Days 31 & 32 – Turtle Sex – Murrabit to Swan Hill

Well I am sure the title got your attention. Let me explain.

“Adventures like these are like turtle sex. It is slow and then it ends”

Justin “Jonesy” Jones

This is a quote (probably misquoted) that explorer Justin Jones said in the podcast that I discuss later in the is post. What it means is that when describing an adventure like this, it is not about adrenaline or risk taking. It is all about just dealing with the slow grind of getting to the end. And that certainly feels like what this week has been.

It has been enjoyable but it has been hard work.

Day 31 – Murrabit to Somewhere

From: Murrabit
To: Somewhere in the bush
Distance: 46km
Total Distance Travelled: 1085km
Distance to Go: 1439km

Once again it rained overnight, but by the time I got up it had turned into a misty fog.

Paddling in the fog is always a bit like paddling in a dream. It is still, quiet and you are really in tune with the things around you.

However, today was a pretty uneventful paddle. Just lots of bends and mud cliffs and river red gums.

The weird thing that did happen was that I was listening to an old episode of Dave Cornthwaite’s podcast “Self Propelled” where he was interviewing Justin “Joneys” Jones. Let me tell you a bit about both of them before I talk about the weird thing they happened.

First Dave Cornthwaite. Dave is sort of the inspiration for me doing this trip. He is an English adventurer that paddled the Murray about 12 years ago and he recorded it on YouTube. After watching his videos I decided that one day I would do the Murray. I think I mentioned Dave in an earlier blog because he was the guy that got snowed in at the source of the Murray and was what made me decide not to repeat his ordeal by riding down to it in bad weather. Anyway Dave has also done a lot of big adventures over the years, including skateboarding across Australia, paddling the Murray, SUPing the Mississippi, swimming the Missouri River and many more. Dave also set up the Yes Tribe which is a community of people that SayYesMore. He has also been very encouraging of my trip via Facebook. Anyway Dave also started a podcast last year where he interviews other adventurers. You can check out his site and podcast here.

So then there is Jonesy (Justin Jones). He, along with Cas (James Castrission), were the first people to kayak across “The Ditch” from Australia to New Zealand. They also achieved the first ever unsupported and unassisted ski expedition from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and back. They both also went to James’ school (many years before him).

So anyway, in this podcast interview, Jonesy tells Dave the story about how they came up with the crazy idea of paddling to New Zealand. When they finished school, they decided to paddle the Murray river. He distinctly remembers that on Day 31, while sweltering in the 40+ degrees heat (they did it in Summer) and Cas suggested they paddle to New Zealand. At the time he thought he was insane but 5 years later they did it.

The weird thing was that here I was on Day 31 of my Murray trip, thinking about what my next adventure in life will be, listening to a story about someone on Day 31 of their Murray trip thinking about their next adventure. Freaky. (Note: I am not planning to paddle across the Tasman Sea).

Anyway, back to my paddle. I made it to my planned campsite area (it is a big state park) and checked out a couple of potential campsites. Finally I settled on one that was up a muddy bank. However it was a different mud this afternoon. It was full on sticky clay. My booties collected about an inch of clay and I could not climb up the bank, so I took them off and went bare footed. It then took me about 20 minutes to scrape the mud off my feet and clean them.

I have to say that today I am a bit over all the mud. Everything is muddy and the inside of my kayak is disgusting from all the mud from my feet. Fortunately I will be in Swan Hill tomorrow for a couple of days, which will give me a chance to clean everything thoroughly.

So tomorrow is going to be pretty easy. It is only 28km to Swan Hill, where I have a cabin booked for a couple of nights. So I should be down there before lunch and can go and check out the “other” big Murray Cod.

Day 32 – Somewhere to Swan Hill

From: Somewhere in the bush
To: Swan Hill
Distance: 28km
Total Distance Travelled: 1113km
Distance to Go: 1410km

Today I was tired. I think my body knew that I was coming up to a rest and it just shut down. Everything was hard this morning. Packing was hard. Getting things down the bank to the boat was hard. Getting into the boat was hard. Paddling was hard.

My muscles have not been sore at all during this trip, but my body definitely starts getting tired by the end of the week. A lot of it will have to do with the lack of calories I am consuming versus the amount I am burning.

It was a shame that I couldn’t enjoy this morning’s paddle more because it was a beautiful sunny morning with a nice cool breeze.

It only took me about 3.5 hours to cover the 29km to Swan Hill this morning. I was fortunately able to check early into the cabin I had booked at the caravan park. I must say, as far as caravan parks go, the Big4 Riverside Swan Hill caravan park is excellent. The cabin is nice (even though it was one of the cheapest they had), the grounds are nice, the staff are friendly and they have a coffee shop (with good coffee) that is 30m from my door.

I am in Swan Hill for 2 days. Tomorrow my friend Karli and her mum are driving up from Ballarat for the day to visit. So it will be nice to catch up with some people I know. As much as I love talking about river levels and environmental flows with the locals, sometimes you need a bit of your own normality.

So the laundry is now on, I am showered and the gear is all drying. Time to eat and consume some calories.

Too tired to carry the gear so I just threw it down the bank
Home for the next 2 days
My week’s worth of cravings satisfied

4 Comments on “Days 31 & 32 – Turtle Sex – Murrabit to Swan Hill”

  1. Day 31 – “…Note: I am not planning to paddle across the Tasman Sea)…” – YET 😂 Thanks for sharing those links, esp “Say Yes More”. The good news is – you’re providing inspiration to others as well. The wheel keeps turning…

    Day 32 – feel for you. Sore muscles. Daily struggles with the ongoing grind. Murray mud. All testing your mental capacity now. All part of the adventure. You’re 6 weeks in now and soon to come up on the tipping point of clicks completed versus clicks to cover. I reckon, maybe 2 weeks before you hit SA? Keep digging deep. You’re doing an incredible job. Love your work, Robbo. ps: the Pizza Shapes really make me homesick for Oz!

  2. Just watched all your videos in a binge. Great photos and videos. That little drone is awesome and I admire your commitment to getting it out at times when I’m sure you are tired. Also your photo composition and editing is excellent.
    It has occurred to me that I have nearly all of the gear required for that trip after years of kayaking and bushwalking. I have a Wilderness Systems Tempest 170 Pro kayak which I think would do a nice job of the trip.
    I was looking for another challenge and the Murray could be it. When I was much younger I spent a lot of time on the Murray camping in the area near lock 9 west of Mildura. The birds and other sounds of the river are bringing back those memories.

    For your question time I would be interested in what PFD you are using and your reasons for choosing it.

    You are doing great. Living the dream!

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