From: Swan Hill
To: Nyah-Vinifera Park
Total Distance Travelled: 1156km
Distance to Go: 1367km
I had a great day and a half in Swan Hill. After arriving and checking into the caravan park, I got myself a pizza and a bottle of wine and settled down in my cabin to get the latest video edited. With that done, the next morning, after a nice breakfast and food shop at Woolworths, I got to work cleaning all the mud out of my kayak and off all my gear. It was a major operation that took about 2 hours because the clay had dried solid on everything. It involved a lot of chipping with my trowel and scrubbing with a heavy duty scrubbing brush.
Just before lunch, my friend Karli and her mum, Josie, came to visit me. They kindly drove all the way up from Ballarat (about 3.5 hours) just to spend the day with me. We had a lovely lunch at Spoons Riverside and then went to the Swan Hill Cemetery to find where Karli’s uncle (Uncle Alan) was buried. It took a while to find him, because a bunch of old flowers were covering his surname, so all of us walked past his grave numerous times without seeing him.
We then visited Swan Hill’s big attraction… the Giant Murray Cod. You might remember I visited Tocumwal’s Big Murray Cod a few weeks ago. Well Swan Hill has the Giant one.
My lovely visitors then headed back to Ballarat and I got on with packing all my gear ready for an early departure in the morning.
Now onto today’s paddle…
This morning was cold. At sunrise it was 0 degrees (feels like -3). Just before sunrise, I quietly ferried all my gear from the cabin to the small beach next to the caravan park. I had to sneak past a number of caravans in order to get to the bank, but I have found (fortunately) that people in caravan parks seem to sleep in and nothing wakes them.
The morning, despite being very cold, was beautiful. There was a slight mist and as the sun rose, it cast amazing light through the trees. There was absolutely no wind all day, so the water was like glass. By about 9am, the sun had risen above the trees and I started getting really hot. It was only 7 degrees but I was sweating. One of the issues with kayaking (or any water sport) is that you basically have 2 suns shining on you because of the reflection on the water. So you get really hot.
The paddle was really enjoyable today. I did not feel like I was in a rush to get anywhere. I just enjoyed cruising along, checking everything out, without feeling like I needed rush down the river to find a campsite.
I had planned to camp in the Nyah-Vinifera Park, which is a big state park near the small town of Nyah. When I reached the park (around 3pm) I started looking for a campsite. I got out of the boat a couple of times to check out a few spots, which were fine, but I was feeling fussy and kept going. I eventually came across a good spot, with a nice beach and a nice bit of grass to set up the tent.
Just now, I was sitting by the fire, writing this blog, I did have my first run in with nature. In the tree next to the fire, something started screeching horribly. I thought it was a bat, so I walked over and shown my torch at the tree. There are 2 owls sitting there screeching away (not hooting). I recorded some video of them and returned to my seat by the fire. When I played back the video on my phone, they obviously thought the noise was another owl. All of a sudden I looked up and they were both flying straight at me. They got within a metre of me and I could see their big white faces in the light of my head torch. At the last second they both darted off to the side. It scared the crap out of me. Now they are back in the tree screaming at me. Bloody nature.