To: Somewhere in the bush
Total Distance Travelled: 1412km
Distance to Go: 1077km
Today was the beginning of the next leg of the paddle, from Robinvale to Mildura.
There isn’t any towns or caravan parks between Robinvale and Mildura, so I will be camping remotely on various bends in the river for the next 5 nights. As a result I am not sure how much blogging I will get done this week. I am going to be fairly remote and I am unsure how the 4G will be or how long my laptop battery will last.
Anyway, I had a nice rest day in Robinvale in my strange little cabin (box) in the caravan park. I hope I don’t offend anyone by saying this, but Robinvale is a town I don’t really need to go back to. There really is nothing to do (especially on a Sunday) and there really isn’t any shops of interest other than the IGA supermarket. In fact, on Sunday morning I walked into town to get myself a coffee from somewhere and there was nowhere… not a cafe, bakery or anything open. The only things open were the three (yes three) Asian supermarkets and the IGA. Not even the petrol station sold coffee. So I had to settle for an ice coffee Big M from the supermarket.
So this morning I headed down to the boat ramp near the caravan park and was on the water by 7.30am. The highlight of the day was 6km downstream, where I had to go through the first lock (Lock 15) of the trip. I rang the lock master yesterday and he told me to just give them a call when I was 15 mins away and they would open the gate for me. So I did and sure enough, when I got there, he was waiting for me with the gates to the lock open. The lock was a lot bigger than I expected, however they do have to fit paddle steamers in them, so it makes sense they are so large. Once I was in, they shut the upstream gate and started letting the water out. This lock takes about 10 minutes to drain and drops about 4 metres. Once the water has all drained, they opened the the downstream gates and waved me goodbye.
After the exciting lock experience, it then started to drizzle. It wasn’t forecasted but pretty much lasted for the entire paddle. So I put on my Gortex jacket, pull on the hood and plugged into my audio book.
Today the red cliffs started to appear. The area around Mildura (Mallee country) is famous for its large red cliffs along the river, so it was great to see them finally. Having spent the last many weeks looking at the same old mud banks with river red gums on them, it was nice to have a change of scenery.
Around 2pm I found my planned campsite and quickly set up the tarp so I could stash my gear under it. After about an hour, during which time I collected firewood, the rain cleared and the sun came out and treated me to a nice sunny(ish) afternoon sitting by the fire.
Tomorrow I am planning to paddle another 41km to another random bend in the river.