Renmark to Morgan
Murray River, Renmark to Morgan, 244 km, 10-16 March 2021
Wed 10 March 2021, 43 km
Depart Renmark Riverbend CP at 564 km mark at 8:05 am and pass through Lock 6, 2 km downstream, at 8:25 am. I'm surprised when the lockmaster tell me they aren't a busy lock. Apparently hire houseboats aren't allowed downstream because there are some shallow stretches. See some scar trees and beyond Berri a tree that looks like a ring tree but it is probably a natural graft. I have been noticing more scar trees than my previous trips in these areas because I have a better idea of what to look for. There is a light tailwind most of the day so I make good progress arriving at my campsite #6 at Booky Cliffs camp area in Murray NP at 521 km at 3 pm. This cost me $12 prebooking online. Campsite 7 at the actual riverbend is nicer with a sandy beach nearby. The afternoon has become cloudy which helps keep me cool. Good phone reception as I am only about 5 km from Berri. Large flocks of corellas fly down the river and light rain starts about 5pm.
Thu 11 March 2021, 33 km
A bit of rain overnight and on/off till about 10 am and cloudy to midday which keep the temperature down. Launch at 7:50 am. Pass thru Lock 4 and keep going till the 500 km mark where in 2016 we stopped to wait out some strong winds but it seems to be a sealed boat ramp now. I then see an old 500 km sign which we didn't see in 2016. Arrive at Loxton CP at 488 km at about 1:15 pm and get an unpowered riverfront site for $35! There is a bit of shade which is good since it is a west facing site. Walk 30 min into town to have dinner at the hotel.
Fri 12 March 2021, 36 km
Depart at 7:50 am. Light winds and good reflections. Go non-stop pedalling virtually the whole way to Moorook at 452 km arriving at 1:10 pm. This included the "Seven Mile Reach" on which a northerly headwind sprung up. Fortunately not too strong. I paddle for a few km because my legs were getting sore. The river is a 200-300 m wide and fairly straight so it is not too exciting. There is a great camping reserve at Moorook for $12 per night with shaded grassy sites, toilets and a general store across the road. Trevor in a motor boat arrives half an hour after me. He was also at Loxton last night and has been travelling the river for a few weeks with his three dogs. Hot afternoon but pleasant in the shade after a swim. Dinner from the general store.
Sat 13 March 2021, 36 km
Beautiful sunrise with the cloud of the approaching cold front. Warm night. A few drops of rain as I depart at 7:50 am. Lock 3 is 20 km downstream and I want to get there by 11:30 am before they close for lunch. SW wind picks up and is partly behind me most of the way. The only problem was passing Watchells Lagoon just before the Sturt Hwy bridge at Kingston on Murray. The wind was blowing over several km of water from the lagoon into the river causing quite large waves hitting me side on causing me to get wet. Pass through the Lock at 11 am. As I turn the corner at Overland Corner the river heads SW for 5 km into strong winds causing a sizeable swell and water coming over the front deck of the kayak. By 2 pm I find a campsite opposite Cave Cliffs just past the 416 km mark (half way between Wentworth and Goolwa). Soon after setting up the tent it starts to rain for a couple hours. Good timing! Good phone reception here.
Sun 14 March 2021, 34 km
Cool night, 8 degrees. Clear sunny morning. Launch at 8:10 and paddle slightly upstream to the cave. There appears to be a canoe tree next to it. Nearby sign says it's a heritage site ("fire cave and canoe tree" according to a book in Trove). A few hundred metres downstream is Wrigley Flat where people are camped. Luckily I decided to camp where I was last night otherwise I would have had to paddle much further into a strong headwind. Light winds make for good progress passing magnificent cliffs. I arrive at the boat ramp outside the Waikerie CP at 130 pm (382 km mark) and book into a cabin.
Mon 15 March 2021, 41 km
Wake up at 6 am, have breakfast and, in two trips, get the kayak and gear to the boat. Getting to the boat ramp and packing took 40 min. Launch at 7:30 am not long after sunrise. Another cool morning with light winds and clear sky. Paddle 13 km and pedal 7 km to Lock 2 arriving at 10:30 am. See a number of scar trees throughout the day and the massive, ancient tree that I have seen also in 2006 and 2016 (with blue m and white cross sign). Plan to camp at sandy beach on the sharp bend at 245 km but it has a private property sign on it. Continue to next bend and find a campsite at 241 km on the left bank arriving at 2 pm.
Tues 16 March 2021, 21 km
Launch at 8:10 am. Barge with backhoe goes past heading upstream and soon after the Murray Princess paddlesteamer goes past. Behind the paddle large waves form so you don't want to cross close behind. At Cadell I photograph a tree with roots in a plane i.e. it looks like the roots formed in a crack in the rock and the rock subsequently broke away. I also photographed it 5 years ago. Pass the Morgan to Whyalla pumping station and then the remains of Morgan Wharf. Arrive at the Morgan CP at 12 midday. My food package had arrived by mail half an hour earlier.