Sailing the Coorong from Salt Creek to Murray Mouth — 2-5th January 2024

Embarking on a memorable expedition, our team, comprised of Phil Doddridge, Greg Adams, and Matthew Eldred, set sail from Salt Creek around 11 am on Tuesday, January 2nd. The wind, as predicted, gained strength, facilitating a smooth 37 km paddle under sail to our initial campsite near Parnka Point, surrounded by mud. Notably, the Coorong’s water level was unexpectedly low. It was hovering around a meter below its optimal height. A recurring theme throughout the journey.

Through the mist

Day 2 dawned with a mysterious sea mist, casting an eerie atmosphere over our paddle. We also had a slower-than-anticipated southwest wind. Navigating westward through islands, coral reefs, and challenging sand flats, exacerbated by the low water level, proved a test of our resolve. The silver lining was the influx of birdlife drawn to the flats, offering a unique opportunity to appreciate nature.

Overcoming the hazards, including negotiating the needles and coral blockage we suffered minor skin abrasions but we considered it the small price of admission. Beyond this obstacle, the remainder of the journey to the Coorong cabins, where Phil’s car awaited, became a smooth paddle into the mist.

Day 3 greeted us with lifted fog and a return of southeast winds at 10-15 knots. Despite persistent low water levels and expansive sand flats, the familiar sights of the Coorong’s freshwater soaks, rolling sand dunes, and aqua-colored waters made it a classic experience. A change of plans at Tauwitchere barrage lock. The low water and high winds made crossing into lake Alexandrina not appealing.

Murray Mouth

Opting for the Murray Mouth as our finishing point allowed us to capitalize on favorable winds. We completed the 110 km paddle from Salt Creek.

Throughout the trip, our backyard revealed hidden gems from enchanting campsites and islands to diverse wildlife and concealed shacks. The journey was a tapestry of discovery, weaving together the beauty of our surroundings and the thrill of exploration.