Mildura-Wentworth (11 April 2006, 42 km)

Tuesday 11 April 2006

I paddled this section after paddling from Wentworth to Renmark the previous week. I drove from Renmark early in the morning and was ready to launch my kayak loaded with camping gear from Apex Park at 882 km at 8:45 am. It was a nice sunny day with a light NW breeze that was forecast to strengthen. There was significantly less current than last August (only about 5000 Ml/day compared to about 12000 last August). I had breaks at 874 km and 867 km before going thru’ the shortcut at 860 km. I was uncertain which creek to paddle up as the 860 km sign is missing. I go through the second creek but after about 100 metres I reach a ford that I could not paddle across. I put the kayak on the trolley and was surprised at how easily I could move the fully laden kayak. I had lunch and then paddled on thru’ the shortcut for another few hundred metres till I reached the Murray. Later inspection of this area on Google Earth showed that I took the longer second shortcut. However, once back on the Murray I could not see a clear exit of the first shortcut. The shortcut saved about 8 km of paddling. Soon after passing the massive Abbortsford Bridge I stopped at a boat ramp on the Victorian side for a break (846 km) at 1:40 pm. I had another break, after battling strengthening headwinds, at 840 km where there was a large home-made shelter shed. I continued to the Willow Bend Caravan Park, on the banks of the Darling River at Wentworth, arriving at 4:20 pm. Here, I got a campsite for $6. I paddled 42 km for the day in what seemed to be somewhat easier paddling than in the previous week where I paddled between 33 and 39 km per day. No doubt that practice and the a day of rest boosted my energy levels.