Days 57 & 58 – Meeting Fellow Paddlers – Renmark to Loxton

Day 57 – Renmark to Berri

Distance: 41km
Time in kayak: 7.5 hours

I had a relatively late start today because I had to wait for Lock 5, which was only 3km away, to open at 8am. 

As I was bringing gear down to the river from my cabin, I found a car with a kayak on the roof parked next to my gear. It belonged to a gentleman named Eric (Eric the Red) who was staying in the caravan park. He introduced himself and said he had just watched my latest video that night and has been following my journey. He was just heading up to the border to paddle back to Renmark. So we had a good chat about gear and our adventures.

Meeting Eric the Red

Today was a day of big head winds. It didn’t seem to matter which direction the river was going, there was still a head wind. I also found that the large cliffs would funnel the wind up the river which just added to the intensity. 

Fighting the head winds

At around 2pm I arrived in Berri and trolled my gear from the Berri Marina (basically just a park with a boat ramp to the Caravan Park. I had booked a tent site for the night which ended up being right at the back to the park. This wasn’t too bad because it meant I was away from the road and the sounds of cars.

Once I had set up camp, I walked into down and did my food shopping for the next 5 days. I have to admit that I am not being very organised this time. I used make detailed lists of the meals and food that I needed. Now I just show up to the supermarket (normally hungry) and just buy stuff. 

After I had sorted out my food, I then headed back into town to meet a paddling friend, Amy, for drinks and dinner at the Berri Hotel. Amy is a Berri resident and she canoed down the Murray last year around the same time as me. I caught up to her in Mildura, but she was able to continue across the SA border because she is a SA resident. Amy also has a passion for creating videos of her paddling trips and you can see them here

Dinner with Amy

Day 58 – Berri to Loxton

Distance: 39km
Time in kayak: 6.2 hours

It was a cold morning this morning. When I got out of the tent at about 6am the weather said it was 4 degrees with wind chill of 1 degree. It looks like I will have similar cold mornings for the next week at least.

At around 7am I packed all my gear up and walked (trollied) all the gear from the caravan park down to the water. On the way I got to pat one of the caravan folk’s golden retriever, which made me realise how much I miss Chloe.

I started paddling at exactly 7.50am because I had a well timed plan. There is a really good cafe on the foreshore of Berri (River Jacks Cafe) that opens at 8am and I wanted a good breakfast and coffee before head off down the river. Breakfast was great and it was nice just taking my time and not rushing down the river.

The paddle was pretty straight forward today. I went through Lock 5 about an hour after leaving Renmark. There was a bit of a mix of narrower and wide sections. The head wind was not as bad as it was yesterday.

I achieved another milestone today (well I am calling it a milestone), I got to the 500km marker sign. So that means I only have 500km left until I get the sea.

About an hour out of Loxton, a houseboat caught up to me while I was drifting down the river eating an apple. I paddled next to them for a while and found we were doing exactly the same speed (9kmh). So I decided that I would sit behind them and use their wake to make my paddling a lot easier. I ended up doing this for about 30 minutes, which was a great way to finish a long day.

Surfing the wake of the houseboat

I arrived at the Loxton caravan park (which is about 2km past Loxton) at around 2.30pm. The caravan park is located on a huge bend in the river. Fortunately I booked a riverside site and they told me in advance which spot was mine, so I could just pull straight up to it and set up camp. I eventually got around to walking up to reception which is about 800m away and checked in.

I then spent the afternoon catching up on blog posts and cooked (another) lovely steak for dinner in the camp kitchen.

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