength and endurance!

The creek began to narrow and the turns were now continuous, no more straight sections. Phil  recalled of a wider pond at the back of the creek and after a short discussion with Peter decided to push through as this would be the only real option to turn the doubles around.

Hindsight is a marvellous thing! Well before reaching the back of the creek we ran out of water, the tide was not quite ideal! And this is where the Bog challenge began! Those in single kayaks were able to turn around (just) to begin the journey out. No so those in double kayaks.

Phil surveyed the situation and found what looked like a nice sand bar to get out and turn the kayak around by hand. It would be possible to lift one end over the low scrub while the other remained in the water that was there. There was a bit of sand, perhaps 5cm deep, then it was thick black mangrove mud. Phil quickly began sinking down to his knees…YUK!! The blades of the spare paddle made good “snow shoes” and kept him above ground while he struggled to spin the M730. It became obvious after a short time that this plan was not going to work so Bella got out too and promptly sank down to her thighs in the mud. What a dilemma.

Boged in Hidden Creek

There was no easy solution to get the M730 turned around so one end was shoved up onto the scrub and the rest lifted from the water to point it in the other direction. Phil and Bella then got in, taking quite a bit of smelly mud with them, and began paddling back. Well it was a mix of paddling, pushing off tree stumps and poling through the mud trying to weave through fallen branches and areas too shallow to float the boat!

After a short distance they came across Kaye and Stephen who had seen the dilemma and decided to stay in their seats and paddle backwards to a wider section to turn around. Good decision! The retractable rudder on the Prijon made this possible whereas the fixed rudder on the M730 would have got caught on every shallow area and tree stump making it impossible. With a great deal of direction from other paddlers Kaye and Stephen manoeuvred the Prijon back through the maze and were eventually able to turn around. The group made their way back to the entrance of Hidden Creek stopping for lunch on the way.

Down to Ships Graveyard

The wind was still blowing quite strongly so after a quick discussion Kaye and Stephen opted for a direct route back while others wanting more punishment headed on to the “Ships Graveyard”. It was a fun ride downwind and into the North Arm to view the remains of the Dorothy H Sterling and Santiago. These two relics are a link to the maritime past of South Australia. The Santiago was one of the first iron hulled ships ever made and was launched in Glasgow, Scotland in 1856. The Dorothy was launched in Oregon in 1920 and was one of the largest commercial sailing ships of it’s era. Unfortunately, it became a victim of the Great Depression. Upon arriving in Port Adelaide in 1929 it’s crew found that the company that owned the boat had gone bankrupt and no money was waiting for them for wages and landing fees. Eventually the Dorothy was impounded and put to auction to recoup the losses. The stunning six masted schooner was sold off for £50 then dismantled for scrap. The full stories of these relics can be found online.

The journey back to Garden Island into the wind was a good workout to finish a day of fun, adventure, discovery and problem solving! Reportedly everyone had a great time of it and had never done so many sweep strokes in one day before! The pics of the adventure tell more of the story.

Come and Join Mid-week paddles

Mid-week paddles will continue through the wintery months to differing sheltered locations on either Tuesday or Wednesday. Likely locations will include West Lakes, North Haven Marina, Myponga and other reservoirs, Onkaparinga River and coastal location where weather permits.

If your interested register with Phil Doddridge (pdodds59@bigpond.com) and you will be contacted with further details.

If you wish to learn more about Hidden Creek and exploring Garden Island, then check out Peter Carter’s websites below:

http://www.users.on.net/~pcarter/torrens_is.html

http://www.users.on.net/~pcarter/aerial.html

Cheers,

Phillip Doddridge
pdodds59@bigpond.com
0487 663 102

PA 5097

Loxton Riverfront Holiday Park, Murray River, Katarapko Creek — 14-15 May 2022

The variable weather continued over the weekend and resulted in the Wardang Island paddle with overnight stay on Goose Island being cancelled. However, it was replaced with Plan B, a paddle down Katarapko Creek with more favourable weather. Mark, Abelardo and Hugh joined Phil at Loxton Riverfront Holiday Park on Friday afternoon/evening. We started enjoying a pleasant meal at the Loxton Hotel to plan the weekend’s paddle.

The plan B

The plan was for a relaxing paddle from Loxton Holiday Park upstream to Katarapko Creek’s northern entrance, then back south via the Creek to re-join the main river for a 4km run back upstream to our starting point at the Caravan Park. A nice and simple paddle, no need to waste time with car shuttles.

While a night on Goose Island would have been very pleasant, the banks of the Murray River and Katarapko were a very attractive alternative.

Saturday

Sunset on the Murray

A boat in the Murray

We were up and about just after sunrise on Saturday morning after being serenaded by several kookaburras in the nearby trees. A quick breakfast, then down to the riverside to load the kayaks before leaving the cars back up near reception until our return.

On water about 9.30am and headed upstream into the current – bit stronger than expected so we soon realised we had a solid day’s paddling ahead. We made some sections a bit easier by switching sides to the more protected bank to avoid the worst of the current.

