Day 71 – The Last of The River – Murray Bridge to Wellington

From: Murray Bridge Marina
To: Wellington Pub
Distance: 35km
Time in Boat: 6hrs
Total Distance Travelled: 2309km
Distance to Go: 65km

My body clock is really messed up now. I went to bed last night at about 7.30pm after falling asleep on the couch in my cabin. I then woke up this morning at around 3am and tried to snooze for a couple of hours. At around 5am I gave up and decided to get going. I had 35km to do today down to Wellington and I wanted to get the by lunch time.

My parents were going to meet me at the pub around noon, so getting on the water at around 6am was the perfect time. Mum and Dad drove from Binalong (near Yass) to Mildura yesterday. They picked up my car and then this morning they drove from Mildura to Wellington. They are going to hang out on Hindmarsh Island (which is near the Murray Mouth) and wait for me to finish the paddle.

It was cold this morning. When I paddled out of the marina it was about 2 degrees. There was a lot of mist on the water and it was very pretty.

I knew that today’s paddle was going to be pretty boring, because it was going to be similar to the paddle into Murray Bridge. So paddling in the dark for an hour was one way of making it a bit more interesting.

I really wasn’t wrong about the river being boring. It was very wide, straight and there really wasn’t anything on the banks to really look at. Plus the highway runs very close to the river, so there was pretty much a constant drone of truck noise. The only point of interest was passing the town of Tailem Bend and even that was not particularly interesting (sorry if any readers are from there).

Big and wide

At almost exactly 12 noon I arrived in Wellington. Wellington is considered to be the official end point for people paddling the Murray River. If you travel from the Hume Weir (near Albury) to Wellington, then you have officially paddled The Murray. This is because the Lake Alexandrina crossing can be hazardous and should only be attempted by experienced paddlers, with the right gear and in the right conditions.

Carrying kayak up to the pub (Photo: Rob Robertson)

Mum and Dad arrived at the pub about 10 minutes before me. So as I arrived they were standing at the pub chatting to Ghislain, my new found French paddling buddy. He is staying at the pub (camping on their lawn) for a couple of nights. He decided yesterday that it was not going to be possible to cross the lake with his sit on kayak in the forecasted conditions. It is a shame he can’t do it but I think it was the right decision. Mum and Dad are going to take him down to Clayton Bay tomorrow (after I have left), which is on the other side of the main part of the lake. This will allow him to paddle the final 12km to Goolwa on one of the channels.

Great to see the folks
Talking river stuff with Ghislain (Photo: Rob Robertson)

So tomorrow I am starting my crossing of Lake Alexandrina. The weather is looking really good for my planned route. The forecast is for Easterly winds tomorrow and North Easterly winds on Sunday. So my planned route (see map below) will be to stick to the eastern side of the lake so that there is more shelter and so the waves don’t have as much room to grow. I plan to camp at Narrung tomorrow night and then head down to the Murray Mouth the following morning. The plan is to get on the water tomorrow morning at around 4am so that I can take advantage of the calmer winds of the morning when I get to the main part of the lake.

So in two more days this will be all over. Amazing. On one hand I am sad it is over, but on the other hand (with my aching body) I am ready for this to be finished.

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