Renmark-Loxton (25-26 September 2006, 78 km)
I paddled this section after paddling from Loxton to Wellington over the previous two weeks. I had hoped to do this 78 km section over 3 leisurely days but high winds had been forecast for the the 24th and for the 27th. The weather over the two days was fine with temperatures of around the low twenties and minimums of 0 degrees. Flies were a bit of a nuisance near Loxton. There were no problems with mosquitoes. I left my car at the Renmark RiversideCaravan Park and on the 27 September I caught the “Townsend” bus from Loxton back to Renmark. I peddled and paddled my Hobie peddle kayak which I had bought in August due to a problem with my wrist.
Monday 25 September 2006
I launched from Renmark (566 km) at 7:35 am on a cold but sunny morning. The temperature had been 0 degrees overnight but I quickly warmed up once on the water. I reached Paringa Bridge at 8:00 am and I rang the Lockmaster, from my mobile whilst on the kayak, to book my passage thru’ Lock 5 at 8:10 am. Downstream of the lock there were a lot of nice sandy beaches. I had a break at 560 km and then 549 km and 539 km at 11:50 am where I stopped for lunch opposite “Calpernium”. Along the way there were some nice campsites accessible by car. It is a nice day with light winds. Opposite a sand quarry at 534 km I saw a dead kangaroo floating in the river. I stopped again at the jetty of the Berri Water Ski Club at 529 km. My back was a bit sore from peddling most of the way as I was trying to avoid further injury to my wrist. An hour later I found the Eckerts Creek entrance (which is part of a canoe trail) but it appeared to be very narrow and reedy. At 3:20 pm I found a campsite just past the 522 km mark. The only problem was that there was deep water right up to the bank. Having a sit-on-top kayak made exiting easier but I then needed to pull the loaded kayak up onto the grassy bank in order to unload it. By 4 pm I was all set up in a relatively nice spot. This was my last night on the river part of the Murray (having already paddled from Loxton to Wellington). I had a pasta meal cooked on the fire and went to bed at about 7 pm after a 44 km day.
Tuesday 26 September 2006
Another cold morning but no dew on the tent (there was a light breeze during the night). I took some photos of the early morning light, had a fire and launch at 7:50 am with a NE breeze for the 34 km paddle to Loxton. I phoned ahead for Lock 4 passage at 516 km and 10 minutes later I have passed thru’ it. I checked out Katarapko Ck, which is part of the canoe trail. It was quite wide but here was a rocky causeway (“weir” on the map) which would need to be portaged. I decided that the 6 km that the creek would save as a shortcut to Loxton was not worth the effort of the portage so I turned around and return to the Murray. I was not disappointed because the Murray below the creek junction was narrower, had nice forest on both sides, sandy beaches and noticeable minor turbulence in places indicating a slightly faster current. I stopped at 505 km and then had lunch just past Rilli Island at 499 km. There were lots of dead trees at about 496 km and a white line of salt just above water level. I had a short break at 492 km and then arrived at Loxton Caravan park at 2:30 pm (488 km). I got a campsite by the waters edge. Later I sent a message to Christine that I was in Waikerie. It was not until an hour later I realised I was in Loxton. Most of the Riverland towns are similar but very nice. Later I walked into town (40 minutes), had dinner at the hotel and then went to bed at 7:30 pm.