We encountered a range of houseboats along the banks. The most interesting was an unusual vessel called “Kookaburra” that looked like she would be more comfortable at sea than in the river. After a chat with the caretaker we learnt that it originally came from the West Coast with grand plans to be refurbished – as often happens, the job was bigger than the owner expected.

Camping in a sandbar

Decided we’d had enough exercise by 3pm, so started to look for suitable campsites – and just around the next bend we spotted an extensive sandbar we’d checked out during a Bass Strait training paddle in 2020. We were still a few kms short of the northern entrance to Katarapko, but this was too good to resist. We had covered a distance of 22km with an average speed of 4.6km/hr. River flow against us was probably about 3-5km/hr, so not a bad effort.

Wasn’t long before we had our tents erected and we were relaxing, enjoying the evening, with not a skerrick of wind and a promising sunset followed by stars breaking through the cloud cover that we had experienced for most of the day.

Cheese War

We had a perfect evening at our sandbar camp topped off by an unofficial “cheese war” between Mark’s Heysen Blue, Phil’s Haloumi, Hugh’s 18 month old English cheddar and Abelardo’s Manchego …. the edge definitely going to the Manchego and homemade quince paste from the Abelardo. Of course this was matched with a nice Malbec from Bleasdale Winery at Langhorne Creek.

The return

Down Katarapko Creek

Slept well so were back on water just after 9am on Sunday. Beautiful sunny morning at departure. Another 3 km before we reached the northern end of Katarapko. As expected the current was flowing strongly into the creek so all ensured we were careful to avoid any potential “stoppers”. Our speed soon increased as we entered the creek – a much more relaxing days’ paddle compared to the previous day.

Quick stop at our favourite campsite (No 19) to check the weir conditions. The weir looked navigable with the limestone rocks totally covered by water. Soon confirmed this, as the sound of running water we heard overnight was the excessive water flowing over the weir.

After selecting the best path mid-channel, we were soon in white-water conditions but safely over the weir without a scratch on the kayaks – unlike last time! My GPS showed speeds from 5 to 12km/hr in this section.

Most of the campsites were occupied and several people also fishing near The Splash Regulator. Plenty of Whistling Kites circling their nests as we approached their territory – all looking very healthy with the extra water in the system. Even had a friendly emu at water’s edge as we paddled in close.

Surfing

Camping in a sandbar

We had made good time and had paddled 20 km since setting off, so selected a kayak-friendly bank for a lunch break at about 1pm before tackling the river again and heading back upstream to Loxton for the last 4km. The wind had picked up and we were a bit surprised as we entered the main channel and had waves breaking over the kayaks. The last 4km leg upstream was much easier with the tail wind gusting to 15 knots resulting in us catching the occasional wave – who would have thought when paddling the river.

We had covered a distance of 24km for day 2, with an average speed of 5km/hr. 6km against the River flow, so, again not a bad effort. Phil recorded speeds of 8.7km/hr on one of his surfing runs on final leg.

The Debrief

We arrived back at Loxton Riverfront Holiday Park around 2pm covering the 46km over two days in a range of conditions. We collected the cars, packed up, then off to the Highway bakery at Waikerie for a debrief to complete a great weekend. For all those looking forward to Wardang, we anticipate scheduling another trip later in the year.

The Map

Here is the map of the trip and the corresponding GPX file (uploadable to Google Earth or a GPS) .

Murray River: Lindsay Island Circumnavigation — 15-18 April 2022

Settling down

Things didn’t start well. Some of us decided to travel down a day early to avoid the traffic and find a suitable launch and landing spot. We soon discovered that the tracks in the Murray Sunset national Park didn’t match the maps we had, and some of the tracks were blocked due to the high levels of the river. Eventually we managed to find a suitable spot at the mouth of the Mullaroo Creek near the regulator, sent out new directions to the rest of the group, and settled down to wait for them around the campfire.

Next morning, after everyone arrived, we launched into the Murray River above the regulator. The regulators are wonderful for the health of the river but they don’t make life easy for kayakers: it would be virtually impossible to portage a loaded kayak around the regulator.

Toupnein Creek

We made very good progress down the Murray thanks to the strong flow adding 2-3 km/hr to our speed. After a civilized lunch on the lawn at Lock 7, and a chat to the lockmaster as he let us through, we carried on down the Murray to the entrance to Toupnein creek. The creek was also flowing strongly, carrying us between banks lined with magnificent gum trees. We quickly found a lovely site and stopped for the night.

Swim in Kulkurna beach

Next morning we woke up to another perfect day and, after a leisurely breakfast, we packed up camp and drifted down Toupnein creek again until it re-joined the Murray again. We stopped below the Kulkurna Cliffs on a sandy beach for lunch, and took the opportunity for a cooling swim. After lunch we made good time down the Murray, helped along by the current, and took the opportunity to have a look at entrance to Salt Creek, wondering how to organise a trip which would include the Lindsay river and into Salt Creek and from there to Chowilla. Maybe next time.

Lindsay River

From there it was a short paddle past Higgins Cutting to find the entrance to Lindsay River. Luckily this turned out to be wide with not much flow, as from now on it was all upstream! After a few kilometres we found a nice secluded backwater and landed to make camp. Tents were soon put up, wet paddling gear was changed for more comfortable clothes, supper was made and eaten, and the group settled in around the campfire to discuss solutions to the world’s problems.

Day 3 saw everyone packed and ready to leave at 9am, we made good progress up the Lindsay, which was still wide and slow. Eventually we made it to the junction with Mullaroo creek, had a break for lunch and turned up into the Mullaroo. Progress was now a bit slower as the creek was narrower, with a faster current to overcome. It was also more interesting, with lots of twists and turns and fallen trees to navigate past. This kept us occupied until about 3pm, when we called it a day, found a nice campsite and stopped for the night.

Here comes the rain

Peter decided that, since the weather had been so perfect with warm nights and no mosquitoes, he would skip putting up a tent and sleep under the stars. This proved to be tempting fate too much, as a few hours later the clouds rolled in and the first few drops of rain started to fall. After a hurried meal, and an even more hurried putting up of a tent by Peter, everyone skipped the normal evening conversation and had an early night.

Navigating obstacles

It rained lightly but steadily through the night, but luckily cleared up by morning. We were on the water 30 minutes early as everyone had had an early night. We were eager to get going before the rain started again. The creek slowly got narrower and more choked the further we went upstream, but we managed to navigate all the obstacles without having to resort to getting out of the kayaks and dragging: somehow there was always a way around or through the fallen trees. About midday we finally spotted the finish spot with warm dry cars waiting.

Packing back

Kayaks were hurriedly unpacked and loaded onto the cars, carefully trying to avoid getting too much mud into the cars. Everyone now relaxed as the adventure was over, or so we thought. The overnight rain had turned the tracks out of the park into a slippery mess, churned up by all the departing Easter campers. After about 20 kms of frantic sideway sliding, wheel spinning, and steering wheel gripping, we finally made it back onto the sealed road, and then on to Renmark to have the customary bakery stop to swap stories and say goodbyes.

Coorong National Park Sign

Mundoo channel to Boundary Creek and the Coorong — 18 April 2022

Godfeys Landing

On Easter Monday, after a number of cancellations due to injury and the predicted weather conditions, 5 paddlers headed off from the end of Mundoo Channel Rd. (Shauna, Bruce, Michael, Treya, Abelardo)

Pelicans in Coorong

The first section looked to be the worst from the predictions, but in very mild winds we paddled into the Coorong in search of the Boundary Ck junction and only having to dodge the odd boat. In fact boating traffic was very light for an Easter weekend, (Yay). Presumably boaties were also put off by the possible winds.

We made quick time to the probable entrance to Boundary Ck (did I mention this was an exploratory trip..?). It looked little like it did a few years back, so we paddled on to the shacks. The shacks were the sure marker, so having pulled up on the beach we portaged over the bank to Boundary Ck. The creek was very beautiful, with reedy growth and an occasional tree, and with abundant water flowing through it.

Godfeys landing

Ocean south of Godfeys landing Coorong

It wasn’t long before we exited back into the Coorong and the group paddled across to the Young Husband peninsula and to Godfeys landing for lunch. The wind was low and it was a quiet, peaceful spot. After lunch we did the short walk over to the southern ocean, which true to form was rough and windy. No wonder those brave around Australia paddlers all had concerns about landing on that long stretch of coastline.

After a morning of light winds, a well above forecast tail wind became handy on the journey homeward reaching 20kn at its peak. This was some very fun sailing and an easy return paddle. It was a relatively easy day out for moderately experienced paddlers. We covered 16km over a leisurely 5 hrs, including break times.

Every time I go to the Coorong I feel like another plan is hatched. This vast inland river/sea/lake has much to offer paddlers. Stay tuned!

Shauna Ashewood

Happy Valley Reservoir — 13 March 2023

Calm water at Happy Valley Reservoir

Three paddlers joined Jo for her Sunday Peer Paddle at Happy Valley Reservoir this morning, taking advantage of a perfect paddling day. Water looked like glass when we arrived, with several fishers preparing for a day on the water, hoping to catch a Murray Cod or Callop.
How different the car park was since last paddle, plenty of parking available when we arrived and the coffee van getting prepared for a busy day. Just as well, as cars loaded with Sit Ons and Blow Up kayaks soon started to arrive. Happy Valley is perfect for a training paddle, with the option of multiple circuits around the 4km perimeter. This a great location for novice kayakers building up their kayaking fitness, but also for experienced paddlers just wanting to get back on water.

Getting out of the water in Happy Valley Reservoir

We completed two circuits, distance 7.4km in just under two hours. A great easy way to start the day, with the reward of that cup of coffee on completion. Even used the kayak launch system this time, worked very well and more gentle on the kayaks. Happy Valley is turning out to be a very pleasant Sunday paddle, so come along and join the next paddle.