Day 1 Renmark to Mulcra Island
The plan for the first day was to make it to Mulcra Island sandbar, a distance of approximately 130 kilometres.
We departed from Renmark Caravan Park on Monday morning without fanfare. As the Support Crew had only a 30 minute drive to the lunch stop they were able to shop for provisions in Renmark. Cliff headed to Paringa to buy fuel. Kim, Leah and Alan bought food, ice and last minute items in Renmark and then RVed with Cliff in Paringa.
Steve Brown had never been in my boat before so it took a little while for us to get the trim and our positions right but from then on it was good running. I think 45 kph top speed was a little slow for the other guys but it was the best I could do.
We made our way through the Ral Ral and the Big Hunchee to the Amazon. I still had cavitation problems, so Greg used pliers to put some cup on my prop. Ian was worried about keeping to the schedule – I wasn’t even wearing a watch.
The Support Crew, shopping finished, travelled to the Old Customs House to wait for the Boat Crew. Warm weather.
Racing through the Amazon, Ian and Todd took the lead. I wasn’t too worried as I believed that they couldn’t get lost – but they did.
We shot back into the Murray River for a six kilometre squirt to Chowilla Creek.
Sixteen kilometres along the Chowilla we turned into Salt Creek which has a few logs and tight turns, then into Shooters.
This is a narrow, fast flowing creek that leads out to the Murray. I think everyone enjoyed it.
On to lunch at the Customs House. The Support Crew had prepared a beautiful spread of sliced meat and salads with fresh soft bread rolls.
I had planned to video most of the trip in the boat but my video decided not to work – that’s always the way isn’t it?
With lunch out of the way and boats refuelled we had a quick look at a luxury houseboat and we were off again, onward to the Lindsay River.
Paddle steamers used to ply the Lindsay to get to Beribee Station to pick up wool and drop off supplies. We stopped at an abandoned pump shed where we met with the Support Crew before moving on.
The Support Crew followed the Border Track to the Old Mail Road.
At the mouth of the Mullaroo we met the Support Crew again for a quick drink before heading up the Creek.
While we were waiting for the Support Crew to arrive I heard Cliff calling on the two way to Kim. “Hang on Kim, the doors have come open on the trailer and the gear’s falling out.” Fortunately no one else heard that.
The Mullaroo is a terrific creek, fed directly by the Murray so it always has a good flow. It has lots of tight twists and plenty of fallen trees that provide good fun.
Greg and Margot hit a submerged log and broke off their gearbox. It went to the bottom. Margot got into Kev’s boat, Ian got into John’s boat and Todd towed Greg to a bridge not far away where we could meet with the Support Crew and do some repairs. Greg was quite surprised that he had hit the log as everyone else had roared through and not hit it.
At the bridge we met the Support Crew and Cliff had a spare motor that he lent Greg. Everyone helped put the new motor on Greg’s boat and we were off again.
Todd, Ian, Steve and I raced through the last couple of kilometres of the creek. The lead kept changing when one would slow or make a mistake – it was good fun.
Stony Crossing on the Mullaroo
We then came to a stony crossing not far from where the creek re-enters the Murray where we waited for the others to catch up before attacking it one at a time. I hit a rock and bent my shaft. At the confluence with the Murray only a few hundred metres further on we stopped and RVed with the Support Crew. Cliff pulled out a piece of pipe and we straightened the prop shaft as good as we could. It would get me to the overnight camp.
About 20 kilometres of river cruising brought us to Mulcra Island sand bar, the Day One campsite.
Mulcra Barge Bar
On arrival at the sandbar it was clear that we had beaten the Support Crew there but it wasn’t long before they came rumbling through the trees.
This has been a favourite camping spot of mine in the past because it has a good flat bank and plenty of room to move.
There’s always plenty of wood close at hand and it has a convenient picnic table.
Everyone grabbed a drink and helped set up camp. Leah found a nice spot for the camp shower. I was very impressed with the camp trailer. It was obvious a lot of time and thought had gone into making it.
Everything went together well and the roster made organising jobs easy. I think everyone was exhausted from the day’s adventure because we all went to bed pretty early.