It was refreshing and liberating to be back at Eildon after two years!
Most of us arrived on Friday. Charlie and Marina got there a night earlier and were surprised at the activities on the Sump. Fire rescue team and their rafts, Tafe students in their canoes and a few private little boats all practising. Never seen so many on the Sump at one time.
We inadvertently picked a long weekend in Victoria and were a little worried about the crowds. But this didn’t prove to be much of a problem. The only downside was that the group was spread across different sites.
On Saturday, Scott Polley did some instruction on the basics for those who had not done any white-water before; Esther did very well, Anthony showed no fear (trying to keep up with his son?), and Leigh is a natural (who would think he has never done any white water) as he soon ended up surfing the big wave at the Sump without much trouble. After a little warming up, Anne, Simon, Fred, Will, Marina and Charlie played around the pumpkins (big man-made concrete blocks designed to create turbulence and eddies in the river), the s- bend and, for the more daring ones, the Sump in the afternoon.
Fred and Will played the role of the two acrobats putting their canoe polo skills to use (Fred managed to position himself in his boat on a pumpkin). And Phil who was the elegant smooth wave rider.
Water levels were quite ok at first, then on Saturday they seem to have released water from the dam, and some of the pumpkins were soon under water. Luckily the water did not seem as cold as it normally is in January.
Besides people coming into the camp kitchen to do their dishes, we were lucky enough to have the kitchen pretty much to ourselves, as the local hotel was still closed so we had to cook in the campsite. Next year we will remember to check the Victorian calendar before pick a date! In all, we all surely had a lovely time, and Charlie and Marina finished their stay with a 52 kms downstream paddle to Molesworth on Tuesday, having enough water to paddle down at a good speed.