Tuesday 23 March 1982
All going well the expedition would today reach the mighty Murray River.
The boat crews were transported back to Ringwood Station for the morning start. The river was very snaggy and not really suitable for large boats until Ashvale Station, from which point it is in the influence of Lock 10 at Wentworth.
The sixth boat was returned to the water at Pooncarrie, allowing Greg and Tony (from Overlander magazine) to take part in the fun of ‘weir jumping’ just downriver. The weir was not marked on maps and was quite unexpected.
The support crew in the bus had a heavy workload (drying gear, packing extra tents, carrying the boats to the river as well the usual amount of gear to pack) but were able to get away from Pooncarrie by mid-morning.
The many orchards at Ashvale had assured irrigation from either the Darling or the Murray, reducing the risks of this type of venture for the growers.
New roads and re-alignments in this area caused confusion for the support crews.
By Jamesville Station Tony had had enough of jumping weirs and capsizing boats and seized the opportunity to get back on the land. I was able to get back in a boat for the first time since Mungindi (Day 4). Quite unprepared for river travel, my lightweight clothing provided no protection against the cool conditions encountered later in the day near Lock 9.
The first river traffic since the Expedition started was encountered late in the afternoon, near Wentworth. Excitement grew as the boat crews approached one of the first goals of the Expedition – the confluence of the Darling and Murray Rivers.
By Wentworth the river was wide and deep – but still narrow compared to the mighty Murray. The boats swept into the Murray River at 5.15 p.m. and started a new leg of the journey.
The Lockmaster at Lock 10 had delayed his departure so the boats could pass swiftly through the Lock.
One of the motors had mechanical trouble and, as further delay would have meant that the crews would not reach Lock 9 before dark, the boat was taken off the water and transported by land to the overnight camp.
The run from Lock 10 to Lock 9 was fast and easy. Bob had established an excellent overnight camp at Lock 9, in the same location as the previous year’s Murray River Expedition’s camp.
After days of temperatures in the high 30s, the weather was changing and the nights were becoming chilly.
Roly had navigated the boats through the most difficult part of the river and handed over the task to Mario and Richard for the succeeding days’ travel. Later he would assume responsibility for the task of navigating Lake Alexandrina.
DAY 11 – SUMMARY OF PROGRESS
|Wentworth (Lock 10)||1711|
|Depart Wentworth (Lock 10)||1737|
|Lock 9 (Overnight)||1920|
|Running Time||10 hours 18 mins||78 hours 47 mins||89 hours 05 mins|
|Refuelling||30 mins||6 hours 08 mins||6 hours 38 mins|
|Delays||1 hour 08 mins||15 hours 32 mins||16 hours 40 mins|
|TOTAL TIME||11 hours 56 mins||100 hours 27 mins||112 hours 23 mins|
|Distance||341 kilometres||2312 kilometres||2653 kilometres|
|Average Speed||33.1 kmh||29.3 kmh||29.8 kmh|
